UW-Green Bay Arboretum and Outdoor Spaces

The UW-Green Bay Office of the Chancellor emailed the following from Chancellor Michael Alexander to the campus community on Thursday,  May 7, 2020.

Dear Campus Community,

Over the past several weeks, we have been asked by many members of the internal and external community when we would begin allowing access to the outdoor public spaces on our Green Bay Campus. Campus leadership has been debating this for some time. We are often asked why are the trails and arboretum not open when Gov. Evers lifted restrictions on outdoor recreation areas. The arboretum trails are part of the campus, they are funded by student fees, grants and sponsorships and gifts. Different than a municipal, county or state park, the trails are not created for the purpose of public recreation. They are part of the University and serve the mission of providing educational and research opportunities for our students and faculty. Of course, during normal times the University is happy to have the public and the campus community use these trails for recreation, but these are not normal times.

A number of things will factor into our decisions to open these spaces. The top priority is the safety of our employees and visitors. That said, we are anxious to open our trails, natural areas and golf courses to the public. It is our intention to work toward opening these areas on July 1, but please be aware that our plans may have to be flexible based on conditions on July 1. Due to recent flooding and rain, large portions of our arboretum trails on the Green Bay Campus are in disrepair. Our staff is working as quickly as possible to prepare for the safe use of all of these areas in the coming weeks. We have many staff members on furlough due to COVID-19 and it is slowing our normal progress to prepare the spaces. We are also closely monitoring the advice of local health experts on when and how to open.

Thank you for your patience and we look forward to opening these spaces as soon as we can do so in a manner that is safe to the public and our faculty, staff, and students.

Michael Alexander

UW-Green Bay’s Plan for the Safe Return of Students, Faculty and Staff to Campus: Scenario Planning Taskforce

The UW-Green Bay Office of the Chancellor emailed the following from Interim Chancellor Van Gruensven and Provost and Chancellor-elect Michael Alexander to the campus community on Monday, April 27, 2020.

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

Please see the attached memo on how UW-Green Bay is preparing for possible operational scenarios as we move through the summer and into the Fall.  As the university looks ahead to the future, we must be able to react quickly to any circumstance that may come our way.  The attached memo outlines our path to prepare for as many scenarios as possible that could impact our campus with the goal of returning in a safe manner.  In the coming weeks and months, we will communicate to our community the work of the Task Force for the safe return of students, faculty, and staff to campus.  In addition, we will provide options for students that would still like to proceed with alternate forms of delivery.  Although there are still many uncertainties as to how the Coronavirus will affect the world and our region in the future, we intend to be a stabilizing presence able to provide a safe and first rate education regardless of the circumstances we face.

Sheryl Van Gruensven
Interim Chancellor
UW-Green Bay

Mike Alexander
Provost and Chancellor-elect
UW-Green Bay

Scenario Taskforce Memo

Furlough Impact at UW-Green Bay

The UW-Green Bay Office of the Chancellor emailed the following from Interim Chancellor Sheryl Van Gruensven and Provost and Chancellor-elect Michael Alexander to faculty and staff on Friday, April 24, 2020.

It’s the people at this University that give UW-Green Bay its life and strength. We are extremely proud of where we have been able to take the University, collectively, in the last few years—overcoming fiscal challenges with thoughtful planning, quick response and meeting enrollment challenges head-on. We believe in UW-Green Bay. We believe in each of you.

Please watch this video as we discuss the difficult times ahead and the decision to implement furloughs to protect the future of the University.


It is terribly unfortunate that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced our hand. Today, we must announce plans to enact furloughs at UW-Green Bay to protect the future of the institution. This disruption in our lives and our livelihood is one that is greatly disappointing, considering the amazing momentum we had heading into the 2020-21 academic year. Although our financial health is not in jeopardy at this particular time, the reality is, we lost $3 million in revenue in just the past month and we must navigate risk until we can find some level of normalcy. We must also position ourselves to maintain healthy cash balances in the event we experience additional losses in revenue and other funding sources.

To that end, beginning with May 2, 2020, 227 staff members will be placed on furlough. All staff members who are to be furloughed received the news via their supervisors in the last 24 hours. With furloughs, as opposed to layoffs, we know that our staff will maintain their benefits and be eligible for unemployment compensation during the time they are furloughed.

In addition to furloughs of some of its staff members, Green Bay Athletics announced today that it will be suspending its men’s and women’s tennis teams indefinitely at the conclusion of the 2019-20 academic year. Several long-standing challenges have continued to hinder the opportunity for growth of the program and have contributed to rising costs and outpacing revenue, the most significant of which is the lack of an on-campus tennis facility and off-campus rental. Based on past expenditures, the suspension of these two programs will result in a savings of approximately $170,000 operationally per year and $160,000 in athletic tuition scholarships awarded per year. This decision does not impact Division I status nor membership in the Horizon League. See the full statement from Athletics.

Here are the answers to some questions you may have:

Q. How long will staff members be furloughed?
A. The current furlough will run May 2 through May 31, 2020

Q. Who will be affected?
A. 227 employees; 111 Academic Staff and 116 University Staff, totaling 2,907 furlough days. In addition, all staff making more than $100,000 will take intermittent furloughs.

Q. How was it determined who would receive furloughs?
A. When Governor Evers announced last week that he was extending Safer at Home through May 26, the campus made a decision to close until May 31. As a result, employees who are not able to perform the greatest part of their duties from home were selected for furlough. This was after consultation with deans and division leaders

Q. What cost savings does this amount to?
A. UW-Green Bay expects to see about $250,000 in cost recovery with the furlough, in addition to the savings from International Education and Athletics.

Q. Why weren’t faculty furloughed?
A. Nine-month employees are exempt from furloughs this fiscal year.

Q. Where can we furloughed employees turn to help navigate next steps?
A. Furloughed employees can start with the UW System Employee Benefits site regarding furloughs.

Q. What happens after May 31, 2020?
A. Like you, we hope for better times ahead. We will be giving a presentation on the state of the University on May 1 and can give you more details at that time about our strategy for moving forward through the pandemic.


Sheryl Van Gruensven
Interim Chancellor
UW-Green Bay

Mike Alexander
Provost and Chancellor-elect
UW-Green Bay

Commencement Ceremony Rescheduling Update

The UW-Green Bay Office of the Chancellor emailed the following from Interim Chancellor Van Gruensven to the campus community on Friday, April 10, 2020.

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

The Phoenix spirit is one of resiliency, fearlessness and support. It is with this spirit that I announce today the University’s decision to move forward with an in-person Commencement Ceremony to honor the Class of 2020 on Saturday, August 22.  The 101st Commencement Ceremony will begin at 11:30 a.m. at the Kress Events Center.

Graduates, faculty and staff will be contacted in the next few weeks with additional details and information on ceremony sign-up, tickets, caps and gowns and more. Please watch your campus email for this information and respond accordingly.

Commencement is a day that is long-waited, justly earned and richly savored by students, families, faculty and staff. In light of all we have collectively endured this spring, we will all savor it even more this year.

Unfortunately, as with any commencement ceremony, we know some graduates will be unable to participate in the ceremony in person for a variety of reasons. This day belongs to every member of the Class of 2020. If you are not able to be physically present, please join your class via livestream.

We miss being with all of you on campus and look forward to reuniting for this special and joyous occasion, at a time when we hope it will once again be safe to gather and do so. We are honoring your great accomplishments at UW-Green Bay and you, as new leaders. You are critical to helping us recover and finding our way back as a community and world.

Please continue to be safe and well. We look forward to our August celebration!

Congratulations, and Onward!

The UW-Green Bay Office of the Chancellor emailed the following from Interim Chancellor Van Gruensven to the campus community on Friday, April 3, 2020.

Dear Faculty and Staff,

Yesterday was a great day for the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. I could not be more pleased with the Board of Regents’ selection of Mike Alexander as UW-Green Bay’s seventh chancellor.

On behalf of the University I want to extend my thanks to the Selection Committee, comprised of University faculty and staff, members of the community and the Board of Regents, for their time and commitment to this important process. The university community deeply appreciates your thoughtful work in serving our institution. I am also grateful for the institution’s overall engagement in the process through forum attendance and candidate feedback. Thank you for your active participation as we searched for the next, best Chancellor for UW-Green Bay. Together, we did just that.

Since joining the University last year, Mike and I have developed a mutually respectful and highly productive working relationship. We are committed to a seamless transition in the weeks ahead to ensure university operations continue without disruption. We cannot skip a beat at this critical time. I am humbled that Chancellor-elect Alexander values my contributions to the institution and that we will continue to work together as a cohesive team.

Higher education is facing both strong headwinds and compelling opportunities. In the months ahead, we all need to work together– cabinet, university leaders and the university community—and we must persevere. We are all being called upon to be resourceful and creative as we forge a new path during this uncertain time. This resiliency is built into our collective DNA as members of the Phoenix family. We will lean on it and on each other often as we find new ways to teach our students, engage them and create the customized experience they are looking for from higher education.

Our work ahead requires us to be flexible. We may need to shift gears and make difficult decisions at times, but all decisions will be made with the principles of student success and the long-term sustainability of the institution as guiding principles.

Anyone who has had the opportunity to work closely with Mike knows what a tremendous asset he is to UW-Green Bay and our region. I cannot think of a more transparent and genuine individual. He will lead and inspire us as we take this dynamic institution to new levels of success, serving every student who wants an education. Most importantly, Michael Alexander is the kind of leader who lives by example and treats everyone with respect. People at UW-Green Bay and throughout Northeast Wisconsin will want to follow him. I know I do.

Please join me in offering Chancellor-elect Alexander the warmest and most heartfelt of congratulations.

Sheryl Van Gruensven

Michael Alexander Named UW-Green Bay’s Seventh Chancellor

The UW-Green Bay Office of the Chancellor emailed a memorandum from UW System President Ray Cross on Thursday, April 2, 2020 notifying the campus community of the results of the chancellor search. The UW System Board of Regents approved the selection of UW-Green Bay Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Michael Alexander as the seventh Chancellor of UW-Green Bay. He will begin his new role on May 1.

For additional comments from UW-Green Bay leaders on Dr. Michael Alexander’s appointment as our next Chancellor, see the news release.

Important Decisions on COVID-19 at UW-Green Bay

To: University Community
From: Sheryl Van Gruensven, Interim Chancellor
Date: March 11, 2020
Subject: Important Decisions on COVID-19 at UW-Green Bay

UW-Green Bay continues to monitor the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and strategize to keep students, faculty and staff safe from potential transmission. University leadership is meeting daily to assess the situation and make necessary decisions. We will announce updates every Wednesday or more frequently if required.

Consistent with guidance from the CDC, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, UW System and the Brown County Health Department our goal is containment. Toward that end, the University has made the following decisions regarding class delivery, spring break travel, upcoming events and workplace expectations.


  • Beginning Monday, March 23-March 28, all UW-Green Bay classes at all campuses will be taught via alternative delivery methods. You will receive additional details from your faculty in the days ahead. We will update this status for subsequent weeks every Wednesday.
  • Students leaving campus for spring break are strongly encouraged to go home and remain home until further notice. We are evaluating the situation daily and will communicate a return-to-campus date as soon as possible.
  • Take instructional materials, computers, medications and other valuables home with you over spring break.
  • Campuses remain open and essential services will remain available (in person or by phone), including but not limited to counseling and health, dining, housing, police and academic advising.
  • Students not able to leave campus for spring break will have accommodations.
  • Students requiring internet and access to computer labs can return to campus after break to do so.
  • All University-sponsored spring break trips for students and faculty have been cancelled. See the additional travel guidance for international and U.S. travel, below.


  • Continue your preparations to move all instruction to alternative means of delivery by Monday, March 23. Resources to assist you in doing so can be found online: https://www .uwgb.edu/coronavirus/faculty-resources/
  • We expect every effort to be made to communicate to students by March 23 how their courses will be delivered. Please work with your deans and department chairs to achieve this.
  • All University-sponsored spring break trips for students and faculty have been cancelled. See the additional travel guidance for international and U.S. travel below.
  • All University-sponsored travel outside the state of Wisconsin for faculty and staff from March 14-March 29 has also been cancelled. Exceptions can be made only with approval from the Chancellor.
  • Campuses remain open and essential services will remain available. Employees are expected to report. If you have specific concerns or reasons not to report, work with your supervisor.


  • Campuses remain open and essential services will remain available. Employees are expected to report. If you have specific concerns or reasons not to report, work with your supervisor.
  • A temporary telecommuting policy will go into effect on Monday, March 16. More communication on alternate work schedules and telecommuting will be provided by Friday, March 13.
  • All University-sponsored travel outside the state of Wisconsin for faculty and staff from March 14-March 29 has also been cancelled. Exceptions can be made only with approval from the Chancellor.

Campus Events

  • Campus events from March 14-March 22 have been cancelled. Future events are continually being evaluated with decisions being made each Wednesday regarding continuation or cancellation of upcoming events and mass gatherings.
  • The Kress Events Center will be closed to the public from March 14-March 29.
  • Refer to the Weidner Center website for individual event updates.
  • Green Bay Athletics continues to monitor the situation, with guidance from the NIT, Horizon League and the NCAA forthcoming.

University Travel Cancellations and Guidance

With spring break approaching next week, please be aware of the following if you are planning to travel. You are strongly encouraged to take the necessary precautions to keep yourself from coming in contact with infected individuals.

University-Sponsored Travel Cancelled

  • All University-sponsored Spring Break trips for students and faculty have been cancelled.
  • All University-sponsored travel outside the state of Wisconsin for faculty and staff from March 14-March 29 has also been cancelled.

Spring Break Travel Guidance

Domestic Travel

As of March 10, a state of emergency has been declared in the following states in an effort to combat the virus:

  • California
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Utah
  • Washington

As these states are reporting some of the highest levels of COVID-19 cases, UW-Green Bay discourages travel to these locations by students, faculty and staff. Per the Wisconsin Department of Health Services: People who have traveled in the past 14 days to places where there is community spread of COVID-19 (international and domestic locations), are asked to self-quarantine themselves and monitor for symptoms for 14 days. If symptoms, like fever, cough, or difficulty breathing are present, they should contact their local health department and health care provider for possible testing. People should call ahead before arriving at a health care facility for testing.

International Travel

Travelers returning from Level 3 (High Risk) countries (China, Iran, Italy and South Korea) will be required by the Department of Homeland Security or other governmental agencies to follow CDC After-Travel Health Precautions, to include self-monitoring from home for 14 days and social distancing.

As more countries may be declared Level 3 in the weeks ahead, international spring break travelers should be aware that they may encounter problems with re-entry into the U.S. Please continue to watch for updates to the list of Level 3 countries and be diligent about having contingency plans for travel.

Stay Informed

The situation regarding COVID-19 continues to change. While on break, continue to stay informed by regularly visiting the CDC website as it is updated daily. We also advise you to monitor https://www.uwgb.edu/coronavirus/ and your campus email over break for updates specific to the University. UW-Green Bay will continue to monitor the situation closely, share updates and take action as needed to safeguard your well being.

Continue to stay well and stay informed. As Phoenix, we will persevere together.

UW-Green Bay Coronavirus Update, Travel and General Health Considerations

The UW-Green Bay Office of the Chancellor emailed two documents to the University community providing coronavirus updates on Wednesday, March 4, 2020. One is a memo from Interim Chancellor Van Gruensven and the other is a Coronavirus Preparedness memo from UW-System President Ray Cross.

To: University Community
From: Sheryl Van Gruensven, Interim Chancellor
Date: March 4, 2020
Subject: UW-Green Bay Coronavirus Update, Travel and General Health Considerations


To: UW System Chancellors
From: UW System President Ray Cross
Re: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Preparedness


UW-Green Bay Chancellor Finalists Named

Memo: UW-Green Bay chancellor finalists namedThe UW-Green Bay Office of the Chancellor sent, on behalf of Michael Draney, Professor of Biology and Vice Chair, Chancellor Search and Screen Committee, the following memorandum to the campus community on Wednesday, February 19, 2020.



To: University Community
From: Michael Draney, Professor of Biology & Vice Chair, Chancellor Search & Screen Committee
Date: January 27, 2020
Subject: UW-Green Bay chancellor finalists named

I am excited to share with you that University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross will announce today the four finalists for the position of chancellor at the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay.

A 13-member Search and Screen Committee, led by Regent Robert Atwell and myself, recommended the list of finalists. The Special Regent Committee determined that the following individuals will continue in the selection process.

The finalists, listed in alphabetical order, are:

Beginning Tuesday, February 25, the four candidates will participate in separate public forums, offering opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and community members to interact directly with them. See the complete schedule of open forums for details.

On behalf of the entire Search and Screen Committee, I highly encourage you to participate in this important step in the selection process for the University’s seventh Chancellor, including the opportunity to offer feedback on each candidate.

Following campus interviews and public forums, President Cross and the Special Regent Committee will interview finalists March 26. They will recommend one candidate to the full Board of Regents, which must approve the recommended candidate. The committee is still on schedule to submit a recommendation for approval at the April Board of Regents meetings.

For additional information on the Chancellor Search process visit Chancellor Search.

Winter 2020 Coffee Break Video

Faculty and staff gathered for coffee, donuts, updates and perspectives with UW-Green Bay Interim Chancellor Sheryl Van Gruensven and Provost Michael Alexander. The remarks, presentations and discussions were recorded live so that colleagues from all campus locations could attend in person or remotely. The recording is available linked with timestamps for agenda items below.