Dear University community,
There is just something about the energy of opening week, of students returning to campus, of faculty members introducing their courses and of all of us, in our varied roles, welcoming and assisting students as they navigate their first or next year of college.
We cannot set aside that we are dealing with significant financial challenges, but the start of a new academic year remains a bright spot, a reminder of why we do what we do and for whom we do it.
We had an incredibly successful move-in for our new and continuing students. Thanks again to everyone who made this possible. Even the online community offered thanks to the institution for making this process so smooth. I also want to thank everyone involved in organizing and running the many events of the past week that gave our students a chance to get out and explore the university, its clubs, its organizations and its athletics programs and to just have some fun.
And thank you for attending or viewing Convocation and Opening Day Honors & Awards. For the first time I can remember we had to add more chairs during the length-of-service and honors program because so many of you were there to celebrate your colleagues. The featured milestones and awards epitomize the excellence within this University, and I am glad we pause to recognize honorees and the many years so many of you have dedicated to UWO.
While we await the official 10-day enrollment census, available after Sept. 19, our first-day estimates show some signs of stabilization, including indications that first-year student retention will increase to 72% this year compared to 67% last fall.
Overall enrollment estimates from all three campuses indicate a slight increase in first-year students, 1,759 this fall compared to 1,750 in fall 2022. Ten-day estimates reported by UW System, which include estimates of high school students enrolled in our Cooperative Academic Partnership Program (CAPP), show an overall 1.7% enrollment decline at UWO this fall.
Here are the campus enrollment estimates:
- 1,470 new first-year students, up from 1,451 last year.
- 1,070 graduate students, up from 1,050 last year.
- Total enrollment stands at 7,949 this fall compared to 8,157 in fall 2022.
Fox Cities campus
- 538 students this fall compared to 594 in fall 2022.
Fond du Lac campus
- 234 students this fall compared to 235 in fall 2022.
Next week, the Administrative Workforce Planning workshop team will meet to begin developing a proposed workforce reduction plan. We have invited three to four representatives from each division and subject matter experts from various areas, who will be joined by budget planners, human resources professionals and a third-party consultant supported by the UW System, to develop a recommendation.
Workshop participants will follow three primary criteria when making their final recommendation:
- Needs of the institution to deliver services.
- Relative skills, knowledge or expertise of employees.
- Length of service to the classification, department and/or the University.
This will not be an easy process, and I want to thank in advance those of you who are contributing your time and insight.
I also want to thank Provost Ed Martini for the separate launch of academic planning workshops. These too will require time and energy from our campus community. I encourage you to attend the workshops to learn more about the process and to join in the discussions. The more participants we have, the better the plan will be. Visit the Academic Planning website to learn more. The first forum is in Reeve 202, 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Sept. 11. You can register through the RSVP link on the website.
This will be one of the tougher years this institution has faced. I am asking a lot of you as we work through the IRP, but I believe our efforts will make UWO better for the long haul. Thank you for the feedback and contributions you are already providing as we move forward
Chancellor Andy Leavitt