Chancellor Ford Fall 2012 Convocation Speech
Good morning! and welcome to the University of Wisconsin-Parkside's 2012 Fall Convocation. It is great to be with you as we begin another academic year, our 44th year of providing quality higher education in southeastern Wisconsin.
As I begin my fourth year as chancellor, I continue to focus on our shared commitment to be a university where ideas are born, challenged, and changed and a learning community that enriches minds, changes lives, and brightens futures.
During our 2011 convocation, I asked you to engage in collegial conversations to reflect, to learn, and to study important questions by sitting together, seeking first to understand and creating the conditions in which you can express authentic feelings, think creative thoughts, and speak your truth to each other's mind and heart. Parker Palmer and Arthur Zajonc stated in "The Heart of Higher Education: A Call to Renewal, Transforming the Academy through Collegial Conversations," 'Collectively, as students, teachers, administrators, (and community leaders) we have the wisdom and experience we need to meet the challenges of the century ahead if we are brave enough to name what we care about, share what we know, and take the risks that transformation always requires.'
I am proud to report today you have exceeded my call to action. Thank you for engaging in collegial conversations, listening to one another, embracing opportunities, taking risks, completing your HLC scripts, for educating our students to meet 21st century demands, and for living the UW-Parkside mission.
As we begin, please join me in thanking the staff of Sodexo for a wonderful breakfast. We also need to thank our terrific staff in the Student Center, Creative Services, University Relations and the Chancellor's Office for their hard work to make convocation a success. It was truly a team effort.
Now, it is time to welcome our governance leaders and a few special guests joining us today: Jonathan Shailor, chair of the University Committee; Heather Miles, chair of the Academic Staff Committee; and Karen Grabher, chair of the Classified Staff Committee.
Joining us from the UW-Parkside Foundation Board are, Greg Anderegg, John Knuteson, Jim Kramer, Bob Toeppe, Rich Caskey, and JoAnn Murtha.
And from the College of Business, Economics and Computing Advisory Board: Kam Buhler, John Schoenwaelder, Jim Kettinger, Bob Toeppe, and Rich Caskey.
We welcome our state legislators and appreciate your important work in the region and at the State Capitol: Bob Wirch, John Lehman, and Samantha Kerkman.
Thank you all for being with us today and for your continued dedication, support, and involvement with the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.
One of the treasures of this role is meeting our retirees and emeritus faculty and staff and learning about UW-Parkside's first 44 years. Will our retirees and emeritus faculty and staff please stand and be recognized? Thank you for making time to celebrate the beginning of a new academic year.
And, one final group, will the new faculty and staff please rise so we can give you a warm UW-Parkside welcome. We look forward to getting to know you and appreciate that you have joined our learning community.
Your names and departments are listed in today's program and we have posted biographical information about you on the campus website and will feature you in Ranger Today, the campus email update. Please join me in welcoming our new faculty and staff to the University of Wisconsin-Parkside!
This academic year presents significant opportunities. Opportunities we have prepared for and are eager to seize. In addition to the very successful completion of the HLC self-study and visit:
· We stand today with three vibrant colleges and will launch the fourth vibrant college in July.
· We will advance the academic plan, and launch the new Professional Educator Development program.
· We will continue to succeed in recruiting, retaining, nurturing, and graduating all of our students.
· The University of Wisconsin-Parkside is future oriented. We are positioned to lead and succeed in the new normal of higher education. This includes stewarding resources to strengthen our mission; meeting and exceeding expectations of greater accountability; partnering with community and business leaders to meet regional human capital needs; and leveraging our superior expertise with new technology and models to deliver high quality academic programs to adult learners. I applaud the level of engagement from the team of faculty and staff exploring UW-Parkside's contribution to the newly announced Flexible Degree Option. I know that Provost Brown and our faculty colleagues will share their findings once the semester begins.
· Stories of our success will abound. We intend to share them with purpose and pride. To begin, we will publish a UW-Parkside Impact Report in September; strive to re-engage with our 21,000 alumni; and launch a new and compelling online presence through a new website. We will showcase the many assets of our learning community.
We have a great year ahead and today's convocation celebrates our hallmarks of Student Success, Academic Excellence, Diversity and Inclusiveness, and Community Engagement. We will have some fun as we move into a new phase of preparation for our reaffirmation of reaccreditation and the spring 2013 Higher Learning Commission visit.