Katherine P. Frank, the newly appointed chancellor at UW-Stout, gave her first formal remarks to staff and faculty on Tuesday morning during the university’s spring semester welcome event.
Frank will assume her duties as chancellor on March 1, taking the position after Bob Meyer — who previously served as chancellor for five years — retired in August 2019. Since his departure, Patrick Guilfoile has acted as interim chancellor.
Frank will be the university’s eighth chancellor and the first woman to fill the role. The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents unanimously approved Frank’s appointment last November.
Prior to coming to UW-Stout, Frank acted as Vice President of Academic Innovation at Central Washington University. She previously held faculty positions at Northern Kentucky University, Indiana University East and Colorado State University-Pueblo.
Since being named chancellor, Frank has engaged in conversations with university administration, the chancellor’s cabinet and students. Frank praised university leadership and staff on their commitment to the institution’s success, but also spoke to the importance of considering the perspectives of students.
"[The students] are gracious individuals, forward thinking and they’re dialed in," Frank said. "They get it and it’s important for us to remember that, to listen to those voices and to react to those voices."
In her remarks, Frank shared her goals for the future of the university, which include increasing student and faculty diversity, as well as improving community engagement.
Frank addressed potential challenges the university will face and spoke to the importance of learning and working together to be successful going forward.
"We all know there are challenges," Frank said. "Today’s challenges, we'll work through them and [then] we’re going to be faced with tomorrow’s challenges. We’re going to be faced with challenges five years from now because this is public education."
Though she acknowledged there will be difficulties in navigating these future endeavors, Frank expressed her excitement and readiness to begin her journey as UW-Stout’s chancellor.
"We’re in it together," Frank said. "We have high standards, we challenge each other, we hold each other accountable and we’re proud — we’re Stout proud. We’re focused on results."