As chancellor, I spend a lot of my time off campus telling people about the great things happening at UW-Eau Claire. From legislators to regents and reporters to business leaders, our community knows the high standard achieved by Blugold graduates.
But in every conversation, usually after I’ve shared the latest news of a major achievement, I notice a change in the faces of people I share our story with, and I see a question forming in their minds. The question is always similar: How is it possible that all these great things are happening here, in our community? What makes our university different?
My answer is always the same. I tell them that our faculty and staff make UW-Eau Claire’s consistently outstanding progress possible. The culture of excellence our students expect is directly linked to the dedication of our faculty and staff. As I mentioned at the Blugold Breakfast this year, I’m always amazed by our team’s commitment to create new opportunities for undergraduates to succeed.
That’s why I’m so pleased that the UW System Board of Regents voted to approve a pay plan that includes 3 percent annual increases for UW System employees for the next two years. For too long, Wisconsin’s wages for UW System faculty and staff have lagged behind our peer institutions, and increases, when they’ve come, have failed to keep up with inflation.
The foundation of UW-Eau Claire’s excellence is the culture of our faculty and staff, perpetuated over the generations by search-and-screen committees that have selected the applicants willing to prioritize student success, and that commitment deserves recognition and reward.
Now this pay plan will go to the governor-elect and the state Legislature for consideration in the next state budget. As with past state budgets, my team and I will be in Madison early and often advocating for our institution’s priorities, and make no mistake: Investing in our faculty and staff, our greatest asset, is a top priority. We don’t know what next year’s budget debate holds in store for the UW System, but I can say without hesitation that we will continue to strongly advocate for this pay plan. Because, when I’m telling legislators about all the projects, achievements and breakthroughs that have reiterated UW-Eau Claire’s excellence, I’m really telling them a story that starts with an exceptional team of faculty and staff.