Five questions with Mel Klinkner
The University of Wisconsin-Parkside's new Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration is Mel Klinkner. He comes to the Kenosha campus having previously served as vice president for financial planning and administration at Missouri Western State in St. Joseph where he supervised day-to-day operations of the Financial Planning and Administration division. Ranger Today asked him about his career, goals for his new position, and his leisure pursuits.
Ranger Today: Give a quick synopsis of your professional career--where you've been, what you've done, the issues you've dealt with, and how your experiences have prepared you for working at UW-Parkside?
Klinkner: My career began at a small liberal arts university as the assistant business manager. Since then I have served in various university financial and administrative roles at the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, the University of Central Missouri, Purdue, and most recently Missouri Western State University. All of these positions have provided me the opportunity to gain valuable experiences that prepared me for my role at UW-Parkside. Although my titles have changed, my primary objective of assisting in the education of students is paramount. The opportunity to help students succeed is what motivates me each day.
RT: Is there a professional accomplishment of which you're particularly proud--an award, a commendation?
Klinkner: One thing I have taken great pride in is building a strong, customer-focused staff that understands our role in assisting the university in its prime objective of providing students an excellent education. I am also proud of the fact that I have been able to mentor many individuals who are having successful careers in higher education.
RT: What do you see as your immediate priorities for this position?
Klinkner: A major priority is getting to know faculty, staff and students at UW-Parkside. This will help me understand the culture, aspirations, and challenges of the university. Another priority is learning the uniqueness and intricacies of the University of Wisconsin System and the State of Wisconsin's ways of doing business.
RT: What are your long term goals at UW-Parkside?
Klinkner: A long term goal will be to provide the financial and administrative leadership to support the University of Wisconsin?Parkside in reaching its strategic goals. Another goal is to assist the university community in building a sustainable and transparent budget. Today more than ever in higher education, strategic financial direction is vitally important, especially in the economic environment we now live.
RT: What are your favorite leisure activities? What are we most likely to find you doing during your time away from work?Klinkner: My wife and I love traveling, particularly off the "beaten path" so to speak. Doing that has allowed us to find many interesting people and places. We also enjoy anything to do with nature?visiting conservation areas, enjoying a walk on a trail or beach. On one trip to an "off the beaten path" conservation area, we were enjoying an evening sunset when ten trumpeter swans flew over our heads and landed on the lake. That kind of experience helps me keep things in perspective.