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Chancellor's Blog: Welcome, UW-Barron County!

| Chancellor James Schmidt

Welcome to the family, UW-Barron County! 

Today the UW System Board of Regents approved system President Ray Cross’s proposal to align the UW Colleges with four-year universities across the state. Under the realignment, UW-Barron County will become part of UW-Eau Claire, effective July 1, 2018.

We welcome our colleagues in Rice Lake with open arms. We are looking forward to the many opportunities our new relationship will bring to both our campuses. In fact, I and our shared governance leaders will be visiting UW-Barron County on Wednesday morning to meet with faculty, staff and students and to deliver the welcome in person.

Our new partnership is a good fit for many reasons. For both of us, the success of our students is paramount. We are both committed to preparing our students for strong futures. And we both are active partners with our communities.

We have much to learn from each other in the coming months. UW-Barron County’s online learning opportunities, K-12 programs and relationships with the Native American and Somali communities can help UW-Eau Claire broaden our horizons. In turn, UW-Eau Claire’s achievements linking students to high-impact experiences and breadth of programs can enrich UW-Barron County.

I have gotten many questions from faculty, staff and students about how this transition will unfold. Candidly, we don’t have all the answers yet — and I know that can be frustrating. UW System has formed a steering team to work through many of the technical questions, and I have asked Provost Patricia Kleine to represent our campus and to keep us informed.

The vital work, however, will be handled by our own transition teams. I want to assure you that we will develop our transition plan together. It is my intention to listen carefully to faculty, staff and students, to involve both campuses in creating a process that will work for us, and then to communicate frequently about our progress. After our campus visit next week, we will begin to form transition teams with members from both campuses, including students.

I’m confident that all of us want to find the solutions that will be best for our students. That will be our immediate task.

As we learn more about the transition, we will share those updates. Please also continue to refer to the UW System website for details about the systemwide restructuring, as that website is updated regularly.

Transitions can be stressful times, but they can also be times of great potential. We have a unique opportunity to create a great future that celebrates the strengths of two amazing institutions. UW-Eau Claire and UW-Barron County. We’re doing this together.