Dear Faculty and Staff,
One year ago today we learned of the first possible COVID-19 case on our Milwaukee campus. The specter of the pandemic was ever-present, and we quickly extended our spring break and shifted to fully online learning by the end of March 2020. Countless rapid changes followed.
Your resilience and resolve through it all have been remarkable. As we reflect on this past year, we can honor how much we have grown and learned along the way. Your positive impact during trying times – especially with our students – has been inspiring.
This past week, two students and a recent graduate joined me for my monthly WUWM ‘Chancellor’s Report’ radio show to share their college experience during a pandemic. I encourage you to listen to what Amanda Holzer, a freshman, Alina Frias, a senior, and recent graduate Xeng Ken Vang have to say.
Fall 2021 Progress
At our March 9th virtual town hall meeting for faculty and staff I shared updates on our planning, in the safest manner possible, for a fully operational Fall 2021. There are many reasons for stepping forward.
- Student learning, engagement and campus life experiences are critical to the development and success of our future graduates.
- Our fulfillment and engagement as employees is enhanced by in-person interactions with colleagues and students.
- We are working to bounce back from significant revenue losses caused by drops in enrollments, housing, dining, parking and other areas. We also want to restore student employment levels as our activities increase. This is critical to many students’ livelihoods.
- We are in a state budget-building year. We could face challenges with legislators questioning the need to approve new capital projects and operating funds with our current status of many remote functions.
Please know that we are ready to quickly pivot if circumstances change, requiring primarily online learning and remote operations.
We are continuing to see low numbers (less than 1%) of positive C-19 cases on our campuses. There is an increase in vaccine availability, and we are proud to host a vaccination clinic in our Student Union on the Milwaukee campus.
All employees were sent a vaccination interest form, which includes screening questions to determine eligibility requirements. I highly encourage you to complete the form and to get vaccinated when and where you can as vaccines become available. The quicker, the better, and that could mean getting vaccinated through your local health department or at a pharmacy.
2030 Updates and Implementation Report
There has been tremendous progress on 2030, which is a valuable blueprint for our future and essential for change. I am pleased to share the 2030 Implementation Team’s final report. We will follow the recommendations within, focusing on these priorities:
- Becoming student-centric
- Revising our curriculum
- Increasing inclusion and diversity
- Aligning UWM’s academic workforce
- Re-Assessing unit alignment
- Refocusing research infrastructure
- Updating the budget model
- Growing endowment to $500M
There are already several efforts underway, including plans for assignment and recruitment of leaders and operational leads in dedicated roles to advance the 2030 recommendations, a work team creating a metrics dashboard, several diversity, equity and inclusion commitments including anti-bias/anti-racist training, reviewing our hiring protocols and committing to the MMAC Region of Choice initiative to increase the diversity of our supervisors and employees of color by 2025, appointing a General Education Reform curriculum review team, and continuing student success work on academic maps, scholarship management, and student experiences and talent.
I will continue to provide 2030 updates, as will Provost Johannes Britz and Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administrative Affairs Robin Van Harpen, and there will be ample opportunity to share input during the implementation phase of the plans.
Special Town Hall on 2030 – April 6 at 10 a.m.
This topic is of such significance for our future, I invite you to join me and other campus leaders for an April 6 Town Hall from 10 -11 a.m. focused on 2030 implementation. Our faculty and staff are UWM’s greatest asset, and thus, your voices and involvement are critically important. You can send advance questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take good care of yourselves in the coming weeks as we head toward the end of the spring semester, more sunshine and positive change.
Mark A. Mone, PhD