Regents Rediscover UW-Parkside

Published: October 10, 2018

UW System Director of Communications Heather LaRoi contributed to this story

From the time the University of Wisconsin Regents set foot on campus for the October Regents meeting Oct. 3-5, they had the opportunity to interact with UW-Parkside students, alumni, faculty, staff and community partners.

Wednesday evening, Dr. Lesley Heins Walker, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, welcomed guests from across the state including UW System chancellors and provosts to the Rita Tallent Picken Regional Center for Arts and Humanities. Jody Sekas in Digital Design LabGuests enjoyed student tours in the new Digital Design and Fabrication Lab, the Fireside Theatre Scenic Studio, and the Frances Bedford Concert Hall.

UW Regents Meeting Photo Gallery

Associate Professor of Theatre Arts Jody Sekas talked about how the Digital Design and Fabrication Lab assists theatre arts students with set design. Art professors Trenton Baylor and Carey Watters explained how product concept and creation is a key element of the student experience in the lab.

UW Regent Michael Grebe spent time talking with staff and alumni on the set of the UW-Parkside Theatre radio play “War of the Worlds.”  

Michael Grebe

Thursday’s agenda included committee and full board meetings. Provost Rob Ducoffe addressed the Education Committee and Vice Chancellor Scott Menke made presentations to theBusiness and Finance Committee and the Capital Planning and Budget Committee.

In Provost Ducoffe’s presentation entitled: “Recommitting to our Vision: Renewing an Academic Plan to Lead UW-Parkside to 2020,” he shared recent improvements in graduation rates, retention rates, the number of graduates, and the diversity of the student body. Vice Chancellor Menke shared the results of integrated financial planning at UW-Parkside. Menke gave the Capital Planning and Budget Committee a progress update on the Wyllie Hall infrastructure project.

A panel of UW-Parkside female science students and faculty representatives shared their perspectives on the importance of UW-Parkside offering opportunities for undergraduate research to females and what can be done to grow the number of females pursuing innovations in science.

Physics major Chloe Calderon, molecular biology and bioinformatics major Bianca Ruffolo, biological sciences major Cassie Van Hoof, and psychology and computer science major Salina Servantez were joined by professors Sylvia Beyer, psychology; Pirooz Mohazzabi, physics; Traci Lee, biological sciences; and Daryl Sauer, chemistry.

Van Hoof has already filed a U.S. patent application for her research idea, Purrfect Pal, a botanical extract spray to redirect feline aggression and anxiety. She applauded the significant representation of women and diversity in upper-level classes at UW-Parkside. “It’s really important to have people to look up to,” she said.

Calderon expects to graduate next spring at age 19 with four published papers to her credit. “That’s enough for a faculty member to get tenure,” noted her advisor Physics Professor Dr. Pirooz Mohazzabi.Chloe Calderon “You can always do 100 times more than you think you can, and here at UW-Parkside, I’ve had an incredible amount of opportunities,” said Calderon, who also has been actively engaged in sharing her experience with high school students, especially girls, to encourage more participation in STEM fields.

During the full board session Thursday, community partners from SC Johnson, CNH Industrial, Snap-on Incorporated, the Medical College of Wisconsin, Building our Future, and Higher Expectations shared perspectives on the value of connections with UW-Parkside.

Brian French, head of Human Resources, NAFTA Region at CNH Industrial said the CNH Industrial executive team was looking to create more substantial relationships with universities in the region. Partner panel members at Regents Meeting“What really got our attention was (UW-Parkside) coming to us and saying ‘we can help you,’” French said.

Panel Members: 
Michael Bond, Supplier Diversity Manager, Snap-on Incorporated.
Tatjana Bicanin, Executive Director, Building Our Future.
Brian French, Head of Human Resources, NAFTA Region, CNH Industrial. 
Dr. Jeffrey A. Medin, Inaugural MACC Fund Endowed Chair in the Departments of Pediatrics and Biochemistry, Medical College of Wisconsin.
Jeff Neubauer, Executive Director, Higher Expectations.
Kelly M. Semrau, Senior Vice President Global Corporate Affairs, Communication & Sustainability, SC Johnson.

(Watch the Partnership Panel presentation to the Board of Regents)

Thursday, UW-Parkside Chancellor Debbie Ford joined three other UW System chancellors to discuss how a $25-million funding request for capacity-building initiatives across the state would expand the talent pipeline in high-demand fields.

Thursday evening, Regents and UW leadership had the opportunity to tour the SC Johnson Integrated Science Lab in Greenquist Hall, along with the App Factory, Impact Sales Lab, the Cyber Security Lab, SEG Center, and Institute for Professional Educator Development in the Molinaro Hall Innovation Corridor.

Friday, UW-Parkside physics major Siva Shankar was introduced to the Regents by UW System President Ray Cross in the Student Spotlight. Shankar told the audience that while UW-Parkside was not his first choice it turned out to be his best choice.

“I took a chance,” Shankar said. “I decided to come to a school that I didn’t necessarily even want to come to originally and a school that wasn’t at the top of my list. I am so unbelievably glad that I chose Parkside.”

(Watch Siva Shankar’s comments to the Board of Regents)

UW-Parkside Director of Athletics Andrew Gavin updated the Regents on recent changes in Ranger Athletics highlighted by UW-Parkside joining the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Gavin also presented an overview of NCAA Division II athletics and the value to student-athletes in Wisconsin. UW-Parkside is the only NCAA Division II college or university in Wisconsin.

(Read Andrew Gavin's story from

(Watch Andrew Gavin’s presentation to the Board of Regents)

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