UWM Guiding Values featured in chancellor’s plenary address

Photo by Alan Magayne-Roshak

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The UWM Guiding Values, a draft document created by campus leadership over the summer, and updates on the Best Place to Work initiative, staff compensation and current and future enrollment were featured in Chancellor Michael R. Lovell’s Fall Semester Plenary Address, “Mission-Vision-Values: Guideposts for action at our transforming university.”


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During the first month of the academic year, Chancellor Lovell has been distributing copies of the draft UWM Guiding Values to campus governance groups from the faculty, academic staff and classified staff. During his plenary, he called it “the working draft of our statement of values that will guide us as we initiate and respond to rapid, transformative change.” He asked the audience to especially review the values with a focus on “if something was included that shouldn’t be or something wasn’t included that should be.”

The Guiding Values are:

  • We value innovation, leadership, and collaboration that foster learning through education, scholarship and research, and public service.
  • We value opportunities for open inquiry to support the positive transformation of individuals (students, faculty, and staff), institutions, and communities.
  • We value a caring, compassionate, and collegial community characterized by mutual respect and safety.
  • We value diversity in all its definitions, including who we are, how we think, and what we do.
  • We value ethical behavior, based on integrity, accountability, and responsibility in all practices as a learning organization.
  • We value transparent and inclusive decision making.
  • We value stewardship of resources that promote sustainability, prosperity, and equity for all in the local and global community.
  • We value pride in our institution, our unique qualities, and our vital role.

He asked that comments be provided to him via the “Submit Feedback” link that is on his homepage, chancellor.uwm.edu.

Best Place to Work initiative

The chancellor also announced an updated website for the Best Place to Work initiative, bp2w.uwm.edu. It contains more information about the first 11 initiatives including PDF documents of the full plan for each initiative, team members involved with those initiatives and, eventually, dashboards that represent the current progress of each initiative.

The chancellor observed that “our present climate was created over a much longer time frame than the last year; and it therefore will take dedication, hard work, and years to completely transform the climate of our campus. I am excited because the Best Place to Work initiative will immediately help us to recruit and retain outstanding people.”

Walking away from the podium to emphasize the importance of an aspect of Best Place to Work, Chancellor Lovell recalled an occasion earlier this year when a UWM employee, holding back tears, told him how Best Place to Work empowered her to successfully address a long-standing issue of workplace intimidation and harassment.

Faculty and staff salaries

The chancellor acknowledged, however, that regardless of the success of Best Place to Work, “No climate initiative can replace increases in faculty and staff salaries. I am pleased to report that the next UW System biennial budget plan currently includes a faculty and staff pay plan.”

He later added, “We are doing everything we can with existing campus funds to make faculty and staff salaries more competitive. Specifically, the campus is using limited central and school-held base budget funds to address the salaries of meritorious faculty and staff who are most out of line with peer comparisons or whom we are in danger of losing.”

Chancellor Lovell said UWM’s efforts to alleviate campus-wide salary compression—the situation that has occurred as UWM hires new employees at current market rates while it has been unable to increase the salaries of longstanding employees because of direct and indirect pay reductions for a number of years—will require several years and “depend heavily on future appropriations to the University and on our ability to use these funds flexibly.”

Student enrollment challenges

Calling student enrollment “the other great challenge facing our campus” (along with salaries), Chancellor Lovell discussed decreases in Fall 2012 UWM enrollment and the positive example of how the School of Education successfully addressed a pending decrease. He then challenged all UWM faculty and staff to be part of the solution, “Recruitment and retention of students and advocacy for UWM is all of our responsibility and will ultimately determine our future,” he said.

He said according to the most recent Fall 2012 enrollment estimates:

  • Total enrollment will be 28,500 students, a decrease of 4% from the fall 2011,
  • Graduate student enrollment will be 4,800 students, the lowest since 2006, and
  • New freshman class of 3,355 students is down 25% from the UWM peak in Fall 2007.

“If the current enrollment and retention trends continue, we will have only 24,850 students on our campus to start the 2017 academic year,” said Chancellor Lovell. “We simply cannot allow this to happen.”

He talked about UWM’s multifaceted approach to turning around declining enrollment:

  • Maintaining quality of academic programs and ensuring a successful university reaccreditation process, which is being led by Associate Vice Chancellor Dev Venugopalan. “Our academic quality and integrity is vital for UWM to attract students, remain relevant, and align student skill sets with the needs of society,” said Chancellor Lovell. “I appreciate the hard work of faculty and staff presently involved in our accreditation efforts.”
  • Hiring Jeff Meece as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Services, a new UWM position. He starts Oct. 1.
  • Acting on a campus Enrollment Task Force recommendation to dramatically increase recruitment of out-of-state students from the current total of 28,000 contacts per year to 300,000 contacts per year.

He congratulated the School of Education and Dean Carol Colbeck for demonstrating how special effort can result in turning around declining enrollment. During the summer, the School of Education was facing more than a 7 percent decrease in enrollment. “Rather than sitting back and accepting it,” said Chancellor Lovell, “the faculty and staff called and e-mailed prospective students to encourage them to enroll at UWM. Today, I am proud to state that the School of Education will start the year with less than a 1 percent enrollment decrease compared to last year.

“With efforts such as these, I know that the people of our campus will work to successfully overcome our enrollment challenges.”