Chancellor Alexander’s open letter to the communities of Green Bay, Manitowoc, Marinette and Sheboygan

On Friday, July 10, Chancellor Michael Alexander sent a message out to UW-Green Bay students, faculty and staff about how UW-Green Bay is navigating the pandemic, as well as its role in the future of Northeast Wisconsin and its broader community.

Dear UW-Green Bay Students, Faculty and Staff:

At a meeting with campus leadership on Tuesday, I was asked if we were considering how to move forward as a campus after the pandemic.  It was an excellent question and one that I have not done a good enough job articulating an answer for over the last few months.  Like all of you, I have been focused on UW-Green Bay’s careful response and planning related to the immediate crisis. We have learned over the last four months that conditions can shift quickly and new guidance appears almost daily, which can make long range planning a challenge. I want to thank our faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community for being patient and understanding while we navigate these difficult times.  Our enrollment is up 875 students this summer over last year and our faculty and staff are working through the summer in order to be ready for any version of teaching we need to provide in the fall.  We are positioned well to deal with whatever challenges emerge in the coming year, but it is not enough.  We must do much more. 

In the spur of the moment, I answered the question about our future with the first thing that came to my mind.  I believe our long-term vision is the same vision that will guide our university and region in the coming year.  To begin with, we must become comfortable with being uncomfortable.  Our students deal with a fear of the unknown all the time.   Most felt this way prior to the pandemic and those who did not, likely do now.  Prior to the pandemic, I believed an education helped a student contribute to making a positive difference in their region, country, and world.  Now, I believe education must also prepare students to generate constructive dialogue that will help heal and rebuild our communities.

We must stop spending all of our time worrying about the mode of delivery for our courses.  For what feels like my entire career, and certainly over the last four months, we have been debating whether or not to teach in person or online.  It has presented as a binary choice when it does not have be.  The debate has gone on while more and more students need an education that can provide the benefits of both.  We need instruction that honors the fact that a large portion of our students need flexible hours to learn.  They lead complex lives.  Many desire the in-person experience with the flexibility of an online course.  Providing this kind of education is our answer now and it is also our answer in the future.  The first step in providing access to education is ensuring that our classes are actually accessible given the realities of modern life.    

We must fully commit to solving the racial achievement gap (the disparity in academic achievement between black and white students) in our state, which is one of the worst in the country.  While it pains me to say that, we must face this reality head-on and finally fully dedicate ourselves to addressing it. Our community cannot grow together unless we level the educational playing field.  There are massive inequities in our region that are exacerbated by uneven access to education.  This problem has been building since higher education started in this country.  Achievement gaps in education lead to inequities in opportunities and further widen socioeconomic disparities in our region.  Only our actions will determine whether we are truly committed to solving this injustice. This is urgent.

We must fully commit to teaching all who desire an education at any age and with any background.  Universities have often boasted about the academic profile of their student body.  I do not care what the academic profile is of our incoming class.  I only care if each student feels like their life has been enriched by an experience with us.  It is not our place to choose who we teach.  It is our mission to teach all who want to be taught.  There are many universities that will fight over a student with a 4.0 GPA and high SAT score.  I do not begrudge that student or the university that seeks to teach them, but we must fight for the student who has had to struggle, who has potential that is yet to be realized, and who wants to make a difference in their community.  Our region needed that student to have an education prior to the pandemic.  Now it is essential that our University nurtures local students into the leaders of tomorrow.

We must stop assuming that all students go to college to get a degree and do so between the ages of 18-22.  We needed to set this assumption aside prior to the pandemic and it has become even more important to do so now.  Education should be a lifelong pursuit and one that may not always follow a straight line.  Most students expect an affordable education and during the pandemic may not be willing or able to travel far from home to get one.  As education continues to grow in cost, it is becoming a more and more attractive decision for students to stay local for large parts of their educational experience.  We will welcome students at any point in their career to use education to improve their career or broaden their view of the world.

We must change the narrative around the cost of an education.  Our tuition is under $8,000 per year for a Wisconsin resident.  An elite university education can cost upwards of $50,000 per year.  Regardless of the university students choose, it should be viewed as an investment they make in themselves.  Student debt matters when it inhibits a person’s ability to fulfill their potential.  Worse yet is student debt without the completion of one’s educational goals.  We must support students to persist in their education.  We must encourage them to stay on course and finish what they have started. We must be a leader in helping first generation college students successfully navigate the experience.  The narrative on the cost of education and rising debt was broken before the pandemic.  We now have a chance to reset the educational value proposition in the coming year and beyond.  

Our community has rightly demanded that UW-Green Bay grow to support the economy, culture, education, and health of our region.  Now and after the pandemic, we will need leaders to help us move forward. It is our job to prepare them.  We fiercely believe that all students who want a university education should have access to it.  Our mission is to provide that education, and the rapid growth of our University in recent years shows we are fighting to support students to reach their educational goals.  I ask our entire community to join us in the fight to create a more equitable community and one prepared to meet the challenges of the future. 

I am unable to predict exactly what will happen with education in the coming months.  However, I know we are resilient. As the Phoenix, we are up for the challenge that lies ahead. We will rise into the unknown together.

CATL Advanced Training Opportunities mid-July through August

The Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning is offering advanced training opportunities starting mid-July that will be co-facilitated with faculty partners. All eligible instructors will receive a $1,000 stipend for completing the training. Check out the cohort themes and two-week session dates to sign up or learn more.

 

Video: Cofrin School of Business sends message to students: ‘We’re ready!’

Faculty and staff in the Cofrin School of Business spent some time putting a video together reassuring students that no matter what this fall brings as a result of the pandemic, they are prepared to help students to continue on the path in pursuit of their higher education and career goals. Watch it, here.

UW-Green Bay, Manitowoc Campus ready to welcome students back | Seehafer News

As the fall semester draws ever closer, UW-Green Bay, Manitowoc Campus is preparing to welcome their students back onto the campus.

We spoke with Rachele Bakic, the executive director of Admissions at the school, who explained, “In Admissions, we are going to start tours on all four campuses, and those will be by appointment only. Right now our number is 10 people or less for the individual campuses.“

(Formerly) UW-Manitowoc, along with-UW Sheboygan and UW-Marinette, were paired up with UW-Green Bay in 2018 when the UW Board of Regents paired all schools in the system with a larger school in the area to allow for smaller schools to thrive.

Source: UWGB Manitowoc Campus Ready to Welcome Students Back, Merger with UWGB a Success so Far | Seehafer News

UW Green Bay-Manitowoc Campus is helping students effected by Holy Family College closure | Seehafer News

Back in early May, Holy Family College in Manitowoc announced that after this school year they would be closing their doors for good, a move which left their students searching for a new place to continue their education. Enter UW-Green Bay, Manitowoc Campus, who have been helping some of those students.

We spoke with Rachele Bakic, the Executive Director of Admissions at the campus, who voiced her empathy for those affected. “We are really sad to see what happened to Holy Family,” she said. “I was personally saddened by that just for the community, but also as the higher educational partner in that community. I had worked with Dr. Callahan on other partnerships as well as other colleagues.”

Backic told SeehaferNews.com that they have benefited from the closure a little bit as a “handful” of students have made their way to the UW-Green Bay System, and “we are currently helping many others with determining the next best steps for them.”

Source: UW Green Bay-Manitowoc Campus is Helping Students Effected by Holy Family College Closure | Seehafer News

‘Summer school’ has new meaning for high school students who are taking college credit to save money and get ahead

GREEN BAY, Wisconsin (June 30, 2020)—It probably wasn’t the summer they planned, but more than 40 high school students are making the most of their summer break to earn college credit through UW-Green Bay’s Summer Scholars Program.

Summer Scholars provides students the opportunity to earn three UW-Green Bay credits during a four-week, online course offered July 13 through August 9, 2020. Enrollment is still open. Courses are being offered in the high-interest areas of computer science, geoscience and sociology through UW-Green Bay’s Continuing Education and Community Engagement division.

Recent Green Bay Preble High School graduate Megan Matuszewski is taking the Natural Hazards course in order to satisfy the Natural Sciences general education required course at most college and universities.

“My aim is to have 30 college credits by the time I go to UW-Green Bay in fall of 2020, and through the Summer Scholars program, I will reach my goal,” she said. “I am excited to begin my course in the upcoming weeks!”

The program is entirely online. with three classes to choose from: Introduction to Computing & Internet Technologies, Natural Hazards, and Contemporary Social Problems. The cost is $600 per course—a 55% savings on tuition and fees.

The summer program saves high school students and 2020 high school graduates hundreds of dollars in tuition through the reduced-tuition structure. Credits earned can be transferred to all UW System schools and most private or out-of-state schools. The program allows students the opportunity to get a head start on their college degree and distinguish themselves on future college applications.

The Summer Scholars Program exemplifies UW-Green Bay’s commitment to serving high school students and creating impactful pathways towards higher education and beyond.

Registration for the Summer Scholars Program continues until July 3, 2020. For more information, please visit www.uwgb.edu/k12relations/summer-scholars-program/overview.

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 more than 8,700 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, D-I athletics, 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.

About the Division of Continuing Education and Community Engagement
The Division focuses its mission on creating educational opportunity and access for all ages, encompassing K-12 student programs, personal and professional development and customized training to meet the needs of a progressive economy. The division develops, collaborates and executes responsive solutions for diverse communities statewide, all of which reflect a deep commitment to inclusion, social justice and civic responsibility. For more information, visit www.uwgb.edu/cece

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Monday, June 29 is the next Coffee Break with campus leaders

To keep all informed of University decisions as we continue to work on specific details for fall, a Coffee Break listening session will be held on Monday, June 29 at 8:30 a.m. Chancellor Alexander, Sheryl Van Gruensven and Kate Burns will give 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. See your inbox for details.

The presentation will be recorded for those who cannot attend.

Reminder: Campuses look to open safely on July 1

UW-Green Bay released plans last week to open slowly and safely beginning with faculty and staff and the outdoor spaces on July 1. If you haven’t reviewed it, please refer to the “Phoenix Forward: Return to Campus Plan.” Members of the Marinette, Manitowoc and Sheboygan campuses should watch their e-mails, and can contact their CEOs about specifics such as entry and exit doors and cleaning supplies.

UWGB Reopening: A Picture of New Reality | WHBL

When the UW Green Bay Campuses, including Sheboygan County, reopen in July, operations won’t look anything like they did before the pandemic forced them to close in March. The University released its “Return to Campus” documents outlining new plans and procedures put in place to offer education and safety at the same time.

Effective July 1st, all employees and students will be able to be on-campus Mondays through Fridays between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., although all summer course sessions are still online-only. That access is for students, staff and faculty only, and the general public will have to wait until September to visit.

Source: UWGB Reopening: A Picture of New Reality | WHBL

Reminder: Phoenix Rise Virtual Run/Walk begins Friday, June 26

Want to participate in something with the campus community but at your own pace, on your own time? The UW-Green Bay Wellness Committee invites you to join all four campuses in a the Phoenix Rise run/walk June 26-28, 2020. Prizes for those who participate!

What you need:

  • Printable race bib
  • Post a picture with your bib and tag #uwgbphoenixrise2020
  • Complete this survey after your run/walk

your date. your time. your length. your pace.