Excited and humbled are the two words that best describe how I’m feeling my first day on the job as UW-Eau Claire chancellor. As chancellor, my first “official” actions will be to listen and learn from as many of you as possible. I want to understand what makes UW-Eau Claire the exceptional institution it is today and hear your ideas on how we can achieve our goal of becoming the premier undergraduate institution in the Upper Midwest. If you happen to bump into me this month walking the campus, you can expect me to ask you how we can most effectively work together, as our mission statement says, to “foster in one another creativity, critical insight, empathy, and intellectual courage, the hallmarks of a transformative liberal education and the foundation for active citizenship and lifelong inquiry.” I’ve already printed that mission statement on the back of all my business cards.
My summer will be devoted to getting to know the campus and greater Eau Claire community. Today, I am talking to campus and student leaders, faculty, local legislators, community officials, key alumni and foundation supporters, and business leaders to begin building important personal relationships. Tomorrow, I will be meeting with campus shared governance representatives. Later this month, there will be a daylong retreat with the cabinet to establish “Gold Arrow” goals for the coming year. I will also be taking tours of campus and hope to have the opportunity to meet many of you personally.
I also want you to know that I have been closely following the development and enactment of the 2013-15 state budget, including the vetoes Governor Scott Walker made when he signed the budget yesterday. One of those vetoes will impact UW-Eau Claire directly and I will post a separate message here about the budget.
Finally, I want to thank Interim Chancellor Gilles Bousquet for paving the way for a smooth transition. True to his word, Gilles was not a “place keeper” — he championed a number of important initiatives to keep the positive momentum of UW-Eau Claire moving forward. I am grateful for all he has done this past year and for his thoughtful, gracious guidance. I know you join me in wishing Gilles and Debby great success and happiness as they resume their life together in Madison.