UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt provided updates on the university’s response to COVID-19 and the resulting budget impacts April 30 in a live-streamed briefing for all faculty and staff. The briefings will continue on a weekly basis to keep employees informed about how the university is addressing budget challenges caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the spring semester and fall enrollment.
Here are the key points from this week’s briefing:
- Chancellor Schmidt praised students, faculty and staff who have made the first online version of the annual Celebration of Excellence in Research and Creative Activity a great success. Dr. Catherine Chan and the team from the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs have helped bring more than 300 student research projects to life on the Canvas platform this week.
- UW-Eau Claire will serve as host for the National Conference on Undergraduate Research in spring 2023. The university will partner with the city of Eau Claire, Visit Eau Claire, Eau Claire County, UW-Eau Claire — Barron County and Chippewa Valley Technical College. Chancellor Schmidt thanked chemistry department chair Dr. Jim Phillips, College of Business Associate Dean Dr. Jean Pratt and University Centers Camps and Conferences Manager Kyran Hamill for helping the university secure the conference, which will bring thousands of visitors to Eau Claire.
- UW-Eau Claire has seen a slight increase in admitted students compared to the same week last year, and UW-Eau Claire — Barron County’s enrollment projections remain strong as the campus has seen a solid increase in admitted students in year-over-year comparisons.
- Chancellor Schmidt shared with students, faculty and staff this week that $3.5 million is available to eligible students through the UWEC CARES Program, which is funded by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. This funding helps students who incurred expenses due to the pandemic.
- Chancellor Schmidt noted that 138 employees from multiple departments will be taking consecutive-day furloughs, some of which begin next week. These furloughs will help the university save an estimated $318,604, approximately half of which will be realized in this fiscal year. Additional departments are identifying potential consecutive-day furloughs for employees that could be determined in May.
- The Department of Administration announced a 5% lapse to the current state budget, which will likely mean the UW System will have to return as much as $47 million in state funding before July 1. Chancellor Schmidt said UW-Eau Claire’s contribution to the one-time payback will be approximately $2.5 million.