Monthly Archives: December 2018

Fitting honor at commencement for important mentor; mark Jan. 14 on calendar; marketing students impress

In everyone’s professional career, there are people who play a key role in shaping your direction and helping you become the best you can be. I have been very fortunate to have had a number of these valuable mentors and role models over the years.

Last Saturday at our afternoon commencement exercise, I was thrilled to bestow an honorary Doctor of Science degree on former UW-Stout instructor Larry Schneider of Colfax. I am not going to go into everything that Larry did for either me or UW-Stout during his illustrious career, which ended with his retirement in 1997. You can read about that career here.

However, Larry was instrumental in starting UW-Stout down the road toward the engineering programs offered today and helping establish the Stout Technology Transfer Institute.

I also told the graduates that without the privilege of working with Larry, I might not be the chancellor of this proud institution. I used my commencement speech to draw lessons from how Larry lived and taught, including his desire to help others. “He really lifted up the people around him,” I told the graduates.

For those who were unable to attend the ceremony and would like to watch it, go here. Lots of great commencement photos and a video from University Communications are available on our Facebook page, or find it all in the commencement digital newsletter.

I also would like to thank Britta Miller, the commencement coordinator, and everyone else involved in the commencement effort for making it a success. By the way, Britta received a master’s degree at the exercise she planned. You can read that story here.

Please attend my welcome address and You Said … We Did in January

I hope everyone on campus will be able to attend my welcome back address and our annual You Said … We Did presentation from 8:30 to 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 14, in the Great Hall of the Memorial Student Center. We will open with my annual welcome address and then transition to the You Said … We Did session.

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. Organizers are saying the feedback “will feature a fresh approach that you don’t want to miss.”

Individuals and teams who helped make these accomplishments possible will be recognized. It is important to note that in 2019 we will begin the next phase in our planning process, with a visioning session in the summer.

More on You Said … We Did is available here. More information about January Professional Development is available here.

Marketing students’ project benefits Bridge to Hope

I love this time of year because there are so many opportunities to see our students report on projects they’ve completed. I’m always amazed by what our students accomplish and proud of the support our faculty and staff provide to facilitate their learning and success.

This past week I saw Kevin McDonald’s marketing students present their ideas to better market and brand the Bridge to Hope. The Bridge to Hope provides vital support to victims of domestic abuse (and my wife serves on the Bridge to Hope board).

I was really proud of the ideas that Kevin’s students presented to the Bridge to Hope board to help improve marketing and branding. The students’ ideas were terrific, innovative, well-researched and very well-presented. Consequently, the students’ proposals were very well-received by the board.

I want to thank Kevin, as well as all our faculty and staff, for their very effective work helping our students grow and learn. Those efforts are highly valued and greatly appreciated.

Happy holidays and thanks for a great 2018

This is my final blog for 2018, 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 2019. I hope that you also have the opportunity to recharge. Thanks to everyone for their good work and good cheer and for being the best group of colleagues a chancellor could wish for.

Great musical performances bring joy to holiday season; Regents back pay increase

The holiday season is certainly upon us, and I wanted to say publicly what an enjoyable time my wife, Debbie, and I had on Friday as the Symphonic Singers and Chamber Choir presented their annual holiday program, this year entitled Silent Night, at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church.

The program was conducted by Jerry Hui and accompanied by pianist Michaela Gifford. The theme commemorated the centennial of World War I and featured music from the United Kingdom, France and Germany composed during the war.

The program was very well choreographed, and we especially enjoyed the inclusion of the memories from WWI veterans. Deans Bob Salt and Maria Alm also excelled in their readings during the performance.

The event also marked the bicentennial of the composition of the carol “Silent Night.”

I want to compliment everyone who had a hand in this great performance.


I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Stout Symphonic Band winter concert on Dec. 2. Although I was unable to attend, I have heard many comments from those who attended about the exceptional program that Aaron M. Durst and the performers staged in the Great Hall of the Memorial Student Center.

I truly wish I had gotten to hear the Tower Saxophone Quartet and the newly formed polka band as well.


Holiday reception was a great success

Keeping with the holiday theme, I want to thank everyone who attended the Chancellor’s Holiday Reception last week. I was happy to see the Great Hall packed with students and employees who took some time to celebrate the holiday season and socialize with each other.

The event was a reminder to me of the great students, faculty and staff I have the privilege of working with at UW-Stout.


Regents approved proposed pay package

In the last blog, I described a proposed pay package that the Board of Regents would consider when they met last week at UW-La Crosse. I am happy to report that the Regents approved that proposal, which will now be sent to the state Department of Administration for possible inclusion in the 2019-21 state budget that Gov.-elect Tony Evers will submit to the Legislature in February.

The proposal calls for a 3 percent increase for all UW employees on July 1, 2019, and another 3 percent increase on July 1, 2020. It also calls for the state to fully fund the increases, rather than each campus picking up 30 percent, as has been the case.

As most people know, Gov.-elect Evers is a Regent, but he did not vote on the package. However, many people believe that he will look favorably on this proposal. We will be doing everything we can to convince our local legislators that this package is incredibly important to our ability to keep and retain quality faculty and staff.

Regents to consider pay package proposal on Thursday; holiday reception is Tuesday

I wanted to share some important news on the compensation front with you before you hear about it in the news media. On Thursday, the Board of Regents will vote on a proposed compensation package for 2019-21 that would increase salaries by 3 percent for all eligible UW employees on July 1, 2019, and another 3 percent on July 1, 2020.

In another important development, the Regents will vote to ask Gov.-elect Evers and the Legislature to pay 100 percent of these increases; historically, each campus was responsible for paying 30 percent of any pay plan increase.

I applaud President Cross and the Regents for aggressively addressing the crying need around the UW for competitive salaries. While these increases would not bring our faculty and staff to parity with their peers, it certainly would help.

If approved by the Regents, I will work with our elected representatives to ensure they know how vital this pay package is for our faculty and staff – and for the quality of education we offer our students. For the last six years, our salary increases have averaged less than 1 percent a year, with no increases in five of the last eight fiscal years. By comparison, in 2017-18 faculty compensation nationally grew by 3 percent.

We have seen the results of noncompetitive increases on our campus, with turnover rates that in the past have exceeded UW System averages. I am happy to report that our turnover rate has stabilized in the last year, but that does not mean we can let up on our efforts to provide competitive salaries for our faculty and staff.

More information on the proposed pay package is available here.

Opening Day

Please join us at the Holiday Reception

I’d also like to personally invite employees to the annual Chancellor’s Holiday Reception that I and my wife, Debbie, are sponsoring from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4, in the Great Hall of the Memorial Student Center.

Each year, our students, faculty, staff and administrators partner with a local nonprofit to help kids in our area have a happy holiday season. This year’s Holiday Giving Tree supports Christmas Miracle coordinated through the Road 2 Freedom MRO.

If you are interested in donating a gift to a local child, please bring an unwrapped item to the reception.

Chancellor's Holiday Reception