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Office of theChancellor

News and Notes

Mid-Year Convocation remarks

Jan. 22, 2015

The prepared text of Chancellor Miller’s Mid-Year Convocation remarks is as follows:

Thank you and welcome to the Mid-Term Convocation of the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. And, most especially, welcome to the beginning of a new semester and exciting new year.

Let me begin by again congratulating those celebrating a service milestone with the University and add my congratulations to the others who have been honored this morning. Thank you for your great work!

And, to those of you in the community who serve on the Council of Trustees and the other important university boards, please know how deeply grateful we are for you commitment to UWGB and your service to this great community. We are glad you could join us today.

It is a great honor for me to be Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. I have spent the past semester visiting with many of you, learning about your achievements and your commitment to our students and to this university. I have spent time with student leaders and enjoyed Phoenix athletics. I have studied our organization and our history. I have attempted to understand the tunnels. I have tried to connect myself to this great community by meeting with as many political and business leaders as possible, exploring service opportunities and attending meetings of where leaders grapple with this community’s greatest challenges and most important opportunities. Georgia and I rarely miss a Packers game. I have immersed myself in the work of the UW System, meeting Regents and chancellors and the great staff at the system office.

I am so excited about this place and its future. The power we have to create our future through innovation, to transform the lives of many more students in this region by inviting them to join the extraordinary learning community and to change this place to improve the human condition are limited only by our imagination.

It is a great privilege to be your partner in this wonderful journey.

I would like to do the following in my comments today:

  • Bring you up to date on a number of important activities and initiatives of the past semester and look forward to how we expect those to play out in the coming months.
  • Review the situation with the state budget as I understand it at the present time.
  • Talk a bit about how we will respond to the budget situation.
  • Comment on two other state higher education issues you might hear about in the paper.
  • End with quick look ahead to an exciting semester and beyond.

Review of activities and initiatives

Earlier, I introduced Dr. Stephen Fritz our new Provost. I am very excited about having Dr. Fritz with us of the next several years as we work through an important transitional period at UWGB and in higher education in Wisconsin. I am deeply grateful to the faculty leadership for their support of this increasingly common approach of asking a seasoned executive to join an institution to secure a thoughtful and transparent transition.

Stephen and I have already become close colleagues. He is committed to faculty and students. He is committed to shared governance and the importance of transparency. He is deeply committed to the liberal arts traditions that form the foundation of this university. And, he brings the breadth of experience that will serve us well in the coming years. It is my hope that he will expand our ability in senior administration to have access to your voices and your collaboration. I have asked the Provost to fully optimize our shared governance structure as we move forward with the new vision of UWGB. He has my full confidence.

For a number of years, the university leadership has been concerned about enrollment. This was an important topic in the discussions we had last year when I was being considered for this position. I spoke about our enrollment challenge in my first convocation speech and in my installation remarks and I have briefed the Council of Trustees twice on the issue. I promised we would begin addressing this issue in my first semester and I want to report on our activities so far.

Most everyone knows enrollment directly affects the bottom line. One of the first things we did early last semester was to develop, circulate and discuss clear analytical models of the effects of enrollment on budget. I want to thank Kelly Franz, Vice Chancellor for Business and Fiance, and his great colleagues most especially Dick Anderson for their work on this. These models for the basis for enrollment goals we developed for this year.

As we initiated discussions about enrollment early last semester and discussed the budget implications with various groups, it became clear that this university accepted enrollment as a commonwealth obligation. Nearly everyone who joined our discussion of enrollment asked how they could help.

So, on Saturday November 1 we convened the majority of the university leadership for an Enrollment Summit. The goal of the Summit was to create a plan to dramatically increase enrollment for the fall 2015. We asked Jennifer Jones to lead the effort which is now in operation. The plan has three phases. Phase I – Increase the size of the traditional freshman class; Phase II – Increase the number of transfer students; Phase III (concurrent with Phases I and II) – increase yield rate. In addition, Jen and her group is cataloging best-practices, building community networks and developing operational procedures to allow us to include the best parts of this initiative in future enrollment activities.

I am extremely excited about the progress of this effort to date. What is most exciting is the response we have received from the Green Bay community about our higher profile and our willingness to attempt new kinds of engagements with the local schools. These new efforts very intentionally address the changing demography of the area which is essential if we are to grow and meet the needs of this community. Our new enrollment efforts have also attracted additional philanthropic giving and more interest in our signature Phuture Phoenix program.

We have much to do with enrollment. We will continue to look at our processes in that area. I encourage all of you to work closely with the Provost as he works with university leaders to regain our enrollment edge in this region.

In a memo to the community in September of last year, I formally initiated a process called Invent the Future of Green Bay. The goal of this process is to use the transition of a new Chancellor to take stock of our university, to think deeply about some of our most precious values, to consider some of the most difficult questions before us and to mine innovations to be used for the future. And, in so doing help us develop a powerful future narrative for UWGB.

I am extremely excited about this initiative. Hundreds of faculty and staff are involved. The workgroup leadership has been outstanding. In my brief time in some of the workgroups I witnessed thoughtful, open and courageous discussions. The Steering Committee has applied an excellent structure and great leadership to this process. I want to thank all of you who are participating in this program.

Invent the Future of Green Bay was designed to end in the spring semester. The Steering Committee will work with the working group leaders to summarize discussions and identify themes and ideas for the future. We will then take some time as a community to learn about these ideas and engage in a broader discussion. I am very confident that what we will have then is a deep catalog of innovations upon which we can draw as we shape our future. I am confident the key elements of our future narrative will emerge.

Also in September of last year I released the design for a new planning process for the university. The new planning process is more forward looking with planning for the next biennium beginning in July 2017 to begin this fall even as we react to the budget imperatives of the approaching biennium. The process is designed to focus our attention on key strategic initiatives from our broad strategic plan and to help us understand the environment within which we plan and the key assumptions we must accept as we build our budgets and plan new programs for the future.

The new planning process is intended to be transparent and to work in collaboration with shared governance. The key feature of the new process is the University Planning and Innovation Committee. The UPIC is populated by some of the university’s best and most strategic thinkers nominated from the various shared governance organizations. The role of the group is to learn as much about the university as possible, work with us to understand the forces that affect our university and help us make the hard choices we will need to make to continue to grow in an increasingly resource-poor environment.

We have met with the UPIC and worked on a draft of an ambitious curriculum for the spring semester. They will learn about our budgets, the regulatory environment, the competitive environment, our enrollment strategy, our athletic program and all of the other major components of this complicated university. They will spend some time thinking about new ways to operate and make recommendations about where to focus our strategy. They will interact freely with the shared governance groups. This new planning structure will take us out of an episodic approach to planning and place us in the strategic position to build partnerships, anticipate needs, and grow enrollment.

As the UPIC gets up and running we will build a web page to track its activities and give everyone on campus a window to their activities. I encourage all of you to interact freely with UPIC members to learn about their work and offer your advice on the important issues they will consider.

We have worked on many other activities during the past semester. We continue to work with our community partners to understand how the university can have a meaningful presence in down town Green Bay. We have engaged the UW system economic development apparatus to look for new ways we can help sustain and growing and vibrant economy in this region. I have become very active in the New Era higher education consortium in the region. This is the group that successfully helped develop the Engineering Technology program we are starting next semester. The same group is working very actively to develop an academic program in Data Analytics, a project many of you are involved with. I have become involved with the local Chamber of Commerce, the New North Consortium, Achieve Brown County and other organizations working to improve health, education and the economy in the region. With the assistance of many of you we are reaching out to our alumni all across the country but specifically in this region to get their advice and their support. It has been a fantastic half year. I am very excited to be with you in this New Year.

Budget situation and our response

Let me turn now to more sobering comments, beginning with some comments about the State of Wisconsin budget.

To remind you where we are in the state budget process, the Governor is assembling his budget and will release it in a speech on February 3. As is customary I will represent UWGB at that address. The Governor’s budget will then be taken up by the Joint Finance Committee of the Legislature beginning the biennial process of shaping a budget for the Governor to sign or veto wholly or in part.

It is important to remember that at this point we do not have any concrete information on what to expect in the Governor’s budget. It has become well known, however, that the state budget is projected to have a significant shortfall. This is a deficit that must be covered.

Because of this shortfall, it is very likely the university system will be required to sustain another budget reduction in the coming biennium. The exact amount of reduction for the system and for us is yet to be determined. It is my expectation it will be mid-February at the earliest before we have a clear indication of the size of the budget reductions for UWGB. But, I believe it is prudent to initiate a strong, transparent and inclusive budget reduction and reallocation process at this time. I want to take a moment to outline how we will approach this activity.

The Provost will organize the development of recommendations for budget reductions in a transparent process employing the advice and wisdom of the shared governance bodies, the deans and other senior leaders and students. The University Planning and Innovation Committee (UPIC) will serve as the main vetting group for recommendations emerging from the Provost’s process prior to their submission to the Cabinet and the Chancellor for final determination. The Provost and I and other members of the Cabinet will regularly meet with the University Committee and other campus groups. We will hold regular town-hall type meetings to communicate activities of the budget reduction activities, answer questions and get ideas.

Working with the Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance, the Provost will engage the university in a process that will not only accomplish the required reductions but, more importantly, rethink, reinvent and reorganize a renewed university. The future of this university turns on the resolve, optimism and the deep commitment to learning that has sustained us for nearly five decades. The coming round of reductions will not diminish this university or alter our course to greatness. I am committed to finding the opportunities in this and exploiting them for the good of the university, our students and this community.

In the meantime, I want you to know we are not sitting idly by. We are engaged in intensive conversations with policy makers and those working with the Governor on his budget. We have provided a detailed briefing regarding the state budget situation and its possible effect on the university to our Council of Trustees, which, as you know, includes some of the most influential people in the state. The Council has an Advocacy Committee whose role is to speak to policy makers on our behalf regarding important public policy issues affecting Green Bay. We have briefed that group separately and they have organized themselves to very actively press the point of the importance of investing in higher education for the future of the Wisconsin economy. We are not alone in our belief that higher education is the future to prosperity in this state.

Shared governance and system flexibility

I want to briefly mention two other important state policy discussions that affect us: (1) shared governance and tenure; (2) system flexibility and possible autonomy.

Our system of shared governance whereby faculty and staff are included in the university decision-making process is a time-honored tradition in American higher education and one of the reasons the enterprise is so respected around the world. Likewise, the institution of tenure remains the preeminent guarantee of unfettered discovery and scholarship. Both of these institutions are strongly supported by me, by the President of the system and by the Board of Regents. These institutions are part of the higher education systems in all 50 states and continue to survive attempts to dissolve or alter primarily because, ultimately, they are understood as essential to the great capacity of American higher education.

In Wisconsin, the provision of shared governance and tenure reside in state statute. Chapter 36, which provides the operational framework for the university system contains these provisions. There is no other state in which this is the case. In all other states, the provisions of shared governance and tenure reside in the administrative rules of the governing board (Regents, etc.).

There is a determination to have the provisions of shared governance and tenure removed from state statute and the authority for both transferred to the Board of Regents. President Cross met with faculty leaders to discuss the likelihood of this happening several weeks ago. Steve Meyer attended that meeting and briefed the UC the next day.

While such a move is not optimal, it is my strong conviction and that of the President and the Board of Regents that such a move would not diminish shared governance or threaten tenure. Too much support exists for both institutions and experience from other states suggest this is unlikely. I am committed to both shared governance and tenure. I will be happy to visit with faculty groups who wish more information on this.

In addition to activity related to shared governance and tenure, you may have heard of efforts to secure more flexibility for the University System. This is something the system has fought to achieve for nearly 40 years. There is a hope the system could succeed in achieving significant additional flexibility during this legislative session. To be sure, there are many, many details to be worked out. I don’t want to go into those now. Rather, I want to make several points about this and invite you to seek me out for more information if you like.

  • This is not like the 2011 attempt of UW Madison to secede from the system. The new ideas involve the entire system.
  • While it might appear to be so, this move toward more flexibility is not a trade for drastic budget cuts. The fact is, the state budget is in extremely bad shape. System flexibility will likely not help that much in the short run. However, more flexibility does give us hope for system recovery and growth managed more by the Board of Regents than by legislative intervention.
  • This is not a new idea. Some form of autonomy like that being discussed is present in most state systems.

I am a strong supporter of placing the system on a more business-like footing with more flexibility as are all of the other Chancellors in the system and the members of the Board of Regents. It is a long needed reform of higher education in Wisconsin. I encourage you to learn as much about these discussions as possible before taking a public position on the proposal.

The future is ours

I have talked about the great powers we have to create our future through innovation, to transform the lives of students and others we contact and to ensure our place has a strong economy and a healthy environment for all people.

We have other great powers, the powers of personal character so evident in what each of you do every day for our students, our community and, importantly, each other.   We have the powers of optimism, courage, humility, and determination. We can count on these powers in the coming weeks.

Next year we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. The excitement of this celebration. The thrill of designing a future for this university. The possibility of even greater things to come. These are the things I think about every day. What a journey we have before us!!

Thank you.

 

 

Chancellor’s remarks: Convocation 2014

Chancellor Gary L. Miller addressed some 500 UW-Green Bay faculty and staff members Aug. 27, offering remarks during the University’s annual fall Convocation.

 

The prepared text of his speech is as follows:

Good Morning. Cliff, thank you for that kind introduction. Welcome all of you to the opening convocation of the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay.

I want to pause here to snap a picture of the crowd so I can tweet about this event.

[Snap picture with cell phone].

I am very actively recruiting new followers for my handle @UWGBChancellor. So, please go to your Twitter account and follow me!

Also, I will very much appreciate your immediate response to my brief remarks here today. To do this, please go to the Chancellor’s web page where you will find a link to a one-question survey which simply asks about your reaction to my remarks. This is NOT a gimmick. I want to hear what you think. I will read every comment. Thank you for doing this.

Let me begin by welcoming all of the new staff and faculty who have been introduced this morning. I had an opportunity to interact briefly with some of you at Shorewood Golf Course last week and yesterday at the new faculty orientation. I am impressed by the great talent and creativity you bring to UW-Green Bay. You are the future of this university and we look forward to seeing how you will change us for the better. Welcome!

This is my first convocation and I am extremely excited to be here with you to celebrate the university, reflect on our successes and, importantly, to look ahead to the opportunities and challenges that await us in the new academic year and beyond.

I am joined here today by my wife Georgia who is sitting over there [indicate her location]. I am extremely fortunate to have been blessed with such a fantastic partner. Georgia will bring to the Green Bay community deep experience as a business woman, community organizer, and social advocate. She is a person of unmatched compassion, wisdom and creativity. I hope all of you will have an opportunity to work with her in the coming years.

This convocation is a unique opportunity for both of us for two reasons. First, it is a great opportunity for us to meet you. Georgia and I plan to stay around after the ceremony for as long as possible in order to meet as many of you as possible. I hope you will have the time to introduce yourself to us after the event.

It is also an opportunity for us to thank you for the extraordinary warmth with which you have welcomed us to the university and to the Green Bay community. I do not believe I have ever moved to a city where it felt like home more quickly than in this move to Green Bay. Thank you all!

Later in these remarks and in the months and years to come, I will talk about the new realities of university-community partnerships, realities that call upon public universities to engage with their communities in novel and innovative ways. The University of Wisconsin – Green Bay was born of a determined community that wanted a university in the state’s third largest city. We are fortunate to enjoy the support of many community leaders. A number of these have accepted appointments on the Chancellors Council of Trustees, The University Foundation Board, the Alumni Association Board, The Founders Board, the Phoenix Fund Board, University Village Housing, Inc. and the Retiree Association. Representatives of those groups are with us this morning and have been acknowledged.   I want to add my welcome to these community colleagues and thank you on behalf of the entire university for your belief in this place and your commitment to our success.

[Please join me in a round of applause to show our appreciation to these great volunteers]

One of the most unique – some would say mysterious – features of universities is our governance structure. Because we value knowledge and understanding above all else, we are deliberately reflective and inclusive in the way in which we develop strategy and make decisions. We are fortunate to have four highly engaged governance bodies at Green Bay and each of them has representatives here today. I would like to ask members of the Faculty Senate, the Academic Staff Committee, the University Staff Committee, and the Student Government Association to stand so we can thank you for your great work on behalf of the university.

[Lead applause to thank members of these groups]

I want to pledge to these campus leaders and to the rest of you here today my deep belief in and commitment to the university governance traditions. Being inclusive and transparent is essential if we are to move forward together and I will always appreciate reminders from you if we stray from that imperative.

I also want to say to you that being reflective and collaborative cannot mean inaction nor should it appease our fear of the unknown. The real power in reflection and deliberation is in making sound and sometimes difficult choices. As I will emphasize in the coming months, whether we like it or not, we are at a point where we have to make some choices in public higher education. That we do this with great collegiality and a spirit of excitement about the future is our goal.

There are no great universities without great faculty and staff. Ultimately, whatever we do at Green Bay will depend on the creativity and commitment of the people who work at the university. And, so, it is exciting and fitting that we use this convocation to celebrate the work of some of our faculty. I want to add my congratulations to the recipients of the named professorships who were introduced earlier in this program. These are national leaders in their field and we celebrate their achievements here today and count on their leadership going forward. We also celebrate the great generosity of the donors who made these awards possible. I would like to ask those individuals to stand once more to be recognized.

[Lead applause for named professors]

It is also important to recognize and thank those campus leaders who have been presented the Founders Association Awards for Excellence. These awards are strong testament to a deep commitment to excellence. Would these awardees please stand once again so we can thank you.

[Lead applause for SOFAS award winners].

The transition of a new chancellor is an opportunity for the university to pause and think about where it has been and where it might go. It can be – I hope it will be – a precious and special time. It can also be a bit unsettling and I want you to know I recognize that. Any transition in leadership will bring change. Change is both inevitable and very hard. The way in which we embrace it together is a measure of our character.

In a way, during these first few weeks as Chancellor, I am like a consultant. I meet with people and read about what the university is doing and plans to do. The conclusions I make about the university strategy and operations at this early stage are based mostly on my own experience and my understanding of the environment in which the university operates.   I don’t yet have the deep network of relationships inside and outside the university that will be required for me to provide the kind of leadership you expect. And, frankly, I am not even sure at this point how to get back to my office once this event is over.

So, for the coming weeks, I will continue my education about the university and the community while getting to know as many of you as possible. I will need your help in this. Indeed, you have already provided me an enormous gift with your responses to the short set of questions in the survey I sent to the campus and community several weeks ago. I received those responses last week and I have been reading them closely and will continue to study them in the coming weeks. It is important that you know what is being said by your colleagues about the university and, so, I will be arranging times with various groups of you to provide a more formal summary of your thinking. There are some interesting and important patterns in your responses that will help us in our work together in inventing the future of UWGB. A number of these patterns expose areas of concern and uncertainty that will require our attention. Many of your comments contained suggestions for how to address challenges and opportunities and all of these must be considered. There will be time to tackle those later. What I want to mention today are the positive themes:

  • The affection for this university both on campus and in the community is deep.
  • The expectations for this university are extremely high.
  • Despite the difficulties of recent years which have dampened morale, optimism still shows through.
  • People on this campus like and respect one another.
  • Our commitment to our students is extraordinary.
  • And, importantly, there is a widespread desire to be innovative in a time of great change.

What I get from this is a great sense of optimism about the possibilities here. We don’t know the path, we can’t yet predict the changes we will make but we know that there is a very strong commitment to this place, to each other and to the power of innovation and creativity, which we must always remember is part of the DNA of UW Green Bay.

At this early stage in my tenure here I am not prepared to express the broad vision of the future of this great university. On November 14, we will convene for a formal installation of the Chancellor. At that event I will express a more definitive narrative of the future of this university. This will be a consensus narrative that will leverage our strengths and look to the future. It will reveal some choices we will have to make and reflect how we will invest our resources for the coming decade.

To be prepared to express this narrative, we will have to engage in the following activities in the coming months. We must:

  • Reexamine our strategy with an investment mindset. Where do we commit limited resources?
  • Begin the process of deep reflection about the academic program portfolio. This is the most important imperative of the contemporary public university and it is one of the most difficult things to do. But, it must be done in order to ensure we have the best array of programs for the future our students will face.
  • Reexamine the connection between our program philosophy and the success of our graduates in the new interdependent global workplace.
  • Examine our organizational structure to determine where we can nurture a culture of the commonwealth that will leverage the resources we have for the benefit of the entire university.
  • Understand our enrollment strategy within the new demographic and competitive realities. An important goal is to make enrollment an institution-wide responsibility.
  • Link our budget processes directly with strategy through a more transparent and inclusive budget process.
  • Build on the community engagement traditions and academic strengths of the university to develop partnerships in the community that create jobs and nurture the economy.
  • Understand how to present ourselves to the outside world in a way that captures the excitement we feel in our work, the imagination of potential students of all ages and the expectations of the Green Bay community.
  • And, most importantly, create a culture of innovation whereby managed risk is embraced and new ideas are given a chance to thrive.

We will be working with great vigor in the coming weeks to organize ourselves to conduct these activities, which, in some cases, will require most of the year and more. This work will require extraordinary effort on the part of all of us. The tempo of our activities will be higher than normal. There will be more than the usual number of working groups and committees. I ask for your support in this and I promise you ice cream at the end!!

I want to emphasize here that these activities cannot divert our attention from a number of important continuing and fundamental challenges of the university.

  • The compensation levels for faculty and staff at the university are not commensurate with those of peer institutions around the country and not acceptable to me. We must continue to work on this issue because, as I emphasized in the beginning of these remarks, our greatest asset is our human capital.
  • Like any long standing university system, there are inequities in the funding levels among institutions that are the result of hundreds of individual decisions over the years. I will continue to address these legacy issues with the system and the state and, indeed, have already begun to do so with the help of our very committed Council of Trustees.
  • We must continue to examine our facilities and work with our friends and the system to provide the very best venues for our faculty, staff and students.

Let me conclude my remarks today by telling you why I believe this is such a wonderful opportunity and why I wanted to come here.

I have committed my entire work life to American higher education. Since World War II, no enterprise on Earth has been more successful at preparing creative and engaged citizens. The rise of the American meritocracy and the ascendancy of the United States after WWII can be attributed in large measure to access to public higher education. Until 15 or 20 years ago most Americans believed in the commonwealth value of higher education. That is, the benefit of colleges and universities accrued both to the recipient of the degree and to society at large.

This is no longer the case. State divestment in public higher education over the past two decades has tracked a change in attitudes about colleges and universities. Today, most Americans believe that only the degree recipient benefits from higher education. Thus, state investment is less important.

This shift in attitudes has affected all of public higher education but most especially comprehensive universities like Green Bay, where our survival has been dependent on state subsidy and an access imperative. It is important for all of us to understand – even as we grieve our loss – we are no longer primarily a state-subsidized entity. We are essentially a private enterprise competing in a competitive market within a dense regulatory bubble. Our obligation to the State of Wisconsin must never waiver. But our best chance to contribute is to act more like a private university. This is why our community partnerships and our enrollment strategy are so important.

What we are about in our time is inventing a new way to Engage in Public Life as an institution. It is fitting in this transformative time that this is our Common Theme for the year: Engaging in Public Life. There has never been a time in public higher education when understanding how to do this has been more important.

But the loss of state support is not the only challenge we face. Indeed, I do not believe it is the biggest challenge.

We are at what Tom Friedman calls a “Gutenberg moment” in education. Nearly anyone in the world can create content and publish that content for a global audience. Learning is a more or less continuous process having very little real connection to the physical structures of the university. Just today over 1 billion searches will be issued on Google – each of those searches is a question of some kind. Before the sun sets today somewhere around 250 million emails will have been sent, 100 million tweets will have been issued and about 36 million hours of video will have been uploaded to YouTube (about the same as 176,000 full length Hollywood movies.) I expect some of you are engaged in one or more of those activities at this very moment! Massive, virtual, global social networks and gigantic data bases trace and record the billions of human communications and transactions that occur each minute.

Overlaying this technology revolution are some pretty important global social changes that have a direct effect on the lives of our graduates whether they stay in Green Bay or travel the world. We are experiencing a massive growth in the global middle class, much of it occurring in Asia and very little occurring in this country. Wealth and income inequality is rapidly expanding even in developed countries. Today the wealthiest 85 people in the world own more wealth than the bottom half the world’s population – 3.5 billion people.

We are also experiencing a dramatic increase in global urbanization. In the last U.S. census over 60% of the nation’s largest cities experienced population growth in the city core. Importantly, this growth was about equally distributed between young people and those nearing retirement. At the same time, suburbs are becoming increasingly more diversified as preferred locations for many emerging minority populations in the US. This past year was the first year in the history of the US where Caucasian students were a minority in public high schools.

Within their lifetimes, our students will also face unprecedented change in the global climate. The debate about the extent to which humans are responsible for the current accelerating pace of climate change notwithstanding, there is widespread agreement that the climate is changing and the change will reshape the distribution of water and agriculture throughout the world, affect human migration patterns, initiate new disease cycles, change energy dynamics and, through these, affect the global economy. The outlook here need not necessarily be negative. But, this will certainly affect the commerce, employment and the imperatives and responsibilities of citizenship in coming generations and this is something we must be aware of as we prepare our students for their lives beyond college. There are few universities in the country better prepared to take on this important obligation to the future.

The explosion of technology, global social and demographic changes and changes in our climate are altering the work world for our graduates. The high wage, middle skill jobs that fueled the growth of the middle class after WWII have all but disappeared in America. Entry level positions now require sets of skills formerly expected of mid-management. Current estimates are that 70% of the new jobs in the New North will require at least a bachelor’s degree. But employers are telling us they can’t find graduates with the right set of skills for many of these entry level positions.

Graduates today can expect to have as many as 7 to 10 different jobs by the time they are middle aged. Most of those jobs have not yet been invented and the technology required to do those jobs has not yet emerged. The idea that there is a one-to-one correspondence between an academic major and a job no longer holds and this is also becoming true in some of the professions.

What other university in the country is better able to prepare students to enter a world that requires extraordinary levels of creativity, the ability to quickly range intellectually across different disciplines, the capacity to work collaboratively and with great adaptability all focused on solving real problems to improve the human condition, advance commerce and sustain the ecosystem than the University of Wisconsin Green Bay? I believe there are very few. This is why I wanted to be at Green Bay with you. This is why I am so excited to be here today!

I do not come here with all the answers. I come here with a deep commitment to the transforming power of higher education for both individuals and society. As your Chancellor, I will demonstrate that passion by listening with great intensity, asking lots of questions and with your advice making the hard decisions that will be required to grow this university’s ability to affect real change in Wisconsin and the country.

Thank you for your attention this morning and….

Go Phoenix!!

2014 Fall Convocation

The Fall 2014 Employee Convocation kicks off the academic year at 10 a.m. Wednesday, August 28, in the University Union’s Phoenix Room.

Date:  Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Time: 10 a.m.
Location: Phoenix Room, University Union
Program:

  • Introduction of new faculty and staff
  • Introduction of Named Professorship recipients
  • Presentation of Founders Association Awards for Excellence
  • Remarks by Chancellor Gary L. Miller
  • Lunch in Leona Cloud Commons

R.S.V.P.: RSVP by August 22 to Paula Marcec, marcecp@uwgb.edu