Kersten named Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Director of Graduate Studies

UW-Green Bay Prof. Andrew Kersten has been named the University’s Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Director of Graduate Studies. He will assume his new duties July 1.

Kersten, chair of the department of Democracy and Justice Studies (formerly Social Change and Development), succeeds outgoing Associate Provost Timothy Sewall, who is retiring effective June 30 after serving UW-Green Bay for more than 33 years. Kersten was selected following an internal search that yielded three qualified finalists who were interviewed in mid-December.

In his new role, Kersten will assume responsibility for International Education programs and services, the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment, FOCUS and the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning. In addition, Kersten will direct the University’s Graduate Studies program and serve as the institution’s Accreditation Liaison Officer with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. He brings an array of talent and experience to the position, said Julia Wallace, UW-Green Bay Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

“I know Professor Kersten to be a collaborative leader, a creative thinker and a strong advocate for faculty and staff development and student success,” Wallace said. “His experience in a wide variety of University activities, as well as community and System-wide areas, supports my belief that he will be able to enter a complex position with competence and confidence. I look forward to working with him.”

A noted historian, researcher and author, Kersten is the Siegfried Frankenthal Professor of History at UW-Green Bay. He has taught at the University since 1997, offering a wide variety of courses including the U.S. History Survey, U.S. Immigration History, U.S. Economic and Business History and Wisconsin History. His awards and honors include UW-Green Bay Founders Association awards for excellence in collaboration (2006), teaching (2007), scholarship (2008) and outreach (2009). He also received a student-nominated teaching award at the University in 2011.

Kersten’s research and writing have centered on the experiences of workers in the late 19th and 20th centuries. He is the author of numerous published works, including articles, chapters, encyclopedia entries and books. His books include “Clarence Darrow: American Iconoclast” (Hill and Wang, 2011), “Labor’s Home Front: The American Federation of Labor and World War II” (New York University Press, 2006), and “A. Philip Randolph: A Life in the Vanguard” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006). Kersten also has an interest in public history, and helped create a digital archive of World War I records from Brown County, along with a Pullman Porter exhibit at the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay.

Throughout his career, Kersten has received numerous grants and fellowships, and has presented papers, moderated conference sessions and served as an invited lecturer both across Wisconsin and nationwide. He has maintained a strong record of service at UW-Green Bay, including as a member of Faculty Senate, various search and screen committees and in advisory and mentorship roles.

The longtime UW-Green Bay faculty member was chosen from a very qualified group of finalists, Wallace said.

“I was pleased that we had a very strong candidate pool,” she said. “It shows the commitment and interest of our faculty to the future success of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.”

First degree in ‘Democracy and Justice Studies’

Remember that Social Change and Development changed its name this past summer?  Well, the first graduate to earn a degree in Democracy and Justice Studies is listed in Saturday’s commencement booklet: Andrew James Palmbach, of Appleton. (About a half-dozen of his colleagues are listed under SC&D, during the transition.)

Remembering Darin Renner

Some on campus will remember Darin A. Renner, who died last Tuesday age 40 in Madison. Services were Sunday in his hometown of Arkdale. Renner was a fiscal analyst for the state of Wisconsin’s Legislative Fiscal Bureau, and a proud UW-Green Bay graduate, class of 1994. He was a double major in Social Change and Development and political science, active in the Student Government Association and a recipient of the Chancellor’s Medallion. Read his obituary.

Faculty note: Lockard

Craig Lockard, professor emeritus of history and Social Change and Development (now Democracy and Justice Studies), was the keynote speaker for the first Hawaii world history conference, held in Honolulu in mid-October. His topic was “The Asian Resurgence in World History Perspective.” Lockard also gave the annual NEH lecture at Hawaii Pacific University.

Lockard podcast on Southeast Asia book

Craig Lockard, professor emeritus of history and Social Change and Development, was recently interviewed about his book, Southeast Asia in World History (Oxford University Press, 2009), for podcasting on the New Books Network. The site’s editor writes, “As Craig Lockard so convincingly demonstrates, this region was shaped by, and in turn gave much to, the rest of the world.”

Faculty notes: Lockard in China

Prof. Emeritus Craig Lockard of Social Change and Development (newly renamed Democracy and Justice Studies) attended the annual conference of the World History Association, held this year in Beijing, China, July 7 through 10. At the conference Lockard chaired a roundtable on Southeast Asia, served as a discussant on a second panel, and presented a paper on “Making Fields from the Sea: Chinese Emigration to Southeast Asia and Beyond Before 1850” for a third panel.

Democracy and Justice Studies is SC&D's new name

One of UW-Green Bay’s cornerstone academic units has a new name, effective Friday, July 1.

Faculty member in Social Change and Development have adopted the name Democracy and Justice Studies. They say it better fits an evolving curriculum, builds on the unit’s strengths, and accurately reflects the nature of the program and its priorities.

The major, which originated as the Modernization Processes concentration and became Social Change and Development in 1977, currently enrolls about 100 majors and serves many hundred others who pursue minors or topics of interest under the program’s umbrella. Alumni records show 727 graduates hold either a major or minor in SC&D.

In a letter to current students, Prof. Kim Nielsen, the unit’s chairperson, called it “an exciting time of change and innovation” for the program.

Democracy and Justice Studies will stay true to its roots and examine how and why societies develop, and whether their political, economic, cultural and social relations and activities promote justice, freedom, equality, and democracy. The program’s advocates say it comes as close as any at today’s UW-Green Bay to embodying the school’s founding principles of interdisciplinary, problem-focused scholarship.

The widely praised Historical Perspectives Lecture Series has brought renowned scholars from across the nation to the UW-Green Bay campus for several lectures annually since 1985. The academic program is also known for professors who publish widely and have, in recent years, dominated the annual UW-Green Bay Founders Association Awards. Multiple honorees include historian Andrew Kersten (a three-time recipient) and two-time honorees Nielsen and Harvey Kaye.

Kersten on unions: Law means change in function, worker treatment

Our own Prof. Andrew Kersten offered his expertise on public employee unions and the impending changes to those organizations during a Wednesday interview with WFRV, Channel 5. Once the state’s contentious Budget Repair Bill goes into effect Tuesday (June 28), union dues will become optional and unions will have to re-certify annually. The changes pose logistical challenges and mean workers will be asked to do more for less, Kersten said. You can check out comments by Kersten and two union leaders at

Dale weighs in on freshman lawmakers

Speaking of the contentious political climate, legislative newcomers — including several from Northeastern Wisconsin — quickly became part of the debate as soon as they were sworn into office in January. UW-Green Bay Prof. Timothy Dale offered his take on the freshmen lawmakers for a story in Sunday’s (June 19) Green Bay Press-Gazette. Fitting in with one’s party, yet still making voters happy, can be a tough balance to strike, Dale said. “The pressure is the new legislators are in districts that had voted for the other party in a previous election and (yet) they are part of a majority that did not want to push moderate policies,” Dale said. “Typically, new people lay low, but in the Assembly there’s a permanent campaign that goes on. There’s pressure to fit in and go with what the party wants to go with, but also be sure to be serving the constituents.” Read the full story.