UW-Green Bay Provost Kate Burns stresses empathy, appreciates ‘herculean effort’

Provost Kate Burns address the University Community during 2020 Faculty and Staff Virtual Convocation. Video transcript follows:

Hi everyone.

I was so impressed by this weekend’s drive through graduation. Megan DuFrane-Groose, Gail Sims-Aubert, and the entire Office of Student Life should be commended for all of their hard work and creativity in making this event a success. It was really touching to hear the graduates share their stories, see students’ families crammed together in a vehicle (and sometimes several vehicles) to celebrate this important milestone, and feel the pride exuded by our faculty and staff who cheered them on.

It made me think a lot about how we get students to this goal. I know we oftentimes think of graduation as simply a classroom accomplishment. At drive through graduation, it was clear that students were excited to see the familiar faces of people who had supported them both inside *and* outside the classroom. Faculty. Academic and University Staff. We are *all* making an impact on students during their time here.

Last spring we all worked together to somehow accomplish the impossible. We reached out to students. We called them when they hadn’t registered. We checked in on them when they weren’t turning in their work or missing class. We were focused on caring for the whole student inside AND outside the classroom. Academic Affairs and Student Affairs partnering together. These efforts paid off. Our enrollment is up, especially at a time when others across the country are seeing enrollment declines. Our enrollment is up, partly because of recruitment, but largely because of retention.

Retention is everyone’s job. Let me say that again. Retention is EVERYONE’s job. I want all of us (regardless of our roles) to be thinking about how we can better support and better retain our students. This may take a variety of forms:

  • Creating an inclusive campus climate. When students come to our campuses, we want them to feel welcome and that they belong. I am so glad that we will be engaged in inclusivity and equity training this year. Our times call for this emphasis on social justice, but it is also the right thing to do. Cultural competence is a journey, not a destination. As an institution of higher education, we need to model this dedication to learning, reflection, and growth.
  • We have proudly announced ourselves to be an access institution. This means we need to support the students we have. I know many of you attended the SpeakOut Institute this summer. One quote that really stuck with me is “Access without support is not opportunity.” We should all consider in our own areas what that support may look like. We are rolling out Navigate this fall semester. This is a great time to take a look at the Canvas training and learn more about this tool if you haven’t already. Our early alert system with grades and feedback is only as effective as we make it. Research has shown that early alert systems are especially important for students of color and first generation students who may not know how they are performing in their classes. We need to build early feedback into our courses so that students can better understand how they are doing and take steps accordingly.

It’s a new academic year. I appreciate the herculean effort it took to get us here. Countless staff and faculty working together to get us ready. I know many of you are feeling excited, optimistic. But also nervous. Overwhelmed. Worried about work/life balance/childcare and school arrangements. This is not business as usual—we are very much outside our comfort zone. This is how our students are feeling too. Here’s the thing though. Our students have always felt this way, excited about the promise of higher education while simultaneously navigating the headwinds in their lives. I want us to harness these new positive and negative emotions we’re feeling as we go into the fall to better understand and support our students. This is a massive empathy boost. If last spring taught us anything, we can accomplish so much when we were all working together toward a singular purpose: student success.

UW-Green Bay Social Work student Amanda Rosado encourages students to ‘dive in head first’ to online classes

Although UW-Green Bay is intending to be open in fall and welcoming faculty, staff and students back on campus, some classes originally scheduled for in-person instruction will be moving online or having online aspects to them for the safety of the UW-Green Bay community. Current UW-Green Bay students who transitioned to online learning in Spring 2020 demonstrated that they are resilient problem-solvers and describe their experiences while providing some advice to future students…

Amanda Rosado is a junior in the Social Work Program.

Amanda Rosado

“I’ve had my share of hybrid and online classes! Although it can be scary to dive into, whether you may have had bad experiences in the past or even have never taken one before, they are still fun, engaging and very similar to a normal lecture class! Online classes require some more discipline to get your studies done, but you typically have some extra time! Instead of assignments being due “at the start of class,” they’re usually due by midnight so that you have the whole day and/or week to do them! They’re also really engaging due to the usual discussion posts you’ll have to do as assignments that help you to connect with your fellow classmates and get their own perspectives on topics!

Lastly, if you think you’re still unsure or anxious about taking online or hybrid classes, office hours are still the same as they are for lecture courses too! So there will always be a designated time that the professor will be actively responding to emails and answering any questions or concerns you may have. On top of that, they typically provide additional and supplemental resources to help you as well! So dive in head first, start something new, invest in a planner to stay on track and you will do amazing! Always remember that college is a time to try new things and challenge yourself! Best of luck to you all!”

UW-Green Bay education major Kiara Verduzco talks about ‘the new normal’

Although UW-Green Bay is intending to be open in fall and welcoming faculty, staff and students back on campus, some classes originally scheduled for in-person instruction will be moving online or having online aspects to them for the safety of the UW-Green Bay community. Current UW-Green Bay students who transitioned to online learning in Spring 2020 demonstrated that they are resilient problem-solvers and describe their experiences while providing some advice to future students…

Kiara Verduzco

Kiara Verduzco is a sophomore majoring in Early Childhood Education.

“With everything going on in the world, there’s a lot of new normalities. Online learning has been something to adjust to, but it was made easier than I thought thanks to all of the support from UWGB. Professors are always an email away, and provide many resources that help you be as successful as possible. Some of these resources include: zoom meetings, Q&A sessions and emailing you frequently to keep you updated. The amount of support and care the faculty provide has made online schooling a much smoother sail!”

Kimberly star Frankie Wurtz set to begin pro basketball career

“Family and friends always have been important to former University of Wisconsin-Green Bay guard and Kimberly star Frankie Wurtz.

Even as she boarded a plane to Luxembourg on Monday, Wurtz was going to a place where she will be surrounded by both as she embarks on her first season as a professional basketball player with the Amicale Steinsel.

Her cousin, Trent Wurtz, lives in Luxembourg after his own pro career in Europe.

One of her best friends, former UWGB forward Jessica Lindstrom, is a couple hours away playing for a team in Belgium. She spent her first pro season in 2018-19 with the T71 Dudelange basketball club in Luxembourg.

Another former UWGB teammate, Madison Wolf, just signed her own pro contract with a squad in Germany that also is a short distance from Wurtz…”

Source: UWGB, Kimberly star Frankie Wurtz set to begin pro basketball career, Green Bay Press-Gazette

Environmental Monitor | After 10 Years, Great Lakes Monitoring Program Still Adapting

“The public knows much more about Great Lakes coastal wetlands than it did ten years ago. In those ten years, the information gathered through the Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands Monitoring Program has led to and supported dozens of advances in Great Lakes science while helping nail down the shifting nature of ecosystem health for a vital part of the Great Lakes system.”

UW-Green Bay is a partner in monitoring.

Source: Environmental Monitor | After 10 Years, Great Lakes Monitoring Program Still Adapting