Dean's Update: August 2013

Dear Colleagues,

Greetings from South Hall. On July 1 I became the 12th Dean of the College of Letters & Science at UW-Madison. I have been trying to use the “quiet” time of the summer to learn as much as I can both about the inner workings of South Hall and the College. I spent June meeting with South Hall colleagues. One clear conclusion comes from these meetings: given the size and complexity of the College, my colleagues do amazing things.

Since my official start, I have been meeting with incumbent department chairs and program, center, institute, and school directors. People often speak of L&S as “the heart of a great university.” This is clearly true: remarkable things happen daily in the college on each dimension that we hold dear: research accomplishments; undergraduate education; graduate education; and the Wisconsin Idea – bringing the work of the university to citizens of the state, country, and world.

On practical matters, almost all continuing classified and academic staff and faculty members will receive a 1 percent raise effective for 2013-14. The biannual budget provides another 1 percent raise next year. These raises are small, but they are the first general raises since 2008-09. The overall UW-System (and therefore, UW-Madison) budget is challenging. I will have more information on this when I meet with chairs and Directors (and others) at the Plenary meeting August 27, 2013.

Many friends and colleagues wrote kind messages when I was selected to be the Dean in June. I wrote the following in response to some: I will repeat the message now as it captures what I view as our collective challenge in the coming years.

I'm excited to tackle the challenges the College faces. Making budgets align more closely with desired outcomes, increasing resources for the College (whether from the campus, the State, or our alumni), and thinking about the value provided by a residential University as the landscape of higher education is shifting, is fascinating, important work. I'm excited about opportunities in the College and I will do all I can to make a positive difference in the coming years. I'm humbled by the opportunity.

Let us know how we are doing at dean@ls.wisc.edu. I plan to write monthly, so please check this space again. Until then, have a great August.

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

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