Faculty and staff will assemble in 30 rooms across campus to watch a videotaped welcome from Chancellor Charles W. Sorensen and then watch videos from a faculty member and two administrators giving background information on the proposed initiatives to be discussed that day during the facilitated small-group discussions.
This is the third year of the Engagement Sessions, which allow UW-Stout employees to offer feedback on issues identified through the university's inclusive planning process. The comments are recorded by note-takers and are used as the planning process progresses in 2013-14.
In his address Sorensen will detail fiscal problems facing UW-Stout because of the Legislature's 2013-15 state budget for higher education. UW-Stout will have to find $2.4 million in cuts in the current biennium, along with not being able to raise tuition to make up for any of that reduction.
"This is a very harsh environment," Sorensen said, "and how we handle this and address our priorities demand that we make very tough and creative decisions."
Despite the major budget problems, Sorensen said, "we nonetheless must engage in developing a larger, more comprehensive vision of this fine university."
The issues include a more comprehensive definition of what it means to be Wisconsin's Polytechnic University and how to market that designation "in a dynamic, powerful way to prospective students and our internal and external stakeholders so we truly become the school of choice."
Furthermore, Sorensen said, the university must grapple with whether to become more selective in its admission policies, "raising the minimum ACT scores and class standing required for admission and ensuring that we enforce those new standards."
Other issues discussed Monday will include:
- Implementing phase two of a supplemental compensation program, presented by Phil Lyons, vice chancellor for Administrative and Student Life Services
- Developing a strategy to achieve increases in first- to second-year student retention, presented by Joe Bessie, provost and vice chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs
- Establishing UW-Stout as an emerging research institution, presented by Amanda Little, associate professor of biology
A lunch will follow in the Great Hall of the Memorial Student Center, where Sorensen will present awards to outstanding instructors and staff. Information on those honorees can be found here.
Classes begin Thursday, Sept. 5.
For more on opening week activities, click here.