Welcome back! Like you, I am excited to begin what I am sure will be a busy and productive spring semester.
For those of you who spent these last weeks teaching or collaborating with students on research projects here or at sites around the globe, thank you! Your efforts are greatly appreciated. I look forward to learning more about your creative and ambitious initiatives and their outcomes.
As this new semester gets under way, I am eager to reconnect with all of you so I can hear about your aspirations for the semester ahead. Please feel free to stop me on campus to chat, arrange a meeting or send me an email to share your plans for this semester so I can help support your ideas and your hard work.
Strengthening our campus climate is an ongoing goal for all of us. I want to use the beginning of this new semester to refocus our attention and dedication to ensuring that UW-Eau Claire is a safe, inclusive, welcoming and nurturing campus for all students, faculty and staff.
During the fall semester, we laid the ground work to make gains in several priority areas, including internationalization/global engagement, talent and economic development, and new century initiatives. This semester, I will continue to work with faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members to bring several of these ideas and opportunities to fruition. I’ll share more details about my plans when I meet with the University Senate in early February and during my monthly Q&A sessions open to all faculty and staff, and I will regularly post updates on these efforts on my blog.
Also, I expect that I will spend significant time in the coming months working closely with UW System officials and state legislators as details of the state budget become known. In recent weeks, I have been in close contact with other chancellors, and I meet regularly with our area legislators and regents to ensure they understand our campus's challenges and opportunities. I will share information about the budget and other higher education issues with you as they become known.
We are witnessing a fast-changing environment at the state level regarding tuition options and enrollments. We will use the next few weeks to frame emerging strategic issues that relate to these topics so that UW-Eau Claire is ready to address these issues when the next academic year begins. Telling our story to prospective students, as well as to alumni and friends, is increasingly important, and so we also will spend the upcoming semester discussing what marketing people call the UW-Eau Claire "brand." There will be many opportunities in the months to come for you to share your ideas on who we are and how best to share our message.
Finally, in my role as interim chancellor, I look forward to welcoming to our campus the next leader of this wonderful institution. I will work to ensure that there is a smooth and productive transition for your new chancellor.
In the meantime, thank you again for the wonderful work you do every day on behalf of our students. Your creativity, talent and passion continue to make the Blugold experience memorable and transformative.
I look forward to talking with many of you in the coming weeks.