Message to Faculty and Staff on Thursday, April 11, 2024

Dear UW-Green Bay Faculty and Staff,

Today, Deloitte’s Financial and Strategic Assessment reports will be released publicly for 7 universities.  The reports discuss the economic assessment and opportunities for us as well as Oshkosh, Parkside, Platteville, River Falls, Superior, and Whitewater.  Attached you will find three documents.  The first talks about our current economic assessment, the second potential opportunities for us, and the third, labeled UW Green Bay UFA, is a summary of the Deloitte reports along with a presentation I gave to the Board of Regents that provides context to those reports.  We will discuss all of this at the Coffee Break on Tuesday, but below are some important things to keep in mind.

Documents can be found here:

UW Green Bay UFA

UW-Green Bay Current State Assessment

UW-Green Bay Opportunity Report

First, the slide shown from Deloitte on page 19 of their Current State Assessment and again on pages 8 and 10 of the summary are crucial to put in context. It takes FY23, which was our worst year by far of the last 6 years, and projects out as if we have not made any financial adjustments in FY24 or planned reductions in FY25.  As a reminder, in FY23, we purposely chose to spend down some of our tuition balance to support our mission.  Page 11 of the summary talks broadly about adjustments we have made in FY24 and FY25 and page 12 outlines the projections for our tuition balance as a result, which shows a much more accurate and positive trajectory for us moving forward.  We pledged to end our “structural deficit” by FY25 and I believe that we have done that with the understanding that changes to projected enrollment can always cause us to have to adjust.  We used flat enrollment as a baseline for our numbers.  The Deloitte reports are a snapshot of our financials in Fall 2023. It is important to recognize this distinction and the heavy lifting you have done in recent months to set the stage for us to move into the opportunities before us.

Second, the structural deficit as defined by Deloitte does not include any revenue that we generate through our Continuing Education Division.  This revenue has been stable for some time now and we continue to seek to grow our presence here in the future as a unique revenue stream that we can rely on.

Third, on page 19 of the summary, I talk about our future plans to keep our budget on the plus side of the ledger and build on our mission.  I discussed further growing our dual enrollment and continuing education work, continually examining the sustainability of our program array, developing Phoenix Innovation Park as an entity that drives enrollment and revenue, exploring additional revenue opportunities for athletics, and continually pushing ourselves to have the strongest possible student support network.

Finally, at the Coffee Break on April 16th, we will discuss some of the other findings in the financial assessment and opportunities.  I have already met with governance leaders at the UC regarding the report.  Nothing in the report is new to us, but having these things validated by a third-party source will be helpful for us to continue to have conversations about our future.

Please feel free to reach out to me directly if you have any questions that you would like clarified.

Best,  Mike

The university financial assessments for seven universities and President Rothman’s statement are now live:

Design Minute

In this week’s Minute with Mike, UW-Green Bay’s Art and Design program is featured, including Assistant Professor Abbey Kleinert. She shares how students are combining art and science to develop a logo and visual identity for the NERR, and how a RISO printer technology levels-up what students can do. Listen below and check out the Design Arts program.

Art Minute

In this week’s ‘Minute,” Mike is joined by Associate Professor Minkyu Lee, advisor and former chair in UW-Green Bay’s Art Program. Students have the opportunity and are encouraged to take a dynamic approach to studio arts. Everything from painting to ceramics to jewelry-making and woodworking are there to explore. Mike speaks proudly of this exceptional program in the ‘Minute with Mike’ video below!

Giving Day Minute

‘AMPLIFY UW-Green Bay pride’ is Mike’s message in this week’s Minute. He shared this message today alongside Elizabeth Paul, Annual Giving Manager for UW-Green Bay who talks about the first ever Annual Giving Day being held on Wednesday, April 3, 2024. Both Mike and Beth encourage everyone – including faculty, staff, alumni and the community – to both donate and share their Phoenix pride through social media. Every donation, no matter what size, will make a huge difference!

Andrea “Tess” Arenas Minute

Collecting the oral histories from the Latinx community in Wisconsin is the topic being featured in this week’s ‘Minute with Mike.’ In the video below, Mike speaks with Dr. Dawn Crim, Vice Chancellor for Inclusivity and Community Engagement and Cindy Johnson in the Multicultural Resource Center about the exciting speaker and supporting student/community/faculty and staff events surrounding Andrea “Tess” Arenas’ presentation on Tuesday, March 19, 2024 at 1 p.m. at The Weidner. Listen below and learn more about the two-day schedule of events here.

Non-profit Minute

This week, Mike speaks with members of UW-Green Bay’s Continuing Education program who work with regional non-profits. Serving more than 67,000 people each year, Continuing Education offers a plethora of non-credit learning options, including education for local non-profits like the annual Non-profit Conference at Lambeau Field. This year’s event is Wednesday, April 3, 2024. Learn more here!

Career Minute

In this week’s Minute with Mike, the Chancellor is joined by Kay Voss, Director of UW-Green Bay’s Career Planning and Professional Connections. With the backdrop of the two-day Job and Opportunities Fair, Mike and Kay speak to the importance of providing students with the opportunity to connect with future employers in the area. This not only enhances their classroom experience, but creates community connection. Find out more here.


Minute with Student Engagement

It’s all about the students in this week’s Minute with Mike. Nearing the end of the Krash the Kress event, Mike chats with Katie Lesperance, the director of Student Engagement about the importance of what students have available outside of the classroom on campus. Katie shares that students are at the heart of everything they do and work hard to create a vibrant campus community for students to be a part of. Thank you, Katie and team, for all that you do for our students!


Minute with Student Services Center

In this week’s Minute, Mike can be found in front of the Student Services Center, with offices in all four campus locations. Whether it’s answering a question or relieving a concern, this office is vital to ensuring all students stay on their path to success at UW-Green Bay. SSC staff Sam Robinson and Lorrigan Puls join to share about SSC’s specialities– answering questions about Financial Aid, Admissions, Advising, Registrar AND more! Visit in-person or via their web page.

Update on UW-Green Bay Marinette Campus

Following is an email that was sent to all faculty and staff on Friday, January 19, 2024 from UW-Green Bay Chancellor Michael Alexander.

Dear UW-Green Bay Faculty and Staff,

On November 14, 2023, I visited the Marinette campus to discuss with faculty and staff changes that we intended to make for that location.  We discussed a path forward for the Marinette location and that we would immediately begin negotiating with Marinette County on how we would achieve our goals.  Our discussion centered on acknowledging the enrollment challenges we are having in Marinette, but that we had a plan to reframe what success means to us in Marinette.

We learned yesterday that someone released the internal meeting notes to the Marinette County Board and the media.  Our conversations with the County are still occurring, but our internal conversation has become public prior to us completing negotiations.  We will not comment on the ongoing discussions.  However, today I am sending you the draft communication we were working on that reflects the internal conversations we had back in November so that we are transparent internally and externally on our intentions.

In collaboration with Marinette County, we are working to make a paradigm shift to redefine how we will measure success, provide value to our constituents, and invest in UW-Green Bay’s location in Marinette.

Since the merger of the former UW Colleges, we have thought differently about how to embrace our locations in Manitowoc, Marinette, and Sheboygan.  We were leaders in openly stating that we would not compete with the technical colleges in our region for associate degree offerings and instead highlight select 4-year degrees on each campus that could best serve each distinct community.  We declared that all students at any location we serve are in fact all UW-Green Bay students and therefore, we equalized pay for all our faculty and staff that serve each location and created one governance and administrative structure for us all to exist under.  We added the Rising Phoenix program which now educates 367 students primarily in rural areas who can earn an associate degree with us while still in high school.  We have experimented and tried to find the right collection of offerings at each location that honors the investment and trust that each county has placed in us to be locally relevant.

These actions have placed our locations in Manitowoc and Sheboygan on positive trajectories of increasing enrollments and stable futures.  Our location in Marinette has not experienced the same trajectory.  Despite initial enrollment gains, we recognize that persisting on the current path will inevitably lead to closure.  Instead of waiting for a closure, we have chosen to proactively rethink our approach to maintain a meaningful presence in Marinette.

Beginning in the fall of 2024, we will suspend in-person classes at the Marinette location.  But this is just a small part of the story.  It is important to note that only 14 of our classes this fall at Marinette were taught purely in person.  The rest were online or streamed across multiple locations.  In the fall, we will keep classrooms with streaming capabilities active for courses that are taught at Marinette or coming to Marinette from other UW-Green Bay locations.  These changes will also deepen our connection to the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College campus that is down the road from our location.  We have articulated programs with NWTC that connect to UW-Green Bay degrees and will seek to expand the pipeline of students in Marinette who start at NWTC and finish with us at any location.  Rather than compete with them, we should complement the outstanding work NWTC is doing and provide streamlined educational options for people to choose from.

We will increase our investment in Marinette based on three pillars.  First, we know that the people in Marinette value the Herb Williams Theatre.  We do, too, and therefore will invest further to make it the flagship theatre northwest of Green Bay.  Just like UW-Green Bay has revitalized the Weidner Center on the Green Bay Campus, we will do the same for the Williams Theatre in Marinette and provide programming including art exhibits, events, lectures, performances, and education that engages people of all ages.  We already see this working based on attendance at recent events.  Second, the location will serve as an access point for students and community members for educational resources.  We will expand camps, non-credit educational offerings that are responsive to the requests of the community, and learning opportunities through our Lifelong Learning Institute.  These additions will help increase the number of people benefitting from a UW-Green Bay education and advance the quality of life and economy for all people that live in the region, not just primarily those of traditional college age.  Third, we plan to invite third party access to facilities that can enhance the capital investment Marinette County has made at the location.  We are working to sign a new agreement with Marinette County that will ensure that we can make great use of the infrastructure at the campus.

We acknowledge this will be a painful transition for those in Marinette that have endured countless campus management changes, but we must embrace a new model rather than trying to cling to the past.  It is our job to be responsible stewards of our resources.  Rather than try to perpetuate a broken economic model, we will reallocate our resources to the benefit of the most people possible in the area.  Having a UW-Green Bay location in Marinette is central to our mission as a regional comprehensive university with a 16-county footprint that spans the coastline from Sheboygan to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  We are not leaving.  Yes, it will look different, but it will not close.  We want our campus in Marinette to be an educational asset for generations to come.  This change directly addresses the tremendous upheaval that is happening right now in higher education as referenced in this article from the Chronicle of Higher Education.  It is why it is not a good strategy to do the same thing and hope for a different result.  Instead, we are creating the opportunity for a brighter future for our location by listening and learning from our experience thus far in Marinette and redefining a path forward to focus on a likely path to success.  We are proud to make this shift in collaboration with Marinette County to best meet the needs of the community as a higher education partner.