Rotary Club President Heidi Lively talks with University of Wyoming President Dick McGinity after a meeting they had on Wednesday, July 30. (COURTESY PHOTO)
KEMMERER — University of Wyoming President Dick McGinity spent a day in Kemmerer on Wednesday, July 30, meeting with the local Rotary Club as well as the Kemmerer Gazette.
The goal of President McGinity’s trip was to visit various towns and places in the state that University of Wyoming presidents haven’t visited in some time.
“I have an ongoing interest in education and I’ve been visiting with community colleges, school superintendents and principals throughout the state,” he said.
Prior to meeting with the Gazette, McGinity met with the local Rotary Club to discuss strategic planning at the University.
McGinity served as the interim president starting in mid-November of 2013 and took over the position permanently in mid. January.
One of the first issues he discussed was the tuition increase for students this year.
Students will see a five percent increase annually with residents seeing a $5 increase per credit hour and non-residents seeing a $22 per credit hour increase. There will also be a $91 increase in student fees and the tuition increase is said to bring in $2.5 million for the university.
According to president McGinity, this increase was approved for a number of reasons.
The increase will help with recruiting, retention, compensation for faculty members and increases in student services.
While the Wyoming Legislature voted to appropriate funds for state employees for the first time in five years, McGinity said even though it was a good start, it was insufficient in helping with merit, retention and salary compression issues among the faculties.
Even with the increase, the college hasn’t seen much in terms of opposition toward the move.
“The trustees really agonized over the question of opposition before they approved it,” McGinity told the Gazette. “There has been no negative reaction to speak of at all, and we take that as a sign that people understand the need for the increase.”
As the new president of the university, McGinity has goals for the school that will help push it forward.
The first in a broad set of goals is to help students who graduate from University of Wyoming be able to compete and succeed anywhere they want to go in the world.
“It’s the graduates’ responsibility to figure out what they want to do once they graduate,” he said. “However we can help them to compete and succeed in whatever avenue they pursue.
The last two of his broad goals deal with academics and faculty. As far as academics are concerned, McGinity stated that while they were good, he believed that research, teaching and production of new knowledge would improve steadily over time based on measurements implemented by the faculty.
Finally, he wanted the faculty to be more intimately engaged with the state.
Other aspects he hopes to improve at the college include the major energy engineering and STEM integration initiative happening at the university.
“It’s something that’s been funded generously by the governor and the legislature over the years, but it’s something we’re continuing to work on,” McGinity said.
As a part of the initiative, McGinity and faculty are exploring ways to make the engineering department world class in quality while keeping it relevant to the Wyoming economy.
“Parts of our engineering department are world class already but we’re taking that and building around them,” McGinity told the Gazette.
The school will also be updating science labs and other areas of the school with teaching and research-driven designs.
“It’s important to update labs and buildings but we shouldn’t do so just for the sake of doing so,” McGinity said. “We have to do it in a way that’s both relevant and lasting to what we’re doing at the university.”
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