Top 10 UW-Green Bay news stories of 2018

Thank you to our readers for another great year. UW-Green Bay news editors are grateful to the UW-Green Bay community for reading and sharing UW-Green Bay news. Take a look back at top headlines of 2018 (based on web analytics).

1. Commencement Speaker Xiong tells graduates, ‘Create your own paj ntaub story’


Tears of pride and joy, for her family, her Hmong heritage, her UW-Green Bay family, flowed freely as graduate Bao Nhia Xiong ’18 spoke at the UW-Green Bay Spring Commencement ceremony at the Kress Events Center, Saturday, May 12, 2018. She was chosen to speak on behalf of her graduating class by UW-Green Bay faculty.

Comparing the student journey to a paj ntaub story — the Hmong art of adding intricate embroidery to traditional Hmong clothing — Xiong encouraged her fellow students to hold onto three distinct threads as they create their own paj ntaub: Family, university community and the spirit of giving back. See more.

2. UW-Green Bay offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing starting in 2020

The University received approval from the UW Board of Regents August 24, 2018 to move ahead in offering a prelicensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, paving the way for students to begin in fall 2020. The program will expand UW-Green Bay’s ability to fulfill unmet student demand for a high-quality BSN degree at an affordable tuition cost. See more.

3. UW-Green Bay names leaders at Marinette, Manitowoc and Sheboygan campuses

Provost Greg Davis announced Friday, July 20, 2018 the new leaders of the branch campuses — Cindy Bailey at Marinette, Rachele Bacik at Manitowoc and Jennifer Williamson-Mendez at Sheboygan. See more.

4. UW-Green Bay Mechanical Engineering gets the green light

Engineering control panel

UW-Green Bay’s efforts to establish an in-region resource for developing highly needed mechanical engineering talent in Northeast Wisconsin took a gigantic step forward Feb. 9, 2018 with the UW System Board of Regents approving the University’s request to offer the new program on its campus. UW-Green Bay began accepting freshmen into the program in Fall 2018. See more.

5. ‘Future 15’ members have UW-Green Bay ties

Future 15 Trio

Out of the thousands of young professionals in the Greater Green Bay area, hundreds are nominated and 15 are highlighted to represent their peers. They are selected because they have the potential to lead their communities, their places of work, their families. They are Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce’s Current Young Professionals Future 15. More impressive, three of the 15 chosen this year are employees of UW-Green Bay and four are UW-Green Bay alumni. See more.

6. UW-Green Bay alumna provides purrrfect comfort, delicious drinks and cat cuddles

Elizabeth Feldhousen at Cat Café

Imagine relaxing in a comfortable chair after a long day. Sipping a delicious beverage and taking in the calm atmosphere around you as you nuzzle a warm, furry feline purring on your lap. The Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary and Cat Café, owned by UW-Green Bay alumna Elizabeth Feldhausen ‘15, gives the Green Bay community the opportunity to experience it all.

Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary and Cat Café is a non-profit, no-kill, no-cage pet sanctuary that rescues cats with special needs from euthanasia. The Cat Café is the first in the region. The cats are given a home in the Cat Café, a cozy cafe that allows customers to interact with, and be surrounded by cats. According to Feldhausen, the goal of the cafe is to create a psychologically pleasing atmosphere to encourage healing, and to build confidence in cats. See more.

7. UW-Green Bay’s Weidner Center hosts Inaugural TEDx Series in Green Bay

Speaker Composite Image

UW-Green Bay brought its first independently organized TEDx series titled TEDxUW-GreenBay to the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts on Nov. 1 2018. The theme was RISING. “We are often faced with barriers and unanticipated challenges,” says TEDxUW-Green Bay organizers. “Rising above challenges is the hallmark of resilience and the pathway to a brighter future. The series featured eight established speakers discussing various topics.” See more.

8. UW-Green Bay footprint grows as it is joined by campuses in Marinette, Manitowoc and Sheboygan


On July 1, UW-Green Bay, UW-Marinette, UW-Manitowoc and UW-Sheboygan joined together as one university with one mission. The new UW-Green Bay is a four-campus university with a 16-county footprint, 700 ongoing employees and an enrollment of about 7,700 students. See more.

9. UW-Green Bay prepares to roll out State’s first Impact MBA Program

UW-Green Bay received approval on Friday, August 24, 2018, to move ahead with an “Impact MBA” administrated by the University’s Austin E. Cofrin School of Business. An Executive Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree program, the Impact MBA prepares working, experienced professionals to lead their organizations forward through the modern era of accelerating technology, disruptive business landscapes and growing social and environmental opportunities. UW-Green Bay’s program offers a unique approach to business leadership training in the state of Wisconsin. The program will begin in Summer 2019.

10. UW-Green Bay students network with Kohler executive leaders


On Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, UW-Green Bay students had the opportunity to have lunch at Lambeau Field and network with Kohler executive leaders from across the globe. Twenty-six students participated in the mentoring event, and were given the chance to interact with the executives to learn about career pathways, qualities and skills for success and overall thoughts on the global employment and marketplace. See more.


UW-Green Bay to offer a four-year BSN

Starting in 2019, students can apply to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at UW-Green Bay. The four-year program was accepted by the Board of Regents on Friday and will officially be available in 2020. The program will help to fulfill the state of Wisconsin’s need for healthcare providers with bachelor’s degrees, and complements the University’s existing nursing programs. Dean of the College of Health, Education and Social Welfare, Susan Gallagher-Lepak, said that the decision was applauded by many employers of nurses such as hospitals, insurance companies and public health agencies. Read the full story on Fox11.

University of Wisconsin-Green Bay to Offer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Starting in 2020

New program to help meet state needs for healthcare providers with bachelor’s degrees

Green Bay, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay received approval from the UW Board of Regents today (August 24, 2018) to move ahead in offering a prelicensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, paving the way for students to begin in fall 2020. The program will expand UW-Green Bay’s ability to fulfill unmet student demand for a high-quality BSN degree at an affordable tuition cost.

According to UW-Green Bay’s Susan Gallagher-Lepak, dean of the College of Health, Education and Social Welfare, the proposed program will complement the University’s existing nursing programs, including the accredited BSN Completion program (currently offered by UW-Green Bay, on campus, collaboratively with other UW institutions in Wisconsin via distance education, and nationally via distance methods),  NURSE 1-2-1 program and graduate program in nursing (leadership focus).

“We’ve received many positive comments about this new program from employers of nurses, such as hospitals, insurance companies and public health agencies,” offered Gallagher-Lepak. “Leaders at healthcare organizations have indicated that they will make clinical spots available to UW-Green Bay nursing students.”

Strong Support and High Demand
The University is receiving strong support for this program from many constituent groups within the region, including the UW-Green Bay Chancellor’s Council of Trustees Program and Initiatives Advisory Committee. Leaders of healthcare organizations in the community strongly support this program as a means to increase the number of BSN-prepared nursing graduates in Wisconsin.

“Nursing is the largest workforce in healthcare,” affirms Paula Hafeman, Chief Nurse Executive, Hospital Sisters Health System-Eastern Wisconsin. “According to a 2016 Wisconsin Center for Nursing report, it is projected that we will need more than 20,000 new registered nurses each year in Wisconsin to meet healthcare needs. More than 26,000 Wisconsin nurses will retire in the next 10 years alone. When you consider the need, and fact that healthcare continues to increase in complexity with advanced technology, treatments and an aging population, more healthcare providers are necessary. Wisconsin graduates 3,000 nurses each year. We need to support increasing nursing programs throughout Wisconsin.”

Nursing Shortage is Statewide

Of the approximately 3,000 new nurses per year (Wisconsin Center for Nursing, 2015), 55% earn baccalaureate degrees and the remainder earn associate degrees. Employers are increasingly requiring nurses to have a BSN degree (versus an associate degree in nursing) in Wisconsin and nationally.

Student demand for a nursing program at UW-Green Bay, specifically, is very high. Approximately 300 students apply to UW-Green Bay as pre-nursing majors each year. Because UW-Green Bay, until now, did not offer a prelicensure BSN, potential new freshmen choose not to enroll at UW-Green Bay, and current students who want to pursue a nursing major transfer to public, private or technical nursing programs.

Further, existing BSN programs within the UW System are unable to meet student demand. Approximately 50-80% of qualified applicants to baccalaureate nursing programs are denied admission to UW System Nursing Schools, primarily due to capacity issues (Young et al., 2016). This is consistent with national trends, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).

Chair of Nursing and Associate Professor, Christine Vandenhouten, said the program would provide regional opportunities that haven’t previously existed. “While UW-Green Bay is well-positioned to support a prelicensure nursing program, we look forward to working with the outstanding liberal arts and science faculty, both on the Green Bay campus and also our new branch-campus partners in Marinette, Manitowoc and Sheboygan. We expect strong interest from students taking their pre-nursing courses at all four campuses prior to applying to the UW-Green Bay prelicensure program.”

Students can apply to UW-Green Bay in pre-nursing for fall 2019. The first cohort accepted into the prelicensure program will begin in fall 2020. Didactic, skills and clinical courses in the program will prepare students for entry-level professional nursing practice in various areas. Nurses work in a wide array of settings, including hospitals and long-term care facilities, clinics and outpatient facilities, community centers, homes (homecare), schools, camps and businesses.

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 nearly 8,000 students with campus locations in Green Bay, Marinette, Manitowoc and Sheboygan. Established in 1965, and bordering the bay 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, 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 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. The University 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



Founders Winners 2018

UW-Green Bay recognizes excellence in the awarding of Founders Awards

GREEN BAY – The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay recognized some of its top faculty and staff members Wednesday, August 22, 2018, with 2018 Founders Awards for Excellence. The awards were presented before an audience of more than 450 in the Phoenix Room of the University Union, UW-Green Bay. Made possible by private philanthropic support, the awards program has been an annual fixture at UW-Green Bay since 1975. Honorees are selected by a campus-wide committee from nominations submitted by faculty, staff and others. The award winners honored at the annual UW-Green Bay Fall Convocation were:

The recipient of this year’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching, Associate Prof. of Humanities Caroline Boswell, is dedicated to student success. A commitment to the cultivation of learning, engagement and equity is evident through Boswell’s continual reimagination and revision of courses to improve student outcomes and incorporate evidence-based pedagogy and timely topics. Students note course rigor, but also the clarity of expectations and that Boswell is always readily available to provide support and guidance. Her students routinely dive into topics, taking on the role of scholars as they explore learning materials together using hands-on discipline-based research techniques. Boswell is a regular participant in professional development opportunities that sharpen her craft — OPID (Office of Professional and Instructional Development), Wisconsin Teaching Fellows and Scholars, the Civic Engagement Institute, Faculty College, and retention and undergraduate research events. She often coordinates and leads campus initiatives and events such as the Equity Gap Fellows program, Becoming a Student Ready University, Teaching and Learning Community Fellows, numerous book clubs and the annual Instructional Development Institute.

This year’s recipient of the Academic Support Award for Excellence, Mary Valitchka, works as a student service coordinator for the Office of Graduate Studies in the Provost Office. Valitchka shows a strong commitment to students and is described as a true ambassador for UW-Green Bay — from recruitment to admissions to commencement. With 18 years of service to UW-Green Bay, her most significant impact has been in the Office of Graduate Studies. When Valitchka began her post with Graduate Studies the University admitted only about 30 new graduate students per semester into four programs. Today, graduate enrollment has increased five-fold with nine programs and counting, without an expansion of personnel. Valitchka’s nominators said that her positive attitude is infectious and her work ethic, tremendous. Always the first in the office in the morning and commonly the last to leave, she has been described as a complete enrollment service department onto herself.

The recipient of the Faculty Award for Excellence in Scholarship, Professor of Human Development Illene Cupit, is a creative and productive scholar who has published more than 60 peer-reviewed articles, listed as first author on 52 of them. Cupit has presented to scholarly audiences across the U.S., as well as internationally. She has received numerous Research Council Grants in Aid of Research, two UW-Green Bay Research Scholar awards and a National Institute of Mental Health grant for over $90,000. Cupit is an expert in death, dying, and bereavement. Her recent book was described as the “staple publication for online grief research.” She often writes “practitioner-oriented articles that provide immediate guidance to those working on the frontlines of grief and bereavement practice.” In fact, her research led UW-Green Bay’s campus being the very first university to adopt an official student bereavement policy. She previously served as the President of the National Association for Death Education and Counseling and has chaired the Institutional Review Board for the past four years, demonstrating her commitment to research on campus. One of her crowing achievements is Camp Lloyd — a day camp for children who are grieving the death of a loved one, which has not only served as a sanctuary for hundreds of hurting kids through the years, but also a training ground for many UW-Green Bay undergraduates who will end of working in fields of psychology, human development and social work. One letter of support remarked on the recipient’s work as “approachable, meaningful, and useful” and another said that she “only engages in work that will make a difference.”

The team honored with the University Award for Excellence in Collaborative Achievement (Associate Prof. of Social Work, Francis Akakpo; Associate Prof. of Business Administration, Gaurav Bansal; Diversity Director, Office of MultiEthnic Student Affairs, Mai Lo Lee; Associate Prof. of Social Work, Jolanda Sallmann; and Associate Prof. of Business Administration, Mussie Teclezion) works with genuine commitment towards social justice and celebrating diversity. The event takes months of planning, with members from for-profit, not-for-profit and education organizations to create an event that unites and serves the entire Northeast Wisconsin community. Their work and commitment speak to the very heart of the UW-Green Bay mission. It is interdisciplinary, educational, multicultural and promotes engaged citizenship. Months of work and planning with various organizations and the K-12 area schools are required to choreograph this amazing event at NWTC which is now in its 24th year. Said one nominee, “Their vision is as critical in the U.S. today as it was in the past as we continue to face disparity, oppression and violence at all levels… Their efforts to bring together community members in a shared vision of peace is exemplary…”

The 2018 recipient of the Founder’s Award for University Staff Excellence is Monika Pynaker, UW-Green Bay’s manager of network services. Although her work has a “tremendous impact on the entire university,” most of the work is done behind the scenes, and sometimes the troubleshooting occurs during evenings, weekends and even holidays, so that the campus community is ensured that they can do their work with the most minimal inconvenience and maximum efficiency. In her 16 years with the University, Pynaker is credited with the development of a remote lab (for students), remote desktop (for faculty and staff) and serving as a project lead for the implementation of OneDrive and SharePoint. In addition, she has a longstanding history as an active member of shared governance, even before University Staff had an official role. She has served on the University Staff Committee, the University Planning and Innovation Committee, the Strategic Budgeting Committee and the Holiday Parade Float Committee.

The recipient of the University Award for Excellence in Community Outreach, Associate Prof. Christine Vandenhouten, improves lives through action. Her efforts to create a healthy community are said to be tireless, stellar and professional. She has served on a local school board, is involved with the Brown County United Way, Northeast Wisconsin Area Health Education Center, and is a member of the Board of Directors of Bellin Health. Her work profoundly impacts both the emotional and physical health of children and families throughout Northeast Wisconsin. Hers is a sincere desire to help the region’s most vulnerable community members. Vandenhouten received the prestigious Brown County United Way Community Impact Award in 2018 for “leadership and innovation to address priority human services needs on a community-wide scale.” She has been a faculty member in the Nursing program at UW-Green Bay since 1998. A nominator writes, “her record of community service is extensive, cumulative and sustained.

The University Award for Excellence in Institutional Development goes to Professor of Natural and Applied Science and Director of the Engineering Technology Program, Patricia Terry. Her work at UW-Green Bay spans the spectrum from department level to university-wide contributions. At a University which most recently has placed intense focus on the growth and expansion of engineering and engineering technology, Terry has worked tirelessly with technical college counterparts to reach articulation agreements and has done extensive training which has led to accreditation of the engineering technology program. At the same time that she was building the program, she was initiating a community-level advisory board that includes participation from more than 50 companies, many of which are now UW-Green Bay contributors and supporters of student internships. One nominator wrote, “there are few people on this campus who have contributed to the development of our university in as many and varied ways; whether it be in teaching, leadership through program and curricular development, service to shared governance, support of students or mentoring new faculty.”


Faculty note: Reilly publishes on nursing student travel & clinical experience in Brazil

UW-Green Bay Associate Prof. Janet Reilly (Nursing) and her colleagues from the Universidad of Sau Paulo, Drs. Deborah  Falleiros de Mello, Maria Helena Larcher Caliri, and Fabiana Villela Mamede, along with Eliana Maria Fernandes de Aguair Tonetto, from the Ministry of Health in Ribeirao Preto, Brazil,  published an article titled, “An Innovative Exchange Model for Global and Community Health Nursing Education.” The team of faculty developed a hybrid course (online course coupled with face-to-face practicum experiences), which enrolls nursing students from opposite hemispheres. A  video by Reilly and article describe the innovative approach to nursing education and understanding of diverse cultures.

Understanding different cultures is important in educating nursing students who will become the health care workforce of our interdependent and globalized societies. International practicum courses help student nurses understand different cultures.

The video is now posted on the Nurse Educator home page.

Faculty note: Prof. Vandenhouten is principle investigator of nursing program study

UW-Green Bay Associate Prof. Christine Vandenhouten (Nursing & Health Studies) along with colleagues from University of Tennessee and Duke presented the findings of a national study at the Association of Community Health Nursing Educators (ACHNE) Annual Institute, June 8 in New Orleans. The study examined the types and extent that nursing programs substituted simulated clinical experiences in community/public health nursing for more traditional clinical. In addition to the findings, the team of researchers led participants in simulations of difficult conversations that nurses often have. Vandenhouten served as the principle investigator in this study.

Dean Gallagher-Lepak Awarded by NANDA International

Dean of UW-Green Bay’s College of Health, Education and Social Welfare, Susan Gallagher-Lepak, was given the 2018 Unique Contribution Award from NANDA International (NANDA-I) at the NANDA-I Nursing Diagnosis and Knowledge Development Conference June 13-15 at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. The award recognized her various contributions to the organization including authoring chapters for several editions of the Nursing Diagnoses: Definitions and Classification text, co-development of the NurScope nursing diagnosis app, and serving on the NANDA-I Education Committee.

The photo shows Gallagher-Lepak (center) with Francoise Ineichen (faculty at Haute Ecole de Sante Vaud in Switzerland; far left), another NANDA-I awardee (center) and Swiss nursing students who attended Gallagher-Lepak’s pre-conference session at the NANDA-I Conference. The conference hosted attendees from 15 countries across the globe.

UW-Manitowoc Student Spotlight: Lori Maloney

Lori Maloney, a student at UW-Manitowoc, was forced to change her career path due to a motor vehicle accident in 2014. Until the accident, Maloney was a board-certified massage therapist, but the injuries she sustained forced her to choose another profession. Now, she is pursuing an education in Nursing. Read the full story on Herald Times Reporter.