Leaders discuss UW-Stout’s future at Visioning Session
July 15, 2014
The future of
University of Wisconsin-Stout was up for discussion Tuesday, July 15, during a
Visioning Session at the Memorial Student Center.
Before the 80 campus,
local and state officials broke into small groups to talk about university
goals for the next five years, they heard inspiring comments from a leader with
a state vision.
UW System President
Ray Cross addressed the group, which included outgoing Chancellor Charles W.
Sorensen and Chancellor-designate Bob Meyer. Cross is heading into his first
full academic year as head of the system, and he too has been thinking about
the future of higher education in Wisconsin.
belief — one that served as an ideal for the Visioning Session discussions — is
that the UW System and its schools must take on a leadership role for the
people of Wisconsin.
mirrors what's known as the Wisconsin Idea, which was popularized by Robert La
Follette, the Progressive reform leader and governor more than a century ago.
"We need to be a
system that powers Wisconsin and empowers its people. Let us not just be known
as the University of Wisconsin but
the university for Wisconsin," Cross said.
"An engaged university
doesn't think (an issue) is someone else's problems but ours," he said. "We
can't forget who we serve."
Cross discussed what
he called his New Guiding Principles for the UW System. They include making the
system more than the sum of its parts; capitalizing on the strengths of each
system school, such as UW-Stout's polytechnic mission; and making sure the
system adds value to the people of the state.
"We need to be the
key engine of revitalization for the Wisconsin economy while enhancing the
quality of life for citizens," Cross said.
strive to be more responsive and engaged and "think more about where we should
be going and less about where we've been."
The goal is
continuous improvement, he said.
With Cross' comments
fresh on their minds, the small groups produced a number of ideas that UW-Stout
will consider beginning Aug. 16, when Meyer takes over as the seventh
chancellor in school history.
A panel of Meyer,
Cross and state Sen. Sheila Harsdorf then commented on the small group reports.
Meyer said the university
needs to "spend a little time on (determining) who we are" and then
articulating that to the public."I
heard a lot of support for the polytechnic brand, which I found encouraging,"
"There are a lot of
good things happening here at UW-Stout," Harsdorf said, and encouraged the
campus to continue "building on what you have done here."
"We need to be
thinking in terms of partnerships with our businesses," Cross said, "and how we
Outgoing, incoming chancellors speak
Visioning Session attendees included state legislators, members of the UW
System Board of Regents, business leaders, community members, education
leaders, alumni and UW-Stout faculty, staff and students.
Sorensen's last day
as chancellor will be Friday, Aug. 15. He opened the Visioning Session by discussing
how strategic planning resulted in significant institutionwide progress during
his 26 years on the job.
"Our forte is
planning, and we do it very well," he said.
Prior to receiving a
standing ovation at the end of his talk, Sorensen joked, "This is the last time
you'll see me in a suit."
Meyer also spoke to
the group, briefly re-emphasizing Sorensen's comments about the importance of
planning that leads to meaningful change. "Institutions succeed because they
plan and listen to their stakeholders," Meyer said.
Drzakowski, assistant chancellor for Planning, Assessment, Research and
Quality, said ideas from the session will be considered by the entire campus in
August and will ultimately guide UW-Stout's planning process through the end of
complimented Sorensen on the progress UW-Stout has made during his tenure and
said he is looking forward to working with Meyer "to continue this momentum" at
Top: UW System President Ray Cross speaks.
Second from top: From left, Chancellor Charles W. Sorensen, UW System
President Ray Cross and Chancellor-designate Bob Meyer.
Third from top: State Rep. Warren Petryk of Eleva makes a point during a
small group discussion.
Bottom: Chancellor-designate Bob Meyer wrote down one of his
thoughts during a small group discussion.