Thompson urges senate to unify university

Thompson+urges+senate+to+unify+university

Jacob Bessette, Journalist

The UW-Whitewater Faculty Senate discussed how to work with Chancellor Dwight Watson on balancing the university budget Tuesday Feb.2, which featured a visit from Interim UW-System President Tommy Thompson. At the heart of the issue was whether to support the chancellor’s strategy of program optimization. 

Thompson spoke on the current fiscal state of the university and goals to strive for in the near future.  He highlighted the budgetary imbalance that needs fixing, with UW-Stevens Point as an example that went through a similar process and came out highly successful. While the budget gets addressed, he encouraged UW-W faculty to come together and show all the good things the university has to offer. 

“You’re one of the best schools in the system for educating teachers, you’ve got the best business school, you do the most for the handicapped,” said Thompson. “You’ve got so much talent at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and we have to make sure everybody in the state of Wisconsin knows about that.” 

Thompson encouraged Whitewater to get back to where it was and make it even better. He would like enrollment to increase to around 12,000 students, encouraging the multiple tactics and ideas suggested by senate members to get it back up. 

Chair Tracy Hawkins discussed current projects conducted by the faculty over the past year, as well as future goals. She focused on the importance of finding ways to continue to attract students from around the region to UW-Whitewater. Hawkins explained an initiative where faculty members can email their former high schools and ask about if any students are interested in attending Whitewater.  

“We’re working with admissions to set up information that faculty are going to be able to send to their own high school,” said Hawkins. 

She also noted a recruitment campaign from November in which faculty emailed over 900 newly enrolled students in their fields and majors. The emails welcomed students to UW-W and offered assistance in answering questions about academics.  

The Faculty Senate planned a meeting Feb. 23 to deliberate about Watson’s strategy for the university’s future trajectory. In the meantime, senators will be talking with faculty members to gauge opinions about how best to balance the budget and move the university forward.  

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