Ready to kick off a new year Tuesday, Jan. 17

Opening Day

Faculty and staff attend the Opening Day presentations in August. Opening day for the second semester will be Tuesday, Jan. 17, with Chancellor Bob Meyer’s address at 8:40 a.m.

Welcome to 2017!

I hope everyone had an opportunity to recharge over the holidays and spend time with family and friends. I know I enjoyed some time away from campus after what was a pretty challenging (and fulfilling) year. Now it’s on to 2017 and the start of a new semester.

I will be making my opening address at 8:40 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17, in the Great Hall of the Memorial Student Center. I certainly hope you can attend. I will touch on some of the accomplishments of 2016 and lay out what I perceive to be the challenges and opportunities ahead in 2017. If you can’t attend, the address can be viewed here live.

My address will be followed by the ever-popular You Said…We Did presentation organized by the Planning, Assessment, Research and Quality office. And yes, there will be some high jinks!

I also hope you attend as many of the professional development sessions as possible the next two weeks. A lot of time and energy went into listening to your needs to host sessions that will help you with your career and life. Details are available here.

More blogs ahead

I intend to use this blog as often as I can to keep campus apprised of important developments and news items, both on campus and in Madison. I was quite surprised to learn that the blog was viewed almost 29,000 times in 2016 by more than 21,000 people.

The blog obviously has turned into quite a useful way for me to connect with campus and our external audience, and I will continue to use it as much as possible.

State budget cycle begins

Most people know that 2017 will be a budget year for us; Gov. Scott Walker will introduce his 2017-19 state budget proposal in early to mid-February, and then legislators will spend the next four months debating and reshaping the document. We intend to work hard to ensure that our voice is heard during those debates.

Speaking of the Legislature, I wanted to point out a significant development: Five of the 10 Republicans on the Assembly Colleges and Universities Committee are from western Wisconsin, including state Rep, Rob Stafsholt, who replaced John Murtha as the Assembly member who represents UW-Stout. The other four are Reps. Shannon Zimmerman from Hudson, Rob Summerfield from Bloomer, Warren Petryk from Eleva and Romaine Quinn from Rice Lake.

Democrat Rep. Dana Wachs from Eau Claire also is a member.

Sen. Sheila Harsdorf continues to chair the Senate Higher Education Committee. This is a welcome development for UW-Stout and western Wisconsin because we will have a significant voice on higher education issues that pass through those committees.

I hope 2017 is a great year for you and your family. By working together, we can make it a great year for UW-Stout as well.

Campus Climate Survey to be sent out Jan. 17

Faculty and staff will receive an invitation Tuesday, Jan. 17, via email from to participate in the Campus Climate Survey, which will provide important information about our climate. Survey results will be reviewed by the Strategic Planning Group, Diversity Bridge Team and other groups to determine if any actions are needed to improve the environment for working, living and learning at UW-Stout.

Some actions taken based on the 2014 survey include purchase of LifeMatters, which provides confidential professional assistance to all UW-Stout faculty and staff; creation of an ambassador position to champion the use of Intercultural Development Inventory on campus; and updates to the process for hiring and promotions.

The survey was first administered in spring 2011 as part of a UW System project; the instrument was developed by a consultant, Sue Rankin. A shorter follow-up survey was conducted in spring 2014. The 2017 survey is a revised version of the 2014 survey, and I encourage all of you to participate.