An energetic way to begin the spring semester

You certainly could feel the energy Tuesday in the Great Hall of the Memorial Student Center as faculty and staff gathered for the annual welcome back address before the spring semester and for the annual You Said … We Did presentations.

I’m guessing some of the extra energy was because our incoming chancellor, Katherine P. Frank, took the stage for the first time to address faculty and staff. Her remarks obviously resonated with the audience when she talked about her desire to listen to campus in her first weeks after taking office March 1, on what she calls her “Listening Tour.”

I believe her message of working with all areas to address the issues that will confront UW-Stout in the next decade also appealed to faculty and staff.

If you were unable to attend, watch Chancellor-designate Frank’s address here, starting at about the 10:50 minute mark.

I want to thank Chancellor-designate Frank for taking time to give these remarks, even before she assumes office, and the other presenters: Vice Chancellor Willie Johnson, interim Dean Gindy Neidermyer, Associate Vice Chancellor Amanda Barnett, Assistant Housing Director Adam Ludwig, and Assistant Professor Innisfree McKinnon, as well as Assistant Chancellor Meridith Wentz and her staff, who planned the event, and the great student center staff who make it happen.

You can read news coverage of the event here. I also want to thank the January Professional Development Committee for an excellent array of sessions to begin the new year. The sessions continue through Friday; a list is available here.

Transition planning continues

Chancellor-designate Frank is spending all week on campus meeting with many people and groups to ensure a smooth transition March 1. I have assured her that I will do everything possible to make that transition seamless, and I want to thank everyone for working so hard on transition planning and execution, including my staff of Julie Zack and Dianne Sinz.

As announced previously, after March 1 Glendali Rodriguez will remain in her position as interim provost, and I will transition to a position of special assistant to the chancellor until on or about May 1, when I will have my last day on campus.

I believe this arrangement will ensure that our new chancellor has the support she will need as she takes office.

Best wishes for a great new semester

Finally, I want to wish everyone a happy and successful spring semester. We are aware that we face challenges in increasing enrollment, maintaining fiscal stability and working on a new strategic plan.

We also are heading into a new state budget year, which is stressful. But, as Chancellor-designate Frank said in her remarks Monday: “We are in it together, we have high standards, we challenge each other, we hold each other accountable, and we are Stout Proud. We are and will continue to be award-winning, ground-breaking leaders as we navigate the path forward towards spring 2030.”

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