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Published August 01, 2022
By 01, 2022
Dear University Community,
It has been a while since I have written to you all directly, something I plan to work on doing much more going forward. The summer is racing by and -- taking little pause on this beautiful weekend in Laradise -- I would like to take note of a few things that have been on my mind.
Foremost of all, I want to thank you all for continuing to welcome Gab and me to this community. I am now fully a month into my third year as president, and I continue to feel privileged and honored. Given the difficult circumstances of my start over two years ago now, with COVID, budget cuts and a house that took nearly two years to design, build and finish, in many ways I feel like we are just getting started.
With all this behind us, and with both my office team and cabinet now nearly complete (with Provost Carman, VPRED Chitnis, and now VP for Gov. Affairs and Community Engagement Mike Smith), I have great optimism for the future of UW. I’d like to point out just a few reasons why!
-- We managed to address some key budget problems, including salary and construction last year, and the budget outlook is improving. Stay tuned for more!
-- In spite of our challenges of the last two years, we did make progress on some new initiatives and organizational changes that should enhance our offerings to students, put us in better position to raise external funds and enhance our impact on our state.
-- We are making great strides in planning, both by addressing fundamental problems of the foundations of the university caused by successive budget cuts over the past decade and moving to the future, with renewed emphasis on institutional excellence, student success, service to our state and establishing an improved financial position, with a new strategic plan underway.
-- And there is truly great news for universities nationwide, including UW! Last week, Congress passed the so-called Chips and Science Act, which will add VERY significant (once-in-a-generation) funding to federal agencies including NSF, DOE, NASA, NIST and Commerce, with specific call-outs for dramatically increasing support for EPSCoR and rural areas of the U.S., like Wyoming. It is a tectonic, long-term shift in funding orientation (much more innovation) and amount (nearly doubling NSF funding, for example), and we will be ready! VP Chitnis and I will communicate further soon on this.
But perhaps best and most important of all, with COVID restrictions relaxing, we have a sense that the campus is coming back to life, with people meeting in person, and as a result many of you are getting reacquainted with one another for the first time in a while, rebuilding our sense of community. Likewise, for the first time, I am getting to know many of you in-person. This helps me enormously in better knowing and understanding the great campus community we have, and I promise to continue to work to know and better communicate with you all going forward. But just to put it simply, it feels so much better to see and interact with you in person.
With this as a new starting point, I am so looking forward to the coming year, to working with you all -- students, staff, faculty and community -- as we embark on building a strong future for UW and the state.
Best wishes to you all as you take some time, perhaps with family for a vacation, or to get those great projects advanced, and certainly to prepare for what should be a very good year for us going forward.
Ed Seidel, President