Campus update from Interim Chancellor Lovell
October 15, 2010
Dear UWM Faculty, Staff and Students
As I complete my first official week of service to the university as interim chancellor, I want to share with you my thoughts on the state of the UWM campus community and the academic year ahead.
It is a very exciting time on our campus, as the State of Wisconsin is making an unprecedented investment into our growth agenda. As you know, we have a considerable amount of new and continuing capital state projects on the immediate horizon. Here is a brief status report on key projects:
- Consultants have been hired for the $50 million School of Freshwater Sciences Building at the current site of the Great Lakes WATER Institute on East Greenfield Avenue in Milwaukee.
- We are completing the final review of the Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital campus prior to our planned purchase of it, which is expected to be in December.
- We are in the interviewing phase of hiring consultants to design, build and construct the $75 million Kenwood Interdisciplinary Research Complex. The Kenwood IRC will be the first marquee academic building constructed in the heart of our campus in more than a decade.
- We are continuing to have formal discussions with the Zilber Group and key stakeholders on campus about locating the School of Public Health building in downtown Milwaukee on the site of the former Pabst Brewery.
Vice Chancellor Christy Brown recently put these current expansion initiatives in a startling perspective. There are $300 million in new construction and infrastructure projects in progress or planned at UWM this academic year. For comparison, the total capital project investment at UWM has been $335 million over the past 22 years. Clearly, this is a one-time opportunity for us to grow our campus.
To ensure that we take full advantage of this initial investment, we will be adding a new position on campus: Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities Planning and Management. This individual will be charged with delivering on the many important projects at hand so that we can demonstrate to all of our partners that we are worthy of continuous investments into our future.
In recent years UWM has focused on the themes of access and research growth. These themes will continue to be a priority, but I will be adding a third theme during my tenure as interim chancellor. At the Panther Prowl on Oct. 10, I heard from several alumni about the pride they have in UWM. They talked about how proud they were to come back to campus and how proud they are to maintain/renew connections to the high-quality faculty, staff, and students at the university. Their comments were consistent with some ideas I have had about UWM and how we need to concentrate on a third area: pride in our people.
Already this year, we have unveiled the UWM Caring Community, which shares and communicates how we all have a stake in creating a safer campus. I have asked Peck School of the Arts Dean Wade Hobgood to further expand on this effort by leading a task force that addresses issues of campus climate and morale during these difficult financial times for our university and state. You will be hearing more about the task force in the coming weeks, but there are several initiatives that I will be launching immediately to enhance the campus environment so that all employees and students feel valued, respected, productive and critical to the growth of UWM. These new UWM programs will include:
- From the Vice Chancellor for Research’s Office, we will develop a Strategic Plan for Research over the next several months. The Strategic Plan will help us to establish more formal goals and a roadmap for research and scholarship that is not solely based on research dollars.
- From the Center for 21st Century Studies, we will create a new multi-disciplined (sciences, social sciences, humanities, and arts) research program that addresses “Grand Challenges of the 21st Century.”
- From the Office of the Chancellor and Office of the Provost, we will produce a research scholars program that will allow faculty to have more time for scholarly research through course buyouts and travel.
- And also from the Office of the Chancellor and Office of the Provost, we will work to try to secure additional funding to reward exceptional faculty and staff performance.
I am committed to working with the campus community on issues relating to our ability to move UWM forward as a force for change in Milwaukee and Wisconsin. I firmly believe in transparency, communication and increasing collaborations across campus because only through partnerships and working together will we fulfill our potential. For these reasons, I will provide opportunities for dialogue and will continue to provide you with updates on our progress. Look for a monthly e-mail campus update as well as a series of brown bag lunches where we can discuss our future face-to-face. Details about these lunches are forthcoming.
Michael R. Lovell