University of Wyoming President Laurie Nichols gave a State of the University address to faculty and staff at the UW Fall Convocation this week, acknowledging difficulties but setting the groundwork for the future.
The university, which is the state’s largest single employer, is still bouncing back from budget cuts, and significant staff and faculty reductions. Nichols presented the university’s new strategic plan, which focuses on enhancing workplace conditions, diversifying revenue streams and embracing transparency at all levels of the university. It also includes plans to grow student enrollment and improve student retention, as well as a focus on diversity and inclusion.
Others addressed the audience as well. Staff Senate President Rachel Stevens recognized that UW staff have shown tenacity, resourcefulness, and resilience.
But Stevens said she’s also hearing from staff that morale continues to be low.
“They shared that they often feel that communication on campus is uneven with staff in some areas feeling left out and unsure of the changes coming their way,” Stevens said. “They are concerned about staff compensation and our staff classification system. And they feel overwhelmed with the work loads that many face following our staff reductions.”
Michael Barker, chair of the faculty senate, also remarked that UW has gone through difficult times “with failed administrations, severe budget cuts, program eliminations, program consolidations, reductions in staff support and loss of faculty.”
But Barker said President Nichols and Provost Kate Miller have a solid plan and UW is on its “way to healing, stability, rejuvenation and moving to a bright future.”