MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR
all 2008 started off in a typical manner here at UW-Madison: Badger football, engineering students coming back to campus bustling with activity and a hopeful attitude at the start of the new semester. I was teaching a short course at CEA in France when the economic turmoil began in the United States and quickly spread to the world’s financial markets. As September faded to October, then November and now December, the state is faced with a projected deficit of more than $5 billion. Since the UW-Madison receives about 20 percent of its funds from the state general revenues, we are likely to see a significant reduction in our base support. This has many faculty and staff worried about our competitive advantage and our future ability to maintain excellence.
I’m convinced, however, that the wisest thing we can do in these uncertain times, individually and as a community, is to keep our focus on the extremely important work at hand. It is my view that we in the UW-Madison community must focus on our responsibility to build a better future through our core mission: educating our students in their technical careers and as future citizens, by our combined efforts to create, advance and transfer new types of knowledge to serve the nation and the world.
Nevertheless, it is a fact that economic conditions have real impacts in the lives of our students, faculty, staff and alumni. Although no one is in a position to predict the future, it is our key priority to minimize the impact of potential budget cuts to our engineering physics faculty, staff and students. The chancellor, dean and college chairs are closely monitoring these rapid changes in our financial environment. Given the uncertainties that lie ahead, however, we are looking for opportunities to control spending when possible, with a goal of preserving flexibility we may need.
You may wonder how you as alumni can help us. There are a number of ways in which you can be of assistance. First, many of you are in key leadership positions in engineering firms, research laboratories, or government agencies. Our most important “product” is our graduates and I would encourage you to continue to recruit and hire our students, as interns or co-ops or new hires. They can be the key to the future success of your firms or labs.
Second, our students rely on the generosity of all of you as alumni to help finance their undergraduate education. Last year, because of your gifts (and those of your businesses) to the engineering physics department for student scholarships, we were able to give more than 60 students some form of financial aid toward tuition.
I would urge you to please give generously to the EMA fund and the Max Carbon NE fund to support our students. Donate securely via the links at www.engr.wisc.edu/ep. These gifts represent the margin of excellence for our students to afford college tuition costs.
I am always glad to meet many of you when you visit Madison. I would be happy to have you stop by and we can talk about our department’s many activities.
L. Corradini, Chair
147 Engineering Research Building
1500 Engineering Dr.
Madison, WI 53706-1687