New director of Institutional Strategy and Effectiveness is Bojan Ljubenko

Bojan Ljubenko, Ph.D. will be joining UW-Green Bay as the director of Institutional Strategy and Effectiveness starting on January 11, 2021. Bojan (the “j” is pronounced like “y”) comes from Moraine Park Technical College having served as the director of Institutional Effectiveness for the past seven years. “We are looking forward to Bojan’s vision and passion for institutional research,” said Provost Kate Burns. “Thanks to Dean Matt Dornbush for chairing this important search, to the search panel members, and to all of those who took part in the interview process.”

Video: Provost Kate Burns reminds students to reflect on your accomplishments this semester

Hi everyone, I’m Kate Burns, the Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs here at UW-Green Bay. I’m here to talk about the end of the semester which is quickly upon us.

I know at the beginning of the semester we are all thinking… How would this happen? How would we engage in a socially distant semester? What would this look like with all of these online classes and hybrid courses? Now we’re almost at the end, we’re finally almost there!

I just want you to take a moment and really think about all you’ve accomplished this semester; how you’ve grown, how you’ve changed, how you’ve pushed yourself in ways that you didn’t think were possible. The good news is that we are so close to the end, so we are counting the moments, we are counting the days.

We might feel a bit overwhelmed at times. I urge you to think about what’s worked well for you this semester and I want to encourage you to reach out if you need help. Talk to your professors. Talk to GBOSS. If you have any questions or concerns we’re here to help you get through.

We’re just going to focus on these moments—these days together. Good luck with all the remaining work that you have to do. We’re here with you and we’re here to help you thrive.

Thank you for all that you’ve done this semester. You should be really proud of all that you’ve accomplished.

We are Phoenix. We are thriving, together.

Valerie Murrenus Pilmaier named UW-Green Bay assessment coordinator

Please join the Office of Academic Affairs in congratulating Valerie Murrenus Pilmaier as the 2020-2022 Assessment Coordinator (AC). Pilmaier has been with UW-Green Bay, Sheboygan Campus since 2009 and an Associate Prof. of English and Women’s and Gender Studies since 2015. In her role as AC she will oversee assessment efforts carried out by the University, and collaborate with various offices across the institution, including the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, Student Success and Engagement, Institutional Strategy and Effectiveness, General Education Council, and University Assessment Committee.

Valerie Murrenus Pilmaier
Valerie Murrenus Pilmaier

Murrenus Pilmaier was the institutional assessment Coordinator for the UW Colleges from 2012-2016. In this role she oversaw the entire assessment program for the UW Colleges (which included departmental and campus assessment), worked closely with the Office of Academic Affairs,  the Senate Assessment Committee and the Senior Information Manager, as well as other student-focused offices in the institution, and introduced and helped to implemented a variety of initiatives that ensured that we maintained national best practices for educational excellence.

As the public face of assessment at the UW Colleges, she frequently presented the work to institutional, national and regional conferences and was interviewed by the HLC whenever they visited the institution. Murrenus Pilmaier views assessment as a recruitment tool and hopes it will ensure that our students receive an equitable experience via standardized learning outcomes (discipline-specific) that focus on student learning rather than arbitrary/antiquated measures of knowledge. She has worked with TRIO and Pre-College Initiatives, better incorporate the LEAP initiatives more deliberately in department learning outcomes, as well as various work within UW Colleges Assessment. She received her Ph. D. in The British Novel and Twentieth-Century British Literature from Marquette University.



UW-Green Bay Provost Kate Burns stresses empathy, appreciates ‘herculean effort’

Provost Kate Burns address the University Community during 2020 Faculty and Staff Virtual Convocation. Video transcript follows:

Hi everyone.

I was so impressed by this weekend’s drive through graduation. Megan DuFrane-Groose, Gail Sims-Aubert, and the entire Office of Student Life should be commended for all of their hard work and creativity in making this event a success. It was really touching to hear the graduates share their stories, see students’ families crammed together in a vehicle (and sometimes several vehicles) to celebrate this important milestone, and feel the pride exuded by our faculty and staff who cheered them on.

It made me think a lot about how we get students to this goal. I know we oftentimes think of graduation as simply a classroom accomplishment. At drive through graduation, it was clear that students were excited to see the familiar faces of people who had supported them both inside *and* outside the classroom. Faculty. Academic and University Staff. We are *all* making an impact on students during their time here.

Last spring we all worked together to somehow accomplish the impossible. We reached out to students. We called them when they hadn’t registered. We checked in on them when they weren’t turning in their work or missing class. We were focused on caring for the whole student inside AND outside the classroom. Academic Affairs and Student Affairs partnering together. These efforts paid off. Our enrollment is up, especially at a time when others across the country are seeing enrollment declines. Our enrollment is up, partly because of recruitment, but largely because of retention.

Retention is everyone’s job. Let me say that again. Retention is EVERYONE’s job. I want all of us (regardless of our roles) to be thinking about how we can better support and better retain our students. This may take a variety of forms:

  • Creating an inclusive campus climate. When students come to our campuses, we want them to feel welcome and that they belong. I am so glad that we will be engaged in inclusivity and equity training this year. Our times call for this emphasis on social justice, but it is also the right thing to do. Cultural competence is a journey, not a destination. As an institution of higher education, we need to model this dedication to learning, reflection, and growth.
  • We have proudly announced ourselves to be an access institution. This means we need to support the students we have. I know many of you attended the SpeakOut Institute this summer. One quote that really stuck with me is “Access without support is not opportunity.” We should all consider in our own areas what that support may look like. We are rolling out Navigate this fall semester. This is a great time to take a look at the Canvas training and learn more about this tool if you haven’t already. Our early alert system with grades and feedback is only as effective as we make it. Research has shown that early alert systems are especially important for students of color and first generation students who may not know how they are performing in their classes. We need to build early feedback into our courses so that students can better understand how they are doing and take steps accordingly.

It’s a new academic year. I appreciate the herculean effort it took to get us here. Countless staff and faculty working together to get us ready. I know many of you are feeling excited, optimistic. But also nervous. Overwhelmed. Worried about work/life balance/childcare and school arrangements. This is not business as usual—we are very much outside our comfort zone. This is how our students are feeling too. Here’s the thing though. Our students have always felt this way, excited about the promise of higher education while simultaneously navigating the headwinds in their lives. I want us to harness these new positive and negative emotions we’re feeling as we go into the fall to better understand and support our students. This is a massive empathy boost. If last spring taught us anything, we can accomplish so much when we were all working together toward a singular purpose: student success.

Provost Burns updates students on fall classes

In this memo on August 10, 2020, Provost Kate Burns updates UW-Green Bay students on status of fall classes.

Dear Students,

We have been hard at work to prepare campus for your arrival in a few short weeks. I wanted to update you on the status of fall classes. Nearly all classes at the UW-Green Bay campuses have been updated in terms of their course delivery modality. Classes at the Sheboygan, Marinette, and Manitowoc campuses should be finalized by the end of this week.

Please check your SIS account to see the latest on your fall class schedule. We needed to significantly alter the fall schedule to ensure we were following the CDC guidelines of six-foot distancing in our classrooms after the Board of Regents approved this policy in July. These guidelines will allow us to offer safe in-person instruction, but they also dramatically limited the number of students we could accommodate at one time in a classroom. As a result, some courses that were previously listed as in-person were moved online. Some in-person courses moved to different classrooms or to other spaces on campus, such as the University Union and Weidner Center. And some in-person courses became hybrid/blended, meeting both in-person and online, with varying percentages of in-person and online instruction depending on the class.  The learning options website describes what these different class modalities entail and how to determine which modality your course is in.

We appreciate your flexibility and patience as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve,. While the bulk of the fall schedule changes will soon be complete, there is a chance that we may need to make further small changes. In addition, we will continue to monitor the health situation in our region and will follow local health authorities’ and UW System guidance on if we need to adjust further. Again, I would encourage you to regularly check SIS as the most up-to-date information on your fall schedule.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to GBOSS at or 920-465-2111 and they will be able to help.  The fall semester may look different than previous semesters, but we are so excited to welcome you back.

Take care,

​Kate Burns
​Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

UW-Green Bay plans for fall | WBAY

UW-Green Bay’s Provost sent a letter to students Thursday regarding plans to resume classes on campus for the fall semester. Kate Burns says UW-Green Bay plans to offer classes in-person, online and “blended.”

“In order to account for required safety guidelines, including physical distancing, some courses that were previously listed as in-person will need to be moved online. Some in-person courses will need to move to different classrooms or to other spaces on campus. And some in-person courses will need to become hybrid/blended, meeting both in-person and online, with varying percentages of in-person and online instruction depending on the class,” says Burns.

Source: UWO to welcome students back to campus in September | WBAY

UW-Green Bay Provost Burns messages students about fall class delivery

Interim Provost Kate Burns messaged students about fall plans today (June 11, 2020)

Dear Students,

As we plan for classes to resume and campus to open this fall, I want to keep you informed as decisions are made. Today I am writing to share with you updates regarding course delivery and distance education fees.

This fall we will be offering courses in many different modes: in-person, online, and hybrid/blended courses. We are hoping to offer enough courses in various formats, allowing you to choose the classes and formats that best fit your needs.

In order to account for required safety guidelines, including physical distancing, some courses that were previously listed as in-person will need to be moved online. Some in-person courses will need to move to different classrooms or to other spaces on campus. And some in-person courses will need to become hybrid/blended, meeting both in-person and online, with varying percentages of in-person and online instruction depending on the class.

All of these adjustments are already in progress and will take some time to process. We are targeting a mid-July completion date and encourage you to check SIS regularly to verify the delivery method assigned for your classes.

Classes are scheduled to follow our current academic calendar, beginning on September 2.

For Fall, we are planning on charging the Distance Education fee for online, blended, and distance education classes, regardless of whether the course was originally listed as such or if we adjusted the format this summer. Usually we charge $25 per credit for the Distance Education courses. This Fall we are cutting the fee in half ($12.50 per credit) to recognize the financial challenges many students are facing and to encourage you to continue your educational pursuits. Unfortunately, we cannot completely do away with these fees, which cover the software, technology, student support, and faculty training necessary to deliver online and distance education, which are vital in our current remote environment. We are working to balance this vital infrastructure withaccommodating students’ needs to take more online and distance ed classes during the pandemic. If you have financial concerns, please contact Financial Aid at or 920-465-2111. You could also consider applying for one of our emergency grants.

These changes are necessary to help keep students, faculty, and staff safe while also offering a variety of options to best serve you. Striking the right balance is an ongoing pursuit. We have been partnering with Prevea and Brown County Health to determine safety guidelines for a safe return to campus and will share more information about this later this summer. If you have any questions or concerns about any of these changes, please reach out to GBOSS at or 920-465-2111 and they will be able to help.  Your commitment to higher education at this time is so important and we want to make sure you are able to achieve your goals.

Take care,

Kate Burns
Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Video and memorandum: UW-Green Bay announces furloughs

Note: This was a communication from UW-Green Bay leaders to the University Community

April 24, 2020
To: UW-Green Bay Faculty and Staff
Re: Furlough Impact at UW-Green Bay

It’s the people at this University that give UW-Green Bay its life and strength. We are extremely proud of where we have been able to take the University, collectively, in the last few years—overcoming fiscal challenges with thoughtful planning, quick response and meeting enrollment challenges head-on. We believe in UW-Green Bay. We believe in each of you.

Please watch this video as we discuss the difficult times ahead and the decision to implement furloughs to protect the future of the University.

It is terribly unfortunate that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced our hand. Today, we must announce plans to enact furloughs at UW-Green Bay to protect the future of the institution. This disruption in our lives and our livelihood is one that is greatly disappointing, considering the amazing momentum we had heading into the 2020-21 academic year. Although our financial health is not in jeopardy at this particular time, the reality is, we lost $3 million in revenue in just the past month and we must navigate risk until we can find some level of normalcy. We must also position ourselves to maintain healthy cash balances in the event we experience additional losses in revenue and other funding sources.

To that end, beginning with May 2, 2020, 227 staff members will be placed on furlough. All staff members who are to be furloughed received the news via their supervisors in the last 24 hours. With furloughs, as opposed to layoffs, we know that our staff will maintain their benefits and be eligible for unemployment compensation during the time they are furloughed.

In addition to furloughs of some of its staff members, Green Bay Athletics announced today that it will be suspending its men’s and women’s tennis teams indefinitely at the conclusion of the 2019-20 academic year. Several long-standing challenges have continued to hinder the opportunity for growth of the program and have contributed to rising costs and outpacing revenue, the most significant of which is the lack of an on-campus tennis facility and off-campus rental. Based on past expenditures, the suspension of these two programs will result in a savings of approximately $170,000 operationally per year and $160,000 in athletic tuition scholarships awarded per year. This decision does not impact Division I status nor membership in the Horizon League. See the full statement.

Here are the answers to some questions you may have:

Q. How long will staff members be furloughed?
A. The current furlough will run May 2 through May 31, 2020

Q. Who will be affected?
A. 227 employees; 111 Academic Staff and 116 University Staff, totaling 2,907 furlough days. In addition, all staff making more than $100,000 will take intermittent furloughs.

Q. How was it determined who would receive furloughs?
A. When Governor Evers announced last week that he was extending Safer at Home through May 26, the campus made a decision to close until May 31. As a result, employees who are not able to perform the greatest part of their duties from home were selected for furlough. This was after consultation with deans and division leaders

Q. What cost savings does this amount to?
A. UW-Green Bay expects to see about $250,000 in cost recovery with the furlough, in addition to the savings from International Education and Athletics.

Q. Why weren’t faculty furloughed?
A. Nine-month employees are exempt from furloughs this fiscal year.

Q. Where can we furloughed employees turn to help navigate next steps?
A. Furloughed employees can start with the UW System Employee Benefits site regarding furloughs.

Q. What happens after May 31, 2020?
A. Like you, we hope for better times ahead. We will be giving a presentation on the state of the University on May 1 and can give you more details at that time about our strategy for moving forward through the pandemic.

Take care and stay safe.

Mike Alexander

Sheryl Van Gruensven




UW-Green Bay names Kathleen Burns interim provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs

Green Bay, Wis.—University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Chancellor-elect Michael Alexander announced today (April 13, 2020) the appointment of Associate Dean Kathleen (Kate) Burns as the interim provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. Burns will fill the role being vacated when Alexander assumes the role of UW-Green Bay’s chancellor on May 1.

Interim Provost Kathleen Burns

“Kate is a strong, equity-minded leader who will help us continue to advance our academic goals in the coming year,” Alexander said. “In addition to possessing terrific research and teaching credentials, Kate’s dedication to students, support of faculty and staff and skills as an administrator make her perfectly suited to advance our mission as an access University poised to serve our community through this difficult time.”

The provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs is the University’s second highest administrative officer and senior academic officer. The provost oversees programming and leadership of the four academic colleges; the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts; the Division of Continuing Education and Community Engagement; the provost consults with the chancellor on all aspects of the University and speaks for the University in the chancellor’s absence.

“UW-Green Bay’s greatest strength is in its people: students, staff and faculty,” Burns said. “I am so excited by this opportunity to collaborate with all of the highly talented people here at our University and its vibrant community. Students are our top priority. It has been heartening to witness the compassionate and creative ways that faculty and staff are supporting students during this challenging time.”

Burns currently serves as the associate dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, providing analytical, budgeting and faculty and curriculum development support and leadership for the University’s largest academic unit. Burns brings a strong track record and commitment to student success, diversity and inclusion and shared governance to her new role. A leader on campus and in the community, Burns has led faculty involvement in student orientation, chaired a working group for the Chancellor’s Council on Diversity and Inclusive Excellence, directed the Diversity Scholars Program and served on the board of directors for the Brown County United Way and Encompass Childcare. She is actively sought after by students as a mentor and role model.

Burns came to UW-Green Bay in 2006. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Grinnell College and a Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts. Her primary field is Psychology with research focused on stereotypes, emotion and self-regulation.

Burns’ appointment will extend to June 30, 2021 or until the University completes a full search for the permanent position.

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