Chancellor hosts second strategic plan dialogue

Janie Boschma

Michael Fine, political science professor, said it is a pity the 20-year-old classroom he’s been teaching hasn’t been renovated yet. He compared his classroom to the one across the hall, the new Cargill Business Lab in Schneider 203.

“I’m very thankful for their grants, but they come with a price,” Fine said.

Fine brought this issue to the attention of Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich at the second strategic planning dialogue in Hibbard Hall Monday.

Fine said the Cargill lab is only being used by one tenth of the students and not for the public mission of UW-Eau Claire.

“I’m not trying to pick on that,” Fine said. “It’s the philosophy that we’ll improve if we just get more money from the private sector without remembering that our principle source or revenue is from the public sector.”

Levin-Stankevich responded to Fine at the meeting, saying that right now less than 30 percent of the university’s budget comes from the state of Wisconsin.

“It’s bad,” Stankevich said. “But what is the alternative?”

Fine suggested it is the internal choices the university makes regarding the investing of money from the private sector to serve a larger population in the university.

Levin-Stankevich addressed faculty, staff and students for the second time this semester for an in-depth discussion about the important issues the university faces.

Mary Brukardt, special assistant for strategic planning, said more than 130 faculty, staff and students have attended the meetings.

Senior Chris Wagner said he went to the Chancellor’s dialogue because he was previously involved in many of these decisions as former president of Student Senate.

“I just wanted to see the transition that the Chancellor is going through and what plans he has,” Wagner said.

Most of the issues related to demographics. Robert Hooper, chair of the geology department, said he wants a more diverse student population.

Hooper said he would also like to see an increase in the graduate program, saying he is concerned that the number of students in the program is decreasing. He suggested the university be more aggressive when recruiting students, so it is more attractive to prospective students.

Levin-Stankevich said Monday’s discussion was good and had a good mix of issues.

He also said the next step for the University Planning Committee is to take all the feedback they have received on the strategic planning proposals – from the dialogues as well as the charities, held in September – and create a strategic plan. The plan will be ready for the campus to review and discuss in January.

“We need to have these discussions to re-work on what we are doing,” Levin-Stankevich said. “If the things that we are doing are not taking us in the right direction, then we need to find another way to get to where we want to go.”