Today, March 5, is National Employee Appreciation Day. In any other non-pandemic year, we would be gathering on campus to recognize and celebrate our employees. The unfortunate irony this year is that never before have I wanted so dearly to thank them all in a special way, and yet never has it been more difficult to do so. It is for that reason that I am writing this open letter to all University of Wisconsin-Superior employees.

Challenging times test what we are made of and reveal either our best or our worst. I am proud to say the employees at UWS have given their very best this past year and have confirmed what we’ve always known, that there is simply no better team of university faculty and staff anywhere. They have shown determination, creativity, and flexibility toward the collective goal of serving our students and each other. Despite the hurdles, they have created a culture of care at our university.

I could write a book about all the ways this campus community met and overcame barriers. They included quickly transitioning course delivery to online formats, opening and staffing a COVID-19 testing site on-campus to serve our community, employees moving offices to their homes while maintaining productivity, figuring out ways for “the show to go on” with virtual concerts and performances, and ensuring our residential students were safe and cared for. The list could go on and on.

These accomplishments did not come without sacrifice. The pandemic has lasted longer than any of us imagined, and our employees have had to do more with less, just like so many others throughout our world. Yet they press on not for themselves but for our students, to ensure we are all able to finish this marathon together, victorious.

This year on National Employee Appreciation Day, I am proud to say the faculty and staff at UWS have left no doubt that together, we are Superior.”

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Renée Wachter


The writer is chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

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