Chancellor honors service, looks to future

UW-Green Bay Chancellor Thomas K. Harden used the Mid-Year Convocation Tuesday (Jan. 19) to recognize years of service by faculty and staff, and point to the University’s future.

Chancellor Harden, Mid-Year Convocation, Jan. 19, 2010At the annual ceremony held in the Phoenix Room of the University Union and attended by many faculty and staff, Harden said the event reminded him that UW-Green Bay benefits from a “continuum of excellence.”

First, for a relatively young institution, UW-Green Bay has an impressive record of accomplishment, not the least of which is that many of its founding faculty and staff remain devoted to the University and its development. Secondly, that record of accomplishment covers the entire enterprise, and many different categories of employee service, rather than small pockets of specialty.

During the Convocation Harden honored faculty and staff accomplishments, presenting ‘emeriti’ status to seven faculty and staff members. Also recognized were employees celebrating 10, 20, 25, 30 and 40-year anniversaries.

Among other announcements made during the ceremony:

  • Prof. Andrew Kersten of Social Change and Development has been appointed to the Frankenthal Professorship, for “productive commitment to scholarship and whose work exemplifies the mission of this University.”
  • Prof. Greg Aldrete, Professor of Humanistic Studies and History, was recently presented with the 2009 Excellence in Teaching Award from the American Philological Association. He joins Wisconsin Professor of the Year Regan Gurung as a UW-Green Bay faculty member winning significant teaching honors this academic year.
  • The Common Theme for 2010-2011 will be “The Leadership Question.”

In departing from what might be a traditional script, Harden took a moment to reflect on the local ceremony on Saturday (Jan. 16) to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and last week’s devastating earthquake in Haiti. “What would Dr. King say about Haiti?” Harden asked rhetorically. “He would organize resources to help.”

Acknowledging that the ceremony might not typically be the place to encourage charitable donations, Harden added, “We have neighbors to our south that really need help.”

Harden said he has been impressed by the generosity of the regional community, noting the recently concluded $30 million capital campaign, and the University’s annual fund, which received contributions from 62 percent of faculty and staff.

In a related development, the chancellor talked briefly about the $5.5 million gift from Dr. David Cofrin to help establish the Austin E. Cofrin School of Business. He expressed hope that by July 1, some of the necessary preparation will be completed.

While the recession certainly presents economic challenges to the University, Harden emphasized that the University’s growth agenda has not been abandoned and he will be exploring ways to support “moderate” growth. In that vein Harden noted that a major push at the local and national level is to produce more college graduates. Just as America has lost ground in being the most educated nation in the world, Northeastern Wisconsin has lagged behind much of the state in producing college graduates, Harden said.

“This is a component of the growth agenda. We need to find more ways to graduate more students,” he said.

To that end, Harden is opening up the topic of Strategic Planning Themes. These are the big ideas that provide the basis for a shared vision.

“I need your help to identify the big idea areas for enhancement, advancement and investment,” Harden told his audience of faculty and staff. “I’ll be asking for your help and participation. What are your dreams for this University?”

He said he would initiate the process in the coming weeks with a more detailed invitation to the campus community.

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