More funding, enrollment highlight chancellor’s talk

By University Communications
January 24, 2017
Chancellor Bob Meyer addresses faculty and staff Wednesday, Jan. 18, to begin the spring semester at UW-Stout.

Photo: Chancellor Bob Meyer addresses faculty and staff
Wednesday, Jan. 18, to begin the spring semester at UW-Stout.

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 23.

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.”

Chancellor Bob Meyer addresses faculty and staff Wednesday, Jan. 18.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.

Target enrollment 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.

Administrators dance to

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 Engineering.

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, he said.

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.



Middle Photo: Chancellor Bob Meyer addresses faculty and staff Wednesday, Jan. 18, to begin the spring semester at UW-Stout.

Bottom Photo: Administrators dance to "Jump Around" during the You Said, We Did part of the Opening Day event.