Dean's Update: April 2015

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

Please share this message with your faculty and staff.

Dear Colleagues, 

I hope everyone across L&S enjoyed spring break last week – it’s great to see campus buzzing again as we head into the semester’s home stretch. Let’s hope for a big Badgers win tonight in Indianapolis!

I want to start first with congratulations to our exemplary faculty, staff and students who are receiving top awards, accolades and honors. There are too many to list, but I have a few that are top-of-mind, including faculty awards such as our three L&S Hilldale awardees, three Romnes Fellows and seven Kellett winners, and top student honors, including the four students who received Wisconsin Idea Fellowships. Once again, these annual awards show the academic prowess of our community. Congratulations to all!

I also want to acknowledge – and thank – my many other colleagues who may not be named in a press release but who nonetheless contribute their time, energy and efforts to make this place an extraordinary institution. I hope you had a chance to read Fueling Discovery, our special section in the Wisconsin State Journal that showcases our teaching, research and service. And we continue to make progress on the L&S Career Initiative, including launching the new L&S second-year career development course – “Taking Initiative” – to better prepare our graduates for success in work and life. These, of course, are just two snapshots of how we tell our story and demonstrate our value.

It’s no secret that we face severe fiscal challenges. You can stay informed on the latest developments by visiting budget.wisc.edu. I am working closely with the associate deans and others in L&S administration, communicating with the provost and leaders in Bascom, and meeting regularly with L&S governance groups, chairs, and directors. Many of you have heard me say this: while you may do it with a disconcerting degree of irritation, or with a very heavy heart, please continue to do the teaching, scholarship, and service you’ve done that helps make the university the remarkable place that it is. Many factors will contribute to the University of Wisconsin-Madison remaining an extraordinary institution three, 10 and 50 years from now. Among the most important is the work that you do each day.

As the budget process continues this spring, the Office of University Relations is taking the lead on communicating to the media and legislature about the overall impact of the cuts to UW-Madison. The aggregated story will be stronger than many stories about individual programs and units. We expect communications to begin in mid-April and University Communications is coordinating all budget-related media requests. If you or members of your staff are contacted by a reporter, please forward the request to Meredith McGlone in University Communications.

This month and next, we are again encouraging our stakeholders, including alumni, friends, parents and students, to contact legislators and share their personal stories about the benefits and values of UW-Madison. You can direct stakeholders to the Wisconsin Alumni Association Advocacy network, where they can make their voices heard and read the latest information, including a Summary of the 2015 Budget Proposal. If you have questions about communications and legislative efforts, please contact L&S Assistant Dean for Communications Megan Costello.

I know this is a difficult process with great uncertainty. I will continue to work with chairs, directors and governance groups to plot the path forward for L&S in the face of these budgetary challenges. Thank you again for your ongoing work on behalf of the college.

On, Wisconsin!

John Karl Scholz, Dean
College of Letters & Science
Professor of Economics

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