Pay raises pushed at budget hearing; Foundation, alumni events productive

I had the chance last Tuesday to speak to the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee during the committee’s public hearing in Spooner on the 2017-19 state budget. Because of the short time allowed for speakers, two minutes, I had to condense what I really wanted to get across to the committee as the No. 1 priority for the upcoming budget: the need to provide immediate salary increases for our faculty and staff.

I told the committee that we are losing many valuable employees who are being offered better salaries elsewhere, and this could endanger the quality of the education we offer our students.

I also listed some of the ways we stand out in preparing our students for challenging and successful careers (yes, I did mention our 97.4 percent employment rate for recent graduates!). A video and transcript of the testimony are available here.

I want to assure everyone on campus that I will continue to advocate as often and as loudly as possible for better compensation for our employees as the budget process continues because I truly believe you are the reason UW-Stout is truly extraordinary.

Finance committee also hears from Provost Guilfoile

I also joined Provost Patrick Guilfoile at the finance committee’s hearing the last Wednesday in Ellsworth. Patrick did a great job echoing my comments on the compensation issue as well as explaining to the committee the need for legislators to back the UW System Board of Regents’ proposal to allow us to increase tuition by a small percentage in the second year of the biennium.

Patrick told the committee that the additional revenue from the increased tuition would be used to continue our efforts to meet the workforce demands of our business and industry partners. A video and transcript of his remarks are available here.

I was joined at the Spooner hearing by UW-Superior Chancellor Renee Wachter. Joining Patrick and I in Ellsworth were UW-Eau Claire Chancellor Jim Schmidt and UW-River Falls interim Provost Faye Perkins.

Hearty thanks to Stout Foundation Board

My Saturday included a very interesting and productive meeting with the Stout University Foundation Board of Directors. We discussed a number of topics, including the comprehensive fundraising campaign that the board has endorsed.

These board members spend a lot of time on Foundation board matters and do an excellent job. I’d like to thank each and every one of them for their service to UW-Stout.


Alumni event a highlight of a trip to California

Speaking of fundraising, I spent a week recently on the West Coast meeting with alumni and donors to talk to them about the comprehensive campaign and all the great things that are happening at UW-Stout. A highlight was a fantastic evening at the Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach, Calif., at an event sponsored by alumnus Bill Hendricksen. I can’t thank Bill enough for his generosity in supporting this event. Everyone who attended had a great time!