Thursday, May 29, 2014

Worth the investment: UW-Eau Claire ranks high in ROI

Here we are at that time of year: It feels like we no sooner celebrate with our spring graduates and our incoming students are on the campus doorstep, eager to begin their quest for a Blugold degree.

Both these groups, I’m sure, have the same important question on their minds: Is a UW-Eau Claire degree worth the investment?

 I’m pleased to say that, according to recent rankings by and the non-profit group Educate To Career (ETC), the answer to that question is yes. Combine those rankings with this week’s news about a sizeable increase in the pay gap between those with a college degree and those without, and you can make that a resounding yes., in its 2014 College ROI Report, ranks UW-Eau Claire among the top three colleges and universities — public or private — in Wisconsin or Minnesota in annual ROI for students who pay in-state tuition and receive financial aid. Meanwhile, ETC’s College Rankings Index includes UW-Eau Claire among the top schools in the nation (No. 47 among 1,200 schools with more than 1,000 students enrolled) in terms of helping its students improve their earnings and attain quality employment after graduation.

What’s more, a recent UW System report regarding college graduate indebtedness shows UW-Eau Claire grads who took out student loans have the lowest average debt among similar graduates from all UW System universities.

For additional details on these recent rankings, explore the links above and read my opinion piece that appeared in the May 25th Eau Claire Leader-Telegram.

What great news to share with our recent grads and our newest Blugolds!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Starting an important conversation

Events of the past few days have provided me with wider and deeper perspectives into the considerable challenges we face as a university, a community and a country. 

As is often the case at UW-Eau Claire, students have demonstrated their courage and leadership to help our campus undertake difficult discussions about racism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of oppression.

Through their actions, including a sizable protest march, public forum and well-attended Chancellor’s Roundtable, our students have prompted us to look in the mirror and admit we have a problem:  When it comes to our strategic value of equity, diversity and inclusiveness, we have a long way to go.

I am proud to say that our students have paved the way for us to explore new ways to improve our campus climate.  I was impressed by the determination of students who I marched with Wednesday, inspired by their conviction to effect change and illuminated by their insights into a complex issue that is not easily defined or resolved.

We have taken some important first steps on this journey, and I will be working with our students, faculty, staff and others to ensure we not only continue the important conversations begun this week but that we pursue concrete steps that will enable us to make progress toward achieving our goal of making UW-Eau Claire a more diverse, equitable and inclusive campus for all.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Racism on campus: Let's talk

I applaud the recent efforts of many UW-Eau Claire students to start conversations about privilege and prejudice through the “Identity” and “I Too Am Eau Claire" campaigns. I am deeply sorry that part of the reaction to one of these creative and thought-provoking campaigns was an anonymous racist posting. 

Our students are justifiably angry about this posting. I stand with our students and support their initiatives to raise awareness of the demeaning behaviors to which they are routinely subjected — something many majority students have never experienced. I am committed to creating an inclusive and equitable community for all students — one where acts of racism, sexism and homophobia, as well as efforts to stifle discourse, are not welcome. 

I will work for positive change on a personal level and will collaborate with faculty, staff and students to make progress at the institutional level. Accordingly, I will take steps to implement ongoing public campus conversations about equity, diversity and inclusivity at UW-Eau Claire. I invite you to participate in a Chancellor’s Roundtable discussion at noon on Thursday, May 8, in the Council Oak Room of Davies Center to discuss recent incidents, the current state of our campus climate and what we can do together to improve it.

I hope you will join me in this important discussion.