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Chancellor's Blog: Energized for the future

| Chancellor James Schmidt

Wednesday morning I had coffee with 375 of my closest UW-Eau Claire colleagues.

Even though it was a cold morning, we had a wonderful turnout of faculty and staff who enthusiastically spent an hour talking about the future of our university in the Davies Center Marketplace. It’s not often we can get everyone in a room to do some group planning — but today we had a great mix of faculty, instructional staff, university staff and academic staff from across the campus, talking together.

Thanks to expert facilitation by Mary Hoffman, we took a long look at where we want to be as a campus by 2020. Fifty Blugolds served as facilitators and helped to capture all the ideas and themes.

As I walked around the Marketplace in Davies, I heard lots of ideas about how to serve our students better, how we can distinguish ourselves in the future and how we can create the future we want for UW-Eau Claire. It was energizing!

But even better were the repeating themes I heard as I strolled the room. Again and again I heard we want students to engage beyond the classroom — with research, with immersion experiences and internships. I heard ideas about how we can support faculty and staff so that we can navigate the new world of reduced resources. There was a lot of consensus about our mission and direction.

That consensus — as well as the new ideas — told me that we are well on our way as we develop our Academic Master Plan and University Strategic Plan. Committees working on these two plans co-sponsored the discussion. They will review all the comments (we literally collected more than 400 papers with notes and ideas) and share them with campus. Then, this semester, the notes from the breakfast meeting will be used to help develop our Academic Master Plan and University Strategic Plan.

I want to thank all my colleagues who participated Wednesday morning and shared their ideas. The complete notes from the discussions will be available on the Strategic Planning and Academic Affairs websites by Jan. 29.

If you weren’t able to attend, you can still share your ideas. The questions are available online until Jan. 29. You can also watch a video recording of my remarks on Wednesday.

What’s next? We’ll also reach out to students and our community for their ideas. Later this semester, the planning committees will share drafts of the plans to gather further input from campus. I hope you’ll continue to be involved. I want all of us to create our future together — and your voice is important.

P.S. Thanks to all those who also brought food items for the Campus Harvest Food Pantry — we received 250 pounds of donations for our students! Learn more about UW-Eau Claire’s food pantry.

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