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Chancellor's Blog: Looking ahead to a great start with Blugold Breakfast and Campus Conversation Aug. 28

| James Schmidt

I don’t want to rush the summer (there are still a few weeks to enjoy the best of Wisconsin), but I can’t help looking forward to the end of the month and our Blugold Breakfast. It will be so good to have everyone together again — including new colleagues from UW-Eau Claire – Barron County — sharing a meal and looking ahead to a great year. Faculty and staff should be sure to come early to the Ojibwe Ballroom in Davies Center on Aug. 28 to greet colleagues and enjoy a full breakfast. Doors will open at 7:15 a.m., and our program will begin promptly at 8 a.m.

The breakfast is on my mind because I’ve been thinking about the past several years and all the goals we set for ourselves. We committed to creating our future, our way. To making this university a transformational place for students, something I see every day. We said we wanted to invest in our faculty and staff­, and we took the first steps. We dreamt big, with such projects as the Pablo Center at the Confluence, the Mayo Clinic Health System research partnership, our EDI initiatives, and the UW-Eau Claire – Barron County realignment. It’s amazing to me to think about all we’ve accomplished in such a short time — and the impact we are having on our students and our region. 

I’ll remind faculty and staff of some of these achievements at the breakfast — it’s a perfect time for us to celebrate together. I also hope to be able to introduce our new vice chancellors for enrollment management and finance and administration. (Candidates are on campus for final interviews now, and faculty and staff who can attend the Friday forums or watch the videos, please do so.) Along with Vice Chancellor Tamara Johnson, who now heads the division of EDI and Student Affairs, we are bringing units together in new ways to collaborate better, share ideas and support students even more effectively.

Supporting our students is really the heart of why we are part of the Blugold family. To that end, I am hosting a truly unique event for UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff immediately following the Blugold Breakfast on Aug. 28. The Campus Conversation will be an opportunity to sit down together and share ideas on who we are, what we do well and how we can attract students who will find their future here. (We'll be doing a similar event at UW-Eau Claire – Barron County later this fall so faculty and staff there can think about how to define that campus.)

This year, we’ve asked an enrollment research firm, Carnegie Dartlet, to help us dig deeper to discover which students will be most successful at UW-Eau Claire and UW-Eau Claire – Barron County, where we can reach them and how we can talk about ourselves more authentically. Part of their research is to learn from our faculty and staff — the people who know our campuses best — who we are. The conversations we have on Aug. 28 in the Marketplace of Davies Center and later this fall at UW-Eau Claire – Barron County will help us shape our recruitment and retention efforts and guide all of us in telling our story more effectively.

This Campus Conversation isn’t just for the admissions team or faculty members or marketing staff. All faculty and staff, no matter what role they play, can help us think about who we are and who our students can be. UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff, I hope you’ll stay after the breakfast and join us in the Marketplace for what I can guarantee you will be a morning of creative thinking, fascinating conversation with colleagues, and lots of fun.

In the meantime, I wish all a productive and relaxing August. See you at the Blugold Breakfast and Campus Conversation!

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