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Chancellor's Blog: Beyond planning to getting it done

| Chancellor James Schmidt

I love the start of the academic year because it's so full of promise. And this year, we have the promise of increased state support, a long-awaited investment in faculty and staff, and the opportunity to make major progress in the plans we created over the past year.

Yes, you read correctly. We’re going to actually “do” something about the goals we’ve set. To “create our future” we will involve faculty, staff and students at UW-Eau Claire to do just that. Because while my job as chancellor is to lead the charge around our priorities, I’d soon be out there, standing alone, without the support of everyone across the university.

This year we identified two priorities that will directly support our plan: (1) student retention and (2) equity, diversity and inclusion. These two priorities are at the heart of our ability to maintain our enrollment goals, to create a more inclusive campus community and to help all our students be more successful. I know many of you have already had discussions in your college, department or unit about what you could do to support EDI or contribute to student retention. Those of you who attended the Blugold Showcase after the Blugold Breakfast picked up lots of practical ideas for ways you can make a difference.

But there is more we can do. In addition to our individual actions, there are several specific projects that will help us jump-start progress. I have asked my executive team to sponsor six projects that will advance our EDI goals and support our students. They’ve identified leaders for each operational initiative. We’re calling them the “Get It Done” teams, and we’ve given them a simple charge: figure out what it will take and make it happen.

Below is a list of the six “operational initiatives” that are underway. Most will be able to be completed this year — or at least significant progress made. You can read detailed descriptions of each project on Blugold Insider. I will be meeting with the teams over the semester to help eliminate any roadblocks and to support their work. But the teams are the ones who will make the difference. Watch my blog for periodic updates.

And if you’re contacted by any of our “Get It Done” teams, say “yes.” Because this is the year we’re going to get a lot done.

Our operational teams:

Auxiliary Funding. Increasing the scholarships we can offer students, especially to retain them, will help us reach our enrollment goals. This project will identify ways in which we can increase revenues in support of $2 million in student scholarships. Sponsors: Kim Way and Beth Hellwig • Lead: Quincy Chapman

Confluence Launch. The Confluence will offer many new opportunities for student engagement. This project will develop the operational relationships and practices that will support a successful university-community partnership as The Confluence opens in summer 2018. Sponsor:  Mike Rindo • Leads: Arthur Grothe and Jason Anderson

EDI Evaluation & Professional Development. Our EDI plan calls for strong professional development for our university community in order to improve our campus climate. These teams will implement EDI professional development programs for faculty, staff and students. Sponsor: Tamara Johnson •  Leads:

  • Faculty Evaluation Statements: David Leaman, Jan Larson
  • Staff Evaluation Statements: Karen Callaway and Caitlin Lee
  • Faculty Professional Development: Jeff Goodman, Angie Stombaugh, Dandrielle Lewis
  • Staff Professional Development: Jodi Thesing-Ritter
  • Student Training: Chris Jorgenson and Stacey Jackson

Retention. While retention involves everyone, this project will help to identify and implement a range of targeted and tested strategies that will engage and support students to enhance retention and success. Sponsor: Pat Kleine • Lead: Billy Felz

Service Excellence. Retention includes treating our students and each other with respect and providing the kind of assistance that sets us apart among our peers. This project will help support faculty, staff and students in providing exemplary service. Sponsor: Beth Hellwig • Lead: Karen Callaway

Student Living. Our residence halls are “home” for thousands of our students. This project will help retain students by identifying low-cost ways to enhance our residential spaces to create a welcoming, student-focused living and learning environment. Sponsor:  MJ Brukardt • Lead: Ryan Banaszak

Read more Chancellor's Blog posts.