Oral history a focus at Center for First Nations Studies

(As appeared in the January 2012 Institute for Learning Partnership newsletter)
By Terry Anderson

UW-Green Bay is helping current and future educators learn more about the history, culture, sovereignty and contemporary issues of American Indians, helping them learn so they can also teach.

A Wisconsin law, “Act 31” requires that K-12 students learn about federally recognized American Indian tribes and bands in Wisconsin. To help schools meet these requirements, the Center for First Nations Studies, under the direction of the Education program, was created. Additionally, UW-Green Bay offers students the opportunity to major or minor in First Nations Studies.

Its commitment to First Nations Studies was one of the reasons cited in naming UW-Green Bay’s Education program the top undergraduate program in the state by the UW System Board of Regents.

“We’re the only school in the UW System that requires pre-service teachers to complete a three-credit course in First Nations Studies,” said Prof. Lisa Poupart, who chairs the First Nations program, and co-chairs the First Nations Center with Prof. Tim Kaufman, Education program chair.

Poupart said this may be the only program in the nation that has four tribal Elders, from different regional tribes, who are part of the teaching staff. Each Elder is a scholar with considerable experience, and teaches in the tradition of First Nations oral teaching and learning. Students and practicing teachers gain a deeper knowledge of American Indian history and culture, and in turn are better prepared to teach students.

“It’s integral to the way we prepare successful educators,” said Kaufman. “It gives our pre-service teachers an advantage in more fully understanding this culture and the impact it has on teaching and learning.”

The First Nations Studies program is of interest to both American Indian and non-Indian students who wish to learn more about the traditional cultures and knowledge of indigenous people as well as the changes experienced by American Indian nations as a result of Euro-American contact.

The program offers a major and a minor. The minor strengthens numerous degrees including those in business, history, social work, etc., The degrees prepare students to live and work in an increasingly diverse community and also equip students with skills to work cooperatively and effectively with tribal governments and businesses.

Through the Center for First Nations Studies, UW-Green Bay Education students and faculty offer consultation and services to teachers and school districts regarding curriculum, materials and instructional methodology in American Indian studies.

For example, a recent day found Poupart in Madison, participating in an in-service program for middle school teachers. A few days’ earlier students from UW-Manitowoc visited UW-Green Bay to learn from Elder Shirley Barber.

The Center for First Nations Studies not only serves as an Act 31 resource center for professional and pre-service educators, it also has the mission of helping UW-Green Bay retain American Indian students, said Poupart.

While tribes and bands have their own history and traditions, there is a core set of values that extend across each — respect, reciprocity, responsibility and relationships.

“It seems to me that more people are starting to appreciate the unique approach in using Elders and teaching,” Kaufman said. “The bottom line is these Elders are the highest authority and teachers in regards to knowledge about Native American culture. It’s encouraging that we’re seeing a buy-in to the (First Nations) programs from students to staff to faculty.”

Spending an afternoon with an Elder introduces students to forms of teaching different from a typical lecture hall that may hold 200 students. In fact, non-Indian students are sometimes uneasy in their first encounter with a tribal Elder, Poupart said. They worry they may inadvertently say something politically incorrect. But soon the apprehension evaporates and they can engage in honest education about Wisconsin’s First Nations.

Neither Poupart nor Kaufman is satisfied with the number of University students with American Indian heritage (120), trailing UW-Madison (178) and UW-Milwaukee (141). “We should have a number that reflects the proximity to the American Indian population. Sixty percent of Wisconsin’s American Indian population lies within 100 miles of Green Bay,” Poupart says. Kaufman sees an opportunity for growth.

“I think the work we’re doing through the center will have an impact on increasing the enrollment of Native American students in the University and Education program,” he said.

For more information call 920-465-2185 or visit their website.

Business ethics: UW-Green Bay students, alumni help spread word

At the fourth annual Ethics in Business Awards luncheon (Nov. 1) in Green Bay, the spotlight was on companies, organizations and individuals that travel on the ethical high ground.

And helping in the selection process were members of UW-Green Bay’s SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) chapter. Continue reading “Business ethics: UW-Green Bay students, alumni help spread word”

Institute for Learning Partnership honors nine PDC recipients

The Institute for Learning Partnership at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay honored nine new Professional Development Certificate recipients, in a ceremony Monday, May 24 at the Ecumenical Center on the University campus.

The Professional Development Certificate is a self-paced, individualized professional development program for educators, which focuses on student learning as well as the professional growth of the educators.

The state Department of Public Instruction recognizes a Professional Development Certificate for 5-year re-licensure of Wisconsin educators. The Institute for Learning Partnership’s program was the first PDC to be endorsed by the Professional Development Academy of the Wisconsin Education Association.

The nine recipients come from the Pulaski, Sheboygan and Green Bay school districts. They are:

Glenn Blohowiak, English Teacher, Pulaski High School – His PDC work focused on learning style theory and brain research as it pertains to the upper teens through adults.

Deborah Burke, Kidship Teacher, James Madison Elementary School, Sheboygan – A special education teacher, her PDC work focused on finding a framework to allow her to teach language arts to multi grades and increase differentiation of instruction.

Carla DeTerville, Jefferson Elementary School, Green Bay – A second- and third-grade teacher, her PDC work addressed the discrepancy between reading and writing proficiency across grade levels.

DeAnne Keyser-Rass, Martin Elementary School, Green Bay – Her PDC work focused on how a math workshop approach to teaching multiplication affects learner outcome-using TRIBES strategy and philosophy.

Carol Klak, Green Bay Area Public School District – An occupational therapist who serves special education students, her PDC work focused on identifying means to enhance the fine motor/writing skills of kindergarteners.

Susan Laabs, Red Smith and Wequiock Schools, Green Bay – A school counselor, her PDC work focused on providing transition support for elementary students into middle school.

Sandra Michels, Bay View Alternative School, Green Bay – A veteran teacher who has experience working in regular, special and alternative education, her PDC work focusing improving the academic productivity of her students by teaching them a tool they could use to change the way they think about their academic progress.

Diane Polachek-DeClerc, Edison Middle School, Green Bay – A language arts and social studies teacher who has taught students with learning disabilities for 16 years, her PDC work focused on improving student writing skills.

Maiko Katie Thao, Preble High School, Green Bay – A school counselor, her PDC work focused on the impact of student learning and achievement when an after-school club and mentor/tutoring program is combined.

Founded in 1997-98 to focus on educational excellence, the Institute for Learning Partnership brings together the resources of UW-Green Bay, Northeast Wisconsin School Districts, business and community leaders. It includes a wide array of partners from the public and private sectors.

For more information about the Professional Development Certification program or the Institute for Learning Partnership contact: Lisa Salentine, of the Institute for Learning Partnership at UW-Green Bay, at (920) 465-5555.


Institute recognizes nine PDC recipients

The Institute for Learning Partnership held a recognition ceremony Monday (May 24) for nine new Professional Development Certificate recipients. The PDC is a self-paced, individualized professional development program for educators. The nine recipients come from the Pulaski, Sheboygan and Green Bay school districts.

Attending Monday’s PDC ceremony were from left: Deborah Burke, Sandra Michels, Maiko Katie Thao, Susan Laabs, Diane Polachek-DeClerc, Carla DeTerville (Graduated, but not pictured: Glenn Blohowiak, DeAnne Keyser-Rass, and Carol Klak).

Wildenberg brings language expertise to UW-Green Bay faculty

Jeremy WildenbergJeremy Wildenberg is a first-year student at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, who serves as a reminder that non-traditional students often bring a knowledge that adds to the academic experience.

In his case, he’s teaching Arabic to UW-Green Bay educators.

Wildenberg, age 35, a Little Chute native, spent 14 years in the U.S. Army as a linguistics expert — studying Russian and then Arabic at the Defensive Language Institute in Monterey, Calif.

After returning to the area, Wildenberg began teaching a non-credit course in Arabic at St. Norbert College. Among his students were members of the UW-Green Bay faculty and staff who are involved with the establishment of the Center for Middle East Studies and Partnerships.

“I love working with language and learning about other cultures,” Wildenberg said. “And once you’re exposed to another culture, it shatters the stereotypes.”

Wildenberg joined the Army Reserves while still in high school and when he signed up for active duty, he was set to become a mechanic. However, an aptitude test showed that he has a remarkable proficiency for language.

He was assigned to the program in California, which he calls one of the most prestigious language programs. Not only do students learn to write and speak a language, they learn the history and culture of other nations. Wildenberg’s specialty was Russian.

However, it’s a changing world and as U.S. interests expanded to other parts of the globe, he was asked to switch to another language. Five days before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, he chose to learn Arabic, which is especially difficult because not only does it flow right to left, it doesn’t have a familiar alphabet. He served out the rest of his enlistment putting his language skills to use on behalf of his country.

Because there isn’t yet a great call here for Arabic and Russian linguists, Wildenberg decided to pursue a degree in education. He has chosen to add Spanish to his linguistic palette.

“It dawned on me that I can make an impact by promoting cultural awareness through language,” Wildenberg said. “I believe that a Middle Eastern studies department is critical and it is essential to learn other languages.”

UW-Green Bay announces University Leadership Awards

Forty-six students at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay recently received University Leadership Awards at an end of the semester ceremony, Friday, May 14.

The awards acknowledge undergraduate students who over the past academic year have contributed to the growth and development of a University registered student organization and/or exhibited a commitment to community service and volunteering, while remaining in good academic standing.

Recipients of the Spring 2010 University Leadership Awards are:

Yvonne Amport, Beaver Dam; Lynsy Beckett, Watertown; Aparajita Bhattacharya, Green Bay; Amanda Caldie, Oconto; Molly Collard, Green Bay; David DePeau, New Franken; Lindsey Douglas, Green Bay and De Pere; Jonathan Eckelberg, West Salem; Kimberly Eickert, Brillion; Regina Elmer, Lakeland, Minn.; Karissa Galaska, Slinger; Joanna Herrmann, Valders; Becky Hintz, Bancroft; Sarah Jacob, Fall River and Shiocton; Andrea Kindschuh, Fond du Lac and Green Bay;

Karli Koralewski, Muskego; Leah Korger, Stevens Point; Kari Kropp, Pulaski; Jennifer Loret, De Pere; Amanda Luedtke, Two Rivers; Amber Maile, Kiel; Maureen Malone Appleton; Travis Mathers, Baraboo; Laura McDermott, Crivitz and Green Bay; Gary Nevala Jr., Montreal; Samantha Olesiak, Weyerhaeuser; Kaitlin Phillips, Milwaukee; David Prochazka, Gothenburg, Sweden; Shaun Raganyi, Antigo; Bethany Renard, Luxemburg; Kimberly Rieckmann, Neenah;

Rachel Riske, Athens; Brianna Robb, Austin, Texas; Angela Ryczkowski, Green Bay; Katelyn Santy, Fond du Lac; Melissa Scheck, Green Bay; Daniel Schultz, Green Bay; Marcella Steward, Appleton; Kay Sukowaty, Newton; Kayla Tetschlag, Sheboygan; Allison Thut, Green Bay; Ryan Tillema, Randolph; Ryan Van Handel, Shiocton; Leah Van Sistine, De Pere; Audrey Warrington, Mt. Horeb; Morgan Weuve, Green Bay.


UW-Green Bay students awarded Chancellor’s Medallions

Thirty University of Wisconsin-Green Bay students were awarded Chancellor’s Medallions at a campus ceremony, Friday, May 14.

The Chancellor’s Medallion honors graduating seniors who have demonstrated outstanding campus and/or community involvement, contributed significantly through leadership while maintaining high academic standards, and show sincere commitment to personal growth throughout their careers at the University.

Recipients of the Spring 2010 Chancellor’s Medallions are:

Johnathan Bahde, Marinette; Laura Bartingale, Green Bay; Josey Bellin, Fremont; Bobbie Conradt, Shiocton and Black Creek; Gina Covert, North Mankato, Minn.; Rachel Gerth, Iron Ridge; Barry Grossman, Cambridge and Deerfield; Christine Hillier, Ripon; Philip Kappell, Sherwood; Bridget Koeshall, Wisconsin Rapids; Ilya Ksenidi, West Allis; Chris Livieri, Van Dyne; Corey Livieri, Van Dyne; May Kaying Lor, Green Bay; Megan Loritz, New Franken;

Molly Lubinsky, Ripon; Rochelle Meulemans, Kaukauna; Nicole Opiela, Sturgeon Bay; Amanda Rodenhauser, Pardeeville; Beth Rodenhauser, Pardeeville; Nicholas Schwei, Greendale; Charles Simon, Kohler; Jeffrey Sonntag, Janesville; Katie Stilp, De Pere and Green Bay; Amanda Stinson, Green Bay; Johanna Van Asten, Black Creek; Nicholas Vlies, Green Bay; Alicia Wheeler, Neenah; Tiffany Willhelm, Wauwatosa; Anton Williams, Bryant and Milwaukee.


UW-Green Bay hosts Wisconsin leg of world-record run; you can run along

Ultra runner Lisa Smith BatchenUltra runner Lisa Smith Batchen is raising millions of dollars for AIDS orphans by running 50 miles in each of the 50 states in less than two months, and she’ll run the Wisconsin leg of her quest on May 28 at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Whether it’s 50 miles, or just a few, she invites company. Runners are encouraged to sign up in advance at www.runhope.com. Donations for “Run Hope Through America” are accepted electronically or through mail, both of which can be found via the Run Hope Through America website.

Smith Batchen, who is one of the world’s premier distance runners, is attempting to be the first person to run an “ultra” in each of the 50 states in such a short amount of time. Two people have previously run a marathon distance in each state, but a marathon is “only” 26.5 miles.

She will kick off at 5:30 a.m. on May 28, from the Lambeau Cottage and then run 10 loops of the 4.9 mile Cofrin Arboretum Trail. The Wisconsin leg will be miles 1,600 – 1,650 of her quest.

Smith Batchen is an ultra marathon runner who has been featured in The New York Times and the Runner’s World and on ESPN and “Good Morning America.” This run is her personal journey at a world record and opportunity to raise money for AIDS orphans in the United States and around the world. So far she has raised about $3 million for AIDS orphans — children with parentless households — through ultra events. As stated on her website, it’s “One American, running 50 miles in each of the 50 states, within two months, for four organizations to help millions of children.”

Lisa Smith Batchen with running partner Sister Mary Beth Lloyd
Lisa Smith Batchen with running partner Sister Mary Beth Lloyd

A small support crew, along with her good friend and running partner, Sister Mary Beth Lloyd (“The Running Nun”), will accompany Smith Batchen in each state.

She and her crew typically run four straight days in four different states, then give themselves a day of rest before visiting the next four states. Organizers say, “Be prepared.”

Smith Batchen consumes about 5,000 calories per day.

She began her journey on April 19 in Morristown, New Jersey, and will conclude the race in her hometown, Victor, Idaho in mid-July.

No stranger to challenges, Smith Batchen’s very first ultra marathon was in 1995 at the legendary Badwater Ultramarathon, finishing second in the women’s division. Two years later she set the women’s record for the Badwater, completing the 125-mile run from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney in 37 hours, 1 minute.

Eleven years after her Badwater debut, she decided to double the race. She is one of the few females to have run the “Badwater Double” also known as the “Death Valley 300.” Her 2006 Badwater Double raised $294,000 for AIDS Orphans Rising.

In 2002, she was one of two ultra marathoners invited by Pope John Paul II to visit the Vatican so he could thank them personally for their work helping the charity.

Some members of the UW-Green Bay family have already volunteered to help Smith Batchen. Controller Kelly Franz, public safety director Randy Christopherson and cross-country coach Mike Kline are among those helping with the event.

Also, Cellcom Green Bay Marathon director Sean Ryan and a crew of volunteers are helping with on-site management. Joe Simon, Simon Insurance & Investments Services, Inc., Green Bay, is the local liaison to the runners and their team.

Simon met Smith Batchen when she signed up for his “Great2Greatest” achievement program and the two have been friends, since.

“About a year ago she talked about doing this run,” Simon said. “She kept talking and by last October was determined to do it. Really the focus is to raise awareness and dollars for children orphans born with aids. It’s a big part of her heart. Her friend and running partner, Sister Mary Beth, also has a charity, AIDS OrphansRising.com. The two have worked closely together the past eight years. She’s the Mother Theresa of Africa, single-handedly starting three orphanages for these kids.”

An interesting side note, Sister Mary Beth belongs to the Religious Teachers Filippini, an order dedicated to education that requires members to wear no other clothes than a habit. So when she runs alongside Smith Batchen, she’ll be wearing a black wool tunic over a white shirt and underskirt, black headpiece and black woolen belt. And running shoes. On a typical day it will take Smith Batchen about 12 hours to complete the 50 miles, while Sister Mary Beth is walking about 20 miles.

For more information about this event contact Joe Simon at: Jsimon@simonedge.com.
Story by Paul Mee

Student speaker: Generation Y can be great

Nicholas J. Vlies, chosen to be the graduating class speaker at Saturday’s spring 2010 commencement ceremony, challenged his classmates to step up and solve some of the great problems that confront the world.

Nicholas Vlies, student speaker
Nicholas Vlies, student speaker

“It is a bittersweet moment. We’re excited about graduating and terrified of the problems of the world we inherit,” he confessed, mentioning war, environmental problems and economic uncertainty. But in the next moment he challenged his classmates, members of Generation ‘Y,’ to become the next greatest generation by solving those same problems.

“Show what a UW-Green Bay graduate can do,” said the Green Bay native who graduated summa cum laude with majors in Public Administration, Environmental Policy and Planning and Political Science. “Do not underestimate what you can do.”

‘Turn the tide of negativism,’ alumnus tells grads

The largest graduation class in the history of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay received a slice of practical philosophy Saturday’s spring commencement ceremony: Stay positive.

Commencement speaker Steven Taylor, Class of 1979
Commencement speaker Steven Taylor, Class of 1979

Steven Taylor, a 1979 Business Administration graduate who has gone on to impressive achievements as an insurance and financial services professional, community advocate and distinguished alumnus, spoke to an audience of nearly 5,000 at the Kress Events Center.

He told the approximately 700 graduates participating in the ceremony that “nothing good comes from thinking negatively, or not believing in yourself and our society… My challenge to you, the Class of 2010, is to turn the tide of negativism.”

Far from ignoring the realities of a difficult job market, Taylor reached back to his own college days to share inspiration. “In 1979 the job market was on hold and the economy was poor. I was worried, and yet I really felt good about graduation. I knew I was prepared to step forward.”

An Illinois native, Taylor had been recruited to UW-Green Bay to play basketball. With some self-directed humor he opened his presentation by displaying his 30-year-old uniform. But while the uniform might not fit, some of the friendships that were forged around it have lasted a lifetime. He pointed out that Chuck Aslakson, a former UW-Green Bay basketball coach who had convinced him to play for the Phoenix, would later recruit him to join Northwestern Mutual insurance.

That observation led Taylor to offer another piece of upbeat advice: “It goes to show how important relationships are in your life. Make and maintain as many relationships as possible. Relationships are dream makers.”

Taylor closed his speech by reminding students about Dr. Martin Luther King’s final public speech given the night before he died, when King told an audience that he been to the mountain and had seen the Promised Land and knew that we as a people would get to the Promised Land.

“Class of 2010, find your Promised Land, and change the world for the better,” Taylor said. “This is your day. This is your time. Remember to thank everyone who made this day possible for you. I think you for this life changing experience in my own life.”