State of the University to the UW-Madison Faculty Senate
As prepared for delivery on Mon., Sept. 26, 2016 at 3:30 p.m.
(Audio of the speech available here.)
Good afternoon. It’s always good to see all of you at the beginning of a new academic year. I hope you had a good and productive summer and that the fall semester is well-launched in your departments.
I want to welcome the new senators, and extend my thanks to a number of people here.
First, thank you to Amy Wendt for stepping into the role of UC chair, and to Barb Bowers and Rick Amasino, who are new members on the UC, succeeding Dorothy Farrar-Edwards and Beth Meyerand, the outgoing chair.
Beth led the UC during an extraordinary year that included what we believe to be a record nine Faculty Senate meetings.
Next, thank you to Secretary of the Faculty Steve Smith, who has done a terrific job working on some big issues.
And finally, thanks to all of you for your willingness to be leaders on this campus and to serve on the Faculty Senate.
I also want to note two terrific additions to the leadership team:
VCFA — Laurent Heller joined us from UC Berkeley over the summer. He succeeds interim Michael Lehman, who stepped in upon Darrell Bazzell’s departure last March.
Nursing — Linda Scott joined us from the College of Nursing at U of I – Chicago in July. She succeeds Katharyn May, who stepped down after 15 years as dean to return to the faculty.
And I want to recognize Francois Ortalo-Magne, dean of the Wisconsin School of Business for five years. He is leaving at the end of this academic year to become dean of London Business School, and the search for a successor begins this fall.
The New Semester
Let me start with a reminder of some of the things we’ve accomplished here at UW in recent months:
- We kicked off the largest fundraising campaign in the history of this university – and we hit the halfway point to the $3.2 billion goal during the summer.
- We launched two rounds of UW2020, one of the biggest, most exciting research competitions this campus has ever seen.
- In a year with a larger-than-usual number of outside offers, we retained the great majority of faculty (70%) with outside offers.
- We have 63 outstanding new members of the faculty, many of whom the people in this room worked very hard to recruit.
- We just welcomed a freshman class that is the largest and one of the most diverse in our history.
- Our retention and graduation rates are at long-time highs – and we’re among the top public universities in these statistics.
- And finally, over the summer we were again named one of the world’s top 25 universities … and earlier this month U.S. News and World Report named us the 10th best public university in the nation (up from #11 last year).
- None of this would have happened without all of you.
A Challenging Time
While there is good news to share, there is no question that this is a challenging time for UW. Our budget has been cut in five of the last six legislative sessions, under both political parties. That’s kept us from hiring new faculty as aggressively as other schools, and it’s led to the loss of some really valuable top teachers and researchers.