All-University Address

Image of Prairie Springs Science Center Phase I from above with stadium in the background.

Chancellor Gow shares how campus is preparing for the future, successes of the past semester

UW-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow’s All-University Address Wednesday came on the heels of Gov. Tony Evers’ first State of the State speech Tuesday night.

In his speech, Evers outlined many priorities, explained Gow, but higher education was not mentioned among them. “I don’t think we’ll see cuts, but I don’t anticipate dramatic growth in what we do either,” Gow said.

Because of the university’s reliance on state funding for a portion of its budget, its funding can be somewhat unpredictable. Several years ago the university developed a strategic plan to continue to carry out the university’s mission by focusing on priorities.

Joe Gow speaking in front of an audience in The Bluffs, Student Union.
UWL Chancellor Joe Gow speaking at the August 2018 All-University Address.

Gow reminded the campus of that plan Wednesday, and he shared a presentation that highlights the plan’s four pillars. This same presentation was shared with the UW System Board of Regents during their December meeting on campus. See more on the presentation and accompanying videos below.

Gow’s address kicked off with faculty and staff who participated in RISE UP. In early January, RISE UP — Racial (& Intersecting) Identity Symposium for Equitable University Progress — provided a critical space for 35 employees from across campus to practice cultural humility, particularly from a racial justice lens, through an intensive week-long identity immersion and coalition-building professional development opportunity. 

The program’s premiere event, “Speak Out,” will be at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, January 31, in 2110, The Bluffs, Student Union. The event is free and open to the public.

During his opening remarks, Gow also introduced UWL’s new Director of Human Resources John Acardo, as well as other new employees to UWL this fall.

He shared recent awards including:

Revisiting UWL’s Board of Regents presentation

Gow shared the presentation he gave to the UW System Board of Regents in December. It highlighted the university’s history and growth, as well as its exceptional reputation, people and programs.

UWL continues to be among the top 4 regional public universities in the Midwest in U.S. News & World Report and on Kiplinger’s magazine’s ‘Best College Values’ list for affordability and quality. 

The university also continues to attract high numbers. This fall UWL welcomed 10,569 students to campus — the largest group ever.

The presentation also introduced the regents to the pillars of the university’s strategic plan. Those pillars are:

  • Advancing transformational education
  • Increasing community engagement
  • Achieving excellence through equity and diversity
  • Investing in our people

Gow shared a video highlighting UWL’s transformational education pillar and also the need for Phase II of the Prairie Springs Science Center.

Phase II of the Prairie Springs Science Center is currently listed No. 7 on a list of UW System capital projects to be considered as part of the governor’s executive budget. UWL is also requesting bonding authority for a new residence hall and new field house as part of this budget.

Gow also shared the impact of UWL faculty, including Professor Rob McGaff, Chemistry and Biochemistry, who began partnering with WiSys several years ago and has received multiple research grants totaling about $183,000 to develop technologies patented by WiSys. He was also selected to participate in Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF)’s Accelerator Program.

Another UWL faculty member Ariel Beaujot, History, and her students have made a large community impact through a project visible on the streets of downtown La Crosse. This national-award winning project is featured in a second video that was shared with the Regents.  

Gow acknowledged a UW-La Crosse’s College of Science and Health program, First Year Research Exposure (FYRE), that recently received the Wisconsin State Council on Affirmative Action’s 2018 Program Achievement Award.

He shared how, at the start of the 2017 academic year, UWL created a new Division of Diversity and Inclusion, bringing UWL’s diversity and inclusion initiatives under one roof. And that division is headed by UWL’s very first vice chancellor of Diversity and Inclusion, Barbara Stewart.

The primary role of the Division of Diversity and Inclusion is to ensure that diversity, in its many forms, is understood, respected and valued.  The Division advocates for access, equity and inclusion while encouraging critical dialogue, thinking, and meaningful educational interactions on campus and in the community.  

The Regents presentation and Gow’s address concluded with a video about a former UWL student and successful alumnus who followed his dream to attend college.

Gow explained that he frequently encounters UWL alumni in his work and travels. They usually approach him with a friendly greeting, “Hey, chancellor! It’s great to see you!” And while they share a bit about their life post-college, they also remember how much college changed them.

“You need to know the work you do makes a huge impact for students and it lasts a long, long time,” Gow said. “I hope you are as excited as I am to be part of something so big and so important.”

Gow acknowledged a large group of people who helped plan the Regent’s visit and his appreciation for all the work university employees do on behalf of the campus.

“I’m delighted the Regents are supporting a 3 percent pay increase,” said Gow. “You people make this a great university and we need to compensate you for that work.”