Monday Update Messages | Summer 2020

Please see below for Monday Update messages from summer 2020. Click here for the spring 2020 semester.

UW-Parkside Learning Community:

As we move forward with our phased reopening, Ranger Restart, we are prepared to welcome back faculty and staff to a clean and safe working and learning environment. Learn more about Phase 1 of Ranger Restart on our website. At this time, we encourage anyone who can work remotely to continue doing so.

I encourage each of you to watch these brief (5-minute) COVID information videos (excellent work by the Ranger Restart Team and Kim Sekas): General COVID information; Returning to campus

Our Facilities Management team is committed to providing the cleanest environment possible for UW-Parkside employees and we are implementing multiple strategies to protect the health and safety of all faculty and staff in Phase 1.

Ranger Restart Phase 1 includes   

  • Promoting social distancing in all public areas and in offices;
  • Requiring that everyone on campus wear a face covering in public areas we encourage you to wear face coverings when meeting with someone in your office space; and
  • Making sure anyone who does not feel well stays home.

In addition to social distancing and face coverings, continue to wash your hands often, and clean surfaces that you and others are touching frequently. Please contact our Facilities Management team (262-595-2228 or if you need cleaning products for your individual offices. And continue to be mindful and respectful of your colleagues.

Some UW campuses have announced plans to reopen in fall. The campuses that have are in parts of the state where the number of COVID-19 cases is far less than what we are experiencing in southeast Wisconsin. A number of your colleagues are serving on committees exploring possibilities for the fall semester at UW-Parkside with the top priority of creating and sustaining a safe and healthy learning environment while continuing our academic mission. We’ll share more information with campus in the coming weeks.

The past couple of weeks have been a challenging time for our region, state and nation. UW-Parkside is an inclusive learning community that places great value on dignity and respect for everyone. Each of us has the responsibility to stand up to injustice as we work together to create a more equitable society. If you did not see my message to campus last week, you can read it here.

Even as we are apart, we remain connected and much has been happening on our campus.

Denise Olstinske received the UW System Board of Regents Academic Staff Excellence Award – congratulations, Denise!

Betty Rockendorf received the Wisconsin Health Management Association Education Award – congratulations, Betty!

I am pleased to announce that Jordania Leon-Jordan has been named UW-Parkside CIO. Jordania has served our learning community as interim CIO since 2016 – join me in wishing Jordania continued success.

At last week’s Board of Regents meeting, the Regents approved 10 faculty promotions – congratulations to our amazing faculty!


Chancellor Debbie Ford


Black lives most certainly matter at UW-Parkside and we must, and will, do a better job serving and supporting our black students, faculty, staff and alumni. As chancellor, I am fully committed to leading this effort. The events of the past few weeks have caused me to think more deeply about my responsibility to use my voice and my position as a leader to improve the educational experiences and outcomes for our black students, and all students of color at UW-Parkside. I fully recognize that what we have been doing is not enough, and I own the disappointment for not making necessary changes. We need to do better. 


As a regional public institution of higher education, we have an obligation to close equity gaps and confront racial disparities. Our efforts have been too isolated and the burden to influence change has been assigned to too few staff members. We all have a responsibility to explore how our actions and inactions contribute to systematic racism, and to commit to resolve these inherent disparities. 

I know that what we do speaks more loudly than what we say. As chancellor, I commit to lead our campus in implementing the following needed and necessary actions.

  • Allocate the resources for faculty and staff to participate in training focused on implicit bias, inclusion, equity, cultural competencies, and equitable teaching and learning practices. Our current efforts must be enhanced, and require faculty and staff to participate in these training sessions. 
  • Host a series of meaningful, productive, and sometimes uncomfortable conversations to understand more fully our campus climate.
  • Conduct a campus climate survey with students during the fall 2020 semester and use the findings to inform our priorities and actions.
  • Support the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Council in completing and launching the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan. 
  • Increase the diversity of our workforce to reflect the composition of our student population.
  • Continue to implement student success strategies to close equity gaps that currently exist and improve the success of our under-represented students.

We have discussed many of these actions over the years, and now we must move to more persistent and consistent action. Over the summer, I will work with the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Council led by Dr. Sheronda Glass, Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Equity, Diversity & Inclusion; Governance Leaders; Student Organization Leaders; and the Chancellor’s Cabinet to implement these actions. Updates and additional information will be provided in the forthcoming newsletter focused on our equity, diversity and inclusion data and efforts. 


As we build on the progress we have made over the years and commit to doing better, I ask that you continue to support one another with dignity and respect. The University of Wisconsin-Parkside binds us together in our shared commitment to transform lives – the lives of our students and the lives of members of our university community. As we focus on doing better on behalf of our black students, faculty, staff and community members, we will transform even more lives. 


Chancellor Debbie Ford


UW-Parkside is proud to host – virtually -- the 32nd annual Taking Care of Business Celebration! The Office of Multicultural Student Affairs; Student Support Services TRIO; and the office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at UW-Parkside sponsor the Taking Care of Business Celebration recognizing the academic achievement and leadership development of UW-Parkside students of color.

COVID-19 may have prevented students, faculty, staff and families from celebrating this occasion in person, but it hasn’t stopped the university from honoring student success online and engaging with students via the Parkside Taking Care of Business website. I appreciate the work of everyone involved in this virtual celebration and I have great admiration and respect for our hardworking students. I hope that you’ll take a moment with me to congratulate this year’s scholars and honorees.

I invite you to scroll through the entire website for messages of congratulations and support from many key staff representing the aforementioned offices, including Dr. Sheronda Glass, associate vice chancellor of Human Resources, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Dr. Chris Zanowski, director of Student Support Services TRIO; and a special video message from Chancellor Debbie Ford. Thank you all for everything you’ve done for our campus and for our students.

The website honors many students for their academic recognition, but also recognizes students for leadership and involvement. In addition, some UW-Parkside seniors shared their thoughts about their academic journey, reflecting on their time at the university. This includes this year’s Chancellor’s Award recipient, Zachary Atkins.

Four students in particular received special honors:

  • Raelea Palacios, a UW-Parkside senior majoring in psychology, was selected as the Always Reaching Upward (ARU) Success Coach of the Year.
  • Elonna Jones-Turner, a UW-Parkside freshman majoring in communication was selected as the Always Reaching Upward (ARU) Protégé of the Year.
  • Tekeyia Bell, a UW-Parkside senior majoring in psychology, was selected as the Student Support Services (SSS TRIO) Coach of the Year.
  • Jorge Peralta, a UW-Parkside freshman majoring in psychology, was selected as the Student Support Services (SSS TRIO) Protégé of the Year.

Dr. Glass shared some particularly powerful quotes of inspiration and encouragement, in addition to her own words of congratulations and support: “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” Here at UW-Parkside, we’re all about building doors for our students. I am sincerely pleased to be on the same team as faculty and staff that are so committed to student success.

If you take to social media and would like to share another message in support of these students, please use the hashtag #ParksideTCB to keep the conversation going.

Damian Evans
Assistant Dean of Students and OMSA Director

Colleagues … Friends:

Chancellor Ford said I could use MONDAY UPDATE for this…

Some of you know that Thursday, July 2, will be my final day at UW-Parkside. Time to retire.

My various marketing and communications positions over the past 19-plus years have provided me the opportunity to meet and get to know a lot of really neat people.

If I tried to thank everyone who has helped me tell the Parkside story, the list would contain hundreds of names – and I would leave someone out. I am a lucky person to have had the assistance of talented and dedicated members of the UW-Parkside family. THANK YOU!

Over the course of my career, I have always been proud to tell people that I am part of the UW-Parkside team. And, honestly, 99 percent of the time the reaction to the question of “Where do you work?” or “What do you do?” is extremely positive.

It has always been interesting to hear about the connections members of the community have with UW-Parkside. Maybe it was a particular professor who made a lasting and positive impression; maybe it was meeting a life partner; maybe it was attending a Rangers game; maybe it was being a member of the fencing team; maybe it was an unforgettable concert, art exhibit or theatre production; maybe it was running, hiking or skiing the Wayne E. Dannehl National Cross Country Course (what a gem); maybe it was a foreign film; or maybe it was appreciating how a UW-Parkside education transformed a life. Whatever the connection, it’s a positive connection – 99 percent of the time. Maintaining and advancing the UW-Parkside academic and community mission is important work – and good work. Listen to the 99 percent, pay attention to the 99 percent, and focus on the 99 percent.

What’s my favorite memory (not that anyone asked)? Long before I joined the Parkside family professionally, I attended quite a few Rangers basketball games. One night, the Rangers were playing UW-Green Bay. The De Simone Gymnasium was jam-packed. I took my son to the game – he was probably 2 years old – and in the second half he fell asleep under my feet near the top of the bleachers on the south side of the gym. The place was rocking and he was sleeping under my feet. I can still picture where we were sitting, how nice it was that the bleachers made it impossible for him to fall through, and how I realized at that moment he could sleep through anything. My favorite photo (again, not that anyone asked)? Has to be the one with Frances Bedford in the Frances Bedford Concert Hall (another gem – person and the space).

I’ve been fortunate to get paid to tell the UW-Parkside story, and I have been fortunate to have talented friends to help me do that. THANK YOU! Keep telling the story.


John Mielke
Communications Director


These days social media, TV, radio, podcasts, and newspapers are filled with ideas about how to have an enjoyable summer despite Covid and its attendant constraints. The College of Arts and Humanities is excited to add two safer-at-home activities to the list.

In collaboration with the College of Lake County, the Department of Theatre Arts has cooked up a wonderful, Zoomed, staged reading series called Summer Shakes. The series kicked off last week with A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Craig Rich, Chair of the Theater Department at CLC, and featured 8 student actors from UWP and as many from CLC. Students inhabited the roles with aplomb, using minimal props to great effect. The transformation of the Nick Bottom (Ben Compton) into a donkey was especially amusing, and King Hang’s turn as Mustardseed was nothing short of waggish. Next Sunday, 12 July at 5 pm, Brian Gill will take the reins and direct Macbeth. The third play in the series will be Twelfth Night, directed by Fabrice Conte-Williamson on 19 July. To watch, you need to register but then it’s only a click away!

In addition to offering the community a compelling evening of Shakespeare, the series affords our students both at Parkside and CLC an opportunity to create together. While many students appear in front of the camera, others hone their skills as designers. During the ten-minute intermission, students present their conceptual research and drawings to the audience, thus giving them an opportunity to experience design in a virtual environment. For all these students, who had lost employment, performing and working in regional theaters due to the pandemic, the summer looked bleak. But thanks to the pluck and determination of the faculty from these two neighboring institutions, theater is happening this summer at Parkside and CLC.

If you’re missing the sounds of students’ voices, specifically those of Parkside Range, we’ve heard you! Next Monday, Professor Ami Bouterse and student extraordinaire, Kalyn Harewood, will spin a few tunes for you from their recorded music. What’s more Dr. Donna Hewitt will interview them to learn more about their musical adventures. This evening represents the second concert/interview in the UWP Music Department’s series, Melodious Mondays. Russ Johnson launched it with samples from his recordings Lithosphere, Still Out to Lunch, and his Grammy-nominated album, Headlands. Looking forward, on Monday 27 July, we will hear the originally-composed music of Dr. James Crowley, who will be interviewed by Dr. Laura Rexroth. To cap off the series on 10 August, Professor Alvaro Garcia on viola and Dr. James Kinchen will discuss conducting and playing music with students. The series is streamed live on UWP Music Department’s FB page.

Art, by its very nature, is created within a series of constraints, think of the sonnet or the sonata. So, despite the limitation imposed by the coronavirus, we will continue to create and educate in view of bringing hope and joy and some fun to your summer.

Go Rangers!

Lesley H. Walker
Professor of Literatures and Languages
Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities

Scroll to top