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Chancellor's Blog: Midsummer campus update

| Chancellor James Schmidt

It’s about midway through our Wisconsin summer and a good time to check in with colleagues. This year I’ve been hearing from students who are traveling all over the world — I love learning about their experiences, their research projects and the people they meet. I’ve also been spending more time in Phillips Hall this summer as I take regents and legislators through the building to show them why a new science building is so critical. I was able to make a special presentation to the Board of Regents in June with Dr. Tim Nelson and Dr. Michael Morrey from Mayo Clinic Health System to talk about our groundbreaking partnership (and to make another pitch for our science building). The summer continues to be a busy one.  

You may recall that in May we finalized plans to reorganize many of our support divisions to better serve our students and meet our Guidepost Goals. Without adding administrative positions, we created three divisions that will help us with student success and our financial sustainability. We now have searches underway for two vice chancellors (more on the searches later). You can view the organizational chart here.

New divisions launch

The retirement of Dr. Beth Hellwig prompted me to look at the units within Student Affairs and to reconfigure them across the divisions. The division of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion and Student Affairs will become effective Aug. 1, reporting to Vice Chancellor Tamara Johnson. The Dean of Students Office, under the leadership of Dr. Joe Abhold, will officially join the new division then. Dr. Johnson’s new office will be in the Student Affairs suite on the second floor of Schofield Hall (room 240E), and Dr. Abhold will remain there as well.

The other two divisions — Enrollment Management and Finance and Administration — will become effective Sept. 1. Because the new vice chancellors will most likely not be on board until later that month, Dr. Hellwig has agreed to delay her retirement until Aug. 24 to continue to oversee the units moving from Student Affairs, namely Housing and Residence Life; Intercollegiate Athletics; the Children’s Nature Academy; Recreation and Sport Operations; and University Centers. I appreciate Beth’s willingness to do so — you’ll be able to find her during August in The Hub (Room 120A) in Davies Center. By the way, Dr. Hellwig’s farewell reception is from 2:30-4:30 p.m. Aug. 17 in the Dakota Ballroom in Davies Center, so I hope you’ll stop in to wish her well.

Dr. William Featherstone, who has served as our interim executive financial officer, will remain here on campus through Aug. 31. I want to thank him for his leadership over the past two years.

When Dr. Hellwig and Dr. Featherstone leave, transitioning units will report to me until the new vice chancellors are in place. I appreciate their continued leadership and flexibility during these changes.

See a roadmap for units transitioning to new divisions.

Vice chancellor searches moving forward

The search committees for the two vice chancellor positions have had a busy summer. Thanks to the recruitment efforts of our search firm, Academic Search, we have received 72 applications for the vice chancellor for enrollment management and 36 applications for the vice chancellor for finance and administration. I am very pleased with both the size and quality of the applicant pools. Last week the committees conducted video interviews with semifinalists, and we hope to have a slate of finalists for both positions on campus from Aug. 1-10. We will publish the meeting schedules soon, and I encourage all of you to make a point to meet our candidates for these vital new positions or, if you’re unable to be on campus, to view the videos online. Our ability to “create our future” rests on building a sound fiscal foundation and working together to recruit and retain students who will succeed at UW-Eau Claire.

Get to know UW-Eau Claire – Barron County on July 24

Everyone is invited to an old-fashioned family picnic at UW-Eau Claire – Barron County from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday, July 24. Tents will be up on the Barron County campus with food and games for everyone. Meet your colleagues, welcome new Barron County families and students, and celebrate our new branch campus. If you haven’t had an opportunity to welcome Brittany Nielsen as the new campus director and Dr. Troy Kozma as the academic chair, please be sure to introduce yourself!

Summers in Wisconsin go by too quickly. I hope you are taking advantage of all this season has to offer. Best wishes until we’re all together Aug. 28 at the Blugold Breakfast and a special Campus Conversation that will follow. Watch for more details soon!

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