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Faculty and staff collaborating

History of the Academic Master Plan Development


In May 2015, Provost Patricia A. Kleine announced that a committee would be formed to create the blueprint for the academic future at UW-Eau Claire. A call went out to faculty and instructional academic staff who would be willing to serve on an implementation team to develop components of the plan, address many of the ideas in the Rapid Action Task Force Reports, and also look at opportunities that can shape our future success.

The Academic Master Implementation Committee was formed in the fall of 2015. The committee was made up of the following members:

Rajarshi Aroskar, Accounting and Finance
Rose-Marie Avin, Economics
Robin Beeman, Nursing and Health Sciences
Manuel Fernandez, Languages
Rodd Freitag, Political Science
Paula Kleintjes Neff, Biology
Patricia Kleine, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Scott Lester, Management and Marketing
Dandrielle Lewis, Mathematics
Douglas Matthews, Psychology
Leah Olson-McBride, Social Work
Alan Rieck, Music and Theatre Arts
Jacob Wrasse, Student Body President

The full implementation committee and the two subsequent subgroups that were formed (decision criteria and vision implementation) began an intensive meeting schedule starting in early November 2015.

The committee was charged with developing a comprehensive plan for the academic mission of the university which would include the following:

  • a clear definition of the Blugold degree;
  • an assessment of the UW-Eau Claire academic programs and course array with recommendations for programmatic opportunities that will attract students and meet regional needs;
  • a definition of the scope of the liberal education core and role of majors;and
  • a pathway to define faculty workload expectations.

Individuals serving on this initiative have a commitment to liberal education, professional accomplishment, and student success and would be involved in analyzing current programmatic and workload outcomes, assessing current and future program trends and opportunities, defining institutional strengths, and creating a pathway for academic distinctiveness. The project completion date was June 2016.

Concomitant to the work of the implementation committee, two groups-one formally established and one grassroots effort-worked on providing direction for the globally infused and civic engagement priorities emerging in the Academic Master Plan drafts. Membership on the Council on Internationalization and Global Engagement (CIGE) is posted on the CIGE website. The ad hoc group interested in civic engagement was comprised of faculty and staff members Ari Anand, Jim Boulter, Ruth Cronje, Karen Havholm, Paul Kaldjian, Paula Kleintjes Neff, Marc Mc Ellistrem, Jim Phillips, Garry Running, David Soll, and Jeff Vahlbusch, along with community member Mike Huggins. Both groups' work was cited in the final version of the Academic Master Plan.

Committees working on the Academic Master Plan and the University Strategic Plan co-sponsored the Chancellor's Open Forum on January 20, 2016. Faculty and staff from across the campus shared feedback regarding how to distinguish ourselves and create the future we want for UW-Eau Claire. Over 400 comments were collected during the discussion. Those notes were used in developing the Academic Master Plan.

A joint University Planning Committee and Academic Master Plan Committee Meeting was held on February 8, 2016. The groups shared information and outcomes, aligned work, and reviewed the feedback received from the university community.

Provost Kleine invited faculty and instructional academic staff to attend a forum in Haas Fine Arts Lobby on February 19, 2016. An almost-capacity crowd participated in small-group discussions regarding the criteria to use to guide reallocation of resources. Valuable feedback was collected for input into the Academic Master Plan.

A number of other communication pathways were sponsored by Academic Affairs to assist with data gathering, including meetings with executive staff, leadership fellows, and deans, associate deans, department chairs, and academic program directors.

The Academic Master Plan Implementation Committee participated in these meetings and members facilitated the small-group discussions. Summaries of those discussions are posted on the Academic Affairs Blugold Insider site.

During the summer of 2016 the Provost, Associate Vice Chancellors, and College Deans worked with the findings and recommendations of the Academic Master Plan Implementation Committee to draft the complete Academic Master Plan. The Academic Master Plan Implementation Committee met in late summer 2016 to provide feedback that was incorporated into the final plan.

Coinciding with the opening of academic year 2016-2017 activities, Provost Kleine invited all faculty and staff to a gathering on September 1, 2016, and presented an overview of the Academic Master Plan. The plan is a series of priorities and actions used as criteria for making decisions, "…this Academic Master Plan gives those who will make the critical decisions to manifest the priorities as deliberate actions in the next four years clear strategic direction."

UW-Eau Claire hosted the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents Meeting on October 6-7, 2016. Provost Kleine delivered the highlights of the Academic Master Plan to the Regents in a presentation to the Board's Education Committee.

We are confident that moving forward with the Academic Master Plan over the next four years, there will be continued opportunities for campus community involvement in formulating action plans, creating dashboards/benchmarks, and assessing the success of the priorities.