What you missed over the summer

I love this time of year, when students return to campus and you can feel the surge of anticipation and energy.   For those of you who have been focused elsewhere during the summer, here are a few highlights from the last months:

There are a number of new faces on campus this semester. One is Laurent Heller, our new vice chancellor for finance and administration. Laurent is joining us from UC-Berkeley and took an interesting path to his career in higher ed. You can find out more about Laurent’s background from this Q&A.

Many members of the campus community have been engaged in discussion and planning around ways to improve the campus climate and make this a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all. I wrote a blog post last week highlighting these initiatives. In the 21st century, knowing how to live and work effectively in a diverse community is a necessary career skill.

As you probably know, we are headed into a budget year in 2017, when the governor and state legislature will set the amount of state funding for UW System over the next two years. The request approved by the Board of Regents in August is a forward-looking proposal with goals for new initiatives that align with our campus mission. Learn more about it here. I’ll continue to provide updates on my blog and at budget.wisc.edu.

While campus does slow down a bit during summer, there is still a lot going on here during those months. We are coming off the most successful summer term we have yet, with undergraduate enrollment topping 6,800 undergraduate students, a 10 percent jump from 2015. I plan to post a blog later this month which says more about the ways in which expanding our summer term enriches our educational offerings and adds to tuition revenues.

I hope all of you have had a chance to get away from work at some point over the summer. At the beginning of the summer my husband, Hanns, and I ventured to the southwestern part of the state. You can read more about our road trip here.

At the end of the summer, we had a different type of fun. Last week, Hanns and I went to the Minnesota State fair with Bucky, Goldy and University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler. We celebrated the many ways our two universities compete and collaborate. I grew up near the fair and it was great fun to go back for a day to see what was new and what had remained the same.

There have been many more developments over the summer. Get caught up here.

As we get started on a new semester, I want to say thank you to all of you who are part of the UW community and contribute to our mission of teaching, research and outreach. Every one of you plays a part in making this a world-class university and I appreciate the important work you all do.