At this time, I’d like to share some news from around the UW System…

  • UW-Stout’s property management undergraduate degree program has received a $1-million donation from the owner of a major U.S. property management company. Dean Weidner, founder and owner of Weidner Apartment Homes of Kirkland, Wash., made the donation to the Stout University Foundation and it will be used to establish the Weidner Center for Residential Property Management within the School of Hospitality Leadership in UW-Stout’s College of Management. The UW-Stout program came to Mr. Weidner’s attention after his company recruited some of its graduates. He said, “Our initial recruiting efforts at UW-Stout were rewarded with some outstanding students from the program that were well versed in our industry.” It was not even four years ago that this Board approved the program, so they’re obviously a quick study! Congratulations to Chancellor Sorensen and the UW-Stout campus community.
  • The UW-La Crosse College of Business Administration has won a national award for making sure students learn the skills they need to enter the workplace. UW-L was one of four institutions selected from a field of more than 3,000 to win the Council for Higher Education Accreditation’s 2013 Award for Outstanding Institutional Practice in Student Learning Outcomes. According to Bruce May, Dean of the College of Business Administration, educators want students to learn basic ideas such as critical thinking, communication, and ethics, so they make a “curriculum map” to ensure that those skills are included in the classroom. A student’s progress in each of those skill sets is then tracked and assessed. The award was founded in 2005, and UW-La Crosse’s business college is the first higher education institution in Wisconsin to receive the honor. Congratulations to Chancellor Gow and UW-La Crosse.
  • UW-Oshkosh community members apparently have taken to the City of Oshkosh’s buses like never before. In 2012, more than 101,000 UWO community members chose to take GO Transit’s buses – and logged enough miles to circle the Earth more than 13 times. It was a record number for the public transit system, and an 18% increase in UWO ridership over the previous year. It’s all thanks to a bus rider-boosting collaboration program that started in 2000, in which UWO students, faculty, and staff are able to use the sustainable city bus system for free just by showing their “TitanCards.” Back in 2000, the collaboration yielded about 31,000 UW-Oshkosh rides – so ridership has more than tripled since then – and has saved people a lot of money at the gas pump and reduced parking hassles on campus! UW-Oshkosh has become a national leader in sustainability, and this is one more example of how the campus community is doing its part to strengthen that.  Hats off to Chancellor Wells and the UWO campus.
  • In a new collaboration that will strengthen both business education and regional economic development, the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship has announced that it is moving its headquarters to UW-Whitewater. This spring, that association – one of the most respected entrepreneurial support organizations in the world – will move to Timothy J. Hyland Hall, home of UW-Whitewater’s College of Business and Economics. As Chancellor Telfer put it, “This is a unique opportunity for us to share our talents, expertise, and resources to enhance the student experience and grow the regional economy.” It’s hoped that the three-year collaboration will increase regional economic development initiatives, encourage new research, and foster business development. “This will have immediate economic impact and long-term generational impact on our economy,” said Jeff Vanevenhoven (Van-EE-ven-hoe-ven), an assistant professor of management. UW-Whitewater already has a strong reputation for excellence in entrepreneurship, and this should further enhance that reputation. Congratulations to Chancellor Telfer and the UW-Whitewater campus community.
  • The UW-River Falls Hudson Center was opened in fall 2010 to meet the educational needs of the thousands of adults in the St. Croix Valley with some college credit but no degree, by offering courses at times and in a location convenient for working adults. With fall 2012 enrollment at an all-time high of 414 students, the Center is apparently fulfilling its purpose. In fact, the growth of existing programs coupled with the addition of new programs, has created the need for expansion. Renovations are underway on an additional 44-seat classroom in the Hudson Center’s current location – and that classroom will be ready for use during the Spring 2013 semester.
  • In news from UW-Parkside, Interim Provost Fred Ebeid (EE-bide) traveled to India last month. While there, the former Business Dean signed an exchange agreement with IndSearch, a business management school in Pune (POOH-nay), India. While UW-Parkside and IndSearch have had a working relationship for several years, these new exchanges will connect the two schools’ Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Computer and Information System degree programs. But that’s not all that kept Dr. Ebeid busy while in India. He also served as keynote speaker at the International Conference on Innovative Practices for Business Excellence, where he addressed the changing landscape of American higher education – including, I should point out, a specific focus on the new Flex Option degree program. His address was covered widely across south India. Congratulations to Dr. Ebeid, Chancellor Debbie Ford, and the UW-Parkside community.
  • In news from UW-Milwaukee … The UWM Real Estate Foundation has announced that ABB Inc. and the Zilber Property Group have entered into a Letter of Intent to develop a three-story office building at UWM’s Innovation Campus. The proposed 95,000-square-foot building will house ABB’s businesses operating in Southeast Wisconsin. ABB is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve performance while lowering environmental impact. The new office represents a total of 350 jobs, including more than 100 engineers and scientists. This will be the first private development at Innovation Campus, which is a public-private partnership designed to provide industry and academia with a wide array of opportunities to collaborate on projects that will create jobs in Wisconsin, as well as provide opportunities for faculty and students to enhance their research portfolios. This is all good news, so congratulations to Chancellor Lovell and the UWM campus.
  • UW-Madison reports that the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center is reaching out to veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan to participate in a wellness study that may help scientists discover new strategies for addressing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (or PTSD). While many thousands of veterans are returning home with PTSD, it’s estimated that conventional treatments like psychotherapy and medication are successful for only 50 percent of those treated. Given the alarming increases in suicidal behavior within this population, Jack Nitschke, one of the study’s principal investigators, says there is an urgent need to find new, effective strategies to address this problem. The Center for Investigating Healthy Minds is offering free complementary and alternative programs to veterans as part of a pioneering research study, including a workshop featuring group discussions, breathing exercises, meditation, and gentle stretching. These techniques are cost-effective and free of side effects, and have the benefit of veterans being able to practice them on their own. It’s very interesting and important work, and kudos to Chancellor Ward and the UW-Madison campus community…
  • Did you know that, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the average person in Wisconsin generates 4.7 pounds of trash each day and recycles only 1.9 pounds of that? Well, they’re probably familiar with that little factoid at UW-Platteville. UW-Platteville, which was named Wisconsin’s 2012 RecycleMania Grand Champion, now has been chosen to receive the 2013 Associated Recyclers of Wisconsin Outstanding Achievement in Recycling Award. The award will be presented later this month during the 2013 Wisconsin Integrated Resource Management Conference to be held in Green Bay. RecycleMania is a competition for college and university recycling programs across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to promote waste reduction activities on their campus communities. Last year, more than 600 schools were registered. UW-Platteville points out that winning the state RecycleMania is one of just several ways the campus demonstrated its commitment to the environment in 2012. The university also began offering a new major in sustainable and renewable energy, and now presents a new series of honors called the Campus Sustainability Awards. Hats off to Chancellor Shields and the UW-Platteville campus.
  • Finally, from UW-Eau Claire, some news that you had to know wouldn’t escape my notice … Max Garland, professor of English and a widely published, award-winning poet, essayist, and fiction writer, has been named the 2013-14 Wisconsin Poet Laureate by the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters. During his two-year term, Dr. Garland will promote poetry and creativity among all ages, and act as an advocate for imaginative engagement in poetry and the other arts in Wisconsin. Dr. Garland notes that poetry has been vital to human culture since long before written language. In his own words: (QUOTE) “Although there are no signs of its going away, sometimes it’s helpful to be reminded, among all the chat, emails, updates, tweets, and dashed-off text messages, that there is still this great ancient resource, poetry, that allows us to express what can’t be deleted, what William Faulkner referred to as the ‘old verities and truths of the heart.’” Congratulations to Dr. Garland, Interim Chancellor Bousquet, and the UW-Eau Claire campus …

That concludes my report for today.

See December’s “News from Around the UW System”