Dean’s Update: October 2016

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

The College of Letters & Science is remarkable.  But we face a constant challenge:  how do we effectively communicate our great achievements to our stakeholders?  We have many target audiences. As we work to make L&S the “destination college” at UW-Madison, we need to convey the excitement and power of the liberal arts to prospective and current students. To raise money in the All Ways Forward campaign, we need to inspire alumni. And navigating the state budget process means eloquently conveying our quality, values and return on investment. And, of course, we need to inform and support one another, celebrating achievements and inspiring further accomplishment for all those who make the College what it is.

We have many different ways that we try to reach diverse audiences.  We have our partnership with the Wisconsin State Journal, “Fueling Discovery.” We have our wonderful (my objective, unbiased assessment) Annual Review. We write to incoming and prospective students. And in our travels and everyday interactions, we are ambassadors of L&S and UW-Madison. 

We now have another great platform to showcase our achievements and share our mission. On Friday night, September 30, we launched the re-designed L&S web site, www.ls.wisc.edu. I love what Mary Ellen Gabriel and her small and mighty team in the L&S Advancement Office did over the past eight months. The site will evolve, but it has content and images that will engage our stakeholders. It looks great on mobile platforms.  Please spend some time on the site and give us your feedback. Corrections and additions are easy to make.

L&S colleagues continue to do great things. The Institute for Research in Poverty was just named the single federally-funded national poverty center, winning a five-year, nearly $10 million national competition. IRP will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year. But this is the first time in roughly 20 years that IRP is the sole national center. 

If you haven’t seen it, Geography colleague Jack Williams wrote a wonderful opinion piece in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel explaining why he decided to remain at UW-Madison last year.

We recently distributed a memo to chairs, directors and administrators providing a college-level overview of the “Block Grant for Faculty Compensation Adjustments,” which is intended by campus to provide base increases for up to 20 percent of faculty. The memo also contains information on the Discretionary Compensation Fund, which is intended by campus to provide base increases for up to one-third of academic staff/limited appointees and university staff. There is also a modest “Performance Bonus Fund,” which is intended by campus to provide one-time increases for up to 10 percent of staff and faculty.

Colleagues throughout the college are participating in governance and other activities that make us stronger. Thank you to university staff, academic staff, and faculty colleagues working on the Academic Planning Council, the Curriculum Committee, the L&S Climate Committee, the Equity and Diversity Committee, the University Staff Issues Committee, the Committee on Academic Staff Issues, and the ad hoc committee on Teaching and Learning Excellence. I look forward to providing highlights of their contributions in the coming months. 

I am travelling a lot this fall, trying to do my part to spread the word of our remarkable college and university. My trips include conversations with family members of current students, in which I have  heard nothing but strikingly complimentary things about the experiences of their loved ones here at UW. I am also visiting some of our most generous alumni. L&S alumni continue to be passionate about UW-Madison and intensely committed to our bright future. 

The academic year is off to a very good start. Thank you for all you do to make L&S the wonderful place that it is.

On, Wisconsin

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

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