Dean’s Update: March 16, 2016

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

Dear Colleagues,

For many of us, spring break provides a time to take a deep breath, catch up on sleep, perhaps travel, and reflect. I will reflect on the remarkable accomplishments of our L&S students, staff, and faculty.

Congratulations to L&S faculty who won 6 of 6 WARF Professorships; 9 of 12 campus teaching awards; and 2 of 4 Hilldale Professorships. L&S alumni won 6 of the 8 UW Foundation and Alumni Association “Forward Under 40” awards. My April communication will highlight the University and Academic staff who are recognized by L&S and the Chancellor’s office. These will be announced soon.

Every chance I’ve had in recent weeks, I talk to alumni about external recognition, including this news: Our First-Year Interest Group efforts make the US-News top 20 learning communities. Thank you to all the faculty, staff and departments who support FIGs! If I focus only on the entertainment industry, Professor Jim Leary was nominated for a Grammy Award. Rolling Stone named UW-Madison Professor Craig Werner’s book (We Gotta Get Out of This Place) the #1 music book of 2015#1 music book of 2015. And a L&S Badger alum was a producer of the movie that just won the Oscar for best picture. L&S excellence is everywhere.

We have completed searches in L&S Administration. We are excited to welcome Cal Bergman, former Associate Director of Residential Life at UW-Madison, as our new Associate Dean for Student Academic Affairs. Cal starts April 11. Mary Ellen Gabriel, formerly serving in an interim role, has been named Director of Communications for L&S.

We continue to have an active retention season. We have considered more than 70 cases this year. Last year we had roughly 30. Of those that have been resolved, many colleagues are staying, despite having opportunities to go to some of the leading universities in the country. While we are sad about those who have chosen to leave, we are grateful for their many contributions to the community, the College and our students. The decisions of the many who have chosen to stay make me optimistic about UW-Madison’s long-term future.

Ongoing conversations about tenure are also very challenging. Most of us were disappointed by the outcome at the Board of Regents meeting on April 11, where the Regents did not accept any of the amendments proposed by the faculty representatives. Campus governance committees, the Chancellor, and other campus leaders continue to communicate about the need for UW-Madison to have tenure protections consistent with our peers. Proposed tenure guidelines for UW-Madison are on the April Regents meeting agenda.

We are working hard on tasks that will enhance our long-term future. Letters & Science will be a leader in the campus summer term experiment. Students begin summer registration in the coming weeks. Please help us spread the word about terrific summer opportunities for our students. Rebekah Pare and our colleagues in the Letters & Science Career Initiative and Career Services continue to make wonderful progress changing the face of career preparation for L&S students. Several Big Ten universities have been in touch to learn more about what we are doing. The course, “Taking Initiative” (Inter-LS 210) is showing outstanding results and getting wonderful reviews, as is the Career Kickstart residence community in Ogg Hall. And we continue to meet and, we hope, inspire alumni around the country. Gaining greater control over our finances and finding new ways to create value for our students will ensure we remain a great research university 10 and 50 years from now.

I hope you have a wonderful Spring Break. I look forward to seeing many of you at listening sessions or other campus events after the break. As always, I am deeply grateful for all you do to make the College of Letters & Science such a wonderful place.

On, Wisconsin!

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