Video: Native American experience at UW-Green Bay

College is a time of transition for all students. But some Native American students say it’s a more difficult transition for them.

“I’ve always attended a tribal school my entire life. I’ve always been the majority. I’ve always been immersed and surrounded by my people,” said UW-Green Bay junior Luanne Funmaker, a Psychology and First Nation Studies Major. “So when I come here, it’s a culture shock. It was really difficult for me to adjust.”

Funmaker, who is a member of the Oneida Nation and is also Ho-Chunk, is not alone.

“For a lot of Native students, going to a university I know is a difficult transition. It depends on where they come from but it can be a culture shock, a big issue,” said Forrest Brooks, a lecturer in the First Nation Studies program and an academic adviser with UW-Green Bay’s Adult Degree Program. “Basically what that means is they come to a university and they’re not used to being one out of 30 students in the class that’s Native American and they don’t necessarily have a support group.”

But according to faculty, staff and students, that support for Native students is growing at UW-Green Bay. The American Intercultural Center is one place that offers support.

“I feel that the AIC provides a perfect place for bonding for other students, other minority students because I see all kinds of people in here: Asians, blacks, Natives, Middle Eastern people. I see them in here,” Funmaker said.

The Intertribal Student Council is taking on an increased role on campus. The group sponsored an Oneida Social in December, which featured traditional singing and dancing.

The student group also hosted a traveling exhibit in November called “Bittersweet Winds,” a display on Native American imagery. A panel discussion examined the creation of National Native Heritage Day.

The University is also home to an academic major in First Nation Studies.

Nearly half of all UW-Green Bay graduates take a First Nation Studies course while in college.

“Our program exists to connect the campus and learning with tribal world knowledge so that our students are educated citizens,” said Prof. Lisa Poupart, chair of the First Nation Studies program.

Besides the major itself, Poupart says the Education Center for First Nation Studies works with current and future teachers to help them teach K-12 students about Native American culture and history.

There are also three tribal elders in residence on campus to meet with students. They are there to provide a more informal education.

“I can honestly tell you I don’t think there’s any other place in the U.S. that has oral traditional elders in residence, oral scholars who get a stipend to be on campus to work with students in that way,” Poupart said. “It’s a really wonderful and unique thing, especially at a time when university resources are scarce, that our institution stood up and said ‘Yeah, let’s put a little bit of money into this and see if it can grow from there.’”

In the fall of 2010, the number of Native students on campus grew to a record 176. While most students identify themselves as Oneida or Menominee, 21 tribes or bands are represented on campus including: Aleut, Bad River Chippewa, Blackfoot, Brothertown, Catawba, Cherokee, Chippewa, Choctaw, Forest County Potawatomi, Ho-Chunk, Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa, Lac du Flambeau Chippewa, Menominee, Mole Lake (Sokaogon) Chippewa, Muscogee (Creek), Oneida, Red Cliff Chippewa, Sioux, St. Croix Chippewa, Stockbridge Munsee Mohican and Yaqui.

In the 2009-10 academic year, 17 Native American students graduated.

The numbers are one reason UW-Green Bay was named one of the top 200 colleges for Native Americans by Winds of Change magazine. The magazine included UW-Green Bay in its 17th annual college guide issue, which featured a list of schools that are notably supportive of their Native students. The magazine recognized schools that graduate a good percentage of their Native American undergrads and that have a good American Indian community for support. UW-Green Bay was listed alphabetically along with UW-Madison, Milwaukee and Superior as Wisconsin public universities that made the Top 200.

Brooks says the surrounding community makes the transition to college a little easier for Native students at UW-Green Bay.

“I think one of the advantages of being at Green Bay is that there’s a large native presence within the community as well so Native students who come here know there’s other places for them to go besides just the campus,” Brooks said.

Funmaker agrees.

“It’s only 20 minutes away from the Oneida reservation. It’s only a half an hour away from the Menominee reservation,” she said. “So to be top 200, I think it’s really good because it can provides natives with just more of a feeling of home.”

She also says it’s important for students, both native and non-native, to help break down stereotypes.

“People need to realize that there are natives here because not a lot of people do. A lot of people do just go along with the stereotypes or just go off of what they see in movies or believe that they all live in teepees or some people even think they’re extinct,” Funmaker said. “Some people don’t even realize that natives are still around, that we are still here and are alive and are practicing our culture and our traditions and our religion.”

Junior Donald Keeble, who transferred to UW-Green Bay from Florida, says while the experiences may be different, Native students are just that: students.

“When I lived down in Florida, a lot of people assumed by movies and ironically mascots, that’s how I was. I’m just like any other student but maybe with different experiences,” said Keeble, a member of the Forest County Potawatomi majoring in Social Work.

Institute advertises grant availability for local educators

The Institute for Learning Partnership at UW-Green Bay is accepting 2011-12 grant applications from education professionals in the CESA 7 and 8 districts. Up to $35,000 will be awarded to support projects in the next fiscal year. Grants are available for projects in the $5,000 to $7,500 range, and smaller awards are available, as well. Past projects funded have ranged from a student/parent book club to programs that will enhance English language instruction to a project helping seventh-graders prepare for eighth-grade algebra and other rigorous classes. Read the full news release.

Workshops offer guidance on pursuing Institute funding

If you know of a enterprising K-12 educator who might be interested but is unfamiliar with the Institute for Learning Partnership and the type of research it supports… a good first step might be referring them to a grant-writing workshop. There will be two workshops about “Action Research,” which is integral in planning for a grant; from 5 to 8 p.m., Jan 26 in the 1965 Room of the University Union at UW-Green Bay, and 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Jan. 27 at the CESA 8 office in Gillett. Registration is required.

Institute — along with Phuture Phoenix and Education — will be moving

With the remodeling of Rose Hall, attention now turns to Wood Hall. In mid-January the Institute for Learning Partnership, the Professional Program in Education and Phuture Phoenix will vacate their offices in Wood Hall for temporary quarters in the Cofrin Library. While their location will change, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses will not be affected. Here’s their tentative schedule during the move:

• Open Jan. 10 and 11, but in the final stages of packing and sorting and storing and shredding;

• On Jan. 12-13, transitioning to new offices in CL 750. (Closed Jan. 14 for a state-mandated furlough day, and Jan. 17 to observe the Martin Luther King holiday.)

• On Tuesday, Jan. 18, open and fully ready for business in temporary space in the Cofrin Library. Expect to remain there until the remodeling is completed in early summer.

Monday night: Sendoff, encore performance for Almost, Maine

Here’s one last reminder to bring cash or check if you plan on attending the encore performance of Almost, Maine to be staged at 7:30 p.m. Monday (Jan. 3) in the University Theatre inside Theatre Hall. Tickets, available at the door, will be $20 for adults, $10 for students, purchased by cash or check only. It’s a combination sendoff, tune-up and fundraising show as the UW-Green Bay theatre program prepares to take the production to the regional college theatre festival the following weekend at Michigan State University. More on the show, and the prestigious ACTF bid, in our previous post.

Video: First-year seminar students create board game for elderly

A group of UW-Green Bay freshmen is getting accolades for a class project. The students created a board game as part of a First-Year Seminar course called “The Meaning of Play.” They also took their creation to an area nursing home where they learned valuable lessons from some residents. Prof. Illene Noppe (Human Development) said the unique project highlights the value of the First-Year Seminars. “It even gives me goose bumps to think about the transformation that I saw take place over one semester,” Noppe said. Reporter Robert Hornacek has more on the game, the project and students.

University mourns passing of Patricia Wood Baer

Friends on the UW-Green Bay campus recall local philanthropist Patricia Wood Baer, who died Sunday at age 88 after a short illness, as a dedicated civic leader and supporter of higher education. She and her husband of 59 years, Fred Baer, were generous and continuous supporters of the University since its founding four decades ago. Among their milestone contributions were leadership gifts to the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts and donation of its beautiful 3,702-pipe Wood Family Organ; to the student scholarship fund; and to the creation of two named professorships — one in education, one in business administration. The Baers received the University’s highest community honor, the Chancellor’s Award, in May 1991. Fred Baer passed away in August 2006. Mrs. Baer and their son Rick returned to campus for mid-year commencement two years ago when the University marked the inaugural awarding of the Baer professorships. One of them, the Patricia Wood Baer Professorship in Education, ties to Mrs. Baer’s interests and work as a teacher. Click here for a photo and more from that celebration.

Family’s connections to UW-Green Bay pre-date founding
The Baer Family came by its affinity for UW-Green Bay courtesy of Patricia’s father, L.G. Wood, who in the 1960s helped lead the community’s drive to bring a four-year university to Green Bay. (Wood Hall is named for him.) The Baers’ personal story and affection for this institution were captured by feature writer Sue Bodilly in a 2005 edition of the “Inside UW-Green Bay” magazine.

Article addresses demand for on-campus housing at UW-Green Bay

UW-Green Bay is one of three four-year UW schools where freshmen have a choice about whether to live on campus, according to an article in the Green Bay Press-Gazette. While UW-Milwaukee has looked into requiring its freshmen to live on campus, UW-Green Bay does not expect to adopt a similar policy. “It’s something we’ve thought about, but we haven’t moved in that direction,” said Glenn Gray, director of Residence Life. Gray says while it’s not required, it is important for freshmen to live on campus. “Freshmen who live on campus are retained at a higher rate than those who live off campus. They adjust more easily and are more likely to get involved in programs and activities after school,” he said. Read the entire article here.

Institute for Learning Partnership solicits grant proposals

The Institute for Learning Partnership at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is accepting 2011-12 grant applications for small and large projects from education professionals in the CESA 7 and 8 districts.

Up to $35,000 will be awarded to support projects in the 2011-12 fiscal year. Grants are available for projects in the $5,000 to $7,500 range, and smaller awards are available, as well. Information on the grants can be found on the Institute’s website at, or inquiries may be directed to (920) 465-5555.

There will be two workshops about Action Research, which is integral in planning for a grant; from 5 – 8 p.m., Jan 26 in the 1965 room of the University Union at UW-Green Bay, and 3:30 – 6:30 p.m. Jan. 27 at the CESA 8 office in Gillett. Registration is required.

Grants applications, forms and letters of support must be submitted to the Institute for Learning Partnership by 4:30 p.m. March 10. The Institute for Learning Partnership is located in Room 750 of the David A. Cofrin Library at UW-Green Bay.

For the current academic year, 2010-11, grants totaling more than $36,000 were awarded to area educators to improve teaching and learning in Northeastern Wisconsin schools. The recipients were from Green Bay, Sturgeon Bay, Manitowoc, Marinette, Pulaski and CESA 8. The projects ranged from a student/parent book club to programs that will enhance English Language Learning instruction to a project that helped seventh-graders prepare for eighth-grade algebra and other rigorous classes that will be necessary if they are to become first-generation college students.

The Institute for Learning Partnership at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay enhances professional development for educators to improve academic achievement for all learners. The Institute brings together educators from K-12 area school districts, universities, colleges, businesses and local community leaders with the expressed purpose of improved learning for all in grades PK-16. For more information: