Ready for the new semester and a busy, important year ahead

Welcome to spring semester 2017

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I’d like to welcome back our students, faculty and staff for the start of the spring 2017 academic semester. I hope everyone has a very successful and rewarding semester.

As I have noted previously, this year will be marked by a couple of major events. On Tuesday, March 7, we will hold a celebration of two very important anniversaries in UW-Stout’s history: the 10-year anniversary of UW-Stout being designated Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University and the 15-year anniversary of UW-Stout receiving the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. The celebration will begin at 9 a.m. in the Great Hall of the Memorial Student Center. Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and other dignitaries will attend. More details will be coming soon in an email.

Then on Thursday-Friday, Oct. 5-6, we will host the UW System Board of Regents. This will be a great opportunity to showcase the campus and to focus on student achievement. Details on this event will come later in the year.

You said …and we did

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The academic year kicked off for faculty and staff with the always popular You Said…We Did event coordinated by our office of Planning, Assessment, Research and Quality.

This event is intended to celebrate the actions we have taken based on feedback we receive at the annual Engagement Sessions. It is an important part of our planning process — to show stakeholders that their opinions count and are acted on. You can watch the event on Livestream.

Chippewa Valley Rally to advocate for UW budget plan

Besides the beginning of a new semester, January marks the unofficial start of the state’s budget process. Gov. Walker will introduce his 2017-19 state budget in early to mid-February.

On Wednesday I will be joined by three others from UW-Stout in attending the 23rd annual Chippewa Valley Rally in the state Capitol. I am happy to report that the rally, sponsored by three chambers of commerce, Eau Claire, Menomonie and Chippewa Falls, will include a very strong “ask” of all legislators to support the 2017-19 state budget request submitted by the Board of Regents.

I can’t stress how important this is — to have business leaders, elected officials and others from the Chippewa Valley advocating strongly on our behalf in every legislative office in the Capitol. I will be making a presentation to rally participants before they go to the Capitol, explaining the UW budget request, and I will be expressing my appreciation that the chambers made this a top priority this year.

Dunn County Board supports pay increases for UW employees

On a related note, I want to thank the Dunn County Board of Supervisors for its support last week of the pay-plan proposal the Board of Regents has sent to the governor and the Legislature. The County Board approved a resolution that calls for full state funding of the proposal, which would allow employees to receive increases of an average of 2 percent a year in 2017-18 and 2018-19.

This resolution will help us make a case that higher salaries have important local support, and I want to thank County Board Chairman Steve Rasmussen and the entire board for their assistance.

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