Cofrin Research Center

Dear UW-Green Bay Faculty and Staff,

Today, Governor Evers included the Cofrin Research Center as part of his 2021-23 Capital Budget Request. This is an important first hurdle for us to clear in order to replace the current Cofrin Library with a building that represents the future of UW-Green Bay. If this new building is next approved by the Wisconsin State Legislature, we will have a physical space that reflects the positive trajectory UW-Green Bay is on, aligning with our current mission and vision.

This is an extremely important and exciting step for the University. Put in perspective, there has not been approval for a transformative building project on our campus in the last 20 years. The current Cofrin Library has exceeded its useful life. The Governor agrees; we are hopeful the Legislature will also see the need to invest in this campus through this building project.

A final decision on whether or not the building gets enumerated will likely come in late June after the final capital budget is approved, but for today, we should take a minute to celebrate the amazing possibilities that lie in front of us and our students. The draft renderings of the proposed new Cofrin Research Center are below.

Let’s continue to dream big.

Best,
Michael Alexander
Chancellor

WSJ Article regarding our location campuses

Dear UW-Green Bay Faculty and Staff,

It came to my attention this morning that this article from the Wisconsin State Journal was released.  The article is entitled, “UW System looking at consolidation between UW Branch campuses, technical colleges.”  The article notes that I was assigned to work with UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Mark Mone as the co-chair of a large committee of chancellors and provosts from many UW campuses to study the Wisconsin Technical College System expansion proposals and to look for opportunities for collaboration.  The committee has had one meeting and has just now begun its work.

I believe that I was assigned to this committee because of the great work we have done at UW-Green Bay to be a model in the state for how a UW campus can effectively partner with our local technical college counterparts.  We have been doing this work for years and it is something that I am exceptionally proud of.  In fact, at our Marinette Campus we even have formed the Marinette Area Higher Education Coalition that you can read about here.  As I have said many times, I believe that the future of higher education will be based on partnerships, not competition.  We should be proud that we are leading the way with models like the Coalition.

My concern is that the article uses the word “consolidation” without a full explanation of what that means.  Since I have been here and before, we have been working to consolidate pathways for students between all of our campuses and our technical college partners.  We must see the holistic way that students view higher education and work to make sure that we are creating clear pathways for students to reach their educational goals.  If that is what is meant by consolidation, I am all for it.  From the article, it can be inferred that there are broader conversations occurring on this topic from the respective leaders of the UW and Technical College Systems.  As always, I will advocate for UW-Green Bay in any discussions that I am involved in.  I will try to do what is best for our students, our faculty and staff, and our partners that we work with to create an educational ecosystem that benefits the region we serve.

Please feel free to contact me if you have further questions.  I think the wording of the article has understandably caused stress particularly to our campuses in Manitowoc, Marinette, and Sheboygan.  From my perspective, we should just continue to rise above and be a leader in thinking differently about how higher education can work in Northeast Wisconsin.

Best,
Mike

Michael Alexander
Chancellor

Recent Passing of UW-Green Bay Faculty and Staff Members

Dear UW-Green Bay Faculty and Staff,

It is with great sorrow that I announce the passing of two members of the UW-Green Bay family.  Recently, John Kuhlmann, Librarian for the Marinette Campus, and Sarah Schuetze, Assistant Professor of English and Humanities on the Green Bay campus, passed away.  This is a great loss to our university community and to their respective fields. Our students have lost respected mentors and we have lost not just colleagues, but friends.

Please support each other as we grieve.  In addition to providing support for our students, I urge anyone on our faculty and staff who needs support to reach out in the following ways:

  • The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Employee Assistance Program is a free, confidential service which can provide grief support to you during this time. You have access to confidential, completely private, 24-hour, 7-days-a-week counseling and online services through the Kepro. You may contact Kepro by calling (833) 539-7285 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or visiting Kepro’s website: sowi.mylifeexpert.com. (Username: SOWI).  You will need to create an account to access the EAP resources online.
  • Please also feel free to contact Human Resources at (920) 465-2390 or hr@uwgb.edu if you would like additional information or have any questions about the Employee Assistance Program.

Thank you for taking care of each other and our students during this difficult time.

With warmth and a heavy heart,

Mike

Michael Alexander
Chancellor

Our Commitment – Message to the UW-Green Bay Community

Dear UW-Green Bay Students, Faculty, and Staff,

It is our goal to live up to the noble mission of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. We strive every day to create an institution that exists for the common good, to provide education that leads to opportunity for students, and to solve problems that improve the quality of life in our region. Our greatest strength is the diversity of perspectives that our students, faculty, and staff bring to our institution. We are here to support all of you.

The recent events in our nation’s capital and the current turbulence in our world call us to action in being a force for good. While it may sound idealistic, we believe that equity, diversity, and inclusion in education brings people together and makes our communities stronger. We are steadfast in our resilience to uphold our mission. By doing so, we can improve the level of discourse and debate in our country, understand each other better, and be active participants in the healing of our country.

We are committed to each and every member of the Phoenix family. Please stay safe, support and care for each other, and reach out to us if there is anything we can do to support you.

Best,

Michael Alexander
Chancellor

Kate Burns
Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Corey King
Vice Chancellor for Inclusivity and Student Affairs

COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics on UW-Green Bay Campuses

Dear UW-Green Bay Faculty and Staff,

I hope you are all well.  Please see the news release about the Green Bay and Sheboygan campuses being hosts for vaccinations in partnership Prevea Health.  We will continue to work to be a resource for our community and help solve problems for the common good.  Please stay safe and I look forward to seeing you all at our next Coffee Break on Wednesday, January 20 (watch your inbox for the TEAMS link in the near future).

Best,
Mike

Michael Alexander
Chancellor

Chief Information Officer Position

In the last four years, the University has operated in a unique structure with the Chief Information Officer (CIO) overseeing both Computing and Information Technology and Library Services.  This structure served us well over time and Paula Ganyard has led this combined role in an exceptional manner.  We are now at a point where we have an opportunity to reposition our growing university in a way that will allow for both a Library Director to serve our four libraries and a Chief Information Officer who will provide leadership over CIT.

With this new opportunity, Paula Ganyard will be returning to her role as Library Director once a new Chief Information Officer is identified.  I would like to thank Paula for stepping up to fill the role of CIO, for what was an undetermined amount of time, while also leading the UW-Green Bay Libraries.  During her time as CIO, Paula led IT through the UW Colleges restructuring process, COVID-19 crisis that required IT to quickly support a remote workforce, helped to establish a strong information security program, created a service-oriented approach to IT services through reorganization, the establishment of an IT Service Portfolio, and much more.  Paula will continue to serve in the role of CIO until a new hire is made.  “I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked with a talented and dedicated group of IT professionals over the last three and a half years, and I look forward to being able to give the library my full attention again.”

A search for a new Chief Information Officer will begin sometime in late January.  More information about the search process and the search committee will be communicated early in 2021.

Best,

Sheryl Van Gruensven
Chief Business Officer and Senior Vice Chancellor for Institutional Strategy

Update on Compensation and Strategic Priorities

Dear UW-Green Bay Faculty and Staff,

This message serves as a follow up to the email I sent on November 16 regarding our new University Strategic Priorities while also sharing recent decisions regarding compensation.

Starting with compensation, I have tasked the Position Review Committee (PRC) with spending $75,000 of base funding this year to begin to address compensation on our campuses for faculty and staff. This funding does not come from savings from the furloughs this year. Those funds were used to mitigate the effects of the one-time budget lapses that we took as a result of the pandemic. This additional $75,000 will be used to address equity issues and competitive market factors. It will also address some staff compensation issues that could arise as a result of the Title and Total Compensation project that is happening at UW System. The $75,000 is in addition to the 2% UW System pay plan increase that is anticipated to be given in January to all eligible employees. While this is not enough to fix the compensation problems across the institution, it is what we can currently invest and sustain going forward without putting the organization at risk. The PRC will also determine a long-term strategy for compensation adjustments that can be carried out as funding is available in the future and as we continue to grow. We will examine this annually and will continue to work hard to address compensation issues as funding allows.

In addition, we will provide $1.5 million to support the six strategic priorities with the intention to spend or encumber those funds over the next 18 months. This is not money that recurs each year and cannot be used for permanent salaries, but can support projects and temporary project employees. The money is from our reserves and can be used as a result of the great work we have done in recruiting, retention, and fiscal management. The funds will be distributed with the following guiding principles:

  1. Ideas from faculty, staff, and campus leaders for how to use the funding should be sent to the leaders of the strategic initiative you are looking to support by January 29 via this online form.
  2. Collaborative ideas that advance the priorities broadly across the University will be prioritized over ideas that are more narrowly focused to a particular unit. Think in terms of large scale projects and ideas that could be transformational. We need to utilize the collective knowledge and creative energy of our faculty and staff to identify the best options to use this money in the most strategic way possible. Dream in tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars and not from a scarcity mindset.
  3. Leaders of the strategic priorities will take ideas and coalesce them into clear proposals with budgets to be presented to the Strategic Budget Committee by February 26.
  4. The Strategic Budget Committee, which has broad representation from faculty, staff, and administration, will make recommendations on the prioritization of the proposals by March 12 to the Cabinet.

I urge everyone to think big, think creatively, and think differently about how we can use these resources to support our mission. Have conversations that allow you to see problems as opportunities. Dream. I understand that there is some risk here. Because of who you are, I feel comfortable taking the risk and betting on the faculty, staff, and students of UW-Green Bay to use our momentum to create a bright and sustainable future for the University. This is a chance to make a meaningful difference to the future of UW-Green Bay.

Best,
Michael Alexander
Chancellor

Thank You

Dear UW-Green Bay Campus Community,

As we head into the Thanksgiving break tomorrow, I want to thank each of you. Please be safe over the break, take time to be thankful for the things that mean the most to you, and hopefully get some rest. Despite the incredible challenges of our current time, we are all fortunate to be involved in learning, making our region stronger, and providing support for those around us. I am grateful to be part of such an endeavor alongside an amazing community of students, faculty, and staff—a community who values each other while acknowledging those who were here first. Stay strong, be resilient, and care for each other.

With gratitude and appreciation,

Michael Alexander
Chancellor

New Partnership with Microsoft and LinkedIn

Dear UW-Green Bay Faculty and Staff,

I am thrilled to announce a new partnership between UW-Green Bay, Microsoft, and LinkedIn.  Here you will find the press release about this that will go out momentarily.  This new collaboration will allow us to provide free professional development opportunities for our staff, connect our students to career opportunities, and open up further opportunities to utilize LinkedIn Learning on our campuses.  This collaboration will also help us advance our strategic initiatives in Student Success, Digital Transformation, and Inclusion.  In the coming days, we will be connecting staff from LinkedIn to leaders across the University to begin discussions on how we can fully take advantage of this partnership.

Thank you to our partners at Microsoft and LinkedIn for working with us to build a meaningful ongoing relationship that can benefit our faculty, staff, and students.

Best,

Michael Alexander
Chancellor

UW-Green Bay Strategic Priorities

Dear UW-Green Bay Faculty and Staff,

Since the pandemic began in March, a preponderance of our time as a University has been spent navigating the countless challenges that it has brought. As we approach the end of this semester, I think it is important to also think broadly about what we want to achieve together over the next 18 months. To that end, the Cabinet has created six strategic priorities for us to work on together. Each of the priorities will have members of Cabinet that are responsible for moving the initiative forward and they will be paired with faculty and staff to help ensure communication across the University.

The priorities are meant to guide our decisions, get us rowing in one general direction as a University, and to get momentum on issues that will determine our success for years to come. In the coming weeks and months, we will align resources to support these initiatives. I ask that each person, unit, and area on the campus make decisions that can advance these very broad and over-arching goals. By advancing each of these initiatives, I believe we will continue to place ourselves in a position of strength to move forward and build towards achieving the stated Mission and Vision of UW-Green Bay.

Improve Student Success and Retention

This priority will be led by Kate Burns, Corey King, and Janet Bonkowski. We did not add specific faculty and staff champions to this priority because student success and retention is the responsibility of every faculty and staff member at UW-Green Bay. It is my expectation that over the next 18 months that we will break down the silos of student success between Academic Affairs and Student Affairs. It is essential that we align our efforts to support the whole student from their experience in the classroom to co-curricular activities, from our residential students to commuters, online students to those starting college at various stages of life, and to eliminate retention gaps between different constituencies. We must develop a modern advising system that honors faculty workload and still ensures guidance to students from faculty. The new system must wrap career guidance and academic advising from a professional advisor into a cohesive experience that is given to all students and not just those who seek it out on their own. Finally, we will create a unified and transparent method of offering scholarships and financial aid that follows best practices for the meaningful support of students, honors donor intent, and helps recruit and retain all students that attend UW-Green Bay.

Inclusivity

This priority will be led by Corey King, Gail Sims-Aubert, Melissa Nash, and Stacie Christian. We will provide access and proper support for all of our students. It is my hope that inclusivity not be something that we work at, but rather be something that becomes inherently part of everything we do to support our faculty, staff, and students at UW-Green Bay. The steps we have taken this year that include University-Wide training on issues of inclusivity are the first steps in our journey. To achieve our access mission, inclusivity must be central to our ethos.

Digital Transformation

This priority will be led by Sheryl Van Gruensven, Paula Ganyard, and Susan Grant Robinson. I am asking you to take another step to advance our campus into a modern university that aligns with technologies of today and the expectations of the students we teach. That step is to embrace a culture of digital transformation. “Digital Transformation” refers to the evolution of an organization’s foundational business practices through the use of technology and data. Now, more than ever, we need to rethink, reimagine, and reinvent how we operate as a university. We must evaluate how, when, and where we are providing services to our students and to each other. Most importantly, we need to use data for informed decision-making in a highly competitive higher education landscape. Over the next several months, Paula and Susan will lead discussions with many of you about where we have opportunities to improve processes and the student experience, invest in new technologies, or maximize use of current systems to create a culture of continual improvement in the way we work. Such transformation will ultimately save time and create efficiencies so that faculty and staff are able to focus on mission critical work to improve the student experience. It is important to note that this priority will not result in the loss of jobs, but rather the ability to focus on higher-level and mission-aligned tasks, create work/life balance for faculty and staff, and help navigate the challenging budget realities for modern regional comprehensives. I have asked that an exhaustive list of opportunities, process changes, and technologies be presented to Cabinet by February. This information will allow Cabinet to prioritize and align resources that will accelerate our University’s digital transformation, and position us for future success.

Enhanced Community Connections and University Philanthropy

This priority will be led by Tony Werner and Ben Joniaux. We must tell the story of UW-Green Bay to the community that we serve and that supports us. This includes increasing the number of connections we have to our alumni, area businesses, community organizations, and the general public. We need to better articulate and demonstrate our value and the potential we have to better serve our community. This work will lead to greater philanthropic support that aligns with our mission.

Increase our Presence in Sustainability and Environmental Work

This priority will be led by Susan Grant Robinson, John Arendt, and David Voelker. We need to go back to our roots as the initial Eco U. This includes reaching a gold standard from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education and increasing the amount of environmental research we do that can help our region. We should have pristine natural spaces and with UW-Green Bay hosting a new National Estuarine Research Reserve site, we have an opportunity to make a profound impact on the environment of our region.

Create a Sustainable Path Forward for Green Bay Athletics and the Weidner Center.

This priority will be led by Charles Guthrie, Kelli Strickland and myself. We are one of only three universities in the UW System with a Division I athletics program. We have one of the best facilities for the performing arts in our region and beyond with the Weidner Center. We need to capitalize on these resources to better engage our community, our students, and raise the profile of UW-Green Bay.

I believe in the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. We are positioned to make major strides with these initiatives and I thank you in advance for the part that each of you will play in moving us forward.

Best,

Michael Alexander
Chancellor