Monthly Archives: June 2017

Three major building projects get the final OK

We had a very successful day Wednesday in the state Capitol as the Wisconsin State Building Commission unanimously approved three very important building projects on our campus. The projects, which received final approval are:

  • Bowman Hall exterior maintenance and repair, $8.95 million
  • Renovation and an addition to North Hall residence hall, $21.74 million
  • Renovation of first floor of Merle M. Price Commons, $7.57 million.

I attended the meetings in Madison, as did several other staff members, because of the extreme importance of these projects to our campus. Everyone knows that Bowman Hall, with its 135-foot Clock Tower, really is the symbol of UW-Stout. The project will help restore the exterior luster to this 120-year-old building.

North Hall is our residential workhorse for our freshman class, and this project will help modernize the facility. The Price Commons project is needed to give the staff and students who use the first floor better offices and meeting spaces.

I was overwhelmed Wednesday at the kind words of the legislators who considered our proposals, including Sen. Terry Moulton, a Republican from Chippewa Falls, who described a recent tour he took of the exterior of Bowman Hall and how important the building is to the history of UW-Stout and the entire UW System.

The highlight of the meeting was when Gov. Scott Walker brought his UW-Stout coffee mug to the meeting and made sure everyone knew he was using it! We took a picture of the governor and his mug and sent it out with the news release. You can read about the building commission meeting here.

 

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UW-Stout to help Coach Gard’s cancer research foundation

On Monday I was privileged to spend time with Greg Gard, head coach of the UW-Madison men’s basketball team, his wife, Michelle, and others who are involved in their family’s Garding Against Cancer foundation.

The Gards were in Menomonie to tour our athletic and meeting facilities because they are planning to hold a luncheon in the Great Hall of the Memorial Student Center on Thursday, Sept. 7, to support the foundation.

They also will hold a family event in Johnson Fieldhouse as well. Most families have been affected in some way by cancer; Greg Gard recently lost his father to brain cancer, and this foundation is his way to honor his father’s memory.

I am happy that the Gards have asked us to help with their foundation. We will send out details of the events as soon as they are finalized.  You can read more about the foundation here.

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National task force work a privilege; cheers for CTE Summit, pay increases

Last week I was honored to be in Washington, D.C., to help the American Association of State Colleges and Universities with a major project. I was asked to participate on AASCU’s Task Force on University Partnerships, chaired by Richard Rush, president emeritus of California State University-Channel Islands in Camarillo, Calif. Doug Mell, UW-Stout’s executive director of Communications and External Relations, attended the meeting with me.

The task force will issue a report in the fall that is intended to be a guide for university chancellors and presidents, as well as other higher education leaders, on the best ways to form partnerships with external stakeholders, the benefits of partnerships and the potential pitfalls. Muriel Howard, AASCU president, told task force members that business leaders “are asking for our help” to build their workforces, and “we are going to have to go to the private sector for more resources.”

The evening before the task force met for the first time we had an incredible dinner conversation with former U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader Richard Gephardt, who was asked by AASCU to discuss his views on higher education and partnerships. This former Democratic presidential candidate still is full of enthusiasm and passion at 76 and stressed the importance of education in building and maintaining this nation’s middle class.

He repeated over and over that the keys to a successful economy are education, training and research and admonished us to be “obsessive” in our quest to preserve access to higher education for all Americans.

I also was happy to reconnect with Christina Hamilton, the former chief of staff to former U.S. Rep. Dave Obey, who now works for Gephardt and who I got to know before Rep. Obey left office.

Serving on the task force is an incredible privilege and is important to me because I believe so strongly in the value of strong partnerships with many groups, including the private sector. We will share the task force’s report with the campus when it is published.

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CTE Summit a success

Kudos to our career and technical education faculty for putting together an outstanding CTE Summit Monday and Tuesday in Jarvis Hall Science Wing. The event attracted CTE educators and others interested in the field from around Wisconsin and beyond, and I was pleased to be part of it.

Participants reviewed actions that have taken place since the 2016 summit; discussed how to “groom talent” to meet the emerging challenges of the workplace; and discussed the future vision of CTE in Wisconsin.

The event also was an excellent chance to network with many in the CTE field.  More information is available here.

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Salary increases appreciated

I also wanted to take a minute to reiterate how much I appreciate the efforts of all our advocates, both on campus and externally, who helped make the case for increased salaries for our employees. The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee has approved two increases of 2 percent each for UW System employees, one that will take effect Sept. 1, 2018, and the second May 1, 2019.

While I certainly would have liked the increases to be larger and to take effect sooner, I appreciate the efforts of the governor and legislators to help us address the salary inequities that many of our employees find themselves in.

I also will do everything possible to try to find additional campus resources to provide supplemental increases, although we continue to face challenges in the enrollment area for 2017-18 that will make the job harder.

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