Looking forward after fifth anniversary
Over the summer, I celebrated my five-year anniversary at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Considering that I joined UWM to be its dean for the College of Engineering & Applied Science back in 2008, I truly had no idea that at the five-year mark I would have spent more time serving as chancellor and interim chancellor than
as CEAS dean.
While I’m proud of what the college and university have accomplished over the past five years, like so many other people on campus I find myself overwhelmingly focused on the next five years and beyond.
This is a very important time for UWM. As has been discussed in many forums, higher education is changing, and one of the greatest challenges before UWM is to make sure we continue to be relevant to higher education in Wisconsin. To respond to that challenge, we’re going through academic and strategic planning right now to help us define future priorities and directions.
I definitely do not want to pre-define those priorities, because it’s important that they be defined by all university constituencies and as much from the ground up as from the top down. I do, however, have some ideas that I believe need to be addressed. These aren’t ideas I have alone, and I know they’re already receiving intense attention elsewhere at our university.
At a time of declining enrollment from traditional in-state sources because of demographics, we need an even stronger focus on potential students from nearby states and other countries. A decade ago, students from other states accounted for just 6% of the UWM student body. We’ve greatly increased that total so that they now account for about 11%.
Also over the past decade, international students at UWM have increased 80% to nearly 1,200. We’re still going to primarily serve Wisconsin residents, but we need more out-of-state and international students to join them.
Over the past decade, annual research expenditures at UWM have nearly doubled, and we clearly need to double them again in the next decade.
We’re going to be doing a new campaign, raising the bar on fundraising and going to heights we’ve never hit before in terms of the amount of money raised. Particularly, we need to be able to provide more scholarships for more students. We must remain an access university and offer opportunities for anyone from any walk of life to come to our campus and be successful.
It’s been a challenging and enjoyable first five years, and I expect that and a lot more for the next five.
Michael R. Lovell