Welcome to Fall 2013
Sept. 3, 2013
Dear UWM Faculty, Staff and Students,
Welcome to the Fall 2013 semester!
Between welcoming picnics, ice cream socials and dinners, I’ve directly or indirectly met thousands of new members of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee community over the last week. At these events and at the “Ask Me” booths set up on campus, I’ve been overwhelmed by how many established faculty and staff have been on hand to welcome new Panthers, and I want to thank all who have done so.
There are many more get-to-know-you events in the days ahead, especially for students, and I hope everyone can take advantage of upcoming Fall Welcome 2013 activities including Pantherfest on Friday.
While you were away this summer, several things happened relating to our university’s future.
- Most visible are the continually progressing construction projects. On the East Side campus, we’re getting a close-up look at the progress being made on the Kenwood Interdisciplinary Research Complex near the corner of Kenwood and Maryland, and the Northwest Quadrant improvements—especially the Children’s Center. Our Harbor Campus is very busy, with the School of Freshwater Sciences addition nearing one-third completion. You can get an excellent perspective on these projects and more on the Capital Projects page being maintained by the Division of Finance and Administrative Affairs. You can also stay up to date on projects under way at Innovation Campus – specifically, the 25,000-square-foot Innovation Accelerator research building to be used by university researchers and their partners, and the 95,000-square-foot ABB Inc. office building – at the website maintained by the UWM Real Estate Foundation.
- Less visible but significantly important is work in offices and meeting rooms across the university on dealing with the cuts to our state funding. Campus administration has been and is continuing to work with university governance groups and campus leadership on how to best address a $6.9 million base budget reduction this academic year and an additional $1.9 million reduction in 2014-15 (for an ongoing, annual base cut totaling $8.2 million). We are getting a better understanding of how to shift resources and the good news is that for the fall semester, no class sections will need to be eliminated. We’re continuing to work on what changes could be needed for the spring semester and the 2014-15 academic year, and will have many more details worked out in time for my Plenary Address coming up at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, September 26, in the Zelazo Center.
- Our faculty and staff continued to develop groundbreaking work in the classrooms and research labs over the summer in support of the UW Flexible Option. President Obama indirectly mentioned this initiative in August during a speech about his plans to make higher education more affordable. UWM is offering three degree programs and one certificate through the Flexible Option, and it represents one more way that our university is creating solutions to higher education challenges.
- The UWM Student Startup Challenge, now in its second year, selected eight more student business ideas to financially support this summer. The winning ideas came from student teams in business, engineering, health sciences and the arts. Over the next year, these student teams will be paired with other students, and resources on campus and in the community to make prototype products and develop business plans for their products. Watch for a formal announcement about the winners in the near future.
- Progress also was made over the summer with Campus Strategic Planning. For a good introduction to strategic planning at UWM, please watch the short video of Mark Mone, Chancellor’s Designee for Strategic Planning & Campus Climate, that’s included toward the bottom right of the strategic planning homepage.
As you can see, there’s a lot going on – and I’m just providing brief summaries. I am very appreciative for the hard work being made to move our university forward. I look forward to leading these efforts and more through the 2013-2014 academic year, and I’m glad you’re part of our university.
Again, welcome to the Fall 2013 semester.
Michael R. Lovell