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

COVID-19 and Thanksgiving Break

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

Since the pandemic began, we have tried to wait as long as possible to communicate big decisions so that we can adapt to ever-changing local conditions. As you are aware, the impact of the pandemic continues to grow at an alarming rate with no end in sight and I want to communicate our plan at the moment regarding the remainder of the semester:

Residential Students and Faculty and Staff Coming to Campus

  1. Our residential students, faculty, and staff have been incredible throughout the semester at following safety guidelines and respecting the health and safety of others. We trust our students. They continue to earn that trust through their actions. We know that we have many students in the Residence Halls going on and off campus every day and home many weekends. The Thanksgiving Break is a longer version of what every weekend looks like on our campus.
  2. Due to the longer break for Thanksgiving, we will be requiring all students who live in our Residence Halls to take a test prior to leaving campus for the break. This is to help keep those who you are in contact with off campus, safe. Upon returning to campus all students will be tested before being allowed to attend classes and will be tested again within three days of the initial test to ensure the virus was not undetectable on the initial test. The language from UW System President Thompson is below. Although the requirement is to only have students that are traveling test in this manner, we are requiring it of all residential students regardless of travel plans.

Any student leaving our campus community for the Thanksgiving holiday with the intent of returning to campus after the Thanksgiving holiday be COVID tested once before they leave campus and tested an additional two times before they return into any classroom or congregated setting. Should they test positive, the protocols related to quarantining and isolation on each campus will still be required to be followed.

If these standards cannot be met, students should not be allowed to return into any classroom or congregated setting following the Thanksgiving break.

We intend to maintain our current mode of delivery for the remainder of the semester unless we see a spike in cases prior to Thanksgiving. Despite the best of intentions, we understand that it is possible that we will see a spike in cases after Thanksgiving Break due to the rate of spread in our community. However, for the safety of our community, we believe it is better that students return to campus and go through our testing regimen so that we can immediately isolate any positive cases and not cause additional spread in the community that surrounds us. We have the support of our healthcare partner, Prevea, in this decision and will also follow their guidance should they or UW System tell us to change course.

Students, Faculty, and Staff Not In Residence

  1. All students, faculty, and staff not in residence should get a weekly COVID-19 test either in the turf gym at the Kress Center on the Green Bay Campus or by registering for a drive-up test at DoINeedaCovid19Test.com. Students at our locations in Manitowoc, Marinette, and Sheboygan should take advantage of local testing opportunities.

I understand that despite our best internal efforts this semester there are no good answers moving forward, but we believe, based on the guidance we are currently getting, that this is the best decision for our campuses. I respect the decisions that other campuses have made across the UW System to not return after Thanksgiving and as always, we will be prepared to make the same decision immediately should we be advised to do so. Most of all, I want all of you to be safe. Please communicate, have empathy, support each other, and care for all around you.

Best,

Michael Alexander
Chancellor

Surge Testing Update

Dear UW-Green Bay Faculty and Staff,

We have had an amazing response from our community today to come to campus for the drive-up COVID testing at the Weidner Center. We want you all to get tested, but please sign up for times tomorrow or throughout the rest of the week. Of course, if you are symptomatic, please contact your health provider.

As a reminder, here’s the registration link: https://doineedacovid19test.com.

Please continue to help us get the word out about this important community effort.

Best,
Michael Alexander
Chancellor

Green Bay Campus to Host Rapid Testing Site

Dear UW-Green Bay students,

UW System and UW-Green Bay announced today that we will host a drive-up rapid COVID-19 testing site on the Green Bay Campus beginning next Monday, Nov. 9. Please note that this does not alter the testing site or procedure for on-campus residents. Residential students should continue weekly mandatory surveillance testing at the Kress Events Center Turf Gym.

It does give all students who have not been coming to the Green Bay Campus regularly, an opportunity to test for COVID-19 for free, and quickly. Test results typically take about 15 minutes. UW-Green Bay students who do not live on campus are welcome to test at the Kress Center or use the new drive-up option. The drive-up testing area will be held near UW-Green Bay’s Weidner Center, which allows easy access and traffic flow from Nicolet Drive. Testing will be available to anyone age 5-and-older at no cost, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, by appointment at DOINeedACovid19Test.com. This is a national program and administrators are working to make the registration link for the UW-Green Bay testing site “live” sometime today. Please keep checking the DOINeedACovid19Test.com to make an appointment.

Individuals do not have to be experiencing symptoms nor have close contact of someone with COVID-19 to get a test, nor do they need to live in the Green Bay community. We encourage students from all locations to get tested. The state Department of Health Services will be supplying an additional 30,000 PCR tests as part of the effort. Individuals who test negative using the BinaxNOW test but also are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or who test positive but do not have symptoms are urged to get a confirmatory PCR test at the testing site.

We need to do everything we can to slow the spread of the pandemic. We know that those 30-and-under tend to be less symptomatic but can easily spread COVID-19 to more vulnerable populations. This is an opportunity for the Phoenix family to take a leadership role in helping that happen. Please consider getting tested, and encourage anyone in your household, your neighbors, or anyone else in your circle to do the same. Please forward this letter and share the information on social media. The goal is to stop the asymptomatic spread of COVID-19 in our region.

Thank you for helping to keep yourself and all those around you safe.

Best,

Michael Alexander
Chancellor

COVID-19 Surge Testing

Dear Colleagues,

Please see below the news release that we sent out yesterday about COVID-19 surge testing that will occur on our Green Bay Campus. We need to continue to do everything we can to slow the spread of the pandemic. This is an opportunity for us to take a leadership role in helping that happen. I encourage all faculty and staff, including those that are not currently coming to campus and those at our Marinette, Manitowoc and Sheboygan locations to get tested along with anyone in your household. Please also encourage neighbors and anyone else in your circle to do the same. Consider forwarding this e-mail, or share this testing opportunity on social media. The goal is to stop the asymptomatic spread of COVID-19 in our region.

Testing will be available to anyone age 5-and-older at no cost, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. by appointment at DOINeedACovid19Test.com. Please note that this a national effort, and administrators are working to get the UW-Green Bay testing registration link “live” today at the above webpage. Please keep checking back to make an appointment.

Thank you for helping to keep yourself and all those around you safe.

Best,

Michael Alexander
Chancellor

Employee Giving

Dear UW-Green Bay Faculty and Staff:

When speaking with UW-Green Bay alumni, they almost always cite the names of faculty and staff members who made an impression on them and provided the spark that motivated them to pursue their careers. The ripple effects of your daily interactions with students span decades and has profoundly shaped and impacted our region and beyond. I am acutely aware of the countless financial and personal sacrifices that our faculty and staff have made to keep UW-Green Bay moving forward in this difficult time.

We all give in different ways. If you are able, I encourage you to join me in making a gift through the UW-Green Bay Foundation to the Need-Based Grant-Aid Fund, or one of the food pantries we have on our four campuses. It is another meaningful way you can help students and support the University mission of serving as an access institution. Gifts to these funds are used to support students in need and are a valuable source of financial aid through need-based grants. Thank you for considering a gift to propel us further forward to meet the challenges our students face by making a one-time or recurring payroll deducted gift.

Also, I wanted to mention that you will be hearing more about the United Way effort in the weeks to come. UW-Green Bay is proudly part of this community. We embrace community partners like United Way in reaching others in need in our communities. United Way helps numerous social service agencies meet the needs of families down on their luck who simply need a helping hand. Further information on the United Way and a link to donate will be announced in the coming weeks.

As members of the Phoenix community, I know we are compassionate. Every gift makes a difference in the life of a student.

Employee Giving Portal

External Giving Links:

Best,

Michael Alexander
Chancellor Best,

UW-Green Bay Response to Rising Community COVID-19 Cases

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

As you may have heard, in recent days local health departments across the region have issued Public Health Emergency COVID-19 alerts due to the high levels of COVID-19 cases, which have resulted in increased COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths. The recent surge in cases in the region certainly causes all of us to be on high alert. I am sure many of you have wondered how UW-Green Bay plans to respond. At this time, we have decided to stay the course and continue our current state of operations.

In recent weeks, our testing capacity has increased, and our students in Residence Life are being tested each week. They have committed to keeping each other, and the rest of campus safe. We have also expanded testing to others coming on campus. To date, we have an amazingly low positivity rate of 1.13 percent positive for tests conducted. When we do have a positive test result, students are quickly moved into isolation housing, preventing spread to the greatest degree possible.

As of today, fewer than 120 classes are meeting solely in person. Students are using the dining delivery feature in great numbers. There are very strict restrictions on gatherings. As a result, there are very few people on campus. Working together, we have created a “bubble” that is helping to keep our campus community safe. You can review all our testing information on the Phoenix Forward Dashboard.

We are consulting daily with our health partner, Prevea Health. Prevea leaders have encouraged us to stay the course. Part of the strategy is to ensure those who are safely in the bubble on our campus, stay there. While we want to be a thoughtful community partner, we feel the best way we can do this at this time, is to keep doing exactly what we are doing:

  • daily monitoring (and swiftly move positive cases to isolation);
  • continue as a campus to commit to following the three W’s (Wash your hands, Wear a mask, Watch your distance) even when we are away from campus;
  • quarantine and stay away from campus when symptomatic.

We are also encouraging everyone to get a flu shot this year as the yearly influenza can pressure medical facilities that have a greater need to treat COVID-19 patients. Students, please use the Prevea App to schedule one at The Wellness Center. Faculty and staff please seek a flu shot at your local healthcare provider.

Later today, we are going to ask campus operational leaders to review their Resumption of Operation Plans that were submitted in August and make certain that as we continue our state of operations we are also providing the greatest amount of safety for everyone involved. This may include reducing staffing on campus in the coming weeks for offices that have public-facing operations to work more remotely.

We do know this virus can force situations to change quickly. While we continue to monitor and react daily, we continue to plan about what it could mean if COVID-19 gained traction on our UW-Green Bay campuses. In the meantime, we continue to be appreciative of the role you have each taken during this unusual season to protect one another. Please continue to be diligent and be safe.

Best,

Michael Alexander
Chancellor

Campus Update

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

Each morning at 7:30, I meet with campus leaders to discuss our COVID response and make sure we are taking every step we can to keep our campuses safe.  Every metric we can look at shows that our students, faculty, and staff have done a remarkable job to this point of the semester in preventing the spread of the virus.  As of this morning, our positivity rate is 1.17%, the capacity we have in campus housing to quarantine or isolate students that are COVID positive or symptomatic is only 13% full, and as of this week we have essentially doubled our capacity to test students to prevent an outbreak on campus.  Despite the national rhetoric that college campuses have contributed to the rise in COVID cases across our state and country, we are far below the rates of positivity in our surrounding communities and that is due to everyone’s careful attention to safety.

However, it is important for us to remember that our campuses in Green Bay, Manitowoc, Marinette, and Sheboygan do not exist in a vacuum.  We are fully integrated into our communities and our communities are struggling.  It is essential that we redouble our efforts to stay safe and not contribute to the alarming positive rates we are seeing in our region.  We also need to be accountable to each other.  Even when you are on your own time, please stay safe.  If you are doing things off hours that put you at risk, please isolate from work and campus.

I urge you to be safe, take proper precautions, don’t get complacent, wear a mask, wash your hands, and practice social distancing. If you have not already received the influenza vaccine (“flu shot”), please schedule that as soon as possible as cooler temperatures favor respiratory viruses.

I am so proud of our campuses for how responsibly we have handled the difficult circumstances of the fall.  Thank you.  Please keep safe, persist, and support each other.  Our communities are relying on us to do so and turn the curve of the pandemic in the opposite direction.

With gratitude,

Michael Alexander
Michael Alexander
Chancellor