UW-Whitewater is dealing with budget challenges and declining enrollment, the school’s interim chancellor said during Monday’s state of the university speech.
Despite these problems, though, Jim Henderson said in his address, the university’s standing is “not just good but strong.”
He said three main goals of his as interim chancellor are to ensure the university’s fiscal situation is strong, to increase enrollment and to ensure the school hires a first-rate chancellor.
He said the school is looking for a chancellor who will be at Whitewater for an extended period and one that the students deserve. The previous full-time chancellor, Dwight Watson, resigned last summer after two years in the university’s top administrative job last summer after he was diagnosed with cancer.
Henderson is also looking to add a mental health initiative to provide students more support so they can better handle their studies, relationships, extracurricular activities and more. A survey will be sent out to students and staff to help with the initiative and include their input, he said.
On the enrollment front, Henderson said the university hopes to recruit more Black and Hispanic students. He said the retention rate among Black students has declined and that the university is putting together a task force to find ways to keep Black students enrolled.
After Henderson’s speech, a video highlighting university accomplishments in the past year was shown. These included the school being named a college of distinction and reaching a 70% COVID-19 vaccination rate, weeks ahead of schedule; visiting professor Bob Benjamin discovering a new feature of the Milky Way galaxy; the implementation of new majors, including legal studies, cybersecurity and a masters in marketing; and around $2.4 million being awarded in scholarships.