Enrollment record official; retail contest first-rate

It’s official: UW-Stout has record enrollment

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It’s official: UW-Stout has posted record enrollment for the fall, 9,535. The UW System has just posted the 2015-16 headcounts for each institution, and UW-Stout is one of only four campuses with an increase.

Our increase of 1.75 percent over fall 2014 was the highest percentage increase in the UW System. The last 10 years of data is available here.

While an enrollment increase of this size is remarkable, it is even more stunning when you consider that all around the Midwest the number of high school graduates has been declining for the last few years, meaning that all schools are competing for a smaller pool of potential undergraduates.

I can’t say enough about the diligent and innovative work of our Admissions Office, as well as hundreds of other people on campus who have embraced increasing our enrollment as a top priority and continue to make our programs so attractive to prospective students and their future employers.

I fully realize that such a dramatic enrollment increase causes problems through increased demand for classes and other services, but this is definitely preferable to a declining student population year after year. While it is too early to say for sure, next year’s admissions also are running a little ahead of what we saw last year at this time.

Please accept my sincere thanks for the dedication you have shown on the enrollment front.

Strategic planning an important campus process

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I am very proud of the strategic planning process that we have at UW-Stout. It is structured in a way that is inclusive, responsive and transparent. Consequently, it is an effective and constructive process that is outcome-oriented.

As part of this process, we share our progress in achieving strategic goals with the university community in the “You Said … We Did” session. I hope you will join me for our next presentation at 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 11, in the Great Hall of the Memorial Student Center. Information will be presented on actions already underway, or ready to be taken, based on the Engagement Sessions feedback, to achieve FOCUS 2020 goals.

Individuals and teams who made these initiatives possible will be recognized as well.

Strategic Design competition

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My wife, Debbie, and I had the wonderful opportunity to judge the Strategic Design competition, which was held in the Great Hall last week. The competition featured retail merchandising and management students who designed and developed marketing and business strategies for 13 area businesses.

The student teams leveraged the resources of the UW-Stout Discovery Center, the Dunn County Economic Development Corp., Main Street of Menomonie and others to put together a proposed plan for each participating business.

The student team recommendations were presented to judges at the competition; many community members were on hand to assist with judging. It was a great opportunity for students to learn and to help local businesses, as well as to engage area businesses with student learning.

This was a fantastic concept, and I’d like to thank Assistant Professor Meriem Chida for her leadership in organizing the event, as well as her colleagues for contributing to its success.

Please help our students celebrate at commencement

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UW-Stout’s fall semester commencement ceremonies are at 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday in Johnson Fieldhouse. I would like to personally invite every faculty and staff member on campus to help me congratulate students who will be receiving their diplomas.

Graduation day is a momentous event in our students’ lives, and it is important that as many UW-Stout representatives as possible attend the ceremonies to send these students off in grand style.

More details about commencement are available here.

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