Chancellor reaches out to students, faculty

Chancellor Jim Schmidt inherited several responsibilities when he was selected to become UW-Eau Claire’s eighth chancellor last spring.

Communicating with Board of Regents members in Madison in regards to a new legislative panel he will be serving on, getting updated on the newest involvements of the diversity program, and getting briefed on finance reports were all on the agenda, before noon on Tuesday.

Schmidt said his Tuesday afternoon involved meeting with University Senate, conducting interviews for Channel 13 News and student radio on campus, and — a schedule something close to madness.

“My schedule today, I know is full,” Schmidt said. “You know what, I’ll have to actually look. My schedule fills up and without my gadgets here I might be lost.”

But Schmidt still finds time to talk to students and faculty members.
On Aug. 29, Schmidt went to upper-campus to meet freshmen moving in and talk to resident assistants about different topics.

“It’s great to see the wide-eyed freshman, their parents, their grandparents,” he said. “Seeing the Hall Raisers, faculty and staff were volunteering and welcoming (students) to campus. It just feels great.”

Senior information systems major Shane Meunier was a Hall Raiser assisting the move-in Aug. 29. He said moving in was a success and it was good to see Schmidt there on campus.

“I saw him for a little bit, he came up to me and the other RA’s of Sutherland,” Meunier said. “He was chatting with us a bit, super friendly guy. Seemed like he was really interested in what was going on.”

Chuck Major, director of housing and residence life, had a chance to talk to Schmidt on freshman move-in day and said it’s evident Schmidt’s priority is students based on how he talks with them.

“The genuine questions he asks really makes me believe students are number one in his eyes,” Major said. “He shakes their hands, asks them where they’re from, what field they are going into. It’s wonderful to see.”

It’s not just fun and games for Schmidt, however. He said he also addressed the Eau Claire City Council twice, met with the deans of all the colleges on-campus along with meeting with legislative bodies state-wide.

After appearing at the dorms to welcome freshmen, Schmidt attended Phase II Orientation Aug. 30 for the newest members of our university and was asked to speak to them.

At the end of his speech, Schmidt said Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Beth Hellwig, “let the cat out of the bag” that it was
his birthday.

“Two-thousand freshman singing me happy birthday was a first,” he said. “I think I actually blushed.”