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UWRF Chancellor-Elect Addresses Staff at Spring Opening Meeting

Dean Van Galen[photos from meeting]

JAN. 21, 2009—Dean Van Galen, who will become the 18th chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, addressed UWRF employees collectively for the first time at the opening spring meeting Jan. 21.

“Lesser institutions could have spent the past year adrift,” said Van Galen, of the search to fill the top post at UWRF. “This institution is in very good hands right now and I’m sure you’ll continue to make progress all the way through June when I arrive. You have given me a wonderful gift in that I will be coming to an institution that is strong and in good shape. I appreciate that very much.”

Interim Chancellor Connie Foster outlined the progress that the university community has made on its strategic plan during the fall semester, including the establishment of an administrative assembly, initiation of a strategic enrollment plan, an integrated marketing plan and an academic prioritization process, and the opening of the new Joanne Banks Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry.

In addition, the campus has hired professionals in several key positions as well as made progress on numerous searches to fill other administrative posts. “We enter the spring semester with not only accomplishments to our strategic plan but a great deal of momentum as well,” said Foster. “We’ve not been standing still and this is to our credit. Our strategic plan has provided the guidance we need to make this progress.”

Van Galen, who is currently the vice president of advancement at the University of West Florida, spent the weekend in River Falls and met with numerous university and community groups. He begins his UWRF post June 1.

“The meeting that stands out in my mind is the hour I spent with UW-River Falls students,” he said. “The message I carried away the most was it is a place where faculty and staff get to know students’ names. Students feel they care about them and that it is a place where they can grow, be involved in leadership opportunities and be very engaged in the process. That cannot be said universally in higher education.”

He continued: “River Falls is a wonderful community. I really believe there is something special about the Upper Midwest and the state of Wisconsin—a spirit of optimism, a strong work ethic, an honest and straightforward approach to life and a belief not only in private gain but public good. It’s for these reasons that I’m very excited to come ‘home,’” said Van Galen, who, along with his wife, Mary, grew up in Wisconsin.

After Van Galen spoke, Interim Provost Terry Brown commented on the progress of specific goals and objectives related to the university’s strategic plan, and Lisa Wheeler, interim vice chancellor for administration and finance, concluded with comments about fiscal challenges facing UWRF, the UW System and state.

UW-River Falls, ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of America’s Best Colleges (Midwestern University, Master’s category), has more than 6,000 undergraduate students and nearly 500 graduate students. The university employs some 800 people and is the western-most institution in the 26-campus University of Wisconsin System. It has an annual operating budget of approximately $95 million.


Last updated: Thursday, 22-Apr-2010 16:09:23 Central Daylight Time


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