of Wisconsin-Green Bay
2007 Faculty and Staff Convocation
August 28, 2007
Chancellor's Address on the State of Green Bay's University
Bruce Shepard, Chancellor
Click here to download the Chancellor's remarks.
PROGRESS IN BUILDING THE NEXT UWGB
That is all by way of refresher, about just what the next UWGB might mean. I have been thinking, over the summer, about what has happened since the challenge of a year ago. This morning, I want to emphasize this clear conclusion: In a process that I said would take years, you are already well-started in building the next UWGB.
Consider just a few examples:
• We continued to mobilize community support for the Growth Agenda. Because of that community support, and the Governor explicitly told me this, Governor Doyle included the Growth Agenda in his budget. We were also included in the Senate budget and the bipartisan Joint Finance Committee budget. We have gotten this far because of what you have done to make a reality of our basic vision — being our region’s University of Wisconsin – and what you have done to take our basic strategy — communities support universities that support communities – and turn those words into actions.
• We developed a new Select Mission Statement, one that affirms our core values — values such as our commitment to interdisciplinarity, sustainability, and responsiveness to the changing realities of our dynamic region. This new mission statement concisely and accurately states what makes UWGB distinctive.
• In an action which made me especially proud to be a part of UWGB, we approved the new Bachelor of Applied Studies degree. I can think of no better example of how, building the next UWGB, you have demonstrated that you are up to the challenge in this period of major transition in American higher education. Our faculty, especially, were leaders in this important task. First, a faculty working group, chaired by Prof. Bill Laatsch, developed the initial program and its curriculum. Then, the Faculty Senate asked tough questions and provided a level of scrutiny a new program of this magnitude deserves before approving the program. We, and they, were willing to take risks.
• We received Board of Regents approval — and their plaudits — for our proposed First Nations Studies major, which will build on our long and rich history of offerings in American Indian studies. This new major will connect learning to life by establishing new partnerships with tribal and non-tribal communities. Here is another fine example of how, through partnerships and very innovative curricula, we are, nevertheless, still importantly serving an enduring commitment to core liberal education.
• We developed and approved a new Global Studies minor, which will help connect our students to different cultures and the global community.
• Thanks to the leadership of Dr. Ray Hutchinson, we have launched the Hmong Studies Center. The Center will support courses, public lectures, research seminars and cultural events serving Hmong students, the Hmong community, and all of us in Northeastern Wisconsin.
• We returned the Weidner Center to a sustainable financial footing and did so while maintaining community support for the center and its programming. The university now supports over 100 annual Weidner Center events, many featuring our campus and its outstanding programs. Working with community partners who form Weidner Center Presents, Inc, an entity entirely separate from the university, there is a new programming model for the Weidner, and now we can look forward to even more performing arts and entertainment than those the University directly provides. All on a responsible fiscal model that protects UWGB’s core commitments to higher education.
• We strengthened our longtime campus commitment to environmental awareness and a sustainable future through multiple means including pursuit of energy independence and reductions in the campus carbon footprint. Let me give one example. With Professor Patricia Terry’s expertise and guidance, we just recently fired up a converter that will allow us to experiment with turning our used cooking oil into diesel fuel. Perhaps we can now look at those cheese curds and French fries and think, it’s OK, they are part of a “green lifestyle.”
• When it comes to our student services areas, I could list 50 ways in which, over the last year, you responded to my challenge to help build the New UWGB: a women’s leadership series, extensive expansion of on-line services, additional support services for our returning veterans, expanded weekend programming, support of dramatic increases in the number of enrolling students with disabilities, service to underrepresented students through 5 pre-college programs, and much more. You are at the front lines, see clearly and dramatically what the next UWGB must be, and, through your relentless innovation, are helping lead the way.
• Symbolic of at least a half-dozen initiatives last year to expand international understanding and engagement, we awarded an honorary doctorate to a highly innovative humanitarian, Paolo Del Bianco of Florence, Italy.
• Our pilot Freshman Seminars were designed to make the first-year experience more meaningful and engaging. This year we will more than double the number of seminar sections. Universities around the nation already are looking at these seminars for ways to improve their own freshman experiences.
• Taking risks by challenging various academic shibboleths, the faculty Comprehensive Program Review Committee reviewed our academic programs and provided an effective roadmap for aligning resources with academic priorities. I do not believe there are many if any other universities in the country with such a comprehensive, collegially developed and multi-faceted array of guides to academic program quality, resource needs, and investment opportunities.
• Reaching down the valley, we have initiated a brand new UWGB “campus” in Appleton to be known as the University of Wisconsin Fox Cities Learning Center. This is a product of a partnership involving UW-Green Bay, UW-Oshkosh and Fox Valley Technical College. This is staffed through a Regents’ special grant to UWGB and the rent for offices and classroom use is perfect: zero.
• We will fold our pilot strategic budgeting process into our academic program planning process. This follows from a very simple principle: academic priorities and plans should drive all other planning, from information services to student services to business and finance to athletics to facilities to …. you name it. Should not seem like a novel principle for a university but, once again, you have acted in innovative ways to build the next UWGB.
• Many of you — in fact, close to 150 individuals — have dedicated substantial time and effort to the preparation of the University’s self-study report to the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. This process, ably led by Associate Provost Tim Sewall, will help guide UWGB’s planning and development efforts for years to come. Do familiarize yourself, at a minimum, with the important recommendations with which the self-study concludes. We will welcome the commission’s review team to the campus in November.
• Many of you also have been involved in the self-study required for the NCAA athletic program certification. This study will help us affirm and assure the well-being of our student-athletes and the academic integrity of our NCAA Division 1 athletics program. The NCAA onsite review will take place in December.
• When it comes to building the next UWGB, we have also seen that metaphor made tangibly manifest in bricks, concrete, and steel.
— Over the last year, we saw the Kress Events Center spring, quite literally, from out of the ground. This has been our students’ highest facilities priority since the day I arrived. The dramatic improvements in health and wellness facilities will allow us to attract and keep outstanding students whatever their major. Perhaps some faculty and staff as well. And, the Kress has strengthened – and will continue to strengthen – our connections to the community. I also want to thank Dean Rodeheaver, in particular, for his skilled and dedicated efforts to take this project from the days when it was simply a gleam in our students’ eyes through to such spectacular fruition.
— Another important student priority, the remodeling and expansion of the building we are now in – the University Union – will help make our student-life facilities among the finest anywhere.
— Remodeling of our Student Services area has begun with the intent of making our services more effective, user-friendly, and student-focused.
— And, if the Legislature cooperates, we soon will be setting a timeline for the renovation of Rose and Wood halls. The combined effects of the Rose Hall, Wood Hall, and Union remodels will eventually enable our library services to expand to major areas of the Cofrin Library previously used for non-library purposes including, at the plaza level, the creation of a learning commons.
. . . .continued
The Next UWGB
Recent Progress in Building the Next UWGB
Continuing to Build
the Next UWGB
Moving Forward Together
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