Getting to Know UW-Green Bay Conversations with Chancellor Shepard:
Humanistic Studies
December 7, 2001

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Please clarify what you said at the all faculty meeting ­ general ed requirement vs distribution requirement.

Chancellor prefers liberal education ­ means liberating education

Use assumptions to discipline our thinking

Synthesis experience ­ students need to pay attention to what’s going on in the world ­

faculty member said that that is done in H One and H Two (which are very


One of the older faculty members remarked that we’re undergoing personnel changes - he remembers many forums in the past when general ed was discussed ­ hopes that history isn’t lost as he’d hate to see us repeat mistakes made in the past.  Our current attempt at general ed goes back 5-6 years.

What’s coherent?  So we try to put all students through the same course.  You seem to be saying coherency of concept not content.

Chancellor stated that that’s a starting point for him ­ he uses the phrase outcomes -  work in the margins ­ try stuff to see how it goes.

The UW System has a different way of giving out resources (i.e. Centers of Excellence).  Seem to be examples of working in the margins ­ offer small seminars and see how they go ­ adjust as you go ­ compare assessments to see how we’re doing internally.

In large classes, you can’t conceptualize without considering how large a class would be.  Running all students through the same class raises section sizes and strains faculty.  We need to think about implementation consequences. 

Humanistic Studies does have interdisciplinary courses (2) for gen ed ­ it comes down to numbers and teaching critical thinking to those numbers.  HS has many upper level courses (interdisciplinary) that couldn’t be taught in many other universities.  We’re helping students.  Some of my most exciting memories are from these courses

We used to have Liberal Education Seminars.  The upper level seminars were successful.  Concentrations changed as a result of that.

We need to do something for freshmen and sophomores yet something different for juniors and seniors.  We have the structure to do that, but how do we get past students who weren’t here their freshmen and sophomore years?  The Senior Seminars worked well, but we didn’t have sufficient faculty resources.  The units were reluctant to assign faculty because that had too many students.  The Senior Seminars were innovative, but there were problems in terms of acceptance by other faculty and the community.

The Chancellor said that he’s sensed that.  With regard to resources, we’re currently looking at our numbers as compared to other institutions (he mentioned Debbie Furlong’s latest document).  We won’t take more students unless the dollars are there. 

The Chancellor asked, “What do we want to do as a university to serve our students?”

Our students are getting things we don’t have to justify ­ that’s a strength.  The Compelling Idea and the Learning Experience are things from our past.  How do we get additional dollars from the State?  What can we do?

The Chancellor replied that we need to do our homework.  We weren’t successful (with regard to funding the last time) ­ we need to connect to the economic development in the state.  The problem, now, is that the economy is in a slump. 

You can count on the faculty ­ we want to teach interdisciplinary courses ­ we want to teach disciplinary courses ­ that’s what was done in the seminars.  The faculty commitment to interdisciplinary/disciplinary courses is stronger than their commitment to senior seminars.  There was no disciplinary major here the first 10-15 years ­ when they came in, we had to get students so we needed to keep resources in the major ­ so we did it to ourselves by changing what we were about. 

(think outside the margin) Perhaps we should put H Three first and use that to define problems in H One and H Two.

We don’t want to see resources used to determine class size.

Discussion then turned to American Indian Studies.  There is more of a challenge when want to work with someone across campus than within Humanistic Studies ­ it’s easy within HS.  Opportunities are rare when it comes to working with someone in a different environment.  Would like to see more support for summer session.  In H One, students get bang for the buck ­ student some in without much cultural background. 

I appreciate your comments on taking interdisciplinary teaching and transferring to research.  There appears not to be much institutional support here, even in terms of doing interdisciplinary research. 

Chancellor referred to his story about engineers ­ after 3 years, need to re-educate them etc.  Why, then, does society look to higher education as the motor for progress.  After all, we provide lifetime commitments through tenure.  Answer: because our faculty continually invest in their own professional development.  That must be supported.

Freshmen students have no concept of liberal education and why they’d want it ­ they’re here to get a job ­ they don’t even want to take gen ed so how do we sell it to them?

The Chancellor replied that that’s a critical question to figure out.  Our alumni see the value in what they learned here.

A faculty member replied that if we (as faculty) are excited, they’ll be excited.  I came here because of the university’s commitment to the community.  What is your vision of relating to the community?

The Chancellor mentioned that he is still listening and that his thoughts are subject to revision.  Both (the university and the community) desire to be more engaged.  It comes down to marketing ­ we’re already doing much that those in the community aren’t aware of.  He’d like to see us transition from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay to Green Bay’s university in Wisconsin.  Communities support universities that support communities.

Our faculty should dominate local government (be engaged in local government) ­ that’s what you typically see in cities with universities. 

The Chancellor returned the question ­ “What’s your vision?  That’s what’s important to develop."

He went on to say that it’s important to turn out people who contribute to society.  He’s a strong proponent of service learning.  Need to address gender issues and diversification of the student body. 

A faculty member made reference to the growing Hispanic community in Green Bay as an untapped resource.

The Chancellor mentioned African Americans, Native Americans, the Hmong community.  He’s had a hard time identifying leaders in the Hispanic community and mentioned that he’d appreciate help with that. 

A faculty member mentioned that the university should have a presence in the downtown mall. 

We should serve those in the north woods by establishing centers of learning. 

We need an increasing international presence and international curriculum ­ that’s an extremely interdisciplinary experience. 

The Chancellor mentioned his own international experiences and their educational relevance.

International education is almost absent from the Learning Experience.  We need to keep an international student body here as many of our students are unable to travel abroad. 

Emory University is offering a program for its faculty whereby they bring seminars to campus (from abroad) for their faculty. 

The Chancellor mentioned that he had been told that the international center is unable to get American students into the center.  He asked for help in getting that to occur.  It was mentioned that the same is true with regard to the American Intercultural Center. 

The Chancellor referred to the Student of Color Panel and how proud he was of the university for having such a panel, as well as how proud he was of the number of faculty members in attendance. 


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