UW-Green Bay receives First-Gen Forward designation

National Honor for Commitment to First-Generation Student Success

Green Bay, Wis.— The Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and The Suder Foundation, recently announced the 2021-22 First-gen Forward cohort, which included the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. UW-Green Bay is the first UW System institution to be recognized as a First-Gen Forward institution.

The First-gen Forward designation recognizes institutions of higher education which have demonstrated a commitment to improving experiences and advancing outcomes of first-generation college students. Selected institutions receive professional development, community-building experiences, and a first look at the Center’s research and resources.

At UW-Green Bay, 34.2% (2,356) undergraduate students and 11.2% (51) graduate students are recognized as first-generation student—the first in their families to pursue a college degree.

“This exciting opportunity reaffirms UW-Green Bay’s commitment to the success of our first-generation college students, said Corey King, vice chancellor, University Inclusivity & Student Affairs. “This collaborative partnerships with Academic Affairs is another milestone in our institutional efforts to become an inclusive and welcoming university.”

UW-Green Bay among nearly 80 higher education institutions selected to participate in the 2021-22 cohort. Universities who have been recognized as first-gen forward institutions include the University of Florida, Ohio State, Rutgers, UNC-Chapel Hill, Colorado State, Georgetown, Clemson, Florida State, UC-Santa Barbara and CSU-Sacramento.

“When First-Generation College Students choose UW-Green Bay, they entrust us with providing the required curricular and co-curricular opportunities to ensure their success though degree completion and beyond,” King stated. “UW-Green Bay recognizes that the success of First-Generation College Students opens the pathway for future generations.”

King said that being part of this cohort will help UW-Green Bay be part of the solution toward higher college attainment levels in Wisconsin. “As a University, we take great responsibility in being part of the solution,” King said.

“First-gen Forward now recognizes and supports over 200 diverse institutions across three cohorts, all of which continue to lead the nation through their commitment to first-generation student success. We are pleased to welcome UW-Green Bay for its long-term commitment and demonstrated strategies for advancing first-generation student initiatives,” said Dr. Sarah E. Whitley, assistant vice president, Center for First-generation Student Success.

As a First-gen Forward Institution, interested faculty and staff will be afforded multiple opportunities to engage with peer institutions who are also creating environments that improve the experiences and outcomes of first-generation students. Selected institutions will send representatives to the First-gen Forward Workshop slated for early-June and will participate in monthly phone calls, virtual professional development, goal setting, blog development, annual reporting, and more. After two successful years in the program, institutions are eligible to apply for the advisory leadership designation.

At UW-Green Bay, Corey King, vice chancellor for University Inclusivity & Student Affairs; Jen Jones, assistant vice chancellor for Enrollment Management, and Vince Lowery, director of Student Success and Engagement, will lead efforts on behalf of the University.

To learn more about first-generation efforts at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, contact Vince Lowery, loweryv@uwgb.edu. To learn more about the Center for First-generation Student Success, visit firstgen.naspa.org.

NASPA—Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education is the leading association for the advancement, health, and sustainability of the student affairs profession. Its work provides high-quality professional development, advocacy, and research for 15,000 members in all 50 states, 25 countries, and 8 U.S. territories. Visit naspa.org for more information. The Center for First-generation Student Success is the premier source of evidence-based practices, professional development, and knowledge creation for the higher education community to advance the success of first-generation students. Through four strategic priority areas, the Center drives higher education innovation and advocacy for first-generation student success.

About UW-Green Bay
Established in 1965, UW-Green Bay is a public institution serving 8,970 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students and 95,000 continuing education learners each year. 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.


Photo of the UW-Green Bay Phoenix sculpture with students standing in front making a hand phoenix by interlocking their hands together with the words, "Phoenix Finish Strong by Vince Lowery."

Video: Phoenix Finish Strong by Vince Lowery

UW-Green Bay’s Vince Lowery, director of Student Success and Engagement, inspires students to put their best foot forward as they race to the finish of the semester. Lowery shares a personal story about a cross-country race that taught him the lesson of finishing strong. “When (you’re) in doubt, when (you’re) uncertain… reach out for help, ask for help…reach out to me. As a Phoenix family we will finish strong. Together.”

Video Transcript of Phoenix Finish Strong by Vince Lowery:

This time of year I’m reminded of a story that I always told students when I was in the classroom now that I’m director of Student Success and Engagement. I have the opportunity to bring this story to a much wider audience.

This story is set a long time ago in the year 1994. A high school junior, running cross-country. We made our way to our regional tournament. I’m approaching the one-mile marker and I can hear this voice from the one-mile marker, it’s Coach Larry Smith. You see, I was usually second or third on the team and here I am at a regional event 99th out of a hundredth place. The one person behind me got injured and was walking and Coach Smith is just wondering you know what’s going on. So, he’s shouting are you hurt, are you injured, what’s up? And I’m like no I’m fine, I’m fine.

The reality was I had a terrible start to the race. Worse start ever for me but the thing I understood in that moment was that I could not change the start of the race. I could not go back and re-run the first mile. I couldn’t look back; I could only look ahead. I could only concentrate on the race in front of me left to run. Put one foot in front of the other. Do my best. Kept going. Kept pushing. Kept running hard. Slowly but surely, I moved up in the race.

Now as much as I wish this story ended with the one-shining moment with me crossing the finish line in first, it doesn’t. I finished 16th, which I was really pleased with. It was the best that I could do in that given race, given what happened in the first mile. But I also remember Coach Smith there in the last stretch, cheering me on, right, and here I am with you playing the role of Coach Smith, right, of cheering you on, of encouraging you to keep going.

Your semester is not over just as my race wasn’t over. You still have ground to cover and maybe you weren’t satisfied with how the semester started. Maybe there were some things you missed. Maybe there were some things you stumbled on. We can’t change that. We can’t control that. What you can control is what you put into these last few weeks. Papers, exams, whatever projects you might have coming up, that’s what you can control.

The other thing that you can control is accessing support. Whether that’s peers, faculty, The Learning Center, and advisor, Disability Services, Dean of Students office, MESA, The Pride Center, the places built on this institution to support you. The people committed to playing that role to Coach Larry Smith cheering you on all the way to the finish.

Finish strong. Your semester’s not over.  Your race is not over. And when in doubt, when uncertain, when not sure where to put the next foot, reach out for help, ask for help. Don’t know where to ask for help, reach out to me, I will help you find that place. I will be your Coach Larry Smith. I will cheer you on across that finish line. As a phoenix family, we will finish strong. Together!

Prof. Vince Lowery to deliver CAHSS Virtual Conference Keynote

UW-Green Bay’s Director of Student Success and Engagement, Prof. Vince Lowery, will deliver the Virtual Keynote, “How HIP Is Your Education? High Impact Practices and the World You’re Preparing For” to kick off the CAHSS Virtual Conference. Join the Zoom Meeting May 4, 2020 from 11 to 11:30 a.m. More at www.cahsseffect.org.


Listen to the third ‘Phoenix Thriving’ episode

The third “Phoenix Thriving” episode has been released! On this episode, UW-Green Bay Director of Student Success and Engagement Vince Lowery is joined by Director of Advising and Retention Darrel Renier, as they discuss Renier’s work as an advisor and how Renier has gotten to where he is today. Listen to Episode 3 here.

UW-Green Bay names members of a new Student Success Council

Through collaboration with the Provost’s Office, a new Student Success Council has been created to improve and coordinate efforts in student success across the University. A group of people from Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and additional locations are coming together to listen to students, faculty and staff and recommend ways to remove impediments to student success. The Student Success Council will help solve problems, disseminate information, prevent duplication of efforts across the university structure and highlight a commitment to student success as an institution. Members will be:

-Assistant Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Services (co-chair)
-Associate Provost for Academic Affairs (co-chair)
-Director of Student Success & Engagement
-Director of Advising & Retention
-Director of Financial Aid
-Director of The Learning Center
-Director of CATL
-Director of Career Services
-Director of Disability Services
-Director of Student Life
-Diversity Director
-Director of Inclusive Excellence
-Library Director (or designee)
-Distance Education Coordinator
-Dean, CAHSS (or designee)
-Dean, CSET (or designee)
-Dean, CHESW (or designee)
-Dean, AECSB (or designee)
-CEO, Manitowoc (or designee)
-CEO, Marinette (or designee)
-CEO, Sheboygan (or designee)

Candidate forums for Director of Student Success & Engagement, Tuesday, Feb. 26 through Thursday, Feb. 28

On-campus interviews will be Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019 through Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019 for the candidates for the UW-Green Bay’s Director of Student Success and Engagement position. During an open presentation, each of the candidates will present on “Priorities and Strategies to Promote Student Success.”

The schedule is as follows:

Kelly Smith, Assistant Professor of Counseling at Springfield College, 10 a.m to 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019 at UW-Green Bay’s Christie Theatre located in the University Union

Kelly Smith, Ph.D., has worked in student and academic affairs for more than a decade. She is the co-founder of the Midwest First-Year Conference, a not-for-profit that provides professional development and services to individuals and groups working with student transition, retention, and persistence issues, and an Assistant Professor of Counseling at Springfield College. As Director of First- and Second-Year Experience at Northern Illinois University, she oversaw all aspects of comprehensive and collaborative curricular and co-curricular programming to support the student academic, personal and social transition into college. Her background in higher education also includes work with students with learning disabilities, in Housing, Orientation, Advising, Student Conduct, and College Counseling Centers. Dr. Smith has edited a student transition textbook for eight years, and is a member of the editorial review board for the publication E-Source for College Transitions.

Amy Simons, Director of Student Success and Engagement at Fontbonne University in Saint Louis, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019 at UW-Green Bay’s Christie Theatre located in the University Union

Amy Simons is the Director of Student Success and Engagement at Fontbonne University in Saint Louis, Missouri. Amy has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in Educational Psychology, with a dual concentration in School Counseling and Community Counseling, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in Psychology. Prior to working in higher education, Amy worked in the field of market research, primarily focused on customer experience and satisfaction, as well as competitive intelligence research. She has used these experiences to inform her work on student success by using both data and the voice of the student to guide strategic decision-making.

Vince Lowery, Interim Co-Director of GPS, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019 at UW-Green Bay’s Christie Theatre located in the University Union

Vince Lowery joined the UW-Green Bay faculty as an assistant professor of History and Humanities in the fall of 2009. His primary teaching obligations are African American History, US Immigration History, and Ethnic Studies. He first became involved in student success initiatives through the university’s Teaching Scholars program and then as a First Year Seminar Instructor. In the Fall of 2017, he joined the GPS program as a faculty mentor while also participating in the Equity Gap Fellows program. In the Spring of 2018 he served as interim co-director of the GPS program and now serves as its interim director.

The Open Forums will be live streamed here for all three candidates.

Bartell leaving for University of Toledo position

Denise Bartell, UW-Green Bay’s director of student success and engagement has been named The University of Toledo’s associate vice provost for student success. Bartell will begin her new job Aug. 1. The associate vice provost for student success is responsible for providing leadership in the implementation of strategic initiatives related to retention and the undergraduate experience from pre-college through degree completion. Read the full release from UT.

UW-Green Bay is one of five UW institutions to share NASH grant

GREEN BAY — The University of Wisconsin System is one of four higher education systems nationwide to be awarded a two-year grant from the National Association of System Heads (NASH), an organization of the chief executives of 46 public colleges and university systems in the United States. The $150,000 grant will be used to advance the UW System’s work on making high-impact educational practices (HIPs) available to underrepresented minority, low-income and first-generation students across the organization.

UW-Green Bay, along with UW-Eau Claire, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Parkside and UW-Whitewater, will partner in an ongoing initiative to expand access to HIPs for underserved students, as well as design system-wide data collection processes for reporting student learning and student participation in HIPs.

“What it means for UW-Green Bay is that we will have a pool of funds, as well as the time and institutional resources, to expand our campus strategic priority to make student success our highest priority, said UW-Green Bay’s Director of Student Success and Engagement, Denise Bartell. “The grant will allow us to expand the number of students who engage in HIPS, with a focus on increasing access for historically under-served students. It will also allow us to maximize the impact of HIPS on campus, by providing us with the opportunity to intentionally design experiences to improve student engagement.”

UW System institutions have been working to implement HIPs since shortly after their introduction to the higher education field in 2008. Through strategies such as first-year seminars, learning communities, service learning, research with faculty, internships and field experiences, study abroad and culminating senior-year experiences, UW System institutions have taken a broad approach to promoting student success.

“We are honored to be one of only a handful of institutions to be selected to champion this effort,” noted UW System President Ray Cross in a press release last week. “The research clearly shows that involving students in high-impact practices has a positive and measurable effect on their long-term educational success, and this new grant will help us build upon our success.”

Recent data attests to the success of these strategies. According to recent data drawn from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) in 2017, more than 85 percent of UW seniors reported engaging in at least one HIP during their time in college, while nearly 70 percent indicated having engaged in two or more HIPs.

Other NSSE data shows a need for work in key areas of student participation. For instance, 60 percent of UW seniors participated in service learning, and 23 percent reported engaging in a study abroad program.  About one-third (27 percent) of all UW seniors took part in research with faculty.

In addition to the NASH Grant, the UW System will contribute $75,000 to cover costs associated with providing individualized support to the five partner institutions and to sustain efforts beyond the life of the grant. Other winners of NASH grants include the University System of Georgia, the Tennessee Board of Regents, and the Montana University System. The grants are funded by the Lumina Foundation.

In July of 2017, UW-Green Bay announced that it was one of 32 colleges to receive a $105,000 grant to help students overcome financial emergencies while attending college.

About the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is a comprehensive public institution offering undergraduate and graduate programs to 7,158 students. The University transforms lives and communities through exceptional and award-winning teaching and research, innovative learning opportunities and a problem-solving approach to education. For more information, visit www.uwgb.edu.

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Bartell named UW-Green Bay’s Director of Student Engagement

Denise Bartell
Denise Bartell

Associate Prof. Denise Bartell (Human Development and Psychology) will be joining UW-Green Bay’s academic affairs administrative team as the Director of Student Success and Engagement.

While this is a new position in the Provost’s office, its creation recognizes and seeks to institutionalize work that Bartell has been conducting for several years. Her duties include the oversight and development of the Gateways to Phoenix Success (GPS) program, the development of academic access opportunities for underrepresented students, the coordination of GPS and related programs with Student Affairs offices such as the American Intercultural Center and the Pride Center, the coordination of GPS and related programs with Enrollment Services offices such as Admissions and Advising, developing greater opportunities for student engagement in high impact experiences, working to institutionalize GPS and related programs, and oversight of several first-year seminars.

Because of her diligence to student success and the work she has put into it, she was recognized in 2015 with the Founders Award for Excellence in Institutional Development — one of the University’s highest honors. Bartell’s appointment is effective August 22, 2016.  She will report to Associate Provost for Academic Affairs, Clifton Ganyard. In addition, she will continue to teach first-year seminars and in the GPS and peer mentors programs.

Bartell teaches courses on family and personal relationships, including her popular first-year seminar, Love & Lust in America.  Her research focuses on young adult development, in particular the factors that promote college success and the impact of romantic relationships on young adult development. Bartell joined UW-Green Bay in 2002 after earning her Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Texas.