UW-Green Bay unveils Phoenix Childcare Support Program

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay continually strives to identify and remove obstacles that prevent our students from being successful in pursuing their educational goals. One such barrier is a provision to support childcare for our students who are also parents. In an effort to address this need, we are immediately launching the Phoenix Childcare Support Program. Utilizing federal grant funding and financial support from Segregated Student Fees, students who are Pell Grant eligible or have a demonstrated financial need, can apply each semester for a grant to be applied towards the expense of daycare for children aged infant to 12-years old.

In addition to this funding, student parents will have access to support which can help identify other supportive community resources, as well as the opportunity to attend training sessions focused on the further development of strong parenting skills. If you are a parent, thank you for prioritizing education amongst everything you are managing, and if you believe you are eligible, please apply today. Funding is now available.

UW-Green Bay’s Guthrie Named Athletic Director at Akron University

National Search for Successor Underway

Green Bay, Wis. – University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Chancellor Michael Alexander confirmed today that Director of Athletics Charles Guthrie has accepted the athletic director role at Akron University in Akron, Ohio and will be leaving his role with Green Bay Athletics. Deputy Director of Athletics Jermaine Rolle will serve as interim athletic director until Guthrie’s successor is named. A national search for Green Bay Athletics 10th athletic director begins immediately.

“Charles Guthrie is a true joy to work with and is gifted at bringing out the best in people,” said Alexander. “He always puts the student athlete first. Our athletes, coaches, donors and fans have the utmost respect for what Charles has done for Green Bay Athletics over the last four years. I am sorry to see him leave UW-Green Bay, but only wish him the best in this next exciting chapter of his career.”

Guthrie’s move to Akron puts him closer to family and his hometown of Albany, NY. His new contract with Akron begins July 1, 2021.

“I am beyond grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to partner and collaborate with Chancellor Alexander, the leadership team and the campus community,” said Guthrie. “Green Bay is steadfast in its commitment to academic and competitive excellence as evidenced by the department’s 42 consecutive semesters above a 3.0 GPA. I will miss this tremendous community of student-athletes, coaches, staff and faculty. I’d like to thank all of the Phoenix fans near and far for embracing our program and supporting our exceptional student-athletes—your support is the driving force behind Green Bay Athletics.”

Guthrie served as athletic director at UW-Green Bay since October of 2017 when he became the ninth person to hold supervisory responsibility for intercollegiate athletics in the history of the Green Bay program. He replaced Mary Ellen Gillespie who left the Green Bay program for a position at Hartford University in Connecticut.

According to Alexander, Guthrie is leaving the program on solid ground. “We will begin immediately to recruit a leader to build on his success and continue toward our goal of building the Athletic Department as a fundamental piece of how the region interacts with UW-Green Bay,” he said.

In his time as the leader of Green Bay Athletics, the athletics program has seen tremendous success in the classroom, in competition and in the community. Green Bay student-athletes achieved the highest-ever combined grade point average during any semester in Spring 2020, recording a department-wide GPA of 3.57. Competitively, Green Bay Athletics earned postseason berths on the Horizon League and NCAA tournament play for men’s and women’s basketball, men’s soccer, volleyball and Nordic ski during his tenure. Additionally, Guthrie helped raise over $1.2 million annually via the Phoenix Fund and special events. Guthrie oversaw enhancements to the Kress Events Center, completion of the University’s softball complex, King Park, which was completed in Spring 2020 and the opening of the new Aldo Santaga Soccer Stadium in 2019. Guthrie was instrumental in hiring men’s basketball coach Will Ryan in 2020 and helped the Division I athletics department navigate the Covid-19 pandemic.

About the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
Established in 1965, UW-Green Bay is a public institution serving 8,970 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students and 79,604 continuing education enrollees each year across all campus locations. We educate students from pre-college through retirement and offer 200+ degrees, programs and certificates. UW-Green Bay graduates are resilient, inclusive, sustaining and engaged members of their communities, ready to rise to fearlessly face challenges, solve problems and embrace diverse ideas and people. With four campus locations, the University welcomes students from every corner of the world. In 2020, UW-Green Bay was the fastest growing UW school in Wisconsin. For more information, visit www.uwgb.edu.



Chancellor Alexander announces direction for carbon neutral campuses

UW-Green Bay Chancellor Mike Alexander made an announcement to the UW-Green Bay community on April 14, 2021 committing the University to take the path toward carbon neutrality. He outlined these steps:

  1. Within the next two months, we will create institutional structures to guide the development and implementation of the plan.
  2. Within one year, we will complete a greenhouse gas emissions inventory and identify near-term opportunities for greenhouse gas reduction.
  3. Within two years, we will have a target date for achieving carbon neutrality, interim dates for meeting milestones to achieve our goal, mechanisms and indicators to track our progress, actions to make carbon neutrality part of the educational experiences of all students, and actions to expand research in carbon neutrality.
  4. We will make our progress to the goal of carbon neutrality publicly available.

“In 1971, Newsweek designated UW-Green Bay as the initial ‘Eco U.’ We need to continue to earn that name.  As a regional comprehensive, it is our mission to solve problems for our region, be a leader in sustainability efforts, and ensure that our communities in Northeast Wisconsin can thrive together in respectful relationship with the natural world for generations to come. I look forward to working with you all towards achieving this goal and thank our Sustainability Committee for moving us down this path,” Alexander said.


Coffee Break Q & A: April 16

Join Chancellor Alexander, Sheryl Van Gruensven, and Kate Burns for the next Coffee Break. Campus leaders will provide a brief update and allow the remaining time to take questions from faculty and staff. Colleagues from all campus locations are strongly encouraged to attend.

Join the Microsoft Teams Meeting on Friday, April 16, 2021 from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m


Brief Updates
Michael Alexander, Sheryl Van Gruensven, and Kate Burns

Question and Answer Session
Email questions to coffeebreak@uwgb.edu

Video: UW-Green Bay Chancellor Alexander discusses hopes for a robust in-person return

Hi UW-Green Bay students. I hope you’re doing well.

We’ve been working very hard over the last year, since the pandemic began, to keep everybody safe and to make sure we can continue your educational goals. As we’ve moved through the pandemic, we’ve been anxious to be able to get back together and to be able to find a way to come back to normal.

We don’t quite know what normal will look like yet as we move to the summer and into the fall, but we do know that we are planning to use best-practices to make sure that we can have in-person experiences throughout the summer, and definitely as we get into the fall.

I know that you all received an email about registering for classes for the fall, and you should be able to find any class that you want in an in-person format. Also, for those of you still want to remain online, as many as possible in an online format.

So again, we’re always going to keep your safety first and foremost, but we’re also committed to making sure that we can we can return to the normal, robust experience of what it means to go to the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and be a Phoenix.

We’re very proud of the work that you’ve done throughout the pandemic to have such a low positivity rate, to be able to really lead the way in what it means to be responsible throughout the pandemic.

I hope that you have a wonderful conclusion to your semester, a terrific summer, and I look forward to seeing all of you hopefully back in person here in the fall.

Reminder: Ideas for ‘strategic priorities’ due on Friday, Jan. 29

A reminder that ideas to support six strategic priorities are due on Friday, Jan. 29, 2021.

  1. Ideas from faculty, staff, and campus leaders for how to use the funding should be sent to the leaders of the strategic initiative you are looking to support by January 29, 2021 via this online form.
  2. Collaborative ideas that advance the priorities broadly across the University will be prioritized over ideas that are more narrowly focused to a particular unit.  Think in terms of large scale projects and ideas that could be transformational.  We need to utilize the collective knowledge and creative energy of our faculty and staff to identify the best options to use this money in the most strategic way possible. Dream in tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars and not from a scarcity mindset. 
  3. Leaders of the strategic priorities will take ideas and coalesce them into clear proposals with budgets to be presented to the Strategic Budget Committee by February 26.
  4. The Strategic Budget Committee, which has broad representation from faculty, staff, and administration, will make recommendations on the prioritization of the proposals by March 12 to the Cabinet.

“I urge everyone to think big, think creatively, and think differently about how we can use these resources to support our mission,” said Chancellor Alexander in a message dated Friday. Dec. 4, 2020. “Have conversations that allow you to see problems as opportunities. Dream. I understand that there is some risk here.  Because of who you are, I feel comfortable taking the risk and betting on the faculty, staff, and students of UW-Green Bay to use our momentum to create a bright and sustainable future for the University. This is a chance to make a meaningful difference to the future of UW-Green Bay.”

Video: Chancellor Alexander to students… ‘You are doing an amazing job’

Hi UW-Green Bay students. I hope you’re all doing well.

We’re a few weeks before the Thanksgiving break and I want to let you know that we’ve done an amazing job to this point to keep the campus safe and be able to function as best we can throughout the pandemic.

I want to urge you over these last few weeks going into Thanksgiving to please stay vigilant. To please make sure you’re doing everything you can to make sure that not only are you safe in these last few weeks on campus, but that we’re able to have you all go home and be safe while you’re with your families, so that we can bring you all back and resume the last few weeks of the semester.

I urge you to please make sure if you’re on campus that you are taking responsibility for the testing that we have each week for you.

I want to thank you one more time for everything you’ve done this semester. The work and attention and detail that you have done is remarkable, and the rates that we have relative to our community shows just how responsible you’ve been. I am incredibly appreciative and I know everyone at the University is for the way you’ve handled what’s been a really difficult semester.

Thank you, and I want to wish you the best for the rest of your semester. I know that everyone did not have classes exactly as they wanted them, and appreciate your flexibility while we’re able to get this sorted out and make sure that you persist in your education. That’s the most important thing for us right now. We want you to continue to persist in your education. The pandemic will end as soon as possible and at that point we want to make sure that all of you are still on track to finish your educational goals.

Thanks again for your attention. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving and we look forward to seeing you these next few weeks and when you return.


Chancellor Alexander talks about COVID-19 response at Board of Regents

In a summary of the UW System Board of Regents meeting on Nov. 5, UW-Green Bay Chancellor Mike Alexander was one of the chancellor’s selected to discuss keeping COVID-19 numbers down on campus. “UW-Green Bay Chancellor Michael Alexander spoke of the university’s ongoing collaboration with Prevea Health in northeast Wisconsin to implement a rigorous testing program for the campus population. He also noted the aggressive contact tracing UWGB has done. He said a key part of their strategy is to trust students and tell them so. ‘We trust them to do the right thing,’ Alexander said. Adhering to safe practices is ‘our duty to the community, our duty to students. It’s not a burden.'”

UW-Green Bay Chancellor Mike Alexander featured in Lakeshore Leaders Breakfast Series

UW-Green Bay Chancellor Mike Alexander will be a guest speaker in the Lakeshore Leaders Breakfast Series – Sparking Ideas & Innovation, 8 to 9 a.m. Oct. 14, 2020. The series is designed to hear from distinguished leaders from the lakeshore about the positive impact they are making in our communities. Registration is $20. The Division of Continuing Education and Community Engagement is the event organizer.
Wednesday, October 14 – Michael Alexander, Chancellor, UW-Green Bay
Wednesday, November 11 – Members of the Kolher Alliance of Veterans & Supporters (KAVS)
Wednesday, December 9 – Dan Ariens, Chairman & CEO, Ariens Co

Virtual Convocation in empty phoenix room

UW-Green Bay Chancellor Mike Alexander’s 2020 Convocation Challenge

I would like to start my remarks today by saying thank you.  It can’t be said enough.  We have pushed to be as ready as possible for the fall.  Our staff has worked tirelessly to recruit and retain students and prepare our classrooms and living spaces, our faculty have reimagined what it means to provide access to classes, and campus leadership have mobilized all summer to adapt to changing environments, policies, and shifting situations.  My goal is to keep the convocation to under one hour and if I properly thanked everyone for their work at the end of last semester and over the summer, as opposed to giving a speech, it is quite possible we would not finish before the end of business today.  Plus, I would much prefer to dialogue with each of you.

How do I sum up what we have been through as a campus over the last six months?  I can simply say that we have clearly risen to the challenge that we have been presented with.  As of today, our enrollment is up and most importantly our retention of students is up.  Our students have responded to us by the fact that our summer enrollment was up over 40%, students are choosing to start here in the fall, and our current students are sticking with us in significantly higher numbers than last year.

Today, I can tell you we are financially stable in an industry that is filled with tremendous risk.  We are definitely not wealthy, but we are living within our means, which provides us a path forward.  We have been able to navigate an unprecedented event in higher education to this point, but there are certainly more challenging times ahead.  While I would love to provide you certainty today, it would not be candid for me to try to do so.  We are standing in as good of a place as possible today, but that can change at any moment based on events that could occur that might be entirely beyond our control.  While all of our attention at the moment is on trying to figure out how to effectively operate a university in the midst of a pandemic, I think the most important questions we must ask ourselves right now have to do with how we will evolve to meet our mission and vision in the coming years.

I would like to focus today on what we can control moving forward.  Three years ago, I was given a book by someone very special to me that in hindsight, I think accurately identifies the problem we are trying to solve today in higher education.  The book is entitled The Common Good by Robert Reich is relevant to the complex problems we are trying to navigate today in higher education.  I believe that we need to set our goal to build our university as one that belongs to the common good.  The idea is that we must reach beyond what is just good for us individually, what is good just for us as a university, and strive for what is good for our communities and our region.  I ask you today to join me on a quest to make that happen.

This is not a quest for those that fear a challenge.  It is obvious that universities are good for the economy, for research, and for advancing specific academic disciplines.  It is also clear universities benefit and reward those that do well in the traditional way in school, score high on tests, have family that have attended a higher education institution in the past, and often come from a socioeconomic background that is above the poverty line.  However, I ask you if this really serves the common good or only a portion of the population?  What about those who want to solve problems, but do not go to a school that inspires them to do so?  What about students who are eager to learn, but show it in a way that does not translate well to the memorization and regurgitation of information in a high school class?  What about those who do not have their basic needs met, do not have the means to move out of their region, and do not see how a higher level of educational attainment could help them and their community?  And, how does a university create equity in a community?  How does a university create dialogue among people who disagree?  How does a university help its populace appreciate the value of science to solve problems and the value of the liberal arts to help explain and improve the human condition?

These are the questions we must consider.  We must figure out the role we play as a regional comprehensive in answering them.  Our answers will be different than R1s, wealthy private institutions, and even universities in different regions and with different demographics.  It is easy for us to complain about the fact that higher education is underfunded, under attack, and undervalued by many.  It is harder to change our goal as a university to actually solve the issues I just mentioned for the community we serve.  It is possible that as we currently exist, we are doing good for our community, but we may not fully be contributing to the common good.

Justice Louis Brandeis asked and answered, “What are the American ideals? They are the development of the individual for his own and the common good; the development of the individual through liberty; and the attainment of the common good through democracy and social justice.” And FDR stated, “We now realize as we have never realized before our interdependence on each other; that we cannot merely take but we must give as well; that if we are to go forward, we must move as a trained and loyal army willing to sacrifice for the good of a common discipline, because without such discipline no progress is made, no leadership becomes effective.”  Consider the proverb, if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.  How relevant are these statements now in the midst of a pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement?

How do these statements apply to our university?  I believe that we must be willing to fully unite behind our mission.  This is uncomfortable.  It means we will challenge norms.  It means we may look different than many other universities.  It means we might fail in a particular activity in an attempt to reach our overall goal.  It means we will need courage.  And it means we will have to let some traditions go in order to get to replace them with things that focus on the common good and not just the good of those that have traditionally gone to college in our region.  I ask that we consider the following:

In his book How to Be An Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi writes, “We arrive at demonstrations excited, as if our favorite musician is playing on the speakers’ stage. We convince ourselves we are doing something to solve the racial problem when we are really doing something to satisfy our feelings. We go home fulfilled, like we dined at our favorite restaurant. And this fulfillment is fleeting…The problems of inequity persist…We persistently do something to make ourselves feel better as we convince ourselves we are making society better, as we never make society better. What if instead of feelings advocacy we had an outcome advocacy that put equitable outcomes before our guilt and anguish? What if we focused our human and fiscal resources on changing power and policy to actually make society, not just our feelings, better?”

Let’s further consider Kendi’s powerful statement.  Let me start with the simple things we have already done.  We have provided meaningful funding for the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion to be done.  We will require all full-time employees to have initial important discussions and training on how to improve our equity and inclusionary practices as individuals and as an institution.  We have formed a police advisory council to support our university police to have a continuous open dialogue with the campus, and led by Chief Jones, our police have created several new programs to further the ways they can positively interact with the students they serve to protect.  We have started to enact our strategic plan for inclusive excellence.  And we have formed an impact initiative committee on the Council of Trustees on the subject of social justice that will be chaired by alum Cordero Barkley.  While a good start, unfortunately, this is not enough.

Brown County is 15% below the national average for the percentage of the population with an undergraduate degree and 41% below the average for graduate degrees.  This is why we must continue to grow.  By growing, we are solving a societal problem.  We are also below national and state averages for degree attainment when you look at our region.  If we do not solve this problem, our communities will fail due to inequity and an unsustainable economy.  Are we serving the common good?

Forty-eight percent of white students in Brown County are proficient in English and Language Arts, Black students are 14% proficient.  That statistic is not because Black students are less capable of proficiency in these areas.  It is because there is not equity in how those two populations access education.  What are we doing to not further exacerbate these problems at the higher education level?  We can’t just choose who we want to teach, instead we choose to teach all who want to be taught.  The goal of the university should not just be access, but success; not privilege, but growth.  Are we serving the common good?

There are more students in the Green Bay Area Public Schools whose native language is not English than there are in the total school population of students in 90% of the school districts in Wisconsin.  Are we doing, as a University, all we can to welcome students to UW-Green Bay that are not native English speakers?  I ask again, are we serving the common good when our student population is only 15% ethnically diverse (luckily that number is growing) and 69% of our student population comes from within our 16 county footprint.  We must stop saying some of our students are underprepared for college.  That may be true, but it is not the fault of the public schools or the students themselves. This is, once again, a societal issue and we should build our university around being ready to meet students where they are when they enter and not bemoan that they are not where we want them to be.  The question is are we willing to fix the problem or pass the buck?  The question comes down to what our goal is for education at a regional university like UW-Green Bay.  In my opinion, we must measure the growth of each student and use that as our measure of success.  We set high expectations for growth, but we do not start with a bar that is unattainable and then say the student could not leap over it.  Only with this attitude do we improve our society.  Only teaching well prepared students is comfortable, but will not create equity or a sustainable and diverse region for the future.  Are we willing to consider the common good?

Is our curriculum advancing more than just the traditional western canon or are we truly honoring the part of our mission that says we want to be globally informed?  What examples do your classes highlight?  Who is writing the books you are assigning, the music you are performing, and the art you are displaying?  Who owns the business we show as examples of success?  Are we providing connections to populations not traditionally entering the sciences?  This hits at the core of who we are welcoming in our classes.  Do they see themselves succeeding?  Are we willing to learn from the perspective of our students and not just provide our perspective to them?  Are we struggling to serve the common good in our classrooms or just teaching what and how we were taught as students when we were in school?

Consider that the average age of our students is 22, but how much energy and resources do we provide to those who are above the 18-22 age range?  Only ¼ of our students live on campus, but how much energy do we spend engaging those that are not living here?  Are we willing to continue to adapt to what we have learned from the pandemic?  Why did we grow by 40% in the summer?  I think it is because we expanded our offerings only in a way that met students where they were at and not taught in a delivery mode that has made us traditionally comfortable.  Are we willing to view education as something that can occur outside of 8:00-5:00?  Are we providing high impact practices in all that we do and for all who study with us or just those that can be at a class from 10-11 on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday?  I am so proud of our faculty for wrestling with these issues.  Our students are clearly responding and if we get the mix of synchronous and asynchronous offerings right, we will grow in ways we could never have dreamed.  What aspects of education do we need our students to be in person for?  Are we willing to also let them learn on their own and be informed by their prior life experience outside of the classroom?

In what may sound like an odd statement, I also think we need to stop worrying about degree completion for all students and start worrying about degree progression in a timely and efficient manner for everyone.  Each student will have a different educational goal when they come to us.  For most that start at 18, the goal will be to get a degree in four years, but for others that start mid-career, they may not want a degree, but a specific aspect of education that can advance their knowledge and opportunity.  This is a change in thinking.  We want all students to have access to education in an efficient way, but we must understand that not everyone will want a prepackaged degree.  They may only want a certificate, they may want non-credit skills-based courses, and they might even just be curious about a particular class.

I would also like us to consider our hiring practices in the years ahead.  Are they aimed at advancing our mission or encouraging us to look like all other institutions?  What do we value when we provide tenure and promotion and is it in alignment with our mission?  Are we hiring people that bring a diversity of ideas and backgrounds to our university or those that already confirm what we already know?  Can we search for people who believe fiercely in our mission, but might get there in ways that are outside of our norms?  Are we hiring and promoting for the common good of our region or to further the machine of higher education as it currently exists?

We must also look at our internal policies and practices and consider how the pandemic might have changed our acceptance of certain norms.  It is essential that we start measuring success in our workplace based on the quality and quantity of the work produced and not the number of hours spent in an office.  If we want to recruit and retain great faculty and staff, we must be willing to allow for complicated modern lives.  We also have to be willing to understand that our students also have complicated lives.  Why have we recruited and retained better this year?  My sense is that it is partly that we were working from home and could adjust our hours as we saw fit to accomplish our jobs and meet the needs of our particular family circumstances.  We must be committed to prioritizing the health, mental health, and wellness of not only our students, but also our faculty and staff.  To that end, we have formed another impact initiative with the Council of Trustees to guide us in these efforts.

If we do not fully grasp the equity issues laid bare by the pandemic, we will fail.  I do not have the answer to all of the questions I have asked today.  The answers will vary in every discipline and for every professor.  It will be found in the way we, as a staff, respond to every student’s circumstance. Even when we have answered the question countless times before.  Even when we are tired.  That is uncomfortable.  All I can ask you to do is to constantly question if you are teaching and performing your job as a staff member in a way that provides access and furthers the goal of the common good.  This applies to every facet of the university from facilities to residence life; business and finance to academic advisors, and IT to police.  We must fight for every student’s success.  Only with all of us working individually towards this goal can it be accomplished.  Leaders must be willing to make hard decisions, all of us need to hold ourselves accountable for keeping our work focused on this goal, and we all need to be aware of the opportunity we have as a university to truly define what it means to have a regional university focused on making the community it serves a better place.

Let me conclude today with a reminder of what I think makes us special.  When we did the work last year to see what made us unique, Carnegie Dartlett listened to us and gave us the following observations about our campus.  We are innovative, we are resilient, we are caring, and we are willing to fight to meet a noble mission.

We are innovative.  Continue to prove it with your actions.  Learn and experiment with how you can teach differently, truly provide high impact practices in every class, and perform research that can directly benefit your fields and our region.

We are resilient.  Model that.  Embrace the unknown just like we are asking our students to do.  Herd cats and celebrate when they all get to the end of a goal even if they take different routes to get there.  Don’t control the sound of the orchestra you are conducting.  Listen and value all of its unique voices to make a powerful whole.

We are caring.  Prove it every day.  Care when nobody is looking.  Just go out of your way to have empathy.  Do one thing each day that lets a student or colleague know that you care.  Just one thing.

We are willing to fight to achieve a university that aims to build a society that values the common good.  If a hurdle is in our way, we will get through it.  We will do so by being innovative, resilient, and caring in all that we do, but we will not stop.  We simply will not stop.

As we come together today, I hope the routine of the annual return to learning brings comfort and unified purpose to each of you.

I love this university.  It is poised to build on the profound vision on which it was founded.  Let us all rise together into the unknown.

Have a great year.

We are in this together.