Busy time: Board of Regents, a celebration and meeting student athletes of color

Regents adopt UW-Stout post tenure review policy

I’m happy to report that the UW System Board of Regents today unanimously approved a post-tenure review policy for UW-Stout. I want to thank the chair of the Faculty Senate, Nelu Ghenciu, the entire Faculty Senate, Provost Patrick Guilfoile and his staff and everyone else who was involved in the development of this important policy. We needed to establish this policy as part of the conversion of tenure procedures from state law to Board of Regents policy. The full policy is available here.

During the Regents’ Education Committee discussion of this policy, Regent Margaret Farrow was very complimentary. She called it “very clear and very understandable” that perfectly reflected the nature of Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University. In his remarks to the Education Committee, Provost Guilfoile said he appreciated the cooperation of the Faculty Senate in working on this policy, and I want to echo that sentiment.

A great celebration of Baldrige and polytechnic developments

A19A8819Two major developments in the history of UW-Stout have anniversaries in March, and I was happy to participate in a celebration of those anniversaries on Tuesday, March 7.  Fifteen years ago, a contingent from UW-Stout, led by Chancellor Emeritus Charles W. Sorensen, went to Washington, D.C., to receive the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award from former President George W. Bush.  I was privileged to have been part of that contingent as dean of the former College of Technology, Engineering and Management.

Ten years ago, on March 9, 2007, the Board of Regents unanimously voted to designate UW-Stout as Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University. The history behind these developments and their impacts were explored thoroughly in the well-attended ceremony in the Great Hall of the Memorial Student Center.

Although I was at UW-Stout while both ideas were debated and pursued, I still learned a lot about how these developments came to fruition.

Our undergraduate employment rate keeps going up

meyerwalkerI used the occasion of the Baldrige/polytechnic celebration to announce, with great pleasure, that our employment rate for 2015-16 graduates is an amazing 97.4 percent. When I returned to UW-Stout as chancellor in August 2014, the rate was 97 percent. I just hoped that we would be able to maintain the percent in the future.

I should have known better! We actually increased that employment rate to 97.1 percent in 2013-14 to 97.3 percent in 2014-15 and then 97.4 percent in 2015-16.

The median salary for our graduates increased as well, from $40,000 in 2014-15 to $42,500 in 2015-16, and 85 percent of our graduates were working in fields related to their major, up from 83.3 percent.

I was happy that Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch could join us on Tuesday, and she applauded the increase in our employment rate.

I then traveled to Madison to participate with the Governor’s Council on Workforce Investment conference on Wednesday and shared this great news with Gov. Scott Walker. Kleefisch and Walker have been great marketers for UW-Stout in that they frequently mention our employment rate as a goal for other universities to achieve. I said at the event Tuesday, and I want to reiterate, that we have achieved this employment rate through the hard work, innovation and dedication of a lot of people all across the campus. Thank you for your good work.

Adviser providing support for student athletes of color

Recently I had the great privilege of meeting with our student athletes of color. This group is convened on a regular basis by Michael Bond, a Multicultural Student Services adviser and 2015 graduate of UW-Stout in vocational rehabilitation counseling. A

As a UW-Stout student and athlete of color, Michael started 10 games as a defensive back for our football team in 2013 and 2014 and was named to the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athlete Conference All-Sportsmanship team. He is pursuing his master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling and regularly meets with student athletes of color to provide them a forum to discuss issues, address challenges and gain a sense of belonging on campus.

His efforts are paying off as nearly every athlete attending the meeting asserted how important Michael’s work has been in helping them adjust to college life, establish focus as a student and athlete and feel welcome on campus.

While at the meeting, I had a chance to describe my role as chancellor as well as a few of my past experiences with athletics as a student (a long time ago)! The meeting also gave me a chance to discuss the importance of supporting diversity at UW-Stout as well as describe some of the actions we are taking to encourage inclusiveness across campus.

One important action we are taking is the deployment of the Intercultural Development Inventory. The IDI assesses intercultural competence — the ability to shift cultural perspective and appropriately adapt behavior to cultural differences and commonalities. Intercultural competence has been identified as a critical skill required in today’s global economy, and the IDI assessment can be used to help develop this capability.

As I shared at the meeting, we are encouraging staff and students to use the IDI to develop this critical skill set. In doing so we also believe that we will build a more inclusive campus environment.

I really enjoyed our interaction and discussions at the meeting and quickly developed an appreciation for how impactful this group has been for our student athletes of color. Thank you for your great work Michael Bond!!

Spreading the word about our career and technical education

I was happy to spend Thursday, March 9, in Wisconsin Dells, at the annual conference of the Wisconsin Technology Education Association. I recognized many of the people at the conference as either former students, which made me feel a little old, or colleagues in the area of technical education.

I believe we need to do more as an institution to raise the profile of our career and technical education undergraduate and graduate programs. We are a leader in this area, and we need to build on that success, so that is why I valued my time at the WTEA conference.