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University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
University Bulletin Vol. 50, No. 2
Second Week
Fall Semester
Aug. 26, 2002

Chancellor welcomes faculty and staff back to campus

UW-Eau Claire will move forward with plans to enhance and expand the quality educational opportunities available here in spite of a soft economy and fewer state dollars, Chancellor Donald Mash told about 600 faculty and academic staff members Aug. 20 during the Opening Meeting of the 2002-03 academic year.
     “The bottom line is that we have been moving forward and can continue to move forward in spite of the fiscal challenges we are facing,” Mash said during his “State of the University” address. “It's particularly important that when we are challenged, we do not lose sight of the big picture.”
    Faculty, staff and administrators must together work toward accomplishing the three goals set forth in the university's Strategic Plan, Mash said, adding that it is the activities and actions of the faculty and staff that will help the university meet its goals.
     Goals included in UW-Eau Claire's Strategic Plan are:
  • Enhance the quality of our teaching, learning and personal development.
  • Expand and enhance our regional services and impact.
  • Broaden and increase our resource base.

     Perhaps the greatest challenge the university faces in meeting the goal to enhance teaching and learning is attracting and retaining quality faculty and academic staff, while still another challenge is attracting and retaining top students in an increasingly competitive marketplace, Mash said.
     Enhancing facilities, increasing student scholarships, new program initiatives, and identifying creative ways to ensure faculty and academic staff are fairly compensated are among the strategies being used to help build a campus community of quality students, faculty and staff, Mash said.
     “We've been focusing on the right things at this university for a long, long time,” Mash said, noting that many of UW-Eau Claire's Marks of Excellence — the things the university cites when describing what makes it an exceptional place — are similar to a list of program enhancements recently compiled by U.S. News & World Report magazine. “We've been doing many of these things year after year,” he said, referring to things such as study abroad opportunities, first-year experience classes, capstone courses, service-learning and internships.
     The university's goal of expanding and enhancing its regional services is important to the overall mission of the university, Mash said, noting that helping people understand how the university directly affects the quality of their lives also will help garner public and state support. The university's success in gaining state support for the Chippewa Valley Initiative — which provides funding to expand and enhance high-tech programs at UW-Eau Claire — is an example of what can be accomplished when the university demonstrates specific ways it can contribute to the region's future growth, he said.
     But achieving its goals of enhancing teaching and learning, and expanding regional services requires an increase in the university's resource base, Mash said.
     “The items in the first two goals are all related to resource base building,” Mash said. “We can't ignore it. It can stand in the way of this university's ability to get even better and it threatens our ability to maintain our quality.”
     UW-Eau Claire students recognize that reality, Mash said, referencing the unanimous decision of the Student Senate last spring to increase differential tuition even though they knew their tuition was likely to increase by 8 percent.
     Differential tuition — dollars paid by students that are above tuition set by the Board of Regents — generates about $1 million a year for the university, which is used to support things such as capstone courses, internships and student/faculty research.
     UW-Eau Claire and the UW System needs to continue helping legislators and the public understand that investing in higher education in Wisconsin can help the state's economy thrive, Mash said. “We need to stay on message: if you invest in this university, it will pay big dividends for Wisconsin,” he said, adding that the university will not grow without additional dollars because it will not sacrifice the quality of its programs and activities.
     Mash also talked about the success of UW-Eau Claire's first-ever comprehensive fund-raising effort, “Fulfilling the Promise of Excellence.” Already more than $18 million has been pledged toward the $35 million campaign goal, Mash said, noting that many faculty and academic staff are among the contributors.
     “This is an outstanding university and it's our challenge to keep it that way,” Mash said, encouraging faculty and staff to keep the good of the overall university in mind as they go about their business.
     “Don't lose sight of where we're going and why it's important to be there,” Mash said of faculty and staff's ability to touch the future.


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Liz Wolf Green, Editor
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Updated: Aug. 26, 2002