Monthly Archives: March 2016

Remembering my dear mother, Germaine Ann Meyer

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I have often mentioned the positive impact both of my parents have made on my life. My father exemplified servant leadership in his work life and home life. And my mother role-modeled strong values and character every minute of every hour of every day.

I was blessed to have had the advantage of two incredibly dedicated parents, and I try to find ways to help younger people who may not have enjoyed this parental advantage.

I learned on Tuesday morning that my mother, Germaine Ann Meyer, passed away at the age of 93. She was an incredible force in my life and an inspiration for me. She spent countless hours reading to me as a youngster, helping me with my homework or making sure that I completed it, assisting with “doing the books” when I had a paper route and encouraging me in my later years attending college.

Even though she outlived most of her friends and all of her siblings and the effects of age slowed her down, she never complained. She loved her friends, family, neighbors and those who helped her a bit to get around later in life.

The world was a better place because of her, and I will miss her deeply. I love you mom and am deeply grateful for all you have done for me!

Click here for Germaine Ann Meyer’s obituary.

 

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Time for a spring break; fighting alcohol abuse; Military Ball

Make time to relax before big spring push

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The weather is getting warmer and the feeling of spring is in the air. Next week is spring break, and I hope that everyone has a chance to relax at least a little bit before we make the big push to graduation and beyond.

I will be off campus until late next week. I have been asked to give a presentation, UW-Stout’s Role as a Polytechnic University, at the President’s Event and Policy Seminar at Darmstadt (Germany) University of Applied Sciences. This is the commencement of a university project titled Creating a Transatlantic Applied Science Network in Engineering. I will be joined by Dean Chuck Bomar in giving the presentation Thursday afternoon. Associate Professor Wendy Stary also is on the program later in the week.

My wife, Debbie, and I then plan to spend some time in Spain after the event, returning to the United States late next week.

We have a busy spring ahead of us, with the Higher Learning Commission reaccreditation visit at the end of March, graduation in May and the National Science Olympiad in May as well.

Remaining vigilant in fighting high-risk alcohol consumption

UW-Stout has been taking steps for many years to fight the dangers posed by student alcohol abuse. We have statistics that show progress in the percentage of students who report that they abstain from alcohol. We are not finding as many large house parties with uncontrolled drinking.

But the effort is far from over.  That was the overwhelming message I took away from my meeting with the Chancellor’s Coalition on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse last Friday. I heard frightening stories of students who, despite our best efforts, continue to abuse alcohol in dangerously high quantities, leading to injuries and other physical — and often legal — problems.

The goal of the university is for our students to enjoy their time at UW-Stout and grow in many dimensions but to do so in a wholesome and safe way. I applaud the coalition, with members from many offices on campus and in the community, for ensuring that efforts to combat high risk alcohol consumption remain a priority on this campus.

A great evening spent at the Military Ball

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Debbie and I had the great honor Saturday of attending the 10th annual Military Ball at the Memorial Student Center sponsored by the Northwoods Battalion of the Army ROTC. The cadets and leadership from UW-Eau Claire and UW-River Falls, as well as UW-Stout, were on hand. Many of our cadets were recognized for their exemplary work, and we are very proud of their accomplishments.

The guest speaker was retired Lt. Gen. Peter Kind who, among other things, holds an MBA from Harvard University, served in the special forces and was chief information officer for the Army.  He presented four important attributes of leadership:

  • Integrity is essential.
  • Building trust is vital because teamwork and success is not possible without trust.
  • Questions are “fair” and should be encouraged because they promote communication and an understanding of overall goals, objectives and tactics.
  • Disagreement is not disrespect. The strength of an organization is in its ability to think critically. Questioning the approach, and even offering disagreement, is healthy and should not be considered disrespectful.

These are crucial elements of servant leadership, which I subscribe to.

We were very fortunate to have had the honor of Lt. General Kind’s presence and sage insights. He helped make the ball extraordinary.

I also was privileged to receive a certificate of appreciation from the Third Brigade of the U.S. Army Cadet Command thanking us for our support of ROTC and honoring UW-Stout for 125 years of “leadership integrity and commitment to excellence.”

After commencement in May, Lt. Colonel Dave Pindell, chair of UW-Stout’s military science department, which oversees the ROTC program on campus, will retire. He received a standing ovation for his work with the battalion, which recently was named the top ROTC program in the Third Brigade.

Retired Lt. Col. Scott Bolstad and retired Associate Dean Pete Heimdahl were instrumental in launching the Northwoods Battalion and attended the ball to be part of the celebration.

Grad employment an amazing 97.3%; Red Dress Gala

Our graduates even more valuable in the workplace

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I have some exciting news to report: The employment rate for our most recent graduates continues to increase and has hit an amazing 97.3 percent. That rate is for graduates in August 2014, December 2014 and May 2015.

The employment rate was 97.1 percent for graduates the previous year and 97 percent for the year before that.

I cannot tell you how impressed I am that the success of our graduates in the workplace continues to improve and how much I appreciate the hard work and dedication of our faculty and staff that is required to achieve this level of success. Frankly, I was amazed that our employment rate crept up last year in my first year as chancellor. I am even more impressed that we were able to achieve an even higher rate this year.

The report is compiled every year by our Career Services office, led by Bryan Barts, which does a fantastic job helping graduates find employment. This effort includes coordinating the two career conferences, arranging employer interviews on campus and presenting seminars to ensure students are prepared for interviews, etc.

The office also coordinates our Cooperative Education Program, which sends students into the workplace for a semester for that all-important hands-on experience that often yields a job offer even before graduation.

By the way, participation in co-ops grew for the seventh consecutive year to 1,032 students in 2014-15, compared to 954 the previous year. We had 562 employers offering sites for co-op students, who were paid an average of $14.93 an hour.

Another important statistic that continues to improve is the rate our graduates find employment in their fields of study. That increased to 83.3 percent this year, up from 81.9 percent last year. That statistic is a true measure of how closely we align our undergraduate programs with the needs of our employers. It means that we are producing graduates in fields where our business, industry and other partners have openings and need well-prepared employees.

Here is another interesting statistic from the new report: The number of degrees we granted in 2014-15 increased to 1,614 from 1,519 a year before, making it even more impressive that we achieved record enrollment of 9,535 last fall.

Again, this is major news for UW-Stout — that our graduates are finding even greater success in the workplace after leaving campus. We intend to use this information in a variety of ways, including in our new-student recruitment efforts and to make an even stronger case with our elected officials that UW-Stout is doing all it can to improve the economy of western Wisconsin and the state. (If you want to read some amazing success stories from our May 2015 graduating class, go here.)

Thanks again to everyone on campus who had a hand in ensuring our graduates fare well in the workplace.

Had a great time at sorority’s Red Dress Gala

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Photo courtesy of Max Spooner Photography

My wife Deb and I had a very enjoyable evening Saturday at the ninth annual Red Dress Gala sponsored by the women of Gamma Sigma Chapter of Alpha Phi at UW-Stout in the Great Hall of the Memorial Student Center.

The event is a fundraiser for the Alpha Phi Foundation, which supports improvements in women’s health. It also is a perfect excuse to get dressed up and enjoy dinner, an auction and entertainment, which included the UW-Stout Dance Team.

We had a great time for a worthy cause.