Dear UWM Faculty and Staff,
Earlier this week about 100 UWM faculty, staff, students and other leaders met for a Chancellor’s midyear retreat. This is the first time I hosted a retreat with a group this large: governance group chairs, deans and cabinet members attended and were joined by several colleagues from each of their areas. We discussed the opportunities and challenges UWM faces and how we can strategically prepare our students and university for success.
Our day began with discussing the rapidly evolving higher education environment and how these transitions affect UWM. Some of the trends include:
- Shifting demographics with fewer college-aged students resulting in declining enrollments;
- The cost of higher education and increasing student debt;
- Public questioning of the value of a college degree;
- Employers’ expectations of the skills college graduates need; and
- Growing competition in higher education including lower-cost models and new curriculum delivery modes.
Higher education has changed and is changing, and we cannot stand still. UWM’s future depends on us being innovative, flexible and creative in our planning and decision-making. I want to embark on a process in which we, in a consultative manner across our campuses, engage in discussions about what changes UWM will make to advance and thrive as an impactful and successful research and access university.
Please look for more details about our campus-wide engagement and planning. In the meantime, if you would like to read up on the topics we discussed at the retreat, please see the following meeting materials:
- Agenda with links to background readings;
- Meeting slides with content on changes in higher education; and
- Post-retreat reading list to further explore topics on how and why universities are evolving.
Thank you for your interest in charting UWM’s course. I look forward to your participation in our planning process and future successes.
Mark A. Mone
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee