Making Strides Forward Spring 2014 Plenary Address Chancellor Michael R. Lovell University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee [Text as written for presentation.]
Good afternoon. First, let me wish you a Happy New Year and welcome you back for the start of the Spring 2014 semester. Today, I would like to update you on several new developments and accomplishments since I addressed you last fall. Personnel Progress One of the biggest developments is that I have a new boss in UW System President Ray Cross. Ray was announced as the new UW System president at a press conference little over a week ago right here on our campus. It is symbolic that Ray chose to be introduced in Milwaukee rather than Madison. I believe that President elect Cross truly understands the importance of UWM and Milwaukee to the state. In his first interview after being named UW System president, Ray stated: “We need to bring the resources of the university to help (UWM) address the challenges this region faces. If we can impact the problems of Milwaukee, we can impact the whole state.” I look forward to working with Ray to bring more resources to our campus and to help UWM make a greater impact on the state. Earlier this month, we added two additional members to my cabinet. Robin Van Harpen had the “interim” removed from her title and was named Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administrative Affairs. And Robert Beck was named the campus’s new Chief Information Officer. We can all be confident that with their proven track record and more than 27 years combined service to UWM, Robin and Bob will provide visionary leadership to UWM. Capital Projects Progress The physical transformation of our campus continues to move forward rapidly. Several of our capital projects have come on-line or will be coming on line this spring. The first project that I want to update you on is the Global Water Center, which had its grand opening in September. UWM is the largest and anchor tenant in the center and we currently have a number of faculty and graduate students conducting water technology projects in the new stateof-the-art labs. The center also houses researchers from AO Smith, Veolia, and Badger Meter and a number of start-ups – two of which are from France. All of these researchers and companies are excellent partners and are creating exciting new opportunities for our faculty and students. I truly believe that the Global Water Center not only will transform Milwaukee’s Fifth Ward, but also will continue to position Milwaukee and UWM as global water leaders. UWM Spring 2014 Plenary Address
As some of you know, I have office hours for students every month. This fall, Alice Kones, a student from Kenya, came to my office because she had heard about our School of Freshwater Sciences and the Global Water Center. She told me that 56% of Kenyan citizens do not have access to clean water and described that growing up she had to hike 15 kilometers a day to get water for her village, a journey that often caused her to miss school and was not always safe. She wanted to know if our School of Freshwater Sciences could help her village solve their water problems. She told me that she had contacts in the Kenyan government and that they would be willing to send a delegation to Milwaukee to see if we could help them develop solutions. In mid-November the delegation came to Milwaukee and I arranged a meeting at the Global Water Center with Alice, a small group from Kenyan, Dean David Garman and Eric Leaf from the School of Freshwater Sciences, College of Engineering and Applied Science Professor Wilkistar Otieno, and Dean Amhuas from the Water Council. I was amazed that after 45 minutes of discussion, a potential solution was found that could provide drinking water for Alice’s village of approximately 10,000. The solution was practical: water would be captured from the village’s largest building – its school – and stored in cisterns. Dean Garman then described a $3,000 filtration system to clean the water that could be developed from natural materials. Such a system would affect the village on many levels. It would eliminate the need for girls and women to spend much of their day getting water from a far off river, allowing them to become educated. School of Freshwater Sciences students could also train the villagers on how to produce the filtration system, becoming a business opportunity that could be sold to other villages. Being at the village’s school, the system presented an excellent learning opportunity for students. For UWM, our students and faculty would have life-changing experiences by helping solve a problem in another part of the world that has existed for centuries. That day in the Global Water Center, I thought how exciting it was that citizens of Kenya came to Milwaukee and UWM to solve their water problems. For those of you that have not been to Wauwatosa recently, you are missing the transformation of a section of the old County Grounds into Innovation Campus. In November, I was part of a ribbon-cutting ceremony where we opened the new Discovery Parkway that cuts through the heart of the campus. Our Accelerator Building, which will house about a 10 of our faculty and contain fabrication capabilities not available anywhere else in the state, will open in April. ABB’s midwest headquarters and R&D Center will open in June, and ground will be broken later this year for an extended stay hotel and residential housing. The County Grounds has changed so dramatically that on the second day Discovery Parkway was opened, someone going through the traffic circle knocked over a light pole – probably looking at the campus landscape! We can all be very proud that the $53-million addition to the former Great Lakes WATER Institute for our School of Freshwater Science will be completed later this year. The exterior of the building already has been completed and is changing the skyline of Milwaukee’s inner harbor. I’ve been told that hard-hat tours will be available starting February 1. When completed, the addition to the School of Freshwater Sciences will provide our faculty and students with facilities that are second to none in the United States.
UWM Spring 2014 Plenary Address
It is inspiring to see cranes (mechanical ones) on our campus and the Kenwood Interdisciplinary Research Complex rising up in the Southwest Quad. The building is set to open next winter and will provide our nationally ranked Physics Department a new home as well as provide core facilities and labs that will benefit faculty and students in the sciences, engineering, and public health. In the Northwest Quadrant, two very impressive new spaces were recently opened. In December, we opened the new Greenhouse for campus, a 9,200-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility that has 11 rooms that can be independently controlled. Unlike our previous facilities, each room allows a distinct environment with controls for light, temperature, humidity, and carbon dioxide. The independent airflow and filtration will ensure that there is no cross-pollination. The greenhouse will serve more than 1,700 students per year. Paul Engevold, greenhouse manager stated : “We can design an environment that the faculty want versus the faculty needing to design their research around the environmental conditions.” With the new controls, Jeffrey Karron, Professor of Biological Sciences, can simulate the change of seasons indoors and raise three generations of plants in the time he could previously only raise one. Jeff is very enthusiastic that he can now do research in the summer because the new facility is air-conditioned. Considering that our Department of Biological Sciences faculty were already successful, bringing in $4.3 million in federal research funding at the Lapham Greenhouse in recent years, just think of what they can accomplish with a facility that matches their scholarly potential. For decades, our Children’s Learning Center has been known as the best in the state despite operating in Kunkel Hall, an old school facility that did not readily meet the needs of the children or staff. As of Jan. 2, I am proud to state that we have opened a new Children’s Learning Center in the Northwest Quad that matches the quality of our staff. When taking a tour, even I was compelled to stay and hear a story at the tree house in the heart of the center. Campus Updates The academic plans for the schools and colleges were completed in December. Provost Johannes Britz and Chancellor’s Designee Mark Mone continue to meet with the academic units to integrate the school and college plans into a single overall plan for campus. The draft of this plan is being used to provide direction to the strategic planning process. For many units on campus, the academic planning has been described as transformational. As College of Letters and Science Dean Rodney Swain put it: “Over the past year, the academic planning process at UWM has fostered the broadest, deepest level of conversation about our academic future. It's not always been easy. But, it has been worthwhile. I am excited for our students. Great new courses and programs are on their way.” Mark Mone continues to lead the strategic planning process, which is accelerating now that the academic plan is nearing completion. Last semester, more than 200 faculty, staff and students engaged in nearly 20 teams to help complete the strategic plan, and even more participated in open forums. I encourage all of you to attend the next open forum at 3 p.m. Feb. 5 in Sandburg UWM Spring 2014 Plenary Address
Flicks. The process is expected to wrap-up in May and lead to a document that will guide the campus through 2020. As part of our Strategic Planning efforts, I have asked all administrators who report directly to me to prepare Open and Transparent Decision Making forms for the major initiatives that they are working on. The form is meant to align our initiatives with our vision and values, describe the overall strategy, identify who will be accountable for coordinating the efforts, and how success will be measured. The forms for my cabinet are available from my web page: chancellor.uwm.edu. I encourage all of you to visit the page to see the all of the major initiatives being undertaken on the campus. The Budget Model Working Group continues its efforts and will meet again on February 6th. I expect that a new budget model will be proposed for campus before the end of this fiscal year, a few months after the completion of the Strategic Plan. I should emphasize that the new budget model will not create new sources of revenue but rather will provide incentives tied to our strategic goals. Led by Vice Chacellor Joan Prince, a campus-wide team of faculty, staff, students, and community partners and students has been working to complete an application for the Community Engagement Elective Classification offered by the Carnegie Foundation. Our application will be submitted before the April 15 deadline. This process documents our deep commitment to long standing, bi-directional partnerships and engagement with our community. To honor the engagement work of our outstanding faculty, staff, and community partners, I am pleased to announce a new award: the Chancellor's Signature Partnership on Community Engagement. This award will recognize one exemplary partnership annually, a partnership that demonstrates excellence in teaching, research and community engagement. The selection criteria and award details will be forthcoming shortly. As we strive to become a better place to work, the campus continues to move forward. We continue to get outstanding nominations for Best Place to Work Champions and have recognized 11 individuals to date for making UWM a better place to work for their colleagues. Because work climate is typically local, leaders of the administrative and academic units are being asked for the first time to develop Best Place to Work work plans. Through this process, leaders on campus are sharing best practices. I would like to especially recognize the College of Nursing and Dean Sally Lundeen for their exceptional efforts to create a collegial and supportive work environment that is second to none on campus. Later this semester, UWM will be getting a new e-mail and calendar system. Our current Pantherlink system produced by Zimbra no longer will be fully supported. This week, a project team led by Jacques du Plessis provided the results of a several-months-long study on two top email and calendar services available: Google Apps for Education and Microsoft Office 365. A summary of their report is available at emailfuture.uwm.edu. The good news is that both products fulfill the needs for campus, are less expensive than Pantherlink, and will provide increased functionality. A final decision will be made in coming weeks, but input is still be taken by Jacques and the University Information Technology Services team. UWM Spring 2014 Plenary Address
It’s hard to believe, but the campus and UW System are already making plans for the 2015-2017 biennial budget. Following are a few updates I would like to provide regarding the budgeting process Although I provided a report to you last month concerning our carry forward balances, it is important to re-emphasize that we do not have large, uncommitted carry-forward balances on our campus. A recent State of Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau report showed that 90 percent of our $89 million reserves were committed to existing projects, $6.2 million were research overhead accounts within the academic units, and only $2.5 million were true reserves. This is extraordinary considering our overall budget is more than $700 million. In recent weeks, I met with the editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and met with and sent a letter to State Rep. Robin Vos to clearly articulate the status of our reserves. As I have done, I encourage you to help get out the facts about our financial situation. Just last week, the state got some good news described in the Wheeler Report. The news was that the Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau has released new revenue numbers for the State and that the projected ending balance for the 2013-2015 biennium has increased by $911.9 million. This increase was attributable to nearly $900 million in additional tax collections. I will lobby the State to allocate some of these funds to the UW System, particularly to address faculty and staff compensation. Last fall, I reported on the differences in general purpose revenue (GPR) and tuition allocation to the UW System campuses. In this biennium, the legislature asked the UW System to come up with a new, easy-to-understand and transparent model for distributing GPR and tuition to campuses. Last month, I volunteered and was later appointed to a working group to develop the new distribution model for the UW System. We had our first meeting this past Friday, and I am confident that the committee will come up with a model that is fair and equitable to all campuses. Enrollment I am going to finish up on what has been a recurring theme in my past several plenary addresses: enrollment. Our current enrollment for Fall 2014 continue to be a concern. As of January 1, our completed undergraduate applications were down 7%. But we were not alone in the UW System, where not a single institution had an increase. Last fall, I charged School of Education Interim Dean Barbara Daley and Chancellor’s Designee Mone to help come up with a comprehensive Enrollment Management Plan for campus. As part of their efforts, they brought in two enrollment management experts, from UW-Platteville and Iowa State University, to analyze our enrollment practices and look for any gaps and deviations from best practice. Barb and Mark received the consultant’s report over the past weekend. This week they shared a summary of the report with my cabinet and provided recommendations on how to best move forward. The most glaring weakness identified in the report is that our academic affairs and student affairs recruitment and retention efforts were “siloed,” resulting in a lack of communication and UWM Spring 2014 Plenary Address
coordination between our many recruiting and retention efforts. It also indicated that we do not use data and technology tools most efficiently to make decisions on enrollment management. To ensure that all of our campus is moving in unison on enrollment management, the No. 1 recommendation of Mark and Barb is that I establish and lead a Chancellor’s Council on Enrollment Management. The council will ensure that we are following best enrollment practices by seamlessly integrating the diverse efforts of the Divisions of Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, and University Relations and Communications at UWM. Serving alongside me on the Steering Committee for the council will be Provost Britz, Vice Chancellors Michael Laliberte and Tom Luljak, and Deans Maria Gajdardziska-Josifovska, Bob Greenstreet, Sally Lundeen, Tim Smunt and Rodney Swain. Other members of the council will be appointed in coming weeks. The council will make high-level decisions to develop a comprehensive enrollment management plan for campus. The council will meet weekly and will be updated on the efforts of several cross-cutting enrollment task forces that will be formed. A second important recommendation from Mark and Barb relates to best practices of other campuses that utilize data to make strategic decisions on enrollment management. At UWM, we have used historical trends and traditional marketing techniques for recruitment. Best-in-class universities such as Georgia State are utilizing data and technology to make enrollment forecasts. This allows a campus to make sophisticated decisions about where to allocate time and resources during different stages of the recruitment process. As part of our enrollment management plan, we will be utilizing the expertise of our own faculty and staff to decide how to deploy our resources to increase yield. Looking over the consultant’s report, one individual’s statement really stood out. Someone being interviewed by the consultants was asked about a certain aspect of enrollment management, and they stated, “That part of enrollment is someone else’s job, I DON’T TOUCH THAT.” What struck me about that statement is that I believe enrollment management is everyone’s responsibility. I had an aha moment on New Year’s Day. While attending a party, I met a senior student from Marquette High School who wanted to major in Computer Science. I asked him where he wanted to go to school, and he stated MSOE or UW-Platteville. I told him that we had a great Computer Science program at UWM and that he could enroll in the Honors College if he liked smaller classes and more personalized instruction. I went on to offer him a specialized day on campus that I could set up for him. Later that day, I realized that working together, all of us can help solve our enrollment problems. If every one of our faculty and staff recruited one new student to UWM, we would eliminate all of our enrollment challenges. It is all of our responsibility to reach out to potential students, and I challenge each of you to recruit one student here for the fall. If you are successful, I would like you to send me an e-mail so that I can recognize you and your efforts at a reception in Chapman Hall or at the chancellor’s residence later this year. There is another tool coming on-line to help us all be recruiters. In one of my meetings with the University Committee earlier this year, Lane Hall suggested that social media tools could be developed and used by our faculty and staff to support our recruitment efforts and to tell our UWM Spring 2014 Plenary Address
story. Our marketing and communications department responded, and they have developed a social media tool called #PantherProud to tell the UWM story. #PantherProud will allow UWM campus news and information to be shared on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets with the click of a button. Such a tool can be very powerful considering that a typical Facebook user has about 100 connections on their social media network. If you multiply that 100 by our 5,000 faculty and staff, one story shared on social media would reach a half of a million people. As many of you are aware, more than 40 percent of our incoming students require remedial math. The success rate of students who graduate in six years and who require remedial math is only 24%. Considering the high value we place on student enrollment and success, helping students to succeed in remedial math is our most critical retention challenge. To overcome this challenge, our Mathematics Department, led by Dr. Kyle Swanson, launched an innovative pilot project last fall that could transform the way remedial math is taught on our campus. The pilot teaches UWM’s Math 094 using a flipped-classroom concept used by UW Colleges. The flipped-classroom design requires students to watch YouTube lectures at home prior to class time, and class involves discussions and practical practice materials. This project also makes use of ALEKS, Web-based, artificially intelligent learning software. The results of the pilot are inspirational. In the Math 094 pilot program, 84% of students scored C or above. During the same semester, 25% of students who completed Math 094 then attempted to complete Math 105, a for-credit course in the math sequence. Of these Math 105 students, about 83% scored C or above. The reviews by students of the new course format tell the story: “I have had math anxiety all my life and dreaded taking mathematics. I now like mathematics and am not scared of it.”
“I was shaking, crying and stressed in the first exam. Your help and guidance allowed me to shed all my anxieties and am now getting A’s. I never dreamed of getting A’s in my math courses. My family is just stunned that I am less anxious even in other domains of my life” “I love that I can watch the video lectures many times and not feel stupid.” I couldn’t be prouder of how our math department has taken head on an important challenge faced by our students – being successful in remedial math. I have been told by Kyle that the flipped classroom will be used in all of the remedial math courses next fall. Making Strides Forward Clearly, we continue to face significant challenges. But as shown by the Math Pilot program, our campus faculty and staff are extremely innovative and will tackle whatever challenges face us.
UWM Spring 2014 Plenary Address
As I’ve stressed in my three years as your chancellor, we must adhere to our mission, vision and values. And you have done just that: •
The Math Pilot program is an excellent example of serving our mission to provide highquality undergraduate education to the citizens of the state;
The Kenwood IRC, the Accelerator Building on the Innovation Campus, the new greenhouse, and the addition to the School of Freshwater Sciences are excellent examples of our vision to be a top-tier research university;
And the Kenyan water project is an excellent example of our value to be an innovative leader of change in local and global communities.
You should take great pride in your accomplishments and the strides forward that we are taking. As your chancellor, I couldn’t be more proud of all of you and of our great university. There will always be obstacles to our success. But working together, we shall overcome them. Thank you.
UWM Spring 2014 Plenary Address
"Making Strides Forward" Plenary address by UWM Chancellor Michael R. Lovell, Jan. 23, 2014