May 2012 Chancellor's Report

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Welcome to the fourth issue of the Chancellor’s Report, a monthly newsletter designed to highlight important information, updates and changes that affect students, faculty and staff at UW-Platteville.  Each month, the newsletter includes information from a wide variety of different university departments including the Office of the Chancellor, Admissions, Student Affairs, Athletics, Advancement, Administration and Human Resources.  It also includes information from the Center for New Ventures and the Real Estate Foundation.

U.S. Secretaries of Education and Agriculture Visit Pioneer Farm on April 18

UW-Platteville recently had an opportunity to forge a relationship that could have far-reaching implications for our university, our community and our region of the state. On April 18, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and I held a Town Hall Meeting at UW-Platteville's Pioneer Farm to discuss and answer questions about the importance of education, agriculture and the partnership between the two as the federal government looks to revitalize the economy and bolster the nation's educational opportunities. Nearly 400 high school and university students, educators, FFA members and legislators from across the region attended.  Because of the location, space was limited. If you were not able to attend, I encourage you to watch the meeting at http://mediasite.uwplatt.edu/UWP/Catalog/pages/catalog.aspx?catalogId=861a8128-9c05-4b33-913c-c66036954625.

I appreciate how well university faculty and staff worked together in a spirit of cooperation to complete all of the planning, organizing, and coordinating necessary to ensure that this event was a huge success.  It was remarkable.  Special thanks to Paul Erickson, director of University Information and Communications, and Rose Smyrski, legislative liaison, for their efforts in co-coordinating this event, as well as the approximately 100 faculty, staff and students who put in countless hours to make sure everything went well.

During the town hall meeting, the U.S. Presidential Cabinet members noted that there are many exciting opportunities on the horizon for agriculture.  They said that it is key to our security, key to job growth in rural America and key to energy and manufacturing.  They stressed the importance of strengthening agricultural education and stressed the necessity of elevating the teaching profession.  In fact, it is the U.S. Department of Education's goal to make teaching not only America's most important profession, but America's most respected profession.

At the close of the town hall meeting, the Secretaries signed a joint agreement that will require the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Education to work collaboratively to promote agricultural education and promote agricultural teaching as a viable, vital vocation.  The agreement encourages the two departments to share their best practices and use resources collaboratively.

We were extremely fortunate to have Secretary Duncan and Secretary Vilsack as our guests.  I was greatly impressed with their knowledge and expertise, their willingness to listen and respond to questions, and their deep commitment to resolve the challenges that face us in the educational and agricultural fields.  In turn, the Secretaries were impressed with UW-Platteville's excellent academic programs and its commitment to provide quality education at an affordable cost despite difficult economic times.  The Secretaries also spoke with many students who attended and were impressed with how satisfied they were with the education they were receiving.

This event was an extraordinary opportunity that allowed us to hold an interactive dialogue with national leaders as well as showcase the university's cutting-edge programs in agricultural education.  In addition, it allowed us to form a positive relationship with two ambassadors who recognize the critical importance of education and agriculture and are committed to strengthening and improving both in communities across America.

Joint Research Program

U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service and UW-Platteville Pioneer Farm

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s main research arm, Agricultural Research Service, and the University of Wisconsin-Platteville have established the Upper Mississippi River Basin LTAR, which is a joint research effort that contributes to the ARS Long-Term Agro-ecosystem Research Network (LTAR).  The partnership includes our university and three USDA-ARS groups: the National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment in Ames, Iowa; the Soil and Water Management Research Unit in St. Paul, Minnesota; and the North Central Soil Conservation Research Laboratory in Morris, Minnesota.  The LTAR Network will engage in synergistic, nationwide research to address questions related to the condition, trends and sustainability of agricultural systems and resources on large scales of space and time.  The LTAR team uses previously established watershed and other long-term studies in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa to provide new insights on agricultural sustainability and productivity in the Upper Mississippi River Basin.

Office of the Provost

Every year, the Office of the Provost awards approximately $35,000 to faculty members as a stipend to write grants.  Twenty-one faculty members applied and nine grants ranging from $1,600 to $4,000 were given to 13 faculty members from all three colleges as well as the Distance Learning Center.  This program is a vital part of our administrative effort to encourage all university faculty members to further pursue external opportunities to bring in revenue.  In addition, there are matching funds for grant support in each college: $25,000 for BILSA, $25,000 for LAE and $50,000 for EMS.

Prospective Student Services and Admissions

Prospective Student Services

This year, we had over 3,000 visitors, which is a 24 percent increase over last year.  About 1,050 of the visitors were from Illinois and Iowa.  Pioneer Previews have been very successful, reaching over 570 students.  In addition, innovative specialty visits such as “Paths to Platteville” offered a glimpse of our university to over 700 special guests.

Office of Admission

The Office of Admission has received over 4,000 new freshman applications, which is a 3% increase over last year at this time.  Transfer student application numbers are also very strong, with over 700 applications received and 450 admissions offered.  Our underrepresented minority application and admission numbers are up over 10% from last year at this time.  Both deposits and new student registration numbers are up over 4 percent, which means that the campus will meet its enrollment target for the fall of 2012.

New Student Registration will welcome over 1,600 new freshmen to our campus during the weeks of June 18, June 24 and July 16.  Students, parents and guests will meet with faculty, staff and peer advisors during these registration dates as the students prepare to begin their journey as new Pioneers in September.

Chancellor Scholarships

The Chancellor Scholarships are offered to entering freshmen that have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to their community and show promise of becoming engaged members of UW-Platteville and the greater Platteville community.  The award provides up to the cost of tuition and fees for the academic year and is renewable, provided the student maintains the conditions of the award.  This year, 10 scholarships have been awarded to students who have been admitted.  We will be welcoming these and many more students during new student registration.

Financial Aid

Over 1,400 financial aid award notifications have been sent to new freshman as we continue striving to provide quality education that is affordable and accessible to all.

Strategic Planning

This semester, the Strategic Planning Steering Committee has been meeting monthly to develop a draft vision statement and strategic priorities to guide the university’s actions for the next three to five years. The Strategic Plan is intended to be visionary and to position the university to differentiate itself from its peers to ensure long-term viability and sustainability. The Steering Committee is a representative body and needs your input to improve and revise these concepts.  A draft of the vision and strategic priorities is available at the strategic planning website at: http://www.uwplatt.edu/planning/draft_docs.html. Please review this document and provide input to the steering committee in one of the following ways:

  1. Attend one of the listening sessions listed under “meetings” on the strategic planning website
  2. Discuss the drafts at a committee or club meeting and send in input
  3. Send ideas to strategic_planning@uwplatt.edu
  4. Take an on-line, anonymous survey at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/XYFNNQX
  5. Speak directly to a steering committee member (listed on website)

Facilities Management

The campus is involved in many recycling and sustainability efforts which are important for the stewardship of our natural resources as well as the university’s ability to lessen its waste hauling costs.  At the conclusion of Recyclemania 2012, an eight-week competition for college and university recycling programs across the United States and Canada to promote waste reduction activities, UW-Platteville placed first in the state of Wisconsin and placed 50th in the nation out of over 600 institutions.  Our efforts will continue.  Soon, the campus community will be able to see the university’s energy performance on kiosks in the Markee Pioneer Student Center and Engineering Hall.

Rountree Commons and Plans for New Residence Hall by 2013

Rountree Commons

Work is continuing on the interior and exterior of Rountree Commons.  An elevator has been installed.  Nine student art pieces will be on display in the building, with the first piece being placed in early May.  The Grand Opening will be held on Aug. 30.

New Residence Hall and Dining Facility

On April 13, the Board of Regents gave approval to our request to begin a second residence hall project on campus and we are anticipating approval from the State Building Commission in mid-May.  This residence hall would provide over 400 beds as well as an attached campus dining facility.  If all goes as planned, work on the site would begin in mid-June with an opening scheduled for the fall of 2013.

Student Affairs

The Office of Multicultural Student Affairs has initiated a Student of the Month Achievement Award that recognizes academic achievement, campus involvement and leadership qualities of under-represented students on the university campus.  It also acknowledges professors’ important contributions in making an impact on students, which is often life-changing.

For the month of March, I recognized Chang Thao and Associate Professor and Inclusion Specialist Rea Kirk with this honorable award.  Chang will be majoring in Elementary Education with a focus on Early Childhood.  He said that Associate Professor Kirk has made a huge impact on him and is “the one person who will always be with me.”

On May 11, I will recognize Edwin V. Sullivan and Assistant Professor Travis Nelson.  Edwin is a double major in Criminal Justice and Political Science and says that Assistant Professor Nelson has “inspired me to push myself academically as well as professionally to the boundaries of my own creativity.”

I congratulate the students for their excellence as well as Dr. Kirk, Dr. Nelson and our entire faculty who continue to be influential in all of our students’ educational journeys.

Center for New Ventures

The Center for New Ventures facilitated and/or participated in several strategic events during the last month.  On March 27, top administrators from the State Department of Justice visited the university to discuss a variety of cross-discipline, applied research project opportunities at UW Platteville as well as tour the Forensic House.  This visit will hopefully lead to several partnerships, collaborative projects, and grant applications critical to the implementation of the Midwest Center for Forensic Science at UW-Platteville.

As mentioned above, the United States Department of Agriculture—Agriculture Research Service (USDA-ARS) visited our campus on March 27-28.  Dignitaries and research directors from a half dozen Midwestern Ag Research Stations celebrated the soon to be announced LTAR (Long-Term Agricultural Research) designation bestowed on the Pioneer Farm at a reception in the Nohr Gallery.  State Secretary of Agriculture Ben Brancel and the President of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Paul Jadin spoke to campus leadership, Pioneer Farm research staff and UW-Platteville collaborating scientists about their excitement to work with UW-Platteville on future applied research projects at the farm.  The following day, the research directors began outlining the LTAR vision and discussed potential roles for the Pioneer Farm and UW-Platteville inside the Upper Mississippi River Basin.

In April, several agricultural-related opportunities were identified and explored with university faculty and staff.  One project investigated a potential partnership with a Japanese company working with Grant County Economic Development Corporation (GCEDC) to test and research a liquid organic compost product at Pioneer Farm.  A second project included the potential to work with a local farmer and Pioneer Farm on growing canola oil seeds to produce biodiesel fuel and animal feed.  A third project discussed the potential to use food processing waste generated from an institutional quick freeze plant (IQF is an industry classification for a local producer of frozen meals like Healthy Choice) in Highland as a fuel source for Professors’ Baxter and Zauche’s biodigestor at the Pioneer Farm.  The fourth project, driven by Research Fellow Shenita Ray and John Veith, involves investigating the funding and installation of greenhouses at the Pioneer Farm to produce local produce, teach healthy cooking, and source produce for a local food entrepreneurship opportunity in Platteville.

Innovation Center

The Chancellor’s Cabinet and college deans invite you to participate in a discussion about the feasibility of establishing an Innovation Center as a physical structure in the City of Platteville on Wednesday, May 16, from 4-6 p.m. in the Markee Pioneer Student Center’s University Rooms.  A feasibility study and market report have been prepared for review.  If you would like more information, please contact the Chancellor's office at (608) 342-1234.

University Personnel System Update

Over the past several months, we have provided a variety of information about the creation of the new University Personnel System (UPS) to our UW-Platteville employees.  Throughout that time, a number of system-wide work groups have been diligently working to design initial recommendations for the UPS.  During the past two weeks, you have had the opportunity to attend several presentations and Q & A sessions about UPS.  The link to information for the UPS can also be found at http://web.uwsa.edu/personnel systems.  We invite you, our campus stakeholders, to provide comments, feedback and suggestions.  If you have specific questions on the UPS draft recommendations or care to share your feedback, you may contact Jeanne Durr in Human Resources, 2300 Ullsvik Hall, UW-Platteville; email: durre@uwplatt.edu; telephone: (608) 342-1176.  You may also email questions and feedback to the UPS project team at ups@uwsa.edu.

Human Resources

In addition to the ongoing University Personnel System (UPS) project, there are a number of other initiatives taking place in Human Resources.  We are transitioning our search process for faculty and academic staff positions to TAM, the online recruitment tool that will be used by the majority of institutions in the UW system.  TAM training is being provided by Cathy Kutka.  If you are starting a new faculty or academic staff search this semester, please call Cathy at 342-1773 to set up TAM training.

We will also be starting to use the online time and labor and absence management modules in HRS for our classified employees.  When that happens, it will no longer be necessary to enter all your hours and time off on a printed timesheet.  Hollie Moore will be scheduling group training sessions later this spring.  Watch for emails about this.

Engagement Poster Day

Pioneer Academic Center for Community Engagement (PACCE) students displayed their works at the Engagement Poster Day at Velzy Commons on Wednesday, April 25, with hundreds of people in attendance.  More than 80 projects involving over 600 UW-Platteville students were showcased.  Students were available to explain their projects to fellow students, community members, faculty and staff.

Athletics

The Pioneer softball team, under the direction of first-year head coach Lee Negrelli, has secured a spot in the upcoming WIAC Tournament on May 4-6 for the first time since the 2008 campaign.  The nationally-ranked UW-Platteville men’s track and field team is ranked in multiple events nationally, including Ben Farrell in the 400-meter dash (third), the 4 x 100-meter relay team of Aaron Hrubes, Jordan Olp, Casey Goffinet and Lynn Oyawiri, fifth), and T.J. Valley in the 110-meter hurdles (eighth).  The women’s track and field team is led by Deidre Dillman and Ann Tank, who are both ranked in the 400-meter dash and 800-meter run.  Both teams will be competing at the WIAC Track and Field Championships May 5 and 6 at UW-Whitewater.  On Sunday, May 6, the 1990-91 UW-Platteville men’s basketball team will become the first squad to be inducted in its entirety into the university’s Athletic Hall of Fame. Former Pioneers Tyler Sigl (first in men's race) and wife Jessica (second in women's) ran outstanding races in the Crazylegs Classic Saturday in Madison.

Commencement

On May 12, we will hold three commencement ceremonies, one for each college.  The College of BILSA will be at 9 a.m., the College of LAE will be at 12:30 p.m. and the College of EMS will be at 4 p.m. Congratulations to all of our graduates!

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