More funding, enrollment targets highlight chancellor’s talk
January 18, 2017
The state budget and
enrollment were two of the main topics addressed Wednesday, Jan. 18, by Chancellor
Bob Meyer as he kicked off a new semester with a speech to University of
Wisconsin-Stout faculty and staff.
Faculty returned to
work Tuesday after the winter break. Spring semester classes begin Monday, Jan
Speaking in the
Great Hall of the Memorial Student Center, Meyer said UW-Stout has begun
advocating for increased funding in the 2017-19 state budget, which will be
introduced in February by Gov. Scott Walker.
After a $250 million
cut in the 2015-17 budget, the UW System is asking for a $42.5 million funding
increase in the upcoming budget.
Meyer said he is cautiously
optimistic the increase will be approved. “I believe the climate is much
different this time around,” he said, citing early bipartisan support among state
legislators and others. “We’ve heard from a lot of employers who believe in the
value of the UW System.”
The UW System also
is asking for enough state funds to pay for an average 2 percent pay increase
each year of the budget for all employees. “My top priority is increasing staff
pay across the board,” he said.
On the topic of
enrollment, Meyer noted that UW-Stout set a record for the third straight year
at 9,619 in the fall, but it has even higher goals.
for 2017-18 is 9,723, rising to 9,871 by the 2020-21 academic year.
Meyer called the
growth “moderate” and said “we have to be very smart how we approach this,”
noting the additional resources that are needed to support more students.
On another topic, a comprehensive
capital fundraising campaign by Stout University Foundation, led by Mark
Parsons, vice chancellor for University Advancement and Marketing, will be in
full swing in 2017 after getting underway in 2016.
“We all need to come
together and help bring in the necessary resources to create our own destiny on
this campus,” Meyer said.
The campaign has
three focuses: improving student experiences, including providing more
scholarships; upgrading learning environments, including labs and classrooms; and
focusing on innovation in academic programs.
Meyer began his
address by calling the recent arrest of a suspect in the fall death of student
Hussain Alnahdi a positive development and thanking the campus for its
compassionate reaction during the troubling time.
He also highlighted major
events in 2016: UW-Stout marked its 125th anniversary with special events,
reopened Harvey Hall, hosted the Science Olympiad National Tournament, was
reaccredited by the Higher Learning Commission and started a School of
Looking ahead, Meyer
noted that events in 2017 include a Tuesday, March 7, celebration on campus.
The event will mark the 10th anniversary of the school being designated by the
UW System Board of Regents as Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University and the 15th
anniversary of receiving the Malcolm S. Baldrige National Quality Award.
Also, the UW System
Board of Regents will hold its October meeting at UW-Stout. The board last met
on campus in 2012. “We will make every attempt to ensure all facets of the
university will be highlighted,” with a special focus on student achievement,
Meyer’s address was followed by a You Said, We Did
presentation by the office of Planning, Assessment, Research and Quality. The
presentation highlighted changes that have occurred or are underway as a result
of employee suggestions during fall Engagement Sessions.
One such suggestion, to have the campus host speakers with
diverse viewpoints, has resulted in a speaker series of four events. One speaker
came in the fall, and three more will speak this semester.
Top and middle: Chancellor Bob Meyer addresses faculty and staff Wednesday,
Jan. 18, to begin the spring semester at UW-Stout.
Bottom: Administrators dance to "Jump Around" during the You Said, We Did part of the Opening Day event.