Another great graduation day; updates on website redesign, You Said … We Did; and happy holidays

Higher salaries remain a top priority

I have made increasing the salaries we pay to our talented, hard working and dedicated faculty and staff one of the top priorities of my administration.  Therefore, I am pleased that today, in a memo to faculty and staff, we announced another round of supplemental compensation that eligible faculty and staff will see in their paychecks on Feb. 1, 2018.  It is noteworthy that the UW System Board of Regents took notice of our previous compensation efforts at the December board meeting.  The board’s Business and Finance Committee reviewed a report that showed 75.47 percent of all our faculty and staff received a base salary adjustment in fiscal 2017 (the year that ended June 30, 2017), compared to a System-wide average of 31.02 percent.  Those base adjustments averaged 2.17 percent at UW-Stout, compared to a System-wide average of 1.71 percent.  The report showed that we invested $1.41 million in base adjustments during the fiscal year, second only to UW-Oshkosh among all UW comprehensive universities.  Besides the base adjustments in February 2017, we also offered eligible employees a one-time payment in May 2016, and were able to make selective faculty increases in March 2016.

Despite these efforts to date, as I indicated in today’s memo, I am fully aware that we need to remain open to further compensation increases.  We are waiting for the state to give final approval to a 4 percent salary increase in 2018-19 for all eligible employees, which obviously will be another badly needed boost.  But our salaries remain below those of competing institutions, and, for the second year in a row, we had a higher percentage of our faculty (both tenured and probationary) leave UW-Stout than across the entire UW System.

Maintaining our institution’s quality depends on our ability to recruit and retain the best employees possible, across all job classifications.  While I am pleased that we have approved a second supplemental compensation plan in less than a year, I am committed to doing whatever I can to improve our salary situation even more.

Another great graduation day…

There really is nothing like graduation day for me. Everyone I come in contact with is smiling ear to ear — the graduates, their families and friends and the faculty and staff who choose to spend this special day with the graduates. Saturday’s graduation ceremony was a total success, and I want to thank everyone who worked so hard to make it special.

I focused my address on the effect that our polytechnic designation, granted by the Board of Regents 10 years ago, has had on our institution. As I said in my address, it would be hard to imagine UW-Stout without the designation — that’s how much it now means for the campus.

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I also used my address to explain the meaning of the three tenets we use to describe our conception of a polytechnic institution: career focus, applied learning and collaboration. Of course, I had to mention our employment rate of 97.4 percent for new graduates.

You can read more of my address here. I also would recommend that you visit our UW-Stout Facebook page for fantastic photos and a video of the graduation ceremonies and see the commencement e-newsletter for more stories.

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An update on our website redesign

Before the academic year ended, I wanted to provide a quick update of the redesign of our website. I want to thank everyone, especially those in University Marketing, Student Life Services, and Enterprise Information Systems, who have worked so hard to make our redesign a success.

The migration of the “phase one” sites to the new site will take place Jan. 15-19.  No downtime is expected that week, but a few page link errors may occur as the website transition is finalized for launch on Jan. 23.  More information and the sites included in the phase one launch can be found here.

Please attend You Said…We Did on Jan. 16

I hope everyone on campus will be able to attend our annual You Said…We Did presentation from 8:30 to 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16, in the Great Hall of the Memorial Student Center. Information will be presented on actions that already are underway, or are ready to be taken, based on the feedback we received from campus at the fall Engagement Sessions.

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These actions are intended to help us achieve our FOCUS 2020 goals. We also will take this opportunity to recognize individuals and teams who helped make these accomplishments possible. There will be fun, laughter and celebration as well. We value your feedback in helping to achieve the goals of our planning process. More information about January Professional Development is available here.

Happy holidays and thanks for a great 2017

This is my final blog for 2017, and I want to end it with my best wishes for students, faculty, staff, alumni and other stakeholders to have a very happy holiday season and a great new year.

My family and I will be taking some time away from campus to reconnect and to regroup for 2018, and I hope that you also have the opportunity to recharge. Thanks to everyone for your good work and good cheer and for being the best group of colleagues a chancellor could wish for.

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