The Latest From Dean Scholz

November 16th 2018

Dean’s Update: November 16, 2018

To: L&S Administration, Chairs, Directors, Associate Chairs and Department Administrators

Dear Colleague,    

I speak regularly to alumni, students, staff, faculty, and colleagues in Bascom about L&S being a remarkable place. There are many pieces of supporting evidence: the success of our students, the accomplishments of our staff and faculty, and the attention paid to L&S by colleagues and institutions around the world. In that spirit, I’m delighted to share the online version of our Letters & Science alumni magazine. 

The magazine is a new venture for L&S; in the past, we have summarized the events of the past year in an Annual Review. Beginning with this issue, we fully embrace the magazine format to share the tremendous depth and breadth of our College each fall and spring. Please read and share this link! I would love every alum and every prospective Badger family to read it.

We are eager for your feedback, which may come to me or our editor (who has done a wonderful job with Letters & Science), Mary Ellen Gabriel (maryellen.gabriel@wisc.edu). Mary Ellen can provide you with additional copies, as needed. Please also submit your story ideas to the Office of Strategic Communications and Advancement through an easy online form. Our amazing colleagues regularly do remarkable things, so storytelling is something we think a lot about in South Hall. More evidence landed in my in-box earlier this week with a University Communications article about our colleague, Stephen Meyers, in Geoscience. The story describes Professor Meyers’ efforts to blend music and exquisite teaching to spark students’ interest in science. This is a great story about an awesome colleague. Our collective job is to help as many people as possible understand that the extraordinary is routine in L&S.

In our ongoing efforts to be an even better place to work, please participate in our second climate survey this month. You will soon be receiving an email from the L&S Climate Committee and me with a link to participate. For analysis and reporting purposes, your answers will be combined with those from participants across the College in a way that will not allow you or the unit in which you work to be identified. Recall, we conducted a similar survey three years ago and had excellent participation across the College. Your participation,while voluntary, is important. The first survey pushed us to redouble efforts to require regular performance evaluations; embrace the new campus PMDP technology; and promote transparency regarding implementation of the Discretionary Compensation Fund, Performance Bonus Fund, and Faculty Block Grants, among other initiatives. With this second survey, we can begin to measure areas of progress as well as identify ongoing challenges. As you are thinking about your work in the next couple months, please remember that proposals for Round 4 of the Campus Cluster Hiring Initiative are due January 18, 2019. I would love to see L&S continue to be well represented in clusters supported by campus.

We are a great college because of great people. I want to recognize and thank two exceptional L&S colleagues. My assistant, Beth Hart, retired at the end of October. Beth interacted with many in the College, is loved by many, and was indispensable for my day-to-day work as Dean. She is already missed. Mary Beth Roberts left in October to take an Assistant Dean position in the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. Mary Beth did many things directing the L&S Budget Office, but she was widely known for her mastery of tally sheets and budget status reports. We are working hard to fill these vacancies. We remain enormously grateful for all that Beth and Mary Beth did for L&S. They were exceptional colleagues.

Homecoming was in mid-October and many of our alumni came back to campus. They support us with their volunteer efforts, enthusiasm, and philanthropy. Their enthusiasm for the College and University makes me think about two things. First, the University has been great for a long time. As the current custodians of the College, we aspire to leave it in a better place. Second, only a fantastic place could engender such enthusiasm from our alumni. I see it every day.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and very best wishes as the semester closes.

On, Wisconsin! 

John Karl Scholz
Dean, College of Letters & Science
Nellie June Grey Professor of Economic Policy