Monthly Archives: February 2017

Baldrige/Polytechnic event March 7; volunteers fight hunger; enrollment plan discussed

Two seminal events in the history of UW-Stout — winning the Malcom Baldrige National Quality Award and being designated Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University – will be celebrated Tuesday, March 7. I would like to invite the entire campus to join us for this special event beginning at 9 a.m. in the Great Hall of the Memorial Student Center.

We have put together a great program to look at the impact of the winning the Baldrige and officially becoming a polytechnic university. Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch will attend to read a proclamation from the governor, a UW System representative will attend and we’ll have remembrances from Chancellor Emeritus Sorensen.

We also are planning to make a major announcement concerning our 2015-16 employment rate for recent graduates and the economic impact of UW-Stout on the regional economy.

Refreshments will be served.

Look for further information this week in your email and in UW-Stout Today and Campus Life Today.

Joining the effort to fight kids’ hunger

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I was happy to join our international students and others from campus at last Wednesday’s Kids Against Hunger event organized by two Menomonie Rotary Clubs. Our group packed more than 2,000 meals, and everyone who participated packed more than 45,000 meals, which consisted of rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and 21 essential vitamins and minerals.

The meals will be distributed in the Chippewa Valley and across the world.

Other groups participating in the event at the Stout Ale House included University Marketing and the Stout Student Association. A WEAU-TV story is available here.

A good start on an enrollment plan

I want to thank everyone who took the time to participate in the various sessions held by the consultants working for the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, who have been asked for recommendations on how to implement a Strategic Enrollment Management Plan at UW-Stout.

I was impressed by the consultants’ thoroughness and knowledge as they conducted their briefings and look forward to their recommendations.

After a few years of growth, it appears that we will be severely challenged to maintain our present enrollment level in fall 2017. That fact adds even more urgency to the need to develop a campuswide enrollment management plan and to implement it as quickly as possible.

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Alumnus speaks up on state budget; campus busy with legislator visit, Career Conference, ‘Stout Proud’ film

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Joseph Pregont, President and CEO of Prent Corp.

I wanted to share with you a column that ran in today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel written by a great friend and supporter of UW-Stout, Joseph Pregont, the president and CEO of Prent Corporation in Janesville who graduated from here in 1981 and was the 2011 Cabot Executive in Residence. This 2,000-employee company has dozens of UW-Stout graduates in its workforce.

In the column, Joe supports Gov. Walker’s 2017-19 state budget proposal that calls for increased funding for the UW System, as well as salary increases for UW employees. I believe this column will have a significant impact on our advocacy efforts for the UW budget, and I want to publicly thank Joe for adding his voice to our supporters. We also are working with other employers in Wisconsin to join our advocacy efforts.

Rep. Stafsholt holds listening session on campus

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UW-Stout Chancellor Bob Meyer, left, with Rep. Rob Stafsholt.

Speaking of advocacy, I had the privilege Tuesday afternoon of introducing state Rep. Rob Stafsholt before his listening session in the Memorial Student Center. I thanked Rob for holding his meeting on campus and had a chance to explain our thoughts on Gov. Walker’s 2017-19 state budget.

The meeting was well-attended, and the speakers included members of the Stout Student Association leadership.

The Leader-Telegram covered the meeting; the story is available on their website.

Career Conference a great experience

I don’t think I could ever spend too much time at the two Career Conferences held on campus, in the fall and again in late winter. I enjoyed walking around the conference Tuesday in Johnson Fieldhouse Multipurpose Room speaking to the employers who were looking to hire Cooperative Education students as well as permanent employees and to students who were seeking those positions.

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There are many UW-Stout alumni in the employer booths, and I even ran into a couple of former students I remembered having in class some years ago. The employers seemed pleased with the quality and the quantity of the students they were attracting to their booths.

Career Services does a great job organizing this event. More information is available on their website.

Alumni Association film truly thrilling

I still am marveling at the tremendous “Stout Proud” video produced for the Alumni Association that premiered last Friday during Stout Proud Day in the Memorial Student Center. The video was made by two recent alumni, Christopher Bartlett and R.T. Vrieze, who co-own Knorth Studios in Eau Claire.

More than 55,000 people have seen this video since it was posted Friday on our Facebook page. I encourage everyone who hasn’t seen the video to watch it.

I’d also like to thank Christopher and R.T. for the time they spent producing the video and everyone at the Alumni Association who worked on the project.

Initial budget reaction positive; Stout Proud Day to feature video made by alumni

Our first analysis of Gov. Walker’s budget

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The dust is settling in the wake of Gov. Walker’s release last Wednesday of the 2017-19 state budget.  Our analysis of the budget is continuing, but I am pleased to say that the initial reaction of legislators for the increased UW System funding of more than $100 million appears to be positive.

Most of the legislative scrutiny so far seems to be concerning the governor’s proposal to move state employees to a self-insurance plan as well as his $35 million proposal to cut the cost of tuition in 2018-19. While both of these proposals would have a dramatic impact on UW-Stout, there didn’t seem to be much opposition at all to the increased funding, which we so badly need.

There also doesn’t appear to be opposition to the governor’s proposal to increase salaries in 2018-19.  Maintaining these back-to-back 2 percent increases (in September 2018 and May 2019) is a top priority of mine. There are potentially problematic parts of the proposal, including a massive increase in the number of undergraduate programs for which we offer three-year contracts and a requirement to monitor faculty and staff workloads.

Furthermore, we will have to work closely with the Legislature to ensure the metrics adopted for the $42.5 million in performance-based funding makes sense for UW-Stout. I had a chance to discuss this issue with the governor last Tuesday, and he indicated a willingness to work with the Board of Regents to make sure the metrics work for all types of institutions.

Much more on the state budget, including all the budget documents, is available here.

Show your UW-Stout pride Friday, Feb. 17

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I’d like to remind students, faculty and staff that Friday, Feb. 17, is Stout Proud Day, a day to bring people together to celebrate not only how wonderful our university is but also to remember Wawa (pronounced “Wava”) Thorson. She was a proud UW-Stout alumna and created the Kolbenschlag Endowed Memorial Scholarship in 1996 to honor her supportive parents and her UW-Stout spirit.

With her passing in 2012, Wawa asked that her estate gift left to the university be honored through celebration of her birthday. This year’s Stout Proud Day will feature the work of two of our successful alumni, Chris Bartlett and R.T. Vrieze, who created a video emphasizing what it means to be “Stout.” Learn more here.

They have done a tremendous job, and we wanted to share this video with everyone before releasing it on social media. We will have three showings, at 1:00, 1:45 and 2:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17, in Ballroom B of the Memorial Student Center, along with popcorn, root beer and cake in honor of Wawa.

Governor’s state budget proposal appears to be ‘positive step’ for UW-Stout, UW System

 

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Gov. Walker will release his 2017-19 state budget later today, but I thought it important to inform the campus that at least initially the budget is a very positive step for UW-Stout and the UW System.

We will know much more after we have a chance to review the budget details and assess its impact on our campus.

However, it is good news that the governor is proposing additional revenue for the UW System and even apparently the funding for pay increases.

I had a chance to meet with the governor in Eau Claire Tuesday afternoon and indicated to him that we would use this additional investment in the UW System to continue to produce the kind of graduates who are highly sought-after by business and industry.

The governor in his remarks noted our outstanding record in securing work experiences for our students before they graduate, as well as the employment success of our graduates.

Again, we will have more to say about the governor’s budget once all the details are known.

You can see some of the latest news coverage of the state budget on our state budget website.