Ford honors employees, unveils UW-Parkside Promise
Traditionally, convocation is a time for celebration and the spring 2010 version of the university's semester-opening breakfast featured plenty of celebrating. University of Wisconsin-Parkside Chancellor Debbie Ford introduced the university's newest employees and honored those who have served the campus and its students for many years. Calling the fall semester highly successful, Chancellor Ford then shared numerous campus highlights and later announced an important planning milestone.
Greenfield Honored for Service
Convocation gave many university employees the opportunity to get better acquainted with new Provost and Vice Chancellor Terry Brown. She will join UW-Parkside during the spring semester.
After introducing Dr. Brown, Chancellor Ford thanked Jerry Greenfield "for his unselfish and dedicated work" as interim provost for the past three years.
"The University of Wisconsin-Parkside has benefited tremendously from his good work and he has been instrumental in helping me during the past six months," Chancellor Ford said. "Jerry, thank you for everything you've done for the students, the faculty, the staff and everyone connected with UW-Parkside."
Acknowledging that this has not been an easy year for university employees as they attempt to meet student needs with less time due to furlough days, Chancellor Ford saluted what she called "THE BEST workforce in southeastern Wisconsin" by welcoming new employees and honoring service award recipients, those with five or more years at the university.
Ford highlighted a lengthy list of campus accomplishments during her remarks. These included:
-- Finalization of plans for the renovation and expansion of the Communication Arts Building (the groundbreaking ceremony is Feb. 9);
-- Completion of solar panel installations and lighting upgrades that are saving university nearly $100,000 in energy costs annually;
-- Receipt of a WIRED grant that will give UW-Parkside a major role in educating students for two industries in which this region wants to excel: water and health care;
-- Dr. Ford's own inauguration as chancellor on Friday, Nov. 6 ("one of the best days of my life," she said), as well as the week leading up to the inauguration which celebrated our campus hallmarks, and the successful 40th Anniversary Gala which closed the week of festivities;
-- The success of the first-ever House Calls program in which the chancellor and other volunteers knocked on 396 doors at the three residence halls promoting Parkside Pride to our students. "There were a lot of surprised--and delighted--students at this unannounced visit," Chancellor Ford said;
-- And the launching of the enrollment management process.
"A group headed by DeAnn Possehl and Dean Yohnk are working on an integrated marketing plan to enhance our marketing and recruitment efforts across the region," Chancellor Ford said. "Our entire enrollment process is being examined in order to develop a strategic enrollment management plan; we are developing ways to make the transfer process seamless which will allow us to attract quality students who want to complete their degree at UW-Parkside; and we are working on plans to actively engage academic departments in the recruiting process."
A major highlight of the fall semester was the Theatre Arts Department's receipt of the UW System Regents' Teaching Excellence Award. Ford said during the Dec. 11 ceremony in Madison the Regents praised Theatre Arts' "outstanding reputation for quality theatrical productions, focus on academic excellence and focus on student success." Calling the entire Theatre Arts team to the front of the Student Center Ballroom, Chancellor Ford asked Department Chair Dean Yohnk to talk about Theatre Arts' award winning efforts.
After reintroducing new Provost Terry Brown and brief comments from UW-Parkside's new second-in-command, Chancellor Ford reiterated her vision for the university.
"We have so many reasons to celebrate and be proud of all we do at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside," Chancellor Ford said. "As I noted in my Inaugural address, my vision for UW-Parkside includes strengthening our campus and communities; focusing on continued excellence in teaching, learning and research; improving the success of all of our students; and being known as the "go-to place" in our region of Southeastern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois, while fully embracing our four Hallmarks of Academic Excellence, Student Success, Diversity and Inclusiveness, and Community Engagement."
The text of her speech is available here.
Strategic Planning Progress
Convocation also gave many university employees the opportunity to examine and provide input on the university's strategic plan.
"Today, I am pleased to share with you the first draft of our strategic plan 'The University of Wisconsin-Parkside Promise,'" Chancellor Ford stated. "We have identified six strategic directions and 28 SMART goals and it is important to note that work has already commenced on many of the goals. Your input is vitally important as we embrace our strategic directions for the next three years."
While noting that the university's Strategic Planning Leadership Team has been meeting for the past 12 months, Chancellor Ford said, "Our work is just beginning." She then set out a timetable for the strategic plans rollout.
"We will gather input from you today, we will upload the entire plan to the Strategic Planning website for your review and comment; we will be meeting with our Governance groups and focus groups in February to seek additional input; and it is my hope that we will remove the 'draft' watermark from the plan by Spring Break. Then, I will share the plan with our external stakeholders and take the plan on the road. Finally, we have set up a process that will be posted on the Strategic Planning website to monitor the implementation and success of our plan," Ford stated.
Calling upon Ann Zanzig of AZ Consultants, who has assisted with the strategic planning process since it was initiated by Interim Chancellor Lane Earns, Chancellor Ford sought immediate input from campus employees following convocation.
Gathering in the Student Center's Brickstone Grill and Eatery, faculty and staff were asked three questions and provided insight to be incorporated into the plan. About 120 people participated in the post-convocation program.