Monthly Archives: March 2018

Faculty Senate held fitting tribute to Chancellor Emeritus Sorensen

Career Conference impressive; Rube Goldberg always fun; happy spring break 

I’d like to express my appreciation for the efforts of our Faculty Senate on Wednesday to honor the memory and achievements of the late Chancellor Emeritus Charles W. Sorensen. It was a deeply touching event, which included a moment of silence as well as time for those in the audience to share their stories of working with the man who served as chancellor for 26 years.

I had a chance to talk about the impact he had on the university’s growth and improvements throughout his administration. The words that came up often during the ceremony were “vision” and “drive.”

It certainly was my perception that Chancellor Emeritus Sorensen had a keen vision for where he wanted UW-Stout to go, and he was driven to achieve that vision.

The Faculty Senate event, chaired by Petre “Nelu” Ghenciu, was a fitting tribute.

I’d like to thank everyone who participated. More information on the event is available here 


Spring Career Conference a total success  

It’s hard for me to leave the semiannual Career Conference that our incredible staff at the Career Services office puts on in the Multipurpose Room of Johnson Fieldhouse. That’s because I keep running into alumni who want to talk about their experience as students and how that translated into a satisfying career after graduation.

I spent quite a bit of time Wednesday, Feb. 28, at the second day of the Spring Career Conference and was pleased to see a lot of our exceptional partners there: Greenheck, Cobblestone Hotel and Suites, Sleep Number beds, Market & Johnson and Menards, just to name a few. The conference is a great way to match our job-ready graduates with an employer, either for a co-op or a full-time job. The only complaint I ever hear is that employers wish we could send more graduates their way.

Erin Oman, talent acquisition program manager for Sleep Number, said she couldn’t be happier with the Career Conference and how it was organized. “The students are amazing, and the Career Services employees are amazing,” she said, adding that the UW-Stout conferences are the best ones she attends each year. “This is my favorite,” she said.

I love to hear those words, and I would like to thank Career Services Director Bryan Barts and his staff for a great two-day event. More information on the conference is available here 


Rube Goldberg event teaches important skills 

As an engineer I really enjoy attending the annual Rube Goldberg contest on campus. High school teams from around the region attend the technology and engineering challenge to create machines that are intended to use the most steps possible to accomplish simple procedures.

I attended the event last Friday in the Memorial Student Center and watched the teams fashion contraptions to pour a bowl of cereal.

The teams are judged on creativity and functionality, and the participants have a lot of fun while learning valuable math, technology and engineering skills. Congratulations to Elk Mound High School, which won this year’s contest. More information is available here 


Have a great spring break 

Finally, I want to wish our students and employees a great spring break. For those of you who are traveling, I hope you stay safe and enjoy your time away from campus.

I intend to be away from campus most of the week and recharge my batteries because the pace of activities picks up considerably as we head to commencement May 5.

SkillsUSA students impressive; new state senator visits campus

For 35 years, UW-Stout has been hosting the Regional SkillsUSA competition, and I can’t tell you how impressed I was by the talent and ingenuity I saw on display last week as 380 students from high schools across Wisconsin came to campus.

The competition is sponsored by the College of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Management and involved 75 of our students and 25 faculty and staff volunteers. Brian Finder, a professor in the operations and management department, is the glue that holds the event together.

A new competition this year involved students using remotely controlled robotic vehicles to search a simulated building for artificial ordnance. The course was built by a UW-Stout student, majoring in mechanical engineering, and his father.

SkillsUSA is intended to help participants get career information as well as learn about technology and develop leadership and technical skills.

As an engineer myself, I really enjoyed visiting with the students and seeing them getting even more excited about the STEM fields. It was great seeing a longtime colleague and alumnus, Brent Kindred, the technology and engineering education consultant at the state Department of Education. Brent was back at UW-Stout to participate in the event as the SkillsUSA Wisconsin executive director.

More information about the SkillsUSA is available here.


We welcomed Sen. Schachtner to campus for the first time 

Last Monday, I had the pleasure of welcoming our new state senator, Patty Schachtner, to campus for the first time since her election in January. She replaces Sheila Harsdorf, who is now secretary of the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

Sen. Schachtner, who also is on the Somerset school board, met with the Stout Student Association, our governance leaders and my Cabinet, and I was able to spend a half hour with her. I was very impressed by her willingness to dive right into the important higher education issues in Wisconsin, especially our need for increased salaries for our faculty and staff and more operational and bonding flexibilities.

I also am pleased that Sen. Schachtner has secured a seat on the state Senate’s higher education committee, which former Sen. Harsdorf chaired for many years.  I look forward to working closely with Sen. Schachtner in the years to come.