For the past month, I have held conversations with Barron County faculty, staff, and students, with our shared governance groups, and with the restructuring task force members to identify the best organizational structure for the upcoming transition. I want to thank everyone who shared ideas with me and who made thoughtful recommendations. It has been especially gratifying that everyone shares a commitment to finding ways to serve our students well — our foremost priority. Our ultimate goal is to assure that we have a strong, financially sustainable structure in place so that our students — and the faculty and staff who serve them — can thrive.
To that end, and beginning in July, we will implement an administrative structure based on a branch campus model. This enables both our institutions to maintain distinctive and important missions, while also enabling us to utilize each other’s strengths.
The Barron County campus administration will have two components (see organizational chart). Both are based on structures in place at UW-Eau Claire, and both will be implemented in the spirit of accepted practices and policies already in place.
Faculty and instructional academic staff on the Barron campus will be invited to recommend to the provost a chair, who will report directly to Dr. Michael Carney, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs at UW-Eau Claire. This will provide Barron faculty and IAS with strong ties to the academic structure at UW-Eau Claire and facilitate connections across all colleges. The Barron County chair will be eligible for a stipend, summer appointment and reassignment time from some classroom instruction, as is the practice with UW-Eau Claire chairs. Mike Carney will work with Barron County faculty and staff on next steps.
I want to thank Mike Carney for his willingness to take on this additional supervisory responsibility. He has been actively involved in the Shared Governance Rapid Action Task Force and is no stranger to Barron County, as he has family nearby. He intends to be on the Barron County campus regularly.
The second administrative component is the position of campus director. This function is responsible for the operational and noninstructional operation of the Barron County campus. In addition to day-to-day oversight, the campus director will lead efforts to support and expand the community outreach and partnership opportunities for the college. The director will lead Barron County recruitment and enrollment efforts, in conjunction with UW-Eau Claire, and will also oversee all student affairs activities on the campus. While the director will be responsible for daily operations and will work with UW-Eau Claire to set and implement annual budget and human resource plans, staff will also be encouraged to work closely with their respective service unit on the Eau Claire campus. UW-Eau Claire has many resources and programs that can be shared and adapted to Barron County, and we expect that our teams will work closely together to create the most efficient and effective solutions.
The campus director will report to UW-Eau Claire's vice chancellor for enrollment management; until that position is filled, the director will report to me. In addition, the director will work closely with Dr. Tamara Johnson, the vice chancellor for EDI and student affairs, on student programs and initiatives. These duties reflect our desire to strengthen Barron County’s enrollment, identify partnerships that will benefit the region and the college, and serve students well.
I am consulting with Barron County faculty and staff, and with UW-Eau Claire shared governance this week to begin a search for the campus director and to form a search committee with Barron County representation. The search will be internal for individuals on the UW-Eau Claire campus or with UW Colleges. It is my hope that we can move quickly to fill this important position to assure a smooth transition on July 1.
While much thought and consultation has produced this new organizational model, we know we have much to learn after our union begins on July 1. We will discover questions we didn’t know to ask as well as solutions that can only be found by working together. It is my hope that this new structure will support the collegial and productive work we have already accomplished and enable a great future for Barron County.