||Schofield Hall 218|
||Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004|
Charlie Bauer Retires|
After 34 Years of Service
MAILED: May 12, 1999|
In his 34 years at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, the word professor has never been a part of Charlie Bauer's formal title. But ask any of the hundreds of students he has interacted with during those three-plus decades to describe him and you will hear the word teacher many times.
"I've had the good fortune to have budget responsibilities here," said Bauer, UW-Eau Claire's vice chancellor of business and student affairs who will retire in July. "What's unusual and significant about this place from my perspective are the opportunities I've had to work with students and the quality of those relationships. UW-Eau Claire has a long and rich tradition of involving students in the budget process."
As the university's chief budget officer, Bauer has spent many hours working to involve members of the Student Senate and its Finance Commission in UW-Eau Claire's financial decisions.
"Those are my classrooms and laboratories," Bauer said of the Student Senate sessions. "And I think if you talk with students who have played an active role, you will find a universal feeling that those were significant learning experiences for them."
"While his role was technically not one viewed as a professor, it should have been," Timothy Nelson, a 1990 health care administration graduate and former Student Senator, said of Bauer. "Those of us who dealt with him learned from observing and interacting with him how to apply the stuff we learned in our business classes. This gave people like me a definite advantage in the market place today."
Mark Cook, a UW-Eau Claire senior and past president of the Student Senate, said Bauer was an amazing person to work with. "He always made time to make sure not only that all our questions were answered, but more so that we felt comfortable with the situations we were questioning," Cook said. "He truly has an understanding of what this university is all about the students."
UW-Eau Claire recruited Bauer in 1965 as director of Business Affairs. As he retires as vice chancellor for business and student affairs, Bauer is responsible for Facilities Planning and Management, Business Services, Personnel Services, Financial Aid, Institutional Planning, Internal Audit and Student Support Services (Children's Center, Housing and Residence Life, Public Safety, University Centers and Programs, and Parking and Transportation).
In those positions, Bauer has managed to work with and for the students, while helping to keep the university in good financial shape.
"Historically, UW-Eau Claire has gone through several difficult financial environments and I'm proud that we were able to go through them with the least amount of disruption possible," Bauer said. "UW-Eau Claire has done an outstanding job of managing its financial resources. Being a part of that is something of professional pride."
"Charlie Bauer's leadership and service to UW-Eau Claire have provided a solid, secure financial base for this university," Chancellor Donald Mash said, noting that Bauer's knowledge and experience have proven invaluable during Mash's first year as chancellor. "Charlie is highly respected throughout the UW System and his expertise has benefited many other System campuses. But most importantly, Charlie truly enjoys working directly with students and is an exemplary role model for them."
While working with the students has been meaningful, so too has been working for the good of the students, Bauer said. For example, negotiating a deal with the city of Eau Claire to provide students with an efficient public transportation system is among the accomplishments of which he is most proud in recent years, Bauer said.
When Bauer moved his family from his home state of Nebraska to Wisconsin in 1965, he assumed it would be the first of several such moves. While the position he accepted at what is now known as UW-Eau Claire was intriguing, he expected that he'd move on as opportunities presented themselves elsewhere.
Thirty-four years later, Bauer has changed residences and jobs several times but always within the city of Eau Claire and Schofield Hall, respectively. The challenges he anticipated came his way, but he didn't have to leave UW-Eau Claire to find them.
"The professional opportunities and the quality of this institution brought me here and have kept me here," Bauer says. "I have been at the same institution for 34 years but I have had a variety of responsibilities over the years. It has not been 34 years of doing the same thing year after year.
"I was one of the class of '65 one of the 130 people who came to work here in 1965, most of whom felt at the time like this was one of several stopping points in our careers. But, like most of that group, I liked Eau Claire the university and the community and we stayed."
With energetic and creative presidents and chancellors such as Leonard Haas, Larry Schnack and Donald Mash, there always have been new challenges to keep him interested, Bauer said, noting that "this place has been blessed with truly outstanding education leaders."
The quality and creativity of the UW-Eau Claire student body also have motivated him to stay, Bauer said. While haircuts and clothes have changed, the students UW-Eau Claire attracts today are similar to those who came to the university 34 years ago they are bright, serious and well prepared, he said.
"Students come here today knowing better what they will find," Bauer says, noting that today there is more of a mix of suburban and rural students who attend the university. "They understand before their collegiate experience begins that this is one of the finest public liberal arts schools in the country. In earlier years, they discovered that after they were already here."
UW-Eau Claire will continue to face new challenges and Bauer admits that he will miss being among those who will work to meet them. But with Chancellor Donald Mash and Provost Ronald Satz leading the way, Bauer is confident UW-Eau Claire will continue to build on its excellence.
"Maintaining UW-Eau Claire's reputation as a premier public institution will always be a challenge because you always will have people nipping at your heels as they duplicate what you have done," Bauer said. "But with this Chancellor and Ron Satz, this university will be pushed to continuously be innovative to maintain the competitive edge and that's exciting."
Bauer has no doubt that he'll find plenty of challenges in his retirement by working with various community organizations. But he plans to take time to decide where and how he will volunteer his time and talents.
"For someone whose responsibilities included budget and parking, I think just surviving 34 years is quite an achievement," Bauer says of his upcoming retirement. "But I've also been involved in this community for a long time, usually offering the university's perspective. Now I'm looking forward to being involved from the community perspective."
The university will honor Bauer during a May 15 dinner and reception. For information about the event, call (715) 836-5630.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: May 13, 1999