Vice Chancellor Darrell Bazzell’s 2015 Message

December 17, 2015
Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Darrell Bazzell

Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Darrell Bazzell Photo: Bryce Richter

UW-Madison Finance and Administration Staff,

With another year entering our rearview mirror, I want to thank you for all you do to make UW–Madison such an outstanding university and resource for the state of Wisconsin.

You continue to serve our students, staff, faculty and state in an exemplary manner, even in the face of unprecedented challenges. And you have good reason to be proud of the daily contributions you make in support of UW–Madison’s mission.

As another semester draws to a close, please take a few moments to reflect on what we have accomplished together over the past year.

For me, the highlight of the year may have been the reaffirmation of the state’s commitment to the Wisconsin Idea, the time-honored principle that the university should improve people’s lives beyond the classroom. The overwhelming expression of public support for this guiding principle, which is central to the purpose of UW–Madison and our partner UW campuses across the state, should inspire us as we go about our efforts to strengthen this university’s standing as one of the best in the world.

I see these efforts every day across Finance and Administration units. Whether you are providing student services in Housing, Recreational Sports or University Health Services or maintaining campus facilities in Facilities, Planning and Management – to name just a few areas – you are having a positive impact on UW–Madison, our students and the state of Wisconsin.

We continue to make progress on our important Finance and Administration strategic initiatives of Engagement Inclusion and Diversity (EID); Student Employment; and Resource Stewardship/Process Improvement.

It was heartening to see hundreds of people turn out last spring for a series of “campus conversations” on engagement, inclusion and diversity. These included a late-night session for second- and third-shift workers which drew the largest and most diverse group of participants to attend any of the conversations.

The sessions dovetailed with discussions that took place across the campus to advance the UW–Madison Diversity Framework and complemented other events related to diversity and inclusion. I want to thank our Finance and Administration EID Council for helping to plan and carry out these important meetings.

This ongoing dialog relating to engagement, inclusion and diversity is crucial to the future of UW–Madison, and we all must be involved. We can reach our vast potential – individually and as a community – only if everyone feels welcomed and valued. And we must capitalize on the strengths all of our students bring to the classroom and all of our employees bring to the workplace.

Our Student Employment Initiative, also known as WiGrow, continues to merge our commitment to a quality workplace and the student learning experience. Through this initiative, student employees get a big-picture view of how on-campus employment contributes to their overall learning experience and will benefit them when they graduate and begin their careers.

Our Resource Stewardship/Process Improvement Initiative has instilled a culture of continuous improvement across our units and continues to produce meaningful enhancements to how we do business.

Finally, I want to touch on the issue that has dominated the headlines throughout the past year: the budget. The 2015-17 biennial budget included significant cuts in state support for UW System and UW–Madison. While these cuts are impacting our campus in multiple and noteworthy ways, budget realities also are leading to resourceful responses across the campus that are helping us maintain educational quality.

The year ahead will present new challenges for the campus. I have no doubt that we will address these challenges with a sense of community and purpose and a strengthened commitment to the Wisconsin Idea.

Thank you again for your service to UW–Madison and the state of Wisconsin. I wish you a happy and enjoyable holiday season and the best for 2016.

Darrell Bazzell
Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration