Words Matter: Rare Bachelor of Fine Arts in Writing and Applied Arts Degree Launching at UW-Green Bay in 2019

Green Bay, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents last week approved University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s proposal for a new writing degree in response to student, employer and publishing industry demand for graduates with exceptional writing skills infused with creativity. The University’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Writing and Applied Arts major is designed to professionalize opportunities in fields like literary and digital publishing, book editing, writing for entertainment and arts management.

“Writing is a skill in universal demand across industries,” notes Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Chuck Rybak. “Whether we are talking about corporate publications, writing grants for the nonprofit sector, writing for entertainment, or striving to be the next JK Rowling, a finely-honed craft is required. The BFA degree in Writing and Applied Arts will provide an intense focus on the craft of writing across genres and platforms.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of writers and authors is projected to grow eight percent from 2016 to 2026, consistent with the average for all occupations. In fields related to creative writing, the Department of Labor projects 11% growth in jobs for technical writers and 10% growth in public relations and fundraising managers.

In Wisconsin, jobs for writers and editors like technical writing, digital editing, social media, library sciences, community relations and social services are expected to grow between seven and 10% and 14% nationwide.

The BFA in Writing and Fine Arts is a rare degree — only 42 colleges in the U.S. offer it. No other UW System college has the major, although it is offered by one private college in the state. This will be the first new four-year degree to be offered across the four UW-Green Bay campuses, with coursework available in a range of delivery options.

UW-Green Bay English program chair, Rebecca Meacham, notes that graduates from the program will be equipped to meet market demand for nonfiction writers, science writers, screenwriters, podcasters, literary outreach coordinators, editors, publishers, librarians, booksellers, literary agents, technical writers and other arts industry professions. It will also teach students about writing as a business and includes the curricular components of the business of writing, the craft of writing, literary contexts and applied arts. The program will begin accepting students in Fall 2019 and conforms to the standards of the Association for Writers and Writing Programs.

Businesses in the region are supportive of the new program and confirm that there’s a market demand for writers.

“This program will create a new generation of writers with skills that can be applied to any number of disciplines,” says Megan Dickman, principal owner and writer with Crystal Clear Resources, a Green Bay-based writing, editing and translation firm. “In my own experience, the business world is as in need of a great storyteller as every other field, and writers are uniquely equipped to make abstract ideas tangible and accessible to a wide audience.”

According to Meacham, the industry for making, publishing, editing and producing books — especially printed books —is strong and improving and BFA students will develop skills in communications, audience awareness, listening, empathy, communicating complex ideas and critical thinking — skills ranked in the top 10 most sought-after qualities by job recruiters.

A collaborative program with Moraine Park Technical College, NWTC and UW-Green Bay, the BFA in Writing and Applied Arts will be a natural fit for technical college students wishing to complete further study in writing, publication design and community engagement.

“UW-Green Bay is uniquely situated to connect student writers to the greater world and various kinds of writing, building on Green Bay’s growing reputation as a literary and community arts advocacy destination,” said Meacham. “When you consider the popularity of great storytelling today, in all genres, on the page, stage, and screen — Game of Thrones, Hamilton, Handmaid’s Tale — we are truly in the midst of a renaissance period for writers.”

About the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is a comprehensive public institution offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs to nearly 8,000 students with campus locations in Green Bay, Marinette, Manitowoc and Sheboygan. Established in 1965 on the border of Green Bay, the University and its campuses are centers of cultural enrichment, innovation and learning. The Green Bay campus is home to one of the Midwest’s most prolific performing arts centers, a nationally recognized 4,000-seat student recreation center, an award-winning nine-hole golf course and a five-mile recreational trail and arboretum, which is free and open to the public. This four-campus University transforms lives and communities through student-focused teaching and research, innovative learning opportunities, powerful connections and a problem-solving approach to education. UW-Green Bay’s main campus is centrally located, close to both the Door County resort area and the dynamic economies of Northeast Wisconsin, the Fox Valley region and the I-43 corridor. UW-Green Bay offers in-demand programs in science, engineering and technology; business; health, education and social welfare; and arts, humanities and social sciences. For more information, visit www.uwgb.edu.

Last week of United Way campaign is this week

From your United Way campus chairpersons: This is the final week of UW-Green Bay’s Brown County United Way campaign. Please consider making a commitment today to support our local community. Together we can help the our local community through the intensive efforts of the Brown County United Way. Their leadership supports the 2-1-1 Call Center and the Community Partnership for Children and is a major driver to respond to the ALICE Report – https://www.browncountyunitedway.org/impact/alice/. Donation amounts of any size are welcome and can really make a difference in support of those less fortunate.  A donation of $26 will enter your name into a drawing for a 2018 Nissan Kicks – https://www.browncountyunitedway.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/2018-Sweepstakes-Rules-1.pdf.   Watch your email inbox for a message from uwgbgiving@browncountyunitedway.org for your unique link to pledge to this year’s campaign.  Questions regarding the campaign can be directed to Rick Warpinski, #2090 or warpinsr@uwgb.edu.

Jan Snyder

Turning of the Tassel: Winter Commencement will be Snyder’s final

On Dec. 15, 2018, just minutes before UW-Green Bay seniors begin their formal processional into the Weidner Center for their graduation ceremony, and following three months of planning and preparation, Commencement Coordinator Jan Snyder will address the graduates one final time:

“When it is time to process, don’t forget your name card! Follow your marshals’ lead, and stay in line. When it’s your turn, hand your name card to the announcer, receive your diploma from the Chancellor and cross the stage a UW-Green Bay graduate!”

The graduates will stand. Then the processional music will begin, and Snyder will exhale and smile.

She began working commencement in Spring of 2000. With one ceremony each semester (and two ceremonies one spring when weather didn’t cooperate with a planned outdoor ceremony) the Dec. 15, 2018 ceremony will be Snyder’s 37th ceremony, and her last.

She will retire from the University on February 1, 2019 after 32 years at UW-Green Bay — 18 with “official title as Commencement Coordinator.”

“Jan’s contribution to the University is remarkable,” said Associate Provost Clif Ganyard. “Having overseen Commencement for the last 18 years, she has assisted nearly 17,000 students to realize their goals and cross the stage to be awarded a degree. That’s nearly half of all of the students who have graduated from the University. Jan has helped to shape our commencement ceremonies into what they are, arguably the most important event in a student’s college career. That’s quite a legacy.”

“We are all very happy for Jan, that she will be able to relax and enjoy herself in retirement,” Ganyard said. “But, we will miss her dearly.”

Snyder was asked to reflect on her experiences, including funniest moments, “goosebump” moments, tender moments and most harried moments, and they are well worth the read:

Q: What makes the day special?
A: Seeing the joy and pride written all over the faces of the graduates and their family members and friends. I consider it a great honor to be a part of that.

Q: What don’t people realize about what it takes to pull off an event?
A: The amount of time required to make sure every grad is in exactly the right place from the time they are seated in the robing room through the entire ceremony. In addition to maintaining a lot of spreadsheets sorted in multiple ways, I also keep a lot of names and numbers in my head.

Q: When do you start preparing?
A: Usually three months ahead of the ceremony, unless there are unique printing or supply orders that need to be started sooner.

Q: What was your funniest moment?
A: At one spring ceremony, I went to see if the grads were starting to leave Dick Bennett Gym at the Kress Center and gave Pam Gilson a thumbs up to indicate they were. This meant it would be another three or four minutes before they arrived in the arena, but Music Director Kevin Collins thought I was signaling him and the band began playing “Pomp and Circumstance”…several times… before the to-be grads finally processed into the Kress. We have fine-tuned our signals since then.

Q: How about your most endearing moment?
A: Watching Jennifer Ulrich ’13 (Psychology), a mostly wheelchair-assisted grad in Spring 2013, walk with her assist dog across the stage to receive her diploma. Ulrich worked so hard to get to the point that she could do this. Alumna Jane Birr ‘85 ’90 (Human Adaptability and Masters in Administrative Science) coached her, and it was a humbling and heartwarming experience to assist with the arrangements and then watch it actually come to pass. I will never forget that moment.

Q: Most challenging?
A: For one of our December ceremonies, there was a mix-up of dates and Commencement was booked the same weekend as the Green Bay Symphony/Dudley Birder Christmas concert. We had to complete what is normally a three-day setup in three hours! from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday night, and of course be back at 8 a.m. Saturday to be ready for graduates, family members and events staff to arrive!

Q: What was the most unexpected moment?
A: At one December commencement a Theatre grad walked on stage wearing a Darth Vader hood. Some things you just can’t plan for!

Q: Any other Jan Snyder most memorable moments?
A. As a military mom, I’ve had the pleasure on at least two occasions to arrange for tickets for military family members who wanted to surprise their graduates (of course you know that pulled my heartstrings).

A: In Spring 2008, the Social Work students asked for a vase so they could all put a rose in it after receiving their diploma, in memory of faculty member Anne Kok, whose life was taken suddenly in a traffic accident. That was pretty special.

A: I earned a few extra gray hairs at one of the spring outdoor ceremonies. It rained two days before, so I watched several young ladies wearing heels sink into the soft ground. Also, Operations surprised us with the set up by making a large aisle-type break in the chair rows, which made for some very interesting moves by the student marshals who didn’t quite know where to lead the next row of grads.

A: I once had a grad ask if her two-year old could participate in the ceremony with her. I was too dumbfounded to answer right away.

A: In the early years, I worked one night before the ceremony until midnight. A grad called at 11:30 p.m. and I picked up the call. I actually think he expected it because he didn’t sound a bit surprised (go figure).

Q: What will you miss the most?
A. I am a nut for organization and details, and even though it’s sometimes a bit overwhelming, it’s also very gratifying to see it all come together. Once the ceremony starts, my heart swells with pride for our grads and this place called UW-Green Bay. I will miss everything about commencement, but most of all the people.

And the people will miss Jan Snyder.

Story by Sue Bodilly, photos by Dan Moore


Reminder: 2019 Research in the Rotunda

On Wednesday, Apr. 17, 2019, the UW System will be celebrating the 16th annual Research in the Rotunda: Showcasing the Work of UW undergraduates event at the State Capitol in Madison. The event focuses on students, faculty advisers and the breadth of undergraduate research taking place on UW System campuses. To submit an abstract submission, please go to: https://www.uwgb.edu/research/research-in-the-rotunda/. For more information, https://www.wisconsin.edu/research-in-the-rotunda/

Halal chicken now available at Cloud Commons

Chartwells announced that they now offer a halal-certified protein every day at the Cloud Commons. The new option is a result of the diverse international population and Muslim student group that has reached out. Halal food includes any food that falls under specifications outlined in Islamic law and mostly addresses meat. Where to find it? Check out our Fresh Grill station located in the main dining hall. This station runs a weekly menu, in addition offering a made-to-order option for students to request a prepared halal chicken breast.

Reminder: Retirement reception for Liz Hessler this Wednesday (Dec. 12)

After a 29-year career with the state and 19 years with UW-Green Bay, Liz Hessler will be retiring from her position in Behavioral Health Training Partnership (BHTP) at the start of the new year. BHTP invites you to join them as they celebrate Hessler’s career and wish her well in retirement. The reception will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018 in Rose Hall 315 from Noon to 2 p.m. Cake and refreshments will be served.