2011 Platteville Journal Column

Clear Float

This pane clears float!

January 5, 2011

End of a semester; looking toward the spring

A new year is upon us and I look to our campus calendar with much excitement. Classes will resume on Monday, Jan. 24, and while that’s obviously an important mark of the New Year, our campus is making some major plans for improvement as well.

As we move forward, we are examining the future of the university and how we would like to use our physical space as we continue to grow. We are officially developing a new master plan to help us strategize and practically map out how we plan to accommodate our student body and community. While January is an off-month for our planning committee, meetings are tentatively scheduled for Feb. 8 and 9 to strategically review campus space and how we may grow over time.

We are committed to the Growth Agenda initiative set out by UW System President Kevin Reilly, and look to help develop Wisconsin’s human capital, assist our region in creating more jobs and strengthen our local communities.

The UW System Board of Regents will meet here on campus Friday and Saturday, April 8 and 9, for a regular two-day meeting, and we look forward to their arrival. This week will be an important one for our community, as we will also be celebrating all the great things our campus has accomplished and staking out new goals for the coming years. We even plan to have a special lighting of the ‘M’ as part of the celebration.

While the Regents are here, we will also have the Investiture, in which I will be formally installed as the chancellor of this university, and we will also be honoring a friend: Chancellor Emeritus David Markee. Because of all he has done for the university, we will have a dedication ceremony after the Investiture to rename the Pioneer Student Center to the David J. and Lou Ann Markee Pioneer Student Center.

Our campus has also been reacting to bias-based incidents of late, and while we all know these few confused voices are not indicative of our community as a whole, we are exploring a number of diversity initiatives to help not only combat this spate of graffiti, but to also make our campus a more inclusive place. I have been very pleased with how our community has responded, but we are not done; this is not something we should deal with and leave behind. This is a dynamic problem in communities across the nation and we will be making efforts to address diversity and inclusiveness on a more regular basis.

Our university is continuing to plan for a promising future. Our alumni and friends of the university have been great supporters even while our country suffered through the most difficult economic recession, and it is through their support that I believe our state-assisted institution will grow even stronger.

We are planning for great things, so please join us as we celebrate our university and make our community what we all know it can be.

February 2, 2011

As we begin February and observe Black History Month, I’d like to point to a local example that we might all take pride in and use as a paradigm moving forward. About 150 years ago, something wonderful sprang up out of something terrible. Pleasant Ridge, about 10 miles west of Lancaster near present-day Beetown, became an agricultural community that was a beacon to freed slaves and African-American farmers. The population peaked at about 100 residents during the Civil War, and committed its fair share of soldiers to the fight. In 1873, with their white neighbors, Pleasant Ridge residents built one of the first integrated schools in the nation, accepting both black and white students, and employing both black and white teachers.

This, I feel, is an excellent example of our somewhat recent regional history. The Pleasant Ridge community was small but lively, and the new beginning those former slaves surely enjoyed was not a simple one at times, but they overcame the challenges put in front of them.

UW-Platteville achieved some wonderful things in the fall and rallied in support of its students of color. That mentality must remain. We cannot simply rest on our past achievements now. It is times such as this that require vigilance. The challenges that stand in front of us – dynamic, communal issues like racism that may never be behind our great nation – require that same type of solution; they must be dynamic and community-wide.

As we look back into history, there has been great social progress in what we’ve accomplished as a nation. Abolishing slavery; organizing the Chicano farm workers under the leadership of Cesar Chavez; addressing the injustice forced upon Japanese Americans during World War II; and finally repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

None of this change came overnight, was accomplished through a single speech given or petition signed, nor was it awarded to some passive audience. Best said by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co-workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation.”Now, as we observe Black History Month and look back at history, let’s work together toward a grand goal. President Obama remarked during his speech in Tucson, Ariz., “let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together…Our task of working together is to constantly widen our circle of concern, so that we bequeath the American dream to future generations.”

We must build our nation upon the shoulders of the giants who’ve stood strong, like our Founding Fathers, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Dr. King and Ronald Reagan. We must remain civil in our discussions as we seek progress. And, in times when progress seems so unachievable, we must remind ourselves of those that have overcome so much, like those farmers on Pleasant Ridge.

March 2, 2011

It is hard to believe but March is here already, and as we all know that means spring is just around the corner. The events this past month at the state capitol have made for quite an interesting year so far. As all of you have heard and read, our state faces some significant challenges. These challenges include not only balancing the budget, but also how we choose to interact with each other. I will talk about the budget in a few sentences, but first I want to remind us of another issue: I’ve written in the past and I want to underscore again that during uncertain times, it is important for us to engage in disagreements in a civil fashion.

On this point, I commend our local legislators during this time. Senator Dale Shultz and Representatives Travis Tranel and Howard Marklein have appreciated the sensitivity and complexity of these issues, and I am grateful for their thoughtful approach to the various issues. We would all do well to make an extra effort to thank each of our local legislators for their hard work.

With regard to the state budget, no one knows what’s going to happen right now. Because of other delays, including the debate over the budget repair bill for our current fiscal year, the governor has yet to unveil his proposed budget for the next biennium. Having said that, there are a couple things that we are sure we’re going to see. The first is that UW-Platteville, along with the rest of the system, expects to see budget cuts. The size and scope of those cuts are anyone’s guess at the moment. However, as I’ve explained to various members of the community, we here at UW-Platteville are well positioned to handle any proposed cuts in our funding, provided that our university is given the flexibilities to make the decisions on where to find revenue savings.

The fact that UW-Platteville is better situated than many of the other comprehensives in the system is a direct result of not only the responsible leadership of Chancellor David Markee, but also a direct result of the hard work of the faculty and staff of the university. The UW-Platteville employees, individuals who you know and see regularly – neighbors, friends and family members – have worked hard each and every day for the better part of a decade, and it is their hard work that has left UW-Platteville ready to face the new challenges caused by the state’s fiscal crisis.

I for one have found it disheartening to see such a divide spring up between state and private sector employees. We are all Wisconsinites from the same communities and matters of the state affect us all. Some people will be affected directly, some indirectly, but understand that the state budget impacts us all.

Understanding the condition of the budget, state employees need to be prepared to shoulder more burdens, and this institution is willing to absorb its fair share, given that sacrifices are necessary.

To the university community, I believe in transparency. Everyone who works here is entitled to understand how resources are allocated and used. You can be assured that once the governor’s budget for the next biennium is introduced, I will be holding informational sessions to discuss the issues that we will be facing.

As Chancellor, now beginning my eighth month, I have been consistently telling both the university community, as well as the larger Platteville community, that we must begin to act and think and plan in a way that demonstrates that we control our own destiny. Regardless of shape the next state budget takes, it is clear that we as a university and We as a community have to face our new challenges with an optimistic belief in a better tomorrow; a tomorrow that will be defined by us, including those critical areas such as recruiting business, meeting housing demands and educating students.

It is an entrepreneurial spirit that sets a goal and then, through hard work, goes about the business of getting it done. Indeed that is why we call ourselves Pioneers. So I say to all of you, there are some challenges ahead. We know that they may be significant, but now is the time for us to affirmatively demonstrate what we’re made of. This includes treating our friends and families with respect, engaging in civil discussion even when we disagree and working with deliberate enthusiasm to shape our community in a way that it is from us, by us and for us.

April 3, 2011

When it’s raining and snowing and 50 degrees outside all in the same week, you know for certain that spring is here, and April will certainly be a busy month for our university.

This week, we are hosting the UW System Board of Regents two-day meetings and are celebrating UW-Platteville. Hopefully you’ve made it to at least a few of our “Celebrate UW-Platteville” events this week, but if not, there is still time.

Thursday, March 31 as part of the Celebrate UW-Platteville events, the university held the 40th annual Engineering, Mathematics and Science Expo and enjoyed a great turnout from around the tri-state region. Our students and faculty helped more than a thousand visitors understand how applicable engineering, math and science can be, and undoubtedly got a few of the young visitors excited about their future in such fields.

On Tuesday, April 5, the UW-Platteville Women’s Council hosted a Celebration of Women, highlighting women on campus and the progress our institution has made over the years. The event was wonderful, and I was very happy to see the celebration not only stress our past, but also demonstrate through that history how we can continue to manifest change through teamwork and a perseverance aimed toward equity.

The Regents meetings, which are open to the public, begin Thursday, April 7 at 10 a.m. in Ullsvik Hall. Friday’s Regents meeting will begin at 9 a.m. This will be the first two-day meeting of the Board of Regents since the Governor released his biennium budget plans, so we are looking forward to lively discussion.

Also on Thursday, we will be dedicating the Pioneer Student Center to David and Lou Ann Markee at 4:15 p.m. The David J. and Lou Ann Markee Pioneer Student Center dedication and hors d’oeuvres reception, which take place on the main floor of the student center, are open to the public and free, so I hope to see many of you there as we honor the Markees.

There will also be a special lighting of the ‘M’ and fireworks that evening at the Platteville Mound, which will begin at 9 p.m.

On Friday at 2:30 p.m. on Bo Ryan Court in the Williams Fieldhouse, I will be formally installed as chancellor by Kevin Reilly, UW System President, and Charles Pruitt, UW System Board of Regents President. Following my investiture, we will have a reception at the Pioneer Crossing on the lower level of the student center.

I hope to see you at some of the Celebrate UW-Platteville events, especially at the PSC renaming ceremony Thursday and the investiture on Friday. Stop by, take a look around, and enjoy what our campus has to offer and help us celebrate what we’ve accomplished. UW-Platteville and the Platteville community are symbiotic in this way; our success is your success, and we wish to share in the celebration. This town and university are part of something greater with a very long history, and the more we embrace that partnership, the more we all can achieve.

May 4, 2011

Commencement is around the corner as May begins and I’m looking forward to having my first academic year at UW-Platteville under my belt. All of campus is abuzz with anticipation for graduation and the promise of summer break. Our spring commencement ceremonies will be held on Saturday, May 14 at 9 a.m. for the College of Business, Industry, Life Science and Agriculture as well as the School of Graduate Studies, and at 2 p.m. for the Colleges of Liberal Arts and Education, and Engineering Mathematics and Science.

Graduation often marks the end of a truly transformative time in the lives of students, and I sincerely congratulate all those who will be walking across the stage next Saturday. Adding these new graduates to our alumni base is exciting, and we are proud of and for them.

Graduation for me is more about new beginnings than an end of something. For students, it’s about starting the next chapter of their lives. Besides the new beginnings so many graduates will enjoy, the university plans to soon begin a building project across the street from the Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium. The Platteville Building Commission recently approved the sale of the final parcel of land needed to build a new residence hall, and last Tuesday, we went in front of the City Council to update the community and hear any concerns the council and citizens may have.

A primary concern is parking availability for the student residents of the building. To these concerns and any that may arise in the future regarding this project or any other, I think it is important for all to know that we are committed to making the partnership between the city and the university work. We want to be a good neighbor.

Without a commitment on the part of the university working in concert with the council, parking issues have the potential to be more than troublesome. So we plan to demonstrate by performance – through the work we do during the planning process and finally in execution – that the concerns of the city of Platteville are our concerns as well. We want to be good neighbors and community members, and I know our students want to do the same.

We’re currently working on several potential plans to alleviate strain that this concentration of additional students may place on this neighborhood. If we’re going to collaborate and have a partnership with the city, it is really important that we demonstrate what kind of neighbor and partner we’re going to be.

This mentality holds true concerning the design of the building as well. In everything we do, we don’t want to be an actor that is oblivious to the impact we have on our neighbors and the community as a whole. The new residence hall is a big building, but the architect and the developer will be looking at those considerations and will work to minimize them as much as possible. The developer will be working with the council on this issue as well.

The experience of working in cooperation with the City Council has been very good. Discussing our needs and plans with the council was important to the process. And in turn listening to community and council concerns so as to understand what is needed to assure a good outcome for all involved was critical as well. I’m almost as excited about this collaboration as I am about the actual building. I strongly encourage anyone who has questions or comments to talk to your City Council members; they are here to represent all of us. I hope that we can conclude this project in a way that best serves everyone, because after all, that’s what a good neighbor does.

June 1, 2011

It’s June, the students and faculty are gone, and Platteville is quiet once again. Even though the semester is over and summer has begun, my summer begins with a trip to a partner university in Wuhan, China.

One of our great partnerships is with the South-Central University for Nationalities in Wuhan, a major industrial city in China hosts roughly double the population of the state of Wisconsin. Through the South-Central University for Nationalities, UW-Platteville has been able to enjoy a great 11-year partnership, bringing us the Confucius Institute and broadening our faculty and student diversity. We look to strengthen that partnership further.

UW-Platteville is sending a delegation of individuals to do so, including myself, Associate Chancellor Dr. David Van Buren, School of Education Director Dr. Karen Stinson, retiring Director of the MS in English Education program Wally Iselin, Assistant Director of the Confucius Institute Mei Reeder, and Aundra and Jake Shields.

While there, the delegation will reflect and review the history ad progress of our partnership with South-Central University for Nationalities executives, and explore other ways we might expand and support each other. We will also be participating in the graduation ceremony of 24 of the visiting master’s students that completed their degrees at UW-Platteville this May.

The Confucius Institute is only a part of what this partnership has provided the community. Housing the only Confucius Institute in Wisconsin, UW-Platteville coordinates and hosts activities, workshops and programs that have reached a great number of people last year. More than 200 people participated in language classes, nearly 5,000 enjoyed our activities like the Spring Festival and the Colorful China performances and exhibitions.

What I am most excited about is that there is a demand for what the Confucius Institute offers. Now that these programs have been exposed to – and in many cases, are rooted in – surrounding communities, people are coming to us. We recently held a workshop for teachers to help develop lesson plans to integrate Chinese culture into daily learning. Sixty-seven area K-12 teachers participated. People in the region are eager for resources, and because of partnerships like this one, the university is in good position to assist.

We need to be innovative in pursuing and developing international opportunities and partnerships. Global partnerships provide much to the community. They can provide international experiences for students, collaboration and research opportunities for faculty, and cultural enrichment for our entire community. International partnerships are there for us to capitalize on, and we need to be ambitious in pursuing those partnerships to support the university’s – and community’s – growth.

Residence Hall Project Update:

This section will serve as a monthly update for the community, because the university wants to keep its neighbors

-We are very excited about the progress made in the negotiations regarding payment in lieu of taxes for the new residence hall. We are still in negotiations with the city to finalize the pilot payment, but we do know the amount will be significantly higher than what was previously generated from that area. The university and Real Estate Foundation have been very pleased with this collaborative process and partnership with the city of Platteville.

-Also, the university has secured funding to pave a footpath for residents of the new hall to the existing parking lot by Southwest Hall. We are also exploring locations for an additional parking lot for those residents.

July 7, 2011

On June 28, the City Council approved the design of the new residence hall to be built between Markee and Chestnut Street. We held a groundbreaking on Thursday, and look forward to the building’s quick progress. We intend to have the new hall ready for residents by the fall of 2012. There was good discussion in the council chambers regarding the new residence hall, and many citizens offered their opinions to the Council.

Sometimes the university is thought of as a monolith not associated with the town. In fact, each of the people that spoke at the City Council meeting that holds a university position is a member of this community. When people talk about the university being divorced from Platteville, it just doesn’t resonate with me because many of us, myself included, work and live in Platteville.

The new building is necessary for a variety of reasons, the greatest of which is UW System enrollment goals. UW-Platteville has been tasked by UW System with significantly increasing enrollment.  To do so, and not burden the city of Platteville as a whole by ignoring campus housing needs and pushing students into the city, the university needs to build a new residence hall, and quickly.

The problem is immediate, given the growth we must meet according to the system. The possibility of doing this on campus meant that meeting those needs would take two to three years before we could address the issue. In navigating the legislative cycle currently used by the state, a new hall would be impossible until 2015, and we were not willing to wait that long to address this important issue.

As we looked around, we came upon the opportunity to use a real estate foundation that would allow us to break ground on or near our campus quicker than any other process.

This has been an all-consuming project. We’ve learned a lot from interacting with members of the council, neighbors of the university, and from listening to our students.

Before I arrived here, I was already reviewing the number of students and campus housing, and realized that there might be some problems. In my first few weeks here, there were several neighborhood groups that came in to talk to me, to ask why we hadn’t built residence halls, and to make plain to me some of the challenges that they faced with students interfering with the quiet enjoyment of their property. So we set about trying to figure out how to do this.

Much as the neighborhood did then, I would like the council to hold me personally responsible. If a problem arises, I expect to hear from them, so that I can sit down and talk with them. If there is a problem in a neighborhood, I expect a call from the neighbors. We want to know about it, because we have an obligation to reduce negative activity.

We want to be good neighbors, and we are making serious efforts to do so.

Residence Hall Project Update:

-The tentative PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) agreement between the Real Estate Foundation and the city will eventually pay the city $100,000 annually, indexed to inflation. As a nonprofit organization, the REF is tax exempt. However, the university wishes to be a responsible partner with the city and offer some payment to offset the cost of services provided by the city.

-The university has begun identifying potential shuttle routes and stops for residents to reduce unnecessary foot and vehicle traffic. We believe there is potential for three main types of routes: a daily campus and parking loop, a shopping and entertainment loop to focus on Main Street and Business 151, and a late-night route to run Thursday through Saturday night to help alleviate student foot traffic through residential neighborhoods.

August 3, 2011

A new school year will soon be here and I look to our campus calendar with much excitement. Students will begin moving in to campus residencies on Friday, Sept. 2, and classes will start Tuesday, Sept. 6.

As is tradition, we began the year with a series of convocations, at which time I was able to meet with all of our employees, including 50 new academic staff and faculty members who are well prepared to teach our students and eager to collaborate with their colleagues. These new staff members are greatly needed as we capped our on-campus first-year class at just over 1,600 students.

As we move forward, we are examining the future of the university and how we would like to use our physical space as we continue to grow. We are officially developing a master plan to help us map out how we plan to accommodate our student body and community over the next 25 years. The master plan, which we haven’t had since the 1960s, will be completed this semester. It is all the more important now because as we grow via enrollment, we will grow physically as well. We have engaged our community broadly in this process. Students, faculty, staff, the City of Platteville and alumni have all had an opportunity to participate in discussions surrounding the development of the master plan.

It is exciting to see the start of construction of the Real Estate Foundation’s residence hall. The experience of working in cooperation with the City Council to in developing the new residence hall has been very good. Discussing our needs and plans with the council was important to the process. And in turn, listening to community and council concerns so as to understand what is needed to assure a good outcome for all involved was critical as well. I’m very excited about this collaboration and look forward to seeing the construction progress and discussing other potential plans.

As the new semester begins and students return, I wish to remind neighborhood groups that we will work with them to address student issues. If a problem arises, I expect to hear from the city council, neighbors and effected citizens so that I can sit down and talk with them. We want to know about it, because we have an obligation to reduce negative activity. We want to be good neighbors, and communication is the first step in doing so.

Residence Hall Project Update:
-We are working with the UW System on approving the planned walking path from Markee Avenue to the parking lot by Southwest Hall. The path will be paved and lit.

-We are also working on paving the lots on the corner of Jay and Irene Streets, and leasing off-campus parking areas.

-Also, during freshmen registration, staff noted that many parents were surprised (and even disappointed) that we do still allow freshmen to bring cars. Most campuses are facing similar parking issues, and a common strategy around the country is to reduce the number of cars brought by students.

September 7, 2011

As we begin our 145th year of delivering exceptional higher education needs in our city, region and state, I look forward to what lies ahead in the coming year. The university is primed – both in spirit and through its human capital – to seize the many opportunities that are undoubtedly before us.

As is tradition, we began the year with a series of convocations, at which time I was able to meet with all of our employees, including a great number of new academic staff and faculty members who are well prepared to teach our students and eager to collaborate with their colleagues. These new staff members are joined by some 1,700 new students, a record for UW-Platteville. The vast majority of our new students also attended the second annual student convocation, filling not only Velzy Commons, but also the Nohr Gallery. It is obvious they are as excited to begin the semester as I am.

Ten years ago, state tax support provided about 60 percent of our university’s annual operating budget. Now, as this new class arrives, state support has dwindled to about 20 percent. We have to find other ways to support our students, and we are committed to finding those revenue sources to keep UW-Platteville accessible and affordable, while continuing to offer a high-quality education. Students are what makes this university successful and the future of the nation promising, and it is my expectation that students will engage as partners in their education and exhibit maturity in their roles in the classroom and in our community.

As our enrollment grows, we have also been planning our future physical growth. The campus master planning process is nearing completion, and we expect to have a plan to guide our physical growth over the years.

We will serve over 8,000 students this coming year, and the majority of them will be served here on campus. We expect great things. We have an excellent faculty and staff that are committed to students and their learning. We have great students who are ready to be coached and challenged. We have great employers who are eager to hire our graduates. And, most important of all, we have a safe and nurturing community that provides an environment that supports the educational process inside the classroom and out.

The Platteville community is as much a part of our great institution as the professors who stay late and meet with students, the office staff members who through their smiles make UW-Platteville feel like home, and the students who engage in their own development, in this campus and in the greater Platteville community.

Remember that UW-Platteville’s Homecoming week is Oct. 11-17 and we have many fun activities for the whole community to participate in, so let us celebrate together as a community. This town and university are part of something greater with a very long history, and the more we embrace that partnership, the more we all can develop together.

October 5, 2011

The second week of October begins our Homecoming festivities and, as it has been in the past, our campus calendar is full of events for alumni, students and the community to enjoy. I extend to the greater Platteville community a special invitation to come and enjoy our campus and the many events that Homecoming offers.

The morning of Saturday, Oct. 15, UW-Platteville Alumni Services will be hosting a variety of events in which everyone can participate. Bright and early at 7:30 a.m., we kick off our first Homecoming Hustle, a five-kilometer run/walk to help raise funds for scholarships, beginning at Memorial Park, 1665 Greenwood Ave.

Before the Homecoming Parade at 10 a.m., Alumni Services will be hosting a hospitality tent at 405 West Main St. All are welcome to enjoy. Alumni Services will also be hosting a lunch in Velzy Commons in Ullsvik Hall following the parade, and I encourage anyone interested to attend. Last year, more than 1,000 people came out for lunch, and I hope we can gather even greater numbers this year. Lunch begins at 11 a.m., and we’ll have some family fun activities for the kids as well before the football game at 2 p.m. when the Pioneers take on UW-Oshkosh.

These are just a few of the many events throughout the Homecoming week celebration. For a complete schedule, go online at alumni.uwplatt.edu and click “Homecoming” in the calendar.

This community has so much to share and to offer. Platteville is a town filled with hard workers who share the same core values. With a strong community, the Highway 18/151 connection to Madison and Dubuque, and prime development land nearby, Platteville is ready for more economic growth, and I see it as part of the university’s responsibility to help further that development.

As a university, we attract some of the brightest students and employ some of the nation’s finest faculty members. Why would that attract prospective businesses to the region? We offer a knowledge economy that most cities don’t have. We have a community of experts in their fields who are training the next generation as we speak.

These university assets are great, but would add little without the city of Platteville. Homecoming is one way that we celebrate not only the university, but also our partnership. The university has been and continues to work collaboratively with the city council, and I am very pleased with the strides we’ve made and the shared focus both groups have on the welfare of the city.

We are all neighbors, community members and partners, and citizens of Platteville. UW-Platteville and the Platteville community are symbiotic in that way, and I see this celebration as one of many events we will share. Let this also be another opportunity to reinforce our connection as we work to strengthen the economy of the community and region.

I hope to see you at Homecoming events and at the Alumni Hospitality Tent on Main Street. Come on in, have a cup of coffee and donut with me, and enjoy our Homecoming. Yours. Mine. Everyone’s. This town and university are part of something greater with a very long history, and the more we embrace that partnership, the more we all can develop.

November 2, 2011

These are challenging economic times for the state of Wisconsin. As you may have heard, state revenues have not met the Department of Administration’s projections, so the DOA will be implementing a $174.3 million “lapse,” as authorized in the 2011-13 state budget. This allows the state to withdraw a portion of taxpayer funding already allocated to agencies. As part of the lapse, the UW System has been asked to prepare for a loss of $65.6 million over the next two years. Pairing this new cut with the existing budget reduction, the UW System biennium budget was reduced by nearly $320 million. For the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, this lapse means another $1.8 million cut over the next two years on top of the original $3.5 million budget reduction.

The truth is that all higher education across the nation is facing a new reality of receiving less generous support from government funding. The new normal is to confront this reality with creative and innovative initiatives. For UW-Platteville, our growth in enrollment has allowed the university to continue to maintain programs and avoid laying off staff. The lapse is but the most recent challenge we must confront. The impact of the reductions now makes it necessary to make strategic decisions about programs. The decisions we make over the coming months will have a direct impact on our fiscal stability. We have begun the process of campus-wide strategic planning that will enable all of our constituencies to have the opportunity to be heard on the important and difficult choices that need to be made. What I know is that we will remain true to our historic mission, which is to provide access to an affordable education for citizens of Wisconsin and Southwest Wisconsin in particular. The university’s response to this circumstance is evolving and evolving fairly rapidly because it must.

We will continue to work with faculty, staff, students, community members, business leaders, the City of Platteville and alumni to address our common concerns. I am confident that together we will continue to move forward. As chancellor, I am committed to strong collaboration with all of our stakeholders as we face the future realistically but with the firm conviction that we have the ability and the will to lead the way to a stronger, brighter and more prosperous future.

December 5, 2011

This time of year is often a time of reflection and gratitude. While our primary mission is to deliver exceptional higher education to students, we recognize that we are part of a community. Let’s look at some of the ways the university and the community relate to each other.

Our university is a resource for the community, providing opportunities for music, theatre, exercise and recreation in addition to education and employment. No matter what your level of involvement, we are committed to continuing to provide these opportunities and more to the people in our community. Our campus is not only for the students; it is for you as well.

On a local level, UW-Platteville students recently organized a special project “Make Room for Thanksgiving,” collecting new and used clothing, shoes, canned goods, phones and toys to distribute to local organizations that help those in need.

UW-Platteville Campus Programming and Relations, the Veterans Club and Student Senate organized fundraisers to help alumnus Adam Alexander, who was wounded in Afghanistan in November. Money raised offset travel costs for Adam’s family to go to Walter Reed Facility in Bethesda, Maryland. Adam is a Sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve 432nd Civil Affairs Battalion.

On Dec 3, university students, faculty, staff, and community members held the 38th annual on-campus telethon to benefit Wisconsin Badger Camp, a local nonprofit camp that serves individuals with developmental disabilities. Hundreds of area businesses donated auction items and food, while area civic organizations donated time and money to this event.

Students and faculty also regularly participate in collaborative activities with businesses and organizations in our community and overseas. These activities are mutually beneficial to the businesses, organizations and the university.

On a regional level, many of our students complete internships in Platteville or surrounding communities. Internships provide interns with experience in their fields of study and provide area businesses with the assistance and contributions of outstanding young students.

On a global level, the UW-Platteville Chapter of Engineers Without Borders is organizing another humanitarian trip to Ghana in January 2012 to build a school complex for surrounding villages. Partnering with Columbia University in New York and a doctors’ group from Columbus, Ohio, this project is expected to impact over 5,000 people. The National Science Foundation highlighted one of this group’s previous projects in a documentary about EWB chapters in the United States, with Platteville’s chapter being one of only three chosen in the nation.

As a reminder, our 16th annual Holiday Gala will be held Dec 10 and 11 at the Brodbeck Concert Hall, Center of the Arts. This special event helps generate funding for music scholarships and will feature the musical talents of over 392 performers in 11 different ensembles. We are especially pleased to welcome over 100 children and adults from the Platteville community to the stage. We hope you join us for this meaningful celebration of the holiday season.

And finally, Commencement will be held on Saturday, Dec 17. We are looking forward to recognizing 586 graduates on this memorable day.

As the new year approaches, it is an appropriate time for the university and community to celebrate our special relationship. Together, anything is possible.

 

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