Monday Update Messages | Fall 2019

See below for a list of Monday Update messages for the fall 2019 semester.

This week we celebrate another group of UW-Parkside students completing their degrees and joining the ranks of more than 25,000 UW-Parkside alumni. UW-Parkside graduates go far and wide, but many stay in the area, especially now with expanding career opportunities available and the connections they have to the region. Wherever our graduates may go, they’re Parkside Proud!

A few facts about the Winter 2019 class, our newest Ranger alumni:

  • Another record class of more than 380 students eligible to participate in commencement
  • We’ll confer our first master of arts degree, and our first three UW Flexible Option bachelor of science in business administration degrees

Chancellor’s Award: Laurel Marcinkus

Laurel Marcinkus will be recognized as the Winter 2019 Chancellor’s Award recipient. Laurel graduates with a GPA of 3.98 earning her degree in communication, a minor in public relations, and a creative writing certificate. She received a National Medal at Carnegie Hall for her poetry when she was a freshman, and her poetry has been inducted into the Carnegie Hall museum. More recently, Laurel simultaneously won the Teresa Peck Award, again for her poetry, as well as the Carole Gottlieb Vopat Holocaust Studies Award for a high-quality research paper. She also won the Center for Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies award for the best gender-related paper, project, or creative work.

Laurel is also noted for her activism and leadership. Laurel took a leadership role in the collaboration with two communication faculty members in writing a proposal for panel presentation at the International Dialogue Analysis Conference this summer titled “#MeToo: Using Intersectionality and Dialogic Analysis to Extend a Social Movement.” Laurel approaches service and community-based activities with an equal measure of passion. Notable is her work as an ambassador for the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, where she has been an advocate and spokesperson for patients and families struggling to cope with illness. Congratulations on your accomplishments, Laurel!

Susan (Hillmer) Podlogar ‘84

Our Winter Commencement speaker is Susan (Hillmer) Podlogar, who grew up in Racine and graduated from UW-Parkside in 1984 with degrees in Labor and Industrial Relations and Business Administration. Susan earned her M.B.A. from the University of South Florida in 1987 and has gone on to an impressive career in human resources at Fortune 100 companies such as Johnson & Johnson and MetLife where she currently serves as Chief Human Resources Officer.

Beyond her career success, Susan has given back to her community through her volunteer efforts in the arts including seven years on the Board of Trustees of the New Jersey State Theatre. Susan and her husband, Brent Podlogar ’84, have established an endowed scholarship in the UW-Parkside Foundation to help future generations of students attend their alma mater. She represents a wonderful example of a balanced life that we hope all of our graduates can achieve. Susan was recognized with a UW-Parkside Distinguished Alumni Award in 2018.

Alumni Relations

You may have noticed renewed emphasis on alumni relations over the past year. Engaging UW-Parkside alumni with students, faculty and each other will be critical to achieving our student success goals as part of the UW-Parkside 2025 strategic framework. 

We are positioning the Alumni Relations Office as a portal between the university and our graduates. We know that alumni want to help the university and our students by being engaged in meaningful ways, and maintaining and developing lifelong relationships. Your partnership helps make this possible.

Key to our alumni-engagement strategy is collaboration with faculty, academic departments and other areas of campus such as admissions, career services, continuing education, athletics, study abroad and counseling. Building partnerships on shared activities and goals will advance the university’s strategic mission. Not to be lost in this is the fact that alumni engagement and fundraising success are directly correlated. 

The Alumni Relations Office is also leading (and in some cases, launching!) a number of efforts for alumni:

  • Communications to foster connection and to inform alumni so that they can be loud and proud advocates for UW-Parkside: monthly e-news, academic department news, and the new Parkside: The Magazine (mailed twice a year). Each department on campus will receive a print copy, and it’s also available online:
  • Affinity groups and activities to allow alumni to connect with each other and with faculty and staff: Alumni events, groups at companies with significant alumni employee presence.
  • Alumni Awards to recognize alumni achievements and service to the community. 

We plan to measure the success of alumni engagement efforts with the following metrics:

  • Number of alumni volunteering
  • Number of students utilizing alumni mentors/coaches (more to come on this effort in the spring)
  • Number of alumni visiting faculty members
  • Number of alumni making a gift to the University each year

It will take a village to engage our alumni in meaningful ways and to feel the impact of a stronger alumni community throughout the institution.

We will keep you informed of ways that you can be involved in our shared alumni relations efforts. Three items for now:

  • Nominate an alum for the UW-Parkside Distinguished Alumni Awards, by Dec. 13
  • Let us know when you host alumni on campus or they are involved with the campus community. Guest lectures, visits with a favorite former faculty members, and more. Drop a note to and we’ll provide an alumni “swag bag” to welcome them back and thank them for their engagement.
  • Save the date for Parkside Day: March 5, 2020. The second annual Parkside Day will engage alumni and the community in celebrating and supporting UW-Parkside. You can help us spread the word and make it a success.

Thanks for reading this update and for any thoughts you may have on alumni engagement.

Tom Krimmel, Associate Chancellor
Hannah Wallisch, Director of Operations
University Development & Alumni Relations

[i] George D. Kuh, What Student Affairs Professionals Need to Know About Student Engagement, Journal of College Student Development, Volume 50, Number 6, November/December 2009, pp. 683-706.

[ii] Recommiting to our Vision: Renewing an Academic Plan to Lead UW-Parkside toward 2020: Aiming High and Making Excellence Inclusive-2017-2020,, pp. 15-16.

[iii] As a side note, I wonder if we can use an accepted HIP category called, “collaborative assignments and projects” to capture significant portions of the curricula in theater and music for their engagement-building traits. 

[iv]Results from the College Internship Study at University of Wisconsin-Parkside, Matthew T. Hora, Matias Scaglione, Emily Parrott, Zi Chen, Matthew Wolfgram and Arun Kolar, Center for College and Workforce Transitions, University Of Wisconsin–Madison, December 2018.


The 2014 Campus Master Plan recommended “an ambitious and necessary transformation of the academic core facilities.” The previous master plan guided the renovation and expansion of the Student Center and the Rita Tallent Picken Regional Center for Arts and Humanities. These buildings are state-of the-art facilities that continue to serve the university as it evolves and grows. Renovating the academic core of the campus – Wyllie, Greenquist, and Molinaro Halls – is a priority in the 2014 Campus Master plan to meet our current and future needs. Following is a list of projects that are in the planning process and scheduled over the next two years.

Wyllie Renovation – Phase I (estimated to start May 2020)
Most of the focus of this project is updating the infrastructure and mechanical systems on the D2, D1, and L1 levels of Wyllie Hall. Even though most of the improvements are “behind the walls,” we are using this renovation as an opportunity to make much needed improvements to the enrollment and support services area on the D1 level. You will also see improved access to the library. The project is scheduled to begin next spring with substantial completion in May of 2022.

Greenquist Science Labs 222/370 (estimated to start June 2020)
This project will provide campus and students with interactive, state-of-the-art, biological sciences instructional labs by upgrading these labs to current teaching best practices, and improve the efficiency and operation of the electrical and HVAC systems that serve the space.

Central Utility Tunnel Repair – Phase II (estimated to start May 2020)
Project work includes repairing leaks in the enclosure, repairing spalling concrete enclosure surfaces, and repairing adjacent utility distribution piping, valves, and valve boxes. The project also includes waterproofing of the D2 level utilidors between Wyllie Hall/Greenquist Hall and Wyllie Hall/Rita Tallent Picken Regional Center.

Fire Alarm System Upgrade (estimated to start June 2020)
This project replaces and augments the campus-wide fire alarm and smoke detection system across 16 facilities to meet current life safety code and accessibility standards, improve reliability and features, and reduce operational maintenance costs.

Pool Basin Infill (estimated to start April 2020)
The focus of this project is to convert the swimming pool area into a multi-functional space that can be used by sports teams, students, and the community for a variety of activities. Specifics as to how this space will be used has not yet been finalized.

SAC Parking Lot Repairs (estimated to start June 2020)
A curb and gutter system will be installed on the eastern edge of the parking lot. The system will carry storm water and snow melt from the higher eastern edge of the parking lot to a drainage ditch on the western end of the lot. The parking lot will be milled, compacted, and a new layer of asphalt will be applied.

SAC Bleacher Replacement (estimated to start June 2020)
Project work includes removing the old bleachers and installing two new powered platform seating systems with seat backs that are anticipated to accommodate a slightly reduced seating capacity. The new seating systems will include new controls, self-storing railings, side curtains, and the ability to accommodate a media platform.

Facilities Management has a lot going on. You will note that construction of all these projects starts next spring. Thank you in advance for your patience as these projects get under way. The disruption will be worth it as we continue to transform our facilities, providing a first-class learning environment for students.

Scott Menke
Vice Chancellor for Finance & Administration


Last week I had the pleasure of attending an alumni event at CNH headquarters in Racine. The company invited its more than 120 employees who are UW-Parkside alumni to meet and reconnect with members of our UW-Parkside learning community.

CNH, along with other leading employers in our area such as Uline, Snap-on, Johnson Financial, Aurora, Ascension, Jockey, SC Johnson, Modine … and many others … know the important value of UW-Parkside alumni.

Graduates who are contributing in our communities are the foundation of community engagement that is a hallmark of our university. There are many other ways in which UW-Parkside connects and makes a difference in southeastern Wisconsin and around the state.


As we approach the holiday season, you may find cranberries on the dinner tables of family and friends. Did you know that Wisconsin is the nation’s largest producer and processor of cranberries? Research being conducted by Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Frannie Mann and her students will help Wisconsin’s cranberry industry extract a higher percentage of important antioxidants from the pulp, skin and seeds of the cranberries after processing.


Congratulations to Dr. Julie Kinzelman, associate lecturer in our sustainable management program, who earned the Root Pike Watershed Initiative Network “BEE Positive Award.” The honor recognizes her efforts to create and sustain healthy freshwater systems in our area that benefit people and pollinators. Dr. Kinzelman works extensively with the City of Racine Health Department.


In Computer Science, Dr. Zaid Altahat and students in the App Factory earned a 2019 round-one Foxconn Smart Futures award for the Kenosha Area Transit app. John Mielke and UW-Parkside M.B.A. grad Terry Herlihy (’93) earned a Smart Futures award for their Emergency Traffic Alert System concept. Both projects are now being further developed for round two of the competition.

On the subject of Smart Cities, Dr. Peggy James, dean of the College of Social Sciences and Professional Studies, and Dr. Christopher Hudspeth, associate professor of philosophy, have been working closely with the City of Racine on various Smart City initiatives. Dr. James and Dr. Hudspeth took part in the Racine Smart Cities forum earlier this year.

At the 2019 “ALL IN” Challenge Awards Ceremony recognizing colleges and universities committed to increasing college student voting rates, UW-Parkside received a Platinum Seal for achieving a student rate above 50 percent. Read more in “5 Things You Should Know.”


Don’t miss some exciting concerts coming up soon. Tuesday, Dec. 3, Bedford Hall welcomes the Parkside Jazz Ensemble. Thursday, Dec. 5, the Wind Ensemble and Community Band perform the Wisconsin premiere of “My Soul to Keep.” On Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7 and 8, Parkside Choirs, including the Master Singers with members of the community, perform “We Sing Magnificat” featuring J.S. Bach’s time-honored treasure.


UW-Parkside Continuing Education presents the forum “Understanding Sikhism” on Friday, Dec. 6. Sikhism originated in the Punjab region of South Asia on the border of India and Pakistan and is based on the teachings of Guru Nanak. The day includes a series of lectures describing Sikh beliefs and characteristics, along with opportunities for questions from the public. Read more in “5 Things You Should Know.”


Congratulations to our men’s soccer team. The Rangers won the GLIAC conference championship and the GLIAC tournament. In the first round of the NCAA Super Regional last week in Kentucky against Cedarville, the score was knotted at 0-0 following regulation play. That meant penalty kicks would decide the winner. Hats off to Cedarville which scored 5 kicks to the Rangers 4. An amazing game!


I’m honored that UW-Parkside is a founding member of the Higher Education Regional Alliance (HERA) along with 17 other institutions of higher education in southeastern Wisconsin – including our partners Carthage College and Gateway Technical College.

At the official HERA launch in October, members shared the important vision and mission of responding to the diverse needs of employers in our communities. That is what makes HERA so vital – it takes the collaboration of area colleges and universities to successfully meet the talent and innovation demands of the region. Working together, we’ll provide the leadership and results to keep our region moving forward.

Thank you for all you do each day to help our students succeed, and for your efforts to connect our campus with the community.

Enjoy the holiday season – remember only 19 shopping days until Commencement!

Debbie Ford


Our Academic Plan refers to the insight from George Kuh’s scholarship that the more time and energy students devote to their university experience, the more likely they are to obtain the desired outcomes of an undergraduate education,[i] first among them, persistence and degree completion. Engagement-building teaching techniques, or “high impact practices” (HIPs), include, for example, undergraduate research, community-based learning, internships, and capstone courses and projects. A three-year grant from the National Association of System Heads (NASH) to support HIPs has helped us:

adopt learning goals, a common rubric, and assessment for community-based-learning (CBL); 

develop a CBL course designation process that 38 courses have passed with more in the queue;

fund a $500 stipend for each CBL-designated course taught;

offer a CBL Fellows program to 17 colleagues;

deliver a seminar, Diversity in the College Classroom, to 12 students, 26 non-instructional staff, and 9 faculty/instructors;

present a new Internship Workshop with 10 faculty/instructor participants;

inventory current internship and campus employment practices;

approve a common definition for internships;

appoint a new Faculty Director for Internships (Theresa Castor) and a Campus Employment Specialist (Mary Waid); and

form a team to pilot turning campus employment into a high impact practice.

In the goal-setting effort for the Academic Plan, five of six constituent groups surveyed, all except students, indicated “increasing student success through strengthening high impact pedagogical practices” was one of their top five Academic Plan goals. Students, the Plan noted, may be unfamiliar with the “high impact” designation and might explain why they gave this goal less emphasis. On the other hand, they did emphasize two highly related Academic Plan goals: “Build career knowledge and planning into curricula,” and “Increase career relevance of programs.” These are widely understood as high impact, engagement-building strategies from students’ points of view.[ii] They also suggest two opportunities.

The first is to ensure all our students have at least two HIPs experiences as undergraduates. This is an Academic Plan goal and an aim in the UW System 2020FWD Strategic Framework. Our data indicate that 7-in-10 UW-Parkside graduates do and most occur when students are juniors and seniors.[iii] Since we lose about 45 percent of our first-time, full-time freshman by the junior year (ugh!), if we design HIPs experiences that reach more lower-division students, we hope to grow retention and continue to improve graduation rates.

The second has to do with internships. An important gateway experience to prepare students for post-graduate employment, internships for most UW-Parkside undergraduates just don’t work. Each year, well under 10 percent of our students do an internship for credit. In a 2018 survey conducted by the Center for College and Workforce Transitions at UW-Madison, 61 percent of UW-Parkside student respondents indicated the biggest barrier to doing internships is “having a job.”[iv] What if, with learning goals specified, a set of academic deliverables, faculty and staff supervision that is compensated, and the approval of employer supervisors, we would award academic credit for selected non-internship work our students already do? This would remove the structural barrier our students face in obtaining academically guided work experience for credit, help them progress toward degree-completion, and strengthen university-employer collaboration in talent development, a critical economic development challenge in our region. A team of faculty and staff is collaborating in a study with the Center for College and Workforce Transitions in the coming months to explore the possibilities.

Thanks for reading this far.

Rob Ducoffe


[i] George D. Kuh, What Student Affairs Professionals Need to Know About Student Engagement, Journal of College Student Development, Volume 50, Number 6, November/December 2009, pp. 683-706.

[ii] Recommiting to our Vision: Renewing an Academic Plan to Lead UW-Parkside toward 2020: Aiming High and Making Excellence Inclusive-2017-2020,, pp. 15-16.

[iii] As a side note, I wonder if we can use an accepted HIP category called, “collaborative assignments and projects” to capture significant portions of the curricula in theater and music for their engagement-building traits. 

[iv]Results from the College Internship Study at University of Wisconsin-Parkside, Matthew T. Hora, Matias Scaglione, Emily Parrott, Zi Chen, Matthew Wolfgram and Arun Kolar, Center for College and Workforce Transitions, University Of Wisconsin–Madison, December 2018.

Did you know that as of today there are 24 active grants and sub-awards on our campus? Total funding for the private grants is just over $700,000 and total funding for federal awards is nearly $3.6 million over the life of the funding periods. Funding organizations include the National Science Foundation, WiSys, the UW System, and the federal Department of Education.

One of the most important ways we support faculty and staff research and enhance the experience of our students is through our focus on undergraduate research and creative activity. Under the leadership of Dave Higgs (Biological Sciences) and with funding from the Provost’s Office we provide this support in a number of ways. In 2018-2019, 45 students received funding from the Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (URAP). In the current semester, we are supporting 15 URAP students. During each spring semester we provide support for students and their faculty mentors to attend the National Council on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) conference, the UW System Undergraduate Research Symposium, and the annual Research in the Rotunda event held at the State Capitol. Last year, nine students and two faculty attended the NCUR conference at Kennesaw State University near Atlanta, 51 students and six faculty attended the UW System event at UW-Green Bay, and six students presented their work to legislators in the Capitol. Finally, last April, our own UW-Parkside Student Showcase highlighted the work of 115 students.

We are excited about some new partnerships with WiSys. As you have heard, Deborah Lundin is now working with faculty and staff seeking grant support. Deborah adds to the excellent work already being done by Tina Radley. WiSys also provided funding for two UW-Parkside faculty to attend the Council on Undergraduate Research grant writing workshop this past summer. Finally, UW-Parkside has committed up to $10,000 per year in matching funds to support faculty research through the WiSys Spark program.

Two long-standing programs that support research and dissemination of research results are also worth noting. Last year, the Committee on Research and Creative Activity distributed $29,990 to faculty, and the Faculty and Academic Staff Professional Opportunity Fund provided $29,736 to faculty and academic staff.

Finally, the Provost’s Office is hosting a new “Third Friday” event highlighting faculty research and creative activity. Michael Hansen (Politics-Philosophy-Law) and William Parker (Mathematics & Physics) were featured in September, Susan Lincke (Computer Science) and John Navarro (Criminal Justice) presented in October, and Jonathan Shailor (Communication) and Dana Oswald (English) are scheduled for November.

Gary Wood
Vice Provost of Academic Affairs

Striving to be a greener campus and championing sustainability efforts has always been a big part of our culture here at UW-Parkside. From the very beginning, the plan for the campus was to be environmentally responsible, including the preservation of large areas of natural landscape. An excerpt from the 2014 Master Plan reads: 

The landscape was a key component of the original 1969 Master Development Plan concept of a “Machine in the Garden.” The quality of the campus setting, in conjunction with Petrifying Springs Park provides a significant open space preserve and outdoor recreation asset for southeast Wisconsin.

Today, that culture and sense of responsibility toward sustainability and the environment remain strong. Yes, traditional recycling continues to be part of our sustainability efforts, but taking care of our natural resources and reducing our carbon footprint is just as important. Here are just a few examples of our recent efforts to be good stewards of our resources.


Did you know we recycle over 100 tons of paper, cardboard, plastic, aluminum, and glass annually in addition to over 6 tons of e-waste (computers, monitors, appliances, etc.)? These efforts roughly translate into resource savings of:

  • 1,362 mature trees
  • 373 cubic yards of landfill space
  • 164,661 kWh – enough to power 15 homes
  • 368 metric tons of CO2
  • 635,600 gallons of water – enough to provide 8,475 people with freshwater for a year

Pike River Restoration

On May 23, 2019, we signed an agreement to partner with Kenosha County allowing the County Parks Department to assist in the management of approximately 139 acres of our campus adjacent to Petrifying Springs Park. In addition to managing the various trails on the property and protecting sensitive research areas used by our faculty and students, the County has agreed to obtain financial resources to restore the ecology of the Pike River and improve the surrounding flood plain. These efforts will significantly improve the Pike River watershed and allow the County to better manage flood mitigation, erosion, stormwater runoff, water quality, and habitat improvements.

Partnering with Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network

Root-Pike WIN is a nonprofit organization with a mission to improve the five major watersheds in southeastern Wisconsin that drain into Lake Michigan. With a plan to leverage grant resources designed to improve watershed management as well as resources to protect the habitat of the endangered rusty patched bumble bee, Root-Pike WIN is partnering with UW-Parkside to improve the quality of the Wayne E. Dannehl National Cross County Course. In addition to course improvements, we are exploring opportunities to work with Root-Pike WIN on projects to enhance our campus stormwater management. These prairie, wetland, and woodland restorations align with the long-term goals of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and meet objectives set forth in the campus master plan.

Solar Array

WE Energies approached campus administration seeking to partner on its Solar Now project. Discussions led to an agreement allowing WE Energies to lease approximately 8.4 acres of land on the east side of the UW-Parkside campus to construct a 2.25-megawatt solar array for the regional electric grid. To put it into perspective, the campus uses approximately 3.5 megawatts of electricity annually. It is projected the lease arrangement will generate between $2.2 million to $2.5 million over the 30-year lease period. Construction is anticipated to begin next summer.

Land Management Committee

With all the opportunities involving our natural land resources, it seemed prudent to create a land management committee to help guide and direct our land-management efforts. Protecting, maintaining, and improving our natural land resources are goals evident to anyone who reads our campus master plan. Providing resources that can be used by our staff and students, and enjoyed by members of our community is a top priority. The committee consisting of seven faculty and three staff take their charge seriously, seeking to make our campus the best it can be.

Scott Menke
Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration

  • Talent Attraction
  • Employee Engagement
  • Diversity and Inclusion

Our facilities team provides a safe, clean and inviting physical environment; our students provide a vibrancy not found in other workplaces; and each of us has the amazing opportunity to transform lives.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the great things happening in the world of Human Resources here at UW-Parkside!

In support of the mission, values, and aspirations of the university, the work of HR is focused on creating a positive campus culture and supporting the talent, development, engagement, health, and well-being of faculty and staff. Together we can achieve high performance and that means positive outcomes for our students.

In alignment with and support of the UW-Parkside 2025 Strategic Framework, our HR team has developed the following:

HR Initiatives

Talent Attraction (Recruitment):
We have reorganized the HR Department to improve recruiting efforts by providing more effective support to the colleges and departments. We’ll be working closely with colleges and departments to assess recruitment requirements and expectations. This information will help us create a more robust recruitment model that offers more flexibility and will be supported with strong HR service delivery and processes.

Diversity and Inclusion:
UW-Parkside HR is committed to supporting our students, faculty, and staff and enhancing our climate of equity and inclusion so that all members of our campus community are empowered to do their best.

Over the next few months, the HR team – in conjunction with students, faculty, and staff – will work to develop a diversity and inclusion strategic plan. The goal is to identify and implement best practices designed to promote and support the success underrepresented populations and to foster a climate of inclusivity. 

Sheronda Glass
Assistant Vice Chancellor Human Resources, Employee Engagement and a proud member of Team HR!

In fall 2018, two groups of community and education leaders from across Kenosha and Racine came together to conduct research, gather data and to raise awareness of the challenges, opportunities, and social issues facing girls and women in Kenosha and Racine. Professor Emeritus Norm Cloutier led the research team of UW-Parkside faculty from economics, sociology, psychology, geography, political science, criminal justice, health and exercise science, business, and education. Chancellor Debbie Ford led the advisory committee with a goal to set the stage to move the needle in closing gaps and improving equity for girls and women in Kenosha and Racine.

The research team used The Status of Women in your County: A Community Research Tool to gather data and information on education, health and well-being, business ownership, crime, labor, poverty, political representation, and demographics in Kenosha and Racine. The research team and advisory committee created an interactive website to showcase the data, reports, references, and regional resources for girls and women. 

Debbie Ford

In fall 2016, the Provost built on the existing academic plan through a consultative process that helped narrow a large number of goals to four considered most important. Teams then developed strategies for each goal and the resulting plan was adopted by the Faculty Senate on Oct. 24, 2017. Of the goals considered, “increasing retention and graduation rates,” how we typically measure student success, was the only goal included in the top five ranking of every constituent group surveyed: faculty, instructional academic staff, non-instructional academic staff, university staff, students, and senior administrators.

The average six-year graduation rate since UW-Parkside’s first graduating class in 1973 has been 26.4 percent. The six-year rates for the most recent three annual cohorts have climbed steadily and set new highs each year: 34.0 percent, 38.1 percent, and 44.5 percent. The most recent graduation rate is 69 percent above the historic average and a 31 percent increase in three years.

Beyond growth in graduation rates, there is also evidence of extraordinary student learning across our four colleges at UW-Parkside: close to 90 percent acceptance rates into health science professional programs; student-developed award-winning software applications adopted by regional organizations; compelling performances in theatre and music; and high levels of student engagement and voting in national elections. All these attest to transformational learning and the work of our faculty and staff.

The environment we face in public higher education is not, of course, without challenges. As the cost of a higher education has grown, so too has criticism of our ability to change, be accountable, or serve students from marginalized backgrounds.

We wish to share two thoughts as academic and administrative leaders. First, UW-Parkside’s role is as important as ever and, second, we must continue to focus on improving student success.

Most students in the U.S. earn bachelor’s degrees at public institutions like UW-Parkside, close to where they live. A 2019 report from the American Enterprise Institute, “Is the University Next Door the Way to Upward Mobility?”, demonstrates that over half the low-income students enrolled at 307 comprehensive universities reached the two highest earner quintiles by their early 30s. There were two other relevant findings. First, considerable variation exists in the post-graduate earnings of students from different universities in the sample. Second, the factor most highly associated with differences in earnings is college completion rates.

These robust findings reaffirm the power of universities like ours to fuel upward mobility, as well as the importance of continuing to focus on improving graduation rates. And while our highest-ever graduation rate of 44.5 percent is encouraging, it remains below the national average and gaps do remain amongst different groups. The six-year rate is 32.3 percent for underrepresented minority students, 39.6 percent for Pell-eligible students, and 42.0 percent for first-generation students.

So, to continue to improve the career and life prospects of all our students, improving their chances of graduating -- especially students from groups historically underserved by higher education -- is necessary. Consider as well that 43 percent of the incoming fall 2019 class at UW-Parkside are students of color. While there are no “magic bullet” solutions, the strategies we are implementing reflect best practices and collectively seem to be working.

As an example of what’s possible: In 2003, Georgia State’s six-year graduation rates for African American and Hispanic students were 25.6 percent and 22.0 percent, respectively. From 2008 to 2017, students of color went from 53 percent to 67 percent of their enrollees. Over the same period, the percent of their students eligible for Pell grants went from 32 percent to 59 percent, average SAT scores declined 33 points, and state appropriations decreased by $40 million. In spite of trends typically associated with lower graduation rates, Georgia State increased the number of degrees awarded annually by 67 percent, and increased six-year graduation rates for African American and Hispanic students to 77.5 percent and 76.7 percent, respectively![i] 

The list of strategies that Georgia State and universities across the U.S. are adopting, include those in UW-Parkside’s Academic Plan, include --

  • “15-to-finish” to ensure sufficient credit momentum to support timely graduation;
  • Math Pathways that tailor students’ math requirements to their majors;
  • Co-requisite Remediation that reduce students’ sense that they’re starting out “behind” by scheduling developmental math work concurrent to the credit-bearing requirement;   
  • a new advising model and data analytics platform to support more effective and efficient interventions;
  • the new Parkside Promise+ Program to attract and support students least able to afford a higher education;
  • enhanced mentoring focusing on students of color;
  • meta-majors to make initial choices easier and help ensure subsequent and inevitable changes are less likely to result in wasted credit, added time, and added cost;
  • student-focused scheduling to optimize course availability;
  • stereotype reducing and belonging-increasing interventions because students’ feelings affect their performance; and 
  • a full complement of faculty and staff development programming to support these initiatives.

Debbie Ford, Chancellor

Rob Ducoffe, Provost

Gary Wood, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

Tammy McGuckin, Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Enrollment Services

DeAnn Possehl, Assistant Provost for Student Success

John Skalbeck, Interim Chair, University Committee

Happy Monday, Rangers!

Proud. Forward. Together.

At the beginning of the year, I asked our student-athletes and coaches to join me this year in embracing the mindset of Proud. Forward. Together.

During the 2019-20 season, we are focused on being proud. Proud of representing our university and our state as Wisconsin’s Division II institution, proud of our 15 intercollegiate sport programs, proud of our teammates, and for each of us as individuals, proud of our backgrounds, experiences, successes, adversities, and hard work that brought up to this opportunity to be Rangers.

We are focused on a Forward mindset. When we succeed in competition or in the classroom, we take time to celebrate, but we are focused on shifting forward to prepare for our next opportunity. When facing adversity or challenges, we’re focused on learning from these experiences and shifting forward.

Finally, and most importantly, we are focused on Together – coming together, keeping together, and working together. We’re excited to embrace this challenge in 2019-20, to come together, keep together, and work together as a team, a department, a University, and with our campus community.

GLIAC Management Council

Today and tomorrow, we are thrilled to be welcoming colleagues from across the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference to our campus and our community for the GLIAC Management Council Fall Meetings. We will host Athletics Directors, Faculty Athletic Representatives, and Senior Woman Administrators from the 12 member institutions in the conference.

In 2019-20, Chancellor Debbie Ford and I are thrilled and honored to be serving in GLIAC leadership roles. Chancellor Ford is serving as the Chair of the Council of Presidents, and I am excited to represent UW-Parkside as the Chair of the Executive Committee and the Management Council.

As a reminder, Geosciences Professor Dr. John Skalbeck serves as the Faculty Athletic Representative for UW-Parkside. We recently hired and welcomed Hayley Treadway as our Senior Associate AD for Compliance and Student Success, and Hayley fulfills our role of Senior Woman Administrator. She comes to UW-Parkside after spending the past eight years in athletics leadership roles at the University of Illinois-Springfield.  

Ranger IMPACT Fund Drive

In alignment with goals of the university to enhance alumni engagement and increase philanthropic giving, we’re excited to be in the midst of the Ranger IMPACT Fund Drive. The three-month campaign will run until Giving Tuesday, the international day of charitable giving, on December 3. To learn more about the Ranger IMPACT Fund Drive or to give your gift in support of the Rangers, click here.

The Ranger Impact Fund is the primary fundraising arm supporting the teams and student-athletes at UW-Parkside. Tax-deductible philanthropic gifts to the Ranger Impact Fund help foster a nationally-competitive NCAA Division II athletics program.

VIPS Program

Thanks to a partnership with Kenosha’s Gateway Mortgage Corporation, we were excited to launch the Very Impactful Professors and Staff Program starting in 2019-20. The VIPS Program presented by Gateway Mortgage allows Parkside student-athletes to recognize and celebrate a professor or staff member of their choice for the impact they've had on their experience as a student-athlete at UW-Parkside.

Professors and staff members are invited by a Parkside student-athlete to the VIPS Program Event designated for the student-athlete’s team. The honorees have the opportunity to attend the event, receive an exclusive co-branded VIPS pullover, and be recognized before the specific event alongside the student-athlete honoring them.

The first event took place at volleyball on Tuesday, Sept. 24, and the next VIPS Program event will be at the soccer doubleheader on Friday, Nov. 1.

Ranger Cub Club

One of the highlights of the fall to date has been the creation and launch of the Ranger Cub Club, thanks in part to the generous support of five members of the Parkside Athletics Corporate Partners Program – Aurora Sports Health, Festival Foods, Aiello Family Dental, Blue Sky Inflatables, and Jersey Mike’s. The Ranger Cub Club invites kids ages 12 and under to participate at no cost in an exclusive experience with Parkside Athletics and its student-athletes. To sign up a kid FREE for the Ranger Cub Club, click here.

Go Rangers!

Andrew Gavin
Director of Athletics

Digital Programs in the Arts and Humanities

Arts and Humanities students need to be prepared for an increasingly digital world. The College of Arts and Humanities has launched three new programs to meet this need: a concentration in Contemporary and Commercial Music, a certificate in Digital Design and Fabrication, and a certificate and minor in Digital Media and Production. To support these programs, we have created new facilities for digital music technology, digital design and CNC production, and digital audio and video production.

Health Care Related Programs

Health care, including mental health care, is a burgeoning employment area in southeast Wisconsin. To respond to the need for graduates skilled in these areas, the College of Natural and Health Sciences is offering three new programs: an M.S. in Health Care Administration, an M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and a concentration in Medical Lab Science in the Applied Health Sciences major. The Health Care Administration program is a collaborative online program, and Medical Lab Science is being delivered in partnership with Froedtert South. Clinical Mental Health Counseling has been a significant driver of graduate student enrollment, with 33 students enrolled in only its second year.

Professional and Business Program

Southeast Wisconsin is experiencing an economic boom, creating demand for employees with a variety of skill sets. A number of new graduate programs have been or are in the process of being created to serve this need. These include six new master’s programs in Applied Professional Studies, Sport Management, Information Technology Management, Applied Biotechnology, Professional Communication, and Cybersecurity. All are fully online and accessible to working professionals. Applied Professional Studies and Sport Management are already enrolling students. IT Management and Applied Biotechnology will begin enrolling students in the spring. Professional Communication and Cybersecurity are in the approval process and are planning a fall 2020 launch.

UW-Parkside has also become a major player in the UW Flexible Option program. We have been offering the Project Management certificate, and were recently chosen to partner with UW Extended Campus to offer the B.S. in Business Administration degree in the UW Flexible Option format. As of July, just over 90 students were enrolled in our “Flex” programs.


Since 2014, and for the first time in our history, UW-Parkside now offers majors in Education. Responding to the needs of our local school districts and in collaboration with them, we now offer majors in Early Childhood Education (a collaborative program with Gateway Technical College), Elementary Education, Secondary Education, and Special Education, as well as licensure programs in ESL and Bilingual Education.

Smart Cities

A unique new program, certainly the only one in the state and perhaps in the nation, is the new graduate certificate in Smart Cities Policy and Civic Partnerships. Developed by faculty in the College of Social Sciences and Professional Studies, this program establishes UW-Parkside as a key player in the new age of digital technology and the range of new opportunities technology provides for communities to improve the lives of its citizens.

Online MBA

As highlighted in last week’s update, a significant driver of the enrollment increase is the online M.B.A. program. That program was substantially revised by faculty in the College of Business, Economics, and Computing to include such new concentrations as Data Analytics, Finance, Marketing, Global Management, and Supply Chain. All courses are offered in seven-week formats creating six start times annually for working professionals. At last count, 238 students were enrolled in the MBA online.

Online Programs to Serve the Returning Adult Student Market

In addition to the new online master’s degree programs, UW-Parkside faculty and staff have worked to create an array of new online bachelor’s degree-completion programs for the “some-credits, no-degree” market. These include collaborative programs in Sustainable Management and in Health Information Technology and Management, and our own homegrown programs in Business, Sociology and Liberal Studies.

All of this work has involved the efforts of hundreds of UW-Parkside faculty and staff. Kudos to all of you! Your work has resulted in stronger ties to our community and business partners, the first enrollment increase in many years, and a bright future for our institution.

Gary Wood
Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

It is a sign of the times that we emphasize matriculations and money. While our Strategic Framework and our Academic Plan remind us that we’re not doing it for the money, we do need sufficient resources to fund proposed changes. Our vision at UW-Parkside is to transform lives and improve student success. Our region needs us to do more of both to flourish in this century. That’s why we’ve committed to producing 50 percent more graduates annually by 2025. To do that, we’re going to need to serve more students and increase compensation for our faculty and staff, both goals in our plans.

A March 22, 2019, memo (posted on the Academic Plan Updates page) noted that from 2008 to 2018, growth in annual graduates from UW-Parkside outpaced UW System-wide growth by 48 percent (16.9 percent vs 11.4 percent). Over the same 10-year period, however, our headcount enrollment fell 16.6 percent (5,167 to 4,308 students) while the UW Comprehensives collectively gained 3.4 percent. The enrollment trend is changing. Last fall, our headcount enrollment was up 0.7 percent over the previous year. In spring 2019, it was up 2.4 percent, and the fall 2019 estimate puts us 3.4 percent ahead of fall 2018. 

Two principal causes are evident. First, we’re graduating students at increasing and historically high rates (more on this in a subsequent update), and this is stabilizing undergraduate enrollment. Second, master’s program enrollments are growing significantly. From 2009 to 2017, an average of 139 master’s students enrolled at UW-Parkside. In spring 2019, there were 312. This fall, the number has increased to 467 (and 236 are in the new online MBA)!  In the past two years, the percentage of our students who are in master’s programs has increased from 3.4 percent to 10.5 percent with additional growth possible.

This growth has shored up our finances and this has permitted us to act on the Chancellor’s Cabinet priority to implement an equity increase in salaries that is completely campus-funded. About three-in-four faculty and staff at UW-Parkside received increases based on how their past salaries compared to peer levels (using an approach initially developed by the University Committee). The adjustments may not have been large, averaging 1.6 percent, but in combination with recent and upcoming UW System-wide raises, it’s much needed progress. 

In addition, the Chancellor’s Cabinet has set a goal of raising the minimum wage on campus to $15/hour, and raised it to $14/hour beginning back on July 1. Going forward, we’ll continue to refine our equity strategy to better address where the needs are greatest.   

We do hope to leave you with the thought that our ability to pay competitively is strengthened as we serve more students and serve them well. To do this, we will continue to seek ways to better support the transformative work you do.

Debbie Ford

Rob Ducoffe

Scott Menke
Vice Chancellor

We have officially launched Strategic Framework 2025 which will guide the vision of our university. I encourage you to explore the website and gain a better understanding of how we will continue to offer a transformative education for our students. It all starts with our ability to educate our students and to be a talent provider for this region and beyond.

Some of you have heard me say that we have established a stretch goal to graduate 50% more students by 2025 – which represents 400 more graduates per year. We’re well on our way to reaching that goal with growing enrollment, new undergraduate and graduate academic programs, and successful outreach across the region and beyond. Yes, let’s celebrate our accomplishments and focus on how we are positioning UW-Parkside as our learning community begins its next 50 years.  I am proud of all that we have accomplished at UW-Parkside and I know based on our past performance that we will succeed in implementing the UW-Parkside Strategic Framework 2025.

We need more focused attention on the recruitment and retention of our faculty and staff of color at UW-Parkside; and we need more focused engagement on the success of our students of color at UW-Parkside.  Yes, we are the most diverse campus in the University of Wisconsin System; and, yes, we have the highest graduation rate in our history. But a closer look at the data shows that we have significant gaps in student achievement for students of color. Diversity is having a seat at the table, inclusion is having a voice, and belonging is making sure that voice is heard. I invite you to consider how you might add your voice, your ideas, and your actions as we begin another year of transformative education at UW-Parkside. The time is now. An integrated, equity-focused, and outcomes-based approach to improve graduation rates and eliminate achievement gaps will guide our work as we continuously improve student success. We will focus on increasing access and affordability by seeking growth in fellowships, scholarships and financial aid.  The knowledge, skills, and commitment of our faculty and staff to recruit, advise, teach, engage, support, and ultimately graduate students, forms the processes we will use to equip our region with educated and prepared citizens to keep us moving forward. The voices, ideas, and actions of each member of the network are vital to the overall success in our region. I am proud to say that we are active participants because of our commitment to the community and because of the expertise our faculty, staff, alumni, and students bring to the table. 

Debbie Ford

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