Forums were valuable; time to celebrate achievements

UW-Stout in the spotlight last week

Our university was privileged last week to play host to top leaders from the UW System. They had the opportunity to hear from faculty, staff and students at open forums on the important issues facing the system today.

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I want to thank everyone who took time out of their busy schedules, especially with the end of the semester approaching, to share their thoughts with Board of Regents President Regina Millner, Regent member Ed Manydeeds and system President Ray Cross.

The opinions expressed were sometimes hard to hear for a chancellor, but they needed to be said. I am sure that the Regents and President Cross left UW-Stout with a much better understanding of the particular needs of this campus and with a full appreciation of just how dedicated we are to providing a quality education for our students — even in the face of our budget difficulties. I also believe we made a convincing case for our No. 1 issue: the need to address the egregious salary inequities for our faculty and staff. There might be a little light at the end of that tunnel on this issue, as President Cross suggested during his forum, and I would encourage you to look for more information coming from the Chancellor’s Office hopefully in the near future.0P5A3437

In the meantime, both of the forums are still available for viewing if you missed them. The forum on our budget situation, attended by Millner and Manydeeds, is available here. The forum featuring President Cross is available here.

A great tradition sponsored by the Honors College

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Last week I also had the privilege of helping our Honors College with a special tradition they call Bestow the Stole. Each year, graduating seniors who have remained in the Honors College throughout their college careers are awarded a blue stole, which is worn with their graduation regalia to mark their accomplishments.

I could tell that the ceremony, part of a banquet in the Memorial Student Center, meant a lot to the graduating seniors who engage in rigorous academic coursework above and beyond what their individual program requires. Students are invited to join the college if they have high ACT scores and are ranked in the top 25 percent of their high school class or have GPAs of 3.5 or above if they are unranked. Students also can apply to join the Honors College by submitting an essay and list of extracurricular and community activities and leadership roles.

This year the Honors College will have 45 graduates.

During the ceremony each graduate had a mentor who said a few words about them and then bestowed the blue silk stole. I was impressed with how closely the mentors worked with each student to help them grow and achieve. The banquet also featured guests of the graduates, including their parents.

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This year, a special stole was bestowed on Lopa Basu for her five years of service as Honors College director. Lopa received the stole from Chris Ferguson, who is coming in as director. I want to echo the fine comments Chris made about Lopa’s contributions on growing the Honors College to its present 500 students and thank her for all of her hard work and dedication.

Please attend commencement

Speaking of recognizing achievement, I would like to personally invite all faculty and staff to participate in the commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 7, in Johnson Fieldhouse. Nothing is more exciting than to see students walk across the stage and receive their diplomas and then look out in the audience to see the pride that exudes from the students’ families and friends.

I would like to have a large number of faculty and staff sharing that moment with everyone in the fieldhouse.

Undergraduate ceremonies are at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., as well as a Graduate School commencement, where we will hand out our first terminal degrees, at 5:30 p.m. If you want to be part of the processional, please email commencement@uwstout.edu. If you wish to attend but not be a part of the ceremony, contact Britta Miller at millerbri@uwstout.edu.

Leadership Academy has graduation ceremony as well

On Wednesday, the fourth and final session of our first UW-Stout Leadership Academy concluded. I attended the luncheon and reception, which recognized the graduates. I supported the Leadership Academy as a way to recognize and grow leaders on campus.

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The program was offered to UW-Stout administrators, managers and staff and is designed to help participants further their leadership skills through a deeper understanding of communication styles, motivating others, conflict resolution and identifying personal leadership strengths and opportunities for further development. Instructors were Charlie Krueger and Kari Dahl.

Congratulations to the 20 participants in the program. I expect them to make a difference in moving UW-Stout forward.

Board meeting a Foundation success

On Saturday, I met with our Stout University Foundation Board members to discuss our budget situation and how that relates to our need to expand our fundraising efforts. I went through essentially the same budget presentation we gave at the forum last Wednesday and then had a great discussion about how UW-Stout can improve its financial situation through additional private donations.

I am confident that the board, working with Vice Chancellor Mark Parsons and his excellent staff, will succeed in meeting the ambitious fundraising goals that we need to continue to be a quality public institution in a time of reduced state resources. I thank the board members for all of the time they devote to this important effort.

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