Leavitt plans for new school year

Jessica Johnson

Chancellor Leavitt greets guest at his first-day reception in Reeve Memorial Union on Nov. 3, 2014. Leavitt’s official installation is on Friday, Sept. 19.
[/media-credit] Chancellor Leavitt greets guest at his first-day reception in Reeve Memorial Union on Nov. 3, 2014. Leavitt’s official installation is on Friday, Sept. 19.

Chancellor Andrew Leavitt’s installation ceremony on Sept. 18 will signify a change of leadership at UW Oshkosh. Leavitt will be installed as UWO’s 11th chancellor at the Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture Museum at 2 p.m. “It’s an acknowledgement from the system that there has been a change in the current leadership,” Leavitt said. “The chancellor’s medallion will be draped around my neck at a certain point during the ceremony, and I will be invested as the new chancellor.” Leavitt said things have been going great since he accepted the chancellor position, and he has enjoyed every minute of the job. “It’s a lot of fun to be around highly energetic and creative people, both students, faculty and staff,” Leavitt said. Associate Professor of History Michelle Kuhl said Leavitt has made a good impression so far with his positive attitude and high degree of visibility. “He has taken a very negative budget situation and worked with faculty and staff to find the best possible solution with a high degree of transparency,” Kuhl said. “With breakfast forums and email updates, he has sent the message that he wants to hear our suggestions and he wants to keep us informed.” According to Leavitt, getting out on campus and being an active member of the campus community is his favorite part of the job. “Getting out of this office and going to see students perform, whether it is a lecture in an academic setting or athletic event, is a really great way to get out and support the students,” Leavitt said. “It is why we are here.” Radiologic science major Bailey Mickelson said Leavitt is doing an excellent job of being an active participant on campus. “I’ve seen him at multiple campus events, ranging from watching the drag show on campus last spring to talking to new students this fall during move in week, which to me shows he cares about this institution and the students in it,” Mickelson said. Leavitt said there is a number of things he would like to implement during the 2015-2016 school year; one of them is to create a greater sense of workplace joy for the faculty and staff on campus. “Create the conditions where this really becomes a terrific place to work, not that it isn’t already, but I think there are things we can do as an institution to make life a little easier for the people who work here, and in the end will be beneficial for the students, ” Leavitt said. Kuhl said she is divided on what she would like to see from Leavitt during the 2015-2016 school year. “On the one hand, I would like to have a chancellor that is fighting for us,” Kuhl said. “The university system is under attack, and I would like to see a stronger champion defending us and our values. On the other hand, that might not be the most strategic stance for our long-term interests.” Kuhl said she appreciates the difficult job Chancellor Leavitt has with a huge array of opposing community members to please, but concluded she does not want to see a major change right now. “I’m going to trust that he is doing the best he can and has our best interests at heart,” Kuhl said. According to Leavitt, his goal for the future is for the University to be what he is calling a research- enhanced comprehensive institution that focuses on student success, liberal education and sustainability. Senior psychology major Mikayla Wheeler said she hopes Leavitt continues to overcome challenges and make strides towards a prosperous and well-rounded institution. “I think he has done a great job so far of handling the setbacks and challenges that have gone his way, and I hope to see him do what is necessary to keep our campus moving forward in a positive direction,” Wheeler said.