Report to the Board of Regents
UW-Madison’s South Madison Partnership will soon have four times the space to support its growth as a community resource. Currently, more than 1,000 people each month take part in the Partnership’s diverse programming, from educational courses to health and legal services. A new Odyssey Family Learning Center will serve whole families, empowering them to transform their lives.
Student-athletes had an opportunity to give back during the UW-Superior Athletic Department’s recent fourth-annual Week of Giving. In December, Yellowjackets did everything from wrapping gifts for the university’s Giving Tree, ringing bells for the Salvation Army, collecting items for a local food pantry, to hosting a free community holiday party with activities and games for all. That’s the spirit of giving in action.
UW-Whitewater continues to be a national leader in providing exceptional services to students with disabilities. More than 1,000 students identify as having a disability at UW-Whitewater. This past semester, the campus launched the LIFE program – or “Learning Is for Everyone” – which provides young adults who have an intellectual disability with a complete college experience.
UW-Stout is helping to address a statewide shortage of special education teachers. An alternative certification program has trained a dozen new teachers to date. One of those new teachers is Nick Grunseth, an Eau Claire TV meteorologist who switched careers to work with special needs teens at Chippewa Falls Senior High School.
UW-Oshkosh is also responding to the growing need for special ed teachers. The university has launched two new programs for those seeking to re-specialize, add a license, or find an alternative route to licensing. Special education major Roxanne Kakreka recently completed her student-teaching hours, building positive relationships with students to help them feel safe and comfortable each day, ready to learn.
A familiar face at UW-Stevens Point was recently named one of Wisconsin’s most influential black leaders. Al Thompson, vice chancellor for Student Affairs, personifies a key strength of UW-Stevens Point: listening to students and helping them succeed. Thompson’s motto is “service above self,” which has helped to shape his leadership style.
UW-River Falls is bringing essential student services together under one roof with the grand re-opening of David Rodli Hall. Originally built in the 1960s for student dining, the recently modernized Rodli Hall is now home to departments vital to academic success, including Financial Aid, Career Services, a Writing Center, and even a coffee shop. The inclusive new space will help students at every stage of their academic journey.
UW-Platteville will once again host the Midwest Culturally Inclusive Conference, to be held later this month. The conference, which has attracted as many as 1,000 attendees from across the Midwest, will offer students, faculty, staff, teachers, community members, and others an opportunity to support and celebrate their own unique identities and those of others. This year’s conference theme is “Upholding Humanity and Dignity of All.”
Walking to school safely can be a concern, especially in busy cities. UW-Parkside students in Dr. John Ward’s Geographic Information Systems course are using GIS mapping to develop a safe walking route – known as a “Walking School Bus” – for Kenosha children and their adult volunteers (who escort the kids to and from school). With feedback on the plan from parents, teachers, and volunteers – and help from UW-Parkside – Brass Elementary students will now have a safe way to get to school and succeed.
Over the past five years, a UW-La Crosse Hate/Bias Response Symposium, led by the university’s Campus Climate unit, has grown and become a unique resource for prevention, response, and healing far beyond the campus community. This year, diversity officers, LGBTQ+ directors, counselors, students, and others from 11 states and dozens of schools and organizations came together at the symposium to learn how to make their communities safer, more inclusive, and just.
With a 20-year history of teaching First Nations education and feedback from First Nations communities, UW-Green Bay has launched its first-ever doctoral program. The fully enrolled First Nations Education doctorate program—the only one of its kind in the state of Wisconsin—draws upon indigenous teaching methods of elders and oral scholars, as well as faculty expertise. Students describe it as intense, rigorous, and transformative.
UW-Eau Claire’s Blugold Beginnings – which was recently recognized nationally – works to inspire underrepresented, low-income, and first-generation students to believe that a college education is possible. The program not only motivates K-12 students but also supports current Blugolds, improving their retention, grade-point averages, and graduation rates.
A collaborative effort to improve student achievement and close the equity gap in Milwaukee is showing early signs of success. A partnership among UW-Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Area Technical College, and Milwaukee Public Schools – called M3 (M-cubed) – is helping to improve graduation rates, provide better support to parents, and increase participation in the Early College program. The partnership has a goal worth coming together for … striving to help all students be successful by making the educational pipeline more inclusive.