Mone touts ‘Moving Forward Together’ during interim

While Mark Mone won’t fill the role of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s interim chancellor for much more than half a year, he is poised to build on the legacy of his predecessors with a vision and platform for the university’s time of transition.

Mone, a 25-year veteran of UWM’s faculty and professor of management in the Lubar School of Business, will take over for Chancellor Mike Lovell beginning shortly after UWM’s commencement in May. Mone’s role as interim chancellor will extend through the beginning of 2015, when the University of Wisconsin System is expected to announce its selection of a more permanent leader.

During his opening address in the UWM Student Union on Tuesday, Mone announced a platform geared toward coalescing university departments and personnel, sparking greater collaboration and strengthening university resources.

“As…(UW System) president Ray Cross, Regent (Regina) Millner and others have said, this is no time to take our foot off the gas pedal,” said Mone, who also served as the Lubar School of Business associate dean for executive education and business engagement for more than 15 years. “In fact, if we let off at all we will fall behind. We will not be able to stay in the all-competitive race that we have today on research, on our student success, on a number of different fronts. So looking to our future, I’d like to address and present to you a brief outline of a platform that I’d like to call ‘Moving Forward Together.’ Three simple words that to me will have I hope a lot of impact over the next six, seven or eight months.”

Mone added, “Our strategic plan has, at its core, the goal of making UWM a top-tier research university that is in our vision…a best place to learn and work for students, faculty (and) staff.”

According to Cross, Mone has played an integral role in guiding the development of the UWM strategic plan on campus. For the past two years, he has served as the chancellor’s designee for strategic planning and campus climate. His leadership of the strategic plan was a major reason the UW System selected him from a pool of candidates affiliated with UWM, with other UW institutions and with the business community.

Mone did not throw his own hat into the ring for the interim position but was recommended by several individuals, Cross said.

Also imbedded into his “Moving Forward Together” platform is a mission “to stabilize our enrollments, the student enrollments, (and) continue to enhance the quality of our educational experience,” Mone said.

“There are so many great things happening every day, and the ways in which we can bring those to life and the ways in which we exist for students, for their enrichment, for their livelihoods, for the things that we’ve done for so many aspects of our community are critical,” he said. “I think when we talk about students, we also have to recognize the important involvement and dependency we have on the tuition model that supports the university and our enrollments, frankly, are challenging and have been challenging. So we clearly need to continue the work that the chancellor has begun around enrollment management and look at that critically and carefully.”

The third thrust of Mone’s movement will seek to further UWM’s community engagement initiatives through the university’s ongoing research, education and service activities.

“Our faculty research has global impact,” Mone said. “That’s a huge community. We also need to break this down. We need to look at this locally in terms of the work that every school and college is doing.”

Underpinning all three focal points is a need to bolster the university’s resources, according to Mone.

“We specifically need to identify and obtain in as creative a manner as we can, both internally and externally, new resources for the types of efforts that we are pursuing,” he said.

Specifically, UWM could use more resources to address faculty and staff pay increases as well as insufficient funding in its base budget and Graduate Program Reviews, Mone said. The university also needs additional resources to advance its “Vision 2020” comprehensive campaign and that campaign’s support of faculty research.

Mone said he wants to frame much of his leadership around securing more resources for the prosperity of the university, which feeds directly into the prosperity of the state.

In “moving forward together” in the search process for a permanent chancellor, Cross and the UW System Board of Regents are currently soliciting recommendations for membership on the search and screen committee.

“If possible, we’ll try to charge that committee before the end of the semester,” Cross said. “If not, we’ll do that in late August.”

In either case, the UW System aims to name its new chancellor by Jan. 1, Cross said.

Will Mone be among the candidates applying for the gig?

“Right now, there is so much going on, and I haven’t even thought about that,” Mone said. “That’s down the road, and I’ll consider that, but right now I look forward to the transition (and) the implementation of our strategic plan once it’s completed, and as we get further down the road I’ll be wide open to considering everything and anything. But at this point, head down, focus on what’s critically important for the university.”

Erica Breunlin is a staff reporter at BizTimes Milwaukee.

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