Chancellor’s Update: Strategic Opportunities and UW System Budget Update

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

I am pleased to report the Chancellor’s Strategic Opportunities Work Group has concluded its work on a plan to strengthen UWM. We needed this process to respond to major shifts in higher education – budget reductions, enrollment shifts, revenue declines, and public concerns about the value and cost of a college degree. Our operating revenues have declined and will continue to do so in the short term, but we also need to protect and invest in areas to grow UWM. This is essential and requires us to think and act differently.

I charged the work group, composed of faculty, governance group chairs, and operational leads, to develop a plan for how we will achieve future success amid rapid changes in higher education. They considered our established Mission, Vision, Guiding Values and strategic directions as a foundation.

The result is our Strategic Opportunities statement which focuses on a strong student experience, research growth, and community engagement. While these topics are fitting and familiar, the significant difference is the development of 16 pathways, which are specific tactics to build excellence, and approximately 40 corresponding metrics to monitor our progress. For example, a pathway for student success is strengthening the pipeline to UWM from high schools, technical schools, and two-year colleges.  We will track our progress by measuring student enrollment, retention, and graduation rates.

The campus-wide metrics focus on “big picture” campus goals, while the provost, deans, vice chancellors, and interim senior student affairs officer are developing specific school, college, and unit goals and metrics aligned with the Strategic Opportunities. In addition, there are campus teams whose work supports the Strategic Opportunities including the Strategic Enrollment Management plan, Retention Plan, and the Plan for Research Excellence.  The planned tactics for student success and research growth in these plans are precisely the types of action that will strengthen UWM.

I encourage all faculty and staff members to review the Strategic Opportunities statement and corresponding metrics. Look for communication in the summer and fall for how you can help UWM to achieve its goals. In the meantime, I will use the statement in our advocacy for UWM with regents, legislators, elected officials, business and community partners, UW System staff, and others.

I thank the Strategic Opportunities Work Group for their commitment over the past six months, as well as everyone who provided feedback in the campus-wide solicitation process.

While we were planning to send this message, UW System (UWS) asked us to forward a budget update from UWS President Ray Cross. The UWS information includes details on the UWS budget request for strategic needs, outcomes based funding and metrics, and other topics that align with our Strategic Opportunities.

I thank you in advance for your dedication to this Strategic Opportunity effort — with each of us working toward the same goals, UWM can and will grow into an even stronger institution.

Best regards,

Mark A. Mone
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee