New dean looks forward to challenges
Muir settles into leadership role
Published: Sunday, October 23, 2011
Updated: Sunday, October 23, 2011 12:10
The start of the fall semester is full of "new" things on campus: new students, new friends, new professors, new classes and in the case of UW-Waukesha, a new dean. Harry Muir was named CEO/Dean of UW-Waukesha earlier this year.
Most people think of a dean as simply a suit in an office. For Muir, that is hardly the case as he is seen on a daily basis walking around campus, interacting with both faculty and students. "I believe in more than an open-door policy," Muir explained, "it was killing me (the first three weeks I was here) not to get out and about among the people. I don't want the perception of a high school principal. I don't want to be dependent on just a few people here for thoughts and ideas. I want to get out of my office and see and hear things around campus for myself. I really believe the success of UW-Waukesha will come from the combined efforts of myself, the faculty and the students."
Muir has a wealth of experience in education, having come to Waukesha from Pima Community College in Arizona. He sees the school filled with potential to expand and grow in the future. "I was Dean of Instruction at Pima, which was just 29.4 acres in size but we had an enrollment of over 10,000 in the fall. This is over a 90 acre campus with just over 2,200 students. We have a great opportunity for growth and expansion." Muir views himself as the right person for job. "I wanted to be the person in the position where the buck stops. I've been the second-in-command for almost 20 years, but I thought it was time to see if I could rise to the challenge and make an already good institution great."
In the past, there was not much flexibility in the educational budgets to focus money where it was needed the most. With the current changes in the economic and budgeting system, Muir now has the confidence that money will be allocated where it should be. "Revenue stream walls are being knocked down and the money can be used to fund the right proposals and identify which needs are most important to be met." This will benefit UW-Waukesha students like never before. "We will be able to serve our mission as a campus and hire the right people for positions to make UW-Waukesha a leader in the community and educational fields."
Being new to the area, Muir has enjoyed his time in Wisconsin and is adjusting well to his new surroundings. "I absolutely love it here, but I reserve the right to change my answer after the first snow fall. I'm not much of a cold weather guy, but I'll greatly look forward to the spring."
Muir is adamant about every person on campus taking pride in the school and getting the message of UW-Waukesha out to the community. "The number one thing right now is getting an identity with the community. I'll know we are successful when everyone that is involved with the college is so proud of being here that the general word on the street is that UW-Waukesha is the place to be not only for the Waukesha community but for anyone in Southeast Wisconsin that wants a successful education."
If his first couple months are any indication, Muir is leading the campus in the right direction.