Alumni & Friends

Information for alumni and friends on COVID-19 planning and preparedness
In this Section

Additional Q&A from Chancellor's forum. 

Previous live forums
Chancellor's Alumni Forum June 24, 2020


COVID related questions: 

Why did UW-Stout have to cancel the August commencement ceremony? Couldn’t it have been held outside?  

  • We had to cancel the August commencement ceremony because of limitations to gatherings imposed by the Dunn County Health Department.  Those limitations are larger for outside gatherings, but they still would not have allowed a commencement exercise. 

How has dealing with the pandemic allowed you to get to know your faculty and staff? 

  • I had seven days at UW-Stout when we were functioning under standard operations, and since then, until very recently, all interactions have been virtual.  While stressful situations often bring out the worst in people, I have truly seen the best in people and evidence of what makes UW-Stout such a special institution.  Faculty and staff have worked incredibly hard to put student success first and to plan for a safe and successful start to fall semester.  In an effort to connect with people and make myself available to the campus, I held open office hours throughout spring semester.  During the summer, when fewer people are under contract, I encourage people to reach out to schedule time to meet.  I also attend numerous department and college meetings, and along with members of both the Pandemic Planning Committee and Recovery Planning Steering Committee have held regular employee forums.  While circumstances are certainly unusual, I strive to make myself as accessible as possible so that I can learn about the campus, local community, and colleagues and community partners. 


Non-COVID related questions: 

How are you promoting inclusivity on-campus with budget cuts to programming, such as the Women & Gender studies minor and with STEPS being under Title Nine review for not allowing boys?  

  • Our efforts to foster and promote inclusivity continue and are across multiple avenues. We also seek to continue to expand our efforts. Although we were unable to run STEPS for Girls this summer, we are offering a virtual STEAM program for youth. We have received funding from Xcel Energy to continue to support initiatives such as the STEM Outreach Collaborative. The STEM Outreach Collaborative introduces young people to opportunities in STEM early enough to influence their interests through middle and high school. The programs within the Collaborative increases confidence to pursue STEM degrees and inspires students to consider career paths towards STEM. We also have a new position, created and launched in the past year, for an Associate Dean of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. This role is primarily focused on students and works closely with our Academic Affairs stakeholders. We also have an Intercultural Development Ambassador. In this role, a faculty member is receiving a partial reassignment to foster professional development opportunities for Stout employees in the areas of Intercultural Development, using the framework of the Intercultural Development Inventory. Sessions are offered throughout the year and in both online and in-person formats. 

What are your thoughts and goals of excellence for the athletic programs? What is it going to take to match the academic excellence?  

  • We strive for excellence in everything we do, and that includes athletics.  Of course, our first goal is to determine what the athletic program looks like for 2020-21 given the pandemic.  We hope to be able to make a decision by mid-July.  As we move forward, we have set goals to build a championship program and continue to recruit highly motivated student-athletes.  The overall GPA for the academic year was the highest ever:  3.37 GPA.  This is the 10th year in a row this GPA is higher than that of the overall student body.  Retention of our student athletes continues to be at or above 90%.  There were numerous individual and team honors garnered during the 2019-2020 academic year.  

How are you supporting the coach’s ability to recruit student athletes from across the country?  

  • Working through our Athletics Department, I am supporting recruiting to the degree possible given limitations to travel due to the pandemic.  A decision was made by WIAC Chancellors to allow coaches to meet with potential student-athletes once in-person campus visits resumed in June 2020. 

Does UW-Stout have enough funding to support all of the majors? Will you be eliminating programs with declining enrollments? 

  • Academic program review and determining program health involves the review of both quantitative and qualitative metrics. Financial metrics are one piece of information reviewed. We have ongoing processes in place to review all programs and the process includes program stakeholders. Suspending admissions into any of our academic programs is determined on a case-by-case basis after thorough review and consultation.  

Are you planning to develop and/or add to the Doctoral Education degree programs? 

  • The current Ed.D. program is a hybrid model to serve working professionals and includes some face-to-face components. The positive result of a marketing analysis may inform expansion or program revisions. Please reach out to the School of Education Director, Associate Dean Carol Johnson, for any additional discussion. 

Will study abroad be able to happen in the Spring?  

  • At this time, no decisions have been made about spring study abroad. 

Why do Stout instructors need a public union?  

  • State law presently prohibits collective bargaining by faculty.  We do not anticipate that prohibition changing in the foreseeable future. 

The health and wellness of our alumni and friends are of the utmost importance to all of us. Please see below for information on how we are adjusting to ensure the safety and wellness of our community. 


  • Is the alumni/foundation office open?
    • The Louis Smith Tainter House is currently closed to the public. If you need to drop something off, please call 715-232-1151 to set up an appointment during the hours of 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. 
  • Are in-person alumni events still happening? 
    • We continue to monitor the CDC guidelines for in-person gatherings and have been canceling or rescheduling our alumni events accordingly. Virtual gatherings for alumni & friends have been scheduled. For the most up to date schedule of events, visit our alumni events page. 
  • Are the Alumni Travel Adventure trips still occurring? 
    • Our travel partner, Collette, has currently canceled all tours through June 30, 2020. 
      • Statement by Collette: In this rapidly evolving situation, we want our guests and travel professionals to have the latest information regarding our tours. We are assessing tours and the regions they operate on a daily basis and communicating decisions immediately. We are closely monitoring guidance provided by the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, U.S. Department of State, and other public and private organizations to ensure the well-being and enjoyment of our guests and employees worldwide.
    • If there is a change to a tour that you have booked, an Alumni Association team member will contact you to discuss your options.
    • You can stay informed on their travel updates here.  
  • Is the development team still making individual donor or industry visits? 
    • Due to the health and safety of our development team, alumni, and friends we are have currently suspended travel until it is reinstated by the Chancellor.   
  • How can I help during this difficult time? 
    • Consider making an impact with a financial gift to the university: