SOFAS Response on Interdisciplinarity

Cliff Abbott, UW-Green Bay Secretary of the Faculty and Academic Staff, issued a paper in response to Chancellor Miller’s essay Thoughts on Interdisciplinarity posted here last week. Prof. Abbott prefaces his response as follows:

The chancellor’s essay (Thoughts on Interdisciplinarity January 12, 2015) offers a vision for the type of graduate that our university should be producing and the kind of university we should be in order to accomplish that. He also offers a critique of the way we currently are structured to achieve our mission. I appreciate both the vision and the critique and I am moved to offer a response.

View the full text of Prof. Abbott’s response in the paper below.

SOFAS Response on Interdisciplinarity
by Prof. Cliff Abbott
Secretary of the Faculty and Academic Staff
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
February 2015

View the full text of Chancellor Miller’s original essay below.

Thoughts on Interdisciplinarity
Essay: Thoughts on Interdisciplinarity
by Gary L. Miller, Chancellor
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
January 2015

Immediate Cost Containment Measures

UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary L. Miller released the following statement via e-mail to employees on Wednesday, February 4, 2015:

As you know, we have initiated the difficult process of taking a substantial reduction in the university budget.  In order to manage resources to achieve as much flexibility as possible I am taking the following actions effective immediately:

  1. A moratorium on hiring for all positions including permanent ongoing, temporary or short-term for all employment classifications, from any fund source.  Requests for exceptions should be submitted to the Position Review Committee and approved by the Provost.  Student hires are allowed to fulfill duties normally covered by student employees.
  2. A moratorium on all out-of-state travel (excluding Minneapolis and Chicago).
  3. Immediately centralize expenditure authority for all funds.  Expenditure approval must be made at the Dean or Area Leader level.  Expenditures for Student Organizations is exempted.
  4. Immediately centralize all tuition funded cash balances outside of the tuition pool.  This will include balances in funds 131, 136 and 189.

These actions will be in effect until further notice.  Exceptions must be approved by the Provost.

I am deeply appreciative of your understanding of the necessity of these measures.

Further discussion of the proposed state budget will take place at a Town Hall Meeting, scheduled for Monday, February 9th at 2:30 p.m. in Phoenix B.  I hope to see many of you there.

c:  Council of Trustees

Essay: ‘Thoughts on Interdisciplinary’

Since arriving at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay as Chancellor in August 2014, Gary L. Miller has said the University’s commitment to the ideals of interdisciplinarity, a founding principle, is both one of institution’s most important assets and potentially one of the strongest inertial forces to progress. In this essay, he reflects on higher learning, interdisciplinary education, UW-Green Bay and the intersection of larger societal, economic and education issues.

Thoughts on Interdisciplinarity

Essay: Thoughts on Interdisciplinarity
by Gary L. Miller, Chancellor
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
January 2015

Academic Achievement Night

UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary L. Miller released the following invitation via e-mail to employees on Tuesday, January 27, 2015:

Excellence in academics is at the core of what we do as a university, and we will be emphasizing that commitment at the men’s basketball game on THURSDAY, February 5 at the Resch Center.  We will be recognizing the many student-athletes who have earned a GPA of 3.5 or better in the spring or fall 2014 during a halftime ceremony.

To help honor these student-athletes and thank those who contribute to their academic success, I join Athletics Director Mary Ellen Gillespie and the entire Athletics Department in inviting you – UW-Green Bay faculty and staff – to attend the game as guests of the Athletics Department.

The Athletics Department will provide a ticket free of charge for you and a guest.  Additional tickets can also be purchased for $10.

Our student-athletes’ success is made possible because of what you do for all of our students.  That is why we will be recognizing all faculty and staff colleagues in attendance during a pre-game announcement prior to the national anthem.

Here are the details:

Green Bay Men’s Basketball vs. UW-Milwaukee
Thursday, February 5, 2015
7:00 p.m. at the Resch Center

(Tickets ordered by Monday, February 2, will be mailed via campus mail. Orders received after Monday, February 2, will be held at will call.)

To order the complimentary tickets:

Gary L. Miller

Budget reductions and university autonomy

UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary L. Miller released the following statement via e-mail to employees on Tuesday, January 27, 2015:


You have no doubt by now learned of the Governor’s proposal to reduce funding for the University of Wisconsin System by $300 million in the coming biennium.  The Governor is also proposing to give the University considerably more flexibility in the future by placing it in a state authority.  In the coming days we will learn more about the details of both proposals.  For now, let me tell you what we know so far.

University Autonomy

I attach a document developed by the UW System office that gives the details of the UW System autonomy plan as it is now conceived. I am also attaching communication from President Cross and Regent President Falbo.  I encourage you to read these documents carefully.  Creating a University Authority has many advantages for UWGB and I support it, as do the other Chancellors.  Many details must be worked out before the proposed July 1, 2016 starting date.

Three key aspects of the plan are critically important. (1) Shared governance and tenure will be preserved and managed by the authority board as is the case in most other states.  (2) Employees would remain in the Wisconsin Retirement System. (3) The authority would manage employee compensation plans.

Budget Reductions

The Governor’s proposed budget reduction of $300 million, if approved, represents an enormous challenge for a system still responding to six years of budget reductions.  We do not yet know how the reduction will be allocated to the campuses or what processes we will have at our disposal to smooth the reductions over a period of years.  However, the reductions will have a significant effect on UWGB and the way in which we do business.  Responding to the reductions in the next several months will be a real test of our innovative spirit.

As I mentioned in my recent convocation speech, we will deploy shared governance, UPIC (the new University Planning and Innovation Council) and the university leadership at all levels in developing recommendations to manage the reductions.  After the Governor’s speech next week, the Provost will issue a detailed schedule of our deliberations including important milestones (e.g., spring Regent’s meetings and the fiscal year end).  The schedule will also include time for town-hall style meetings to encourage broad community discussion.

It is important to appreciate that our reduction strategy must place the university in the best position possible to grow and prosper in a new autonomous UW System.  A budget reduction of this size cannot be accommodated with across-the-board cuts or adjustments at the margins.  We will have to make very hard choices and undertake a reshaping of our strategy, operations and organization. We are at an important place in our history.

Thank you. I’ll keep you posted as we learn more about these proposals.

Gary L. Miller


UW System statement re proposed budget Jan 27 (pdf)

Outline Governor Budget Proposal (pdf)

Enrollment Drive Update

UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary L. Miller sent the following message via e-mail to employees on Tuesday, January 13, 2015:

In November 2014, we began an initiative to focus on recruiting more local students to UWGB.  November and December were busy months for those who work in, and volunteered with, the Enrollment Drive.  A volunteer phone team made thousands of phone calls encouraging freshmen to apply to UWGB.  Application teams went into the high schools to help students fill out applications.  We sent thousands of emails and postcards, and hosted over 300 students for on campus visits.  All of these efforts are paying off.  We are currently seeing a 16% increase compared to last year’s freshmen applications, and a 12% increase in admissions.  This is great work.

But, our work is not done.  We are now shifting our focus, led by Jen Jones, to ensure that we see as many freshmen as possible enroll in our great institution.  We are also finding creative ways to encourage more transfer students to apply and enroll for the fall of 2015.  Jen is collecting and implementing ideas with the help of people all around campus.  I encourage you to reach out to her to see how you might be able to help.  I appreciate all the efforts so many of the campus community members have already put forth towards recruitment.  I look forward to celebrating with you as we achieve our goals.

Gary L. Miller

Mid-Year Convocation – Jan. 22, 2015

UW-Green Bay Mid-Year Covocation January 22, 2015

The Chancellor’s office invites the UW-Green Bay campus community to reconvene after winter break and kick off the spring semester with the annual UW-Green Bay Mid-Year Faculty and Staff Convocation on Thursday, January 22, 2015.

Date: Thursday, January 22
Time: 10:30 a.m. program followed by lunch
Location: Phoenix Room, University Union
RSVP: by January 16 to Paula Marcec


  • Recognition of Length of Service Anniversaries
  • Awarding of the Austin E. Cofrin Endowed Chair to David J. Radosevich
  • Awarding of Emeriti Status to Faculty and Staff
  • Remarks by Chancellor Gary L. Miller

UW-Green Bay Day at Lambeau Field

UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary L. Miller released the following statement via e-mail to employees on Tuesday, November 11, 2014:

Dear Campus Community —

You are invited to celebrate UW-Green Bay’s partnership with the Green Bay Packers during UW-Green Bay Day at Lambeau Field, Saturday, Nov. 15.

This daylong event offers something for everyone, from a host of family-friendly activities to games, prizes and even an autograph session with Packers great Bill Schroeder. Attendees can engage in some fun and friendly competition with many of our great student-athletes and rub elbows with Phoenix men’s basketball coach Brian Wardle ahead of the team’s home opener against the University of Illinois-Springfield.

UW-Green Bay Day also provides an opportunity for us to show the community what this terrific University is all about. Attendees can learn more about UW-Green Bay academics, the Weidner Center, Division I athletics and much more. We are thrilled to be the higher education partner of the Green Bay Packers, and to have the chance to connect with our community in this way.

We are also in need of faculty/staff volunteers who will help with the day’s events and activities. We are asking that volunteers commit to two hours of work, but you can stay all day if you like. To review volunteer opportunities and to sign up, please visit the volunteer registration site at

I encourage you to check out for more information about this no-cost community event. Thank you and Go Phoenix!

Gary L. Miller

Enrollment Opportunities

UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary L. Miller released the following statement via e-mail to employees on Monday, November 3, 2014:

As you are aware, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay offers an exciting and innovative university experience for students committed to being part of solutions to the major challenges of the future. Over 80% of our graduates entering the workforce find employment in a field of their choosing within months of graduation. Nearly all the others pursue professional or graduate degrees. Many of our nearly 33,000 alumni have enjoyed great achievement in their careers, including many who are among the most respected and influential citizens in the New North region and around the country. One of the most important opportunities for us is to invite additional qualified students to join us in the coming year and to develop an institutionwide process for a robust enrollment trajectory in the coming years.

The Associate Provost, Deans, enrollment staff, and I have been meeting over the last several weeks to examine our student recruitment strategy in relation to university financial models and to consider short-term initiatives for deployment this year. This past Saturday morning (November 1st) 27 university leaders—The Enrollment Leadership Team—met with me and the Cabinet to make plans for actions to be taken this semester and next. During that Enrollment Summit we agreed to work together as a university to substantially increase applications from freshmen and transfer students and to target a higher yield of qualified students from both groups for the fall semester 2015.

I wish to make you aware of steps we have taken and will be taking in the coming months:

  • I have appointed Jennifer Jones of Enrollment Services as the transitional UWGB Enrollment Leader for this initiative. Jen will report directly to me and the Provost and work with the full support of Mike Stearney and Pam Harvey-Jacobs. Mike and Pam will reorganize Admissions to provide her the support necessary to fully pursue our objectives.
  • We have set an ambitious goal for new 2015 enrollments that will stabilize the core tuition pool within three years.
  • With Jen’s leadership, UW-Green Bay will organize and execute the following three-phase initiative:
    • Phase I – Substantially increase the number of Freshmen applicants (November through December 2014).
    • Phase II—Substantially increase the number of Transfer applicants (January – July 2015).
    • Phase III – Substantially increase the yield from both Freshmen and Transfer students (February – March 2015).
  • We will develop a set of tactics that substantially expand the effectiveness of current strategies and support new approaches to enrollment growth.
  • We will deploy volunteers from all areas of the university to successfully implement these tactics under the direction of Jen Jones.

As we work through the activities of the coming months we will also be developing operational and organizational models to sustain successful tactics into the future.

I want to ask all of you to offer assistance to Jen and the Enrollment Leadership Team in the coming months. I will be happy to visit with any group desiring more information about this extremely important initiative.

Thank you.

Gary L. Miller

c: UW-Green Bay Council of Trustess


Enrollment Leadership Team


Gary Miller, Chancellor
Dan Spielmann, Chief of Staff
Kelly Franz, Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance
Scott Furlong, Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Sue Mattison, Dean, College of Professional Studies
Steve Vanden Avond, Dean of Continuing Education, Outreach and Adult Access
Lucy Arendt, Associate Dean
Greg Davis, Associate Provost
Jeanne Stangel, Assistant Chancellor
Mike Stearney, Dean of Enrollment Services
Brenda Amenson-Hill, Dean of Students
Dan McCollum, Assistant Vice Chancellor
Mary Ellen Gillespie, Athletics Director
Pam Harvey-Jacobs, Director of Admissions
Jennifer Jones, Assistant Director, Marketing Media/Recruitment, Admissions
Ron Morris, Advisor, Admissions
Christina Trombley, Director, Adult Degree Program, Outreach and Adult Access
Sue Bodilly, Director of Marketing
Chris Sampson, Director of Communications
Gail Sims-Aubert, Director of Housing
Eric Craver, Director of External Relations, Outreach and Adult Access
Stacie Christian, Coordinator, Inclusive Excellence and Pride Center
Justin Mallett, Diversity Director, American Intercultural Center
Debbie Furlong, Director, Institutional Research
Brent Blahnik, Director, Office of International Education
Kari Moody, Director of Alumni Relations
Aurora Cortes, Assistant Professor, Education
Jim Rohan, Director, Financial Aid
Lisa Tetzloff, Director, Student Life

Establishment of the University Planning and Innovation Council

UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary L. Miller released the following statement via e-mail to employees on Monday, November 3, 2014:

With this memo, I am establishing the University Planning and Innovation Council (UPIC) at UW-Green Bay. The UPIC will replace the University Budget Council and assume a broader array of planning responsibilities as outlined in my paper describing the new UPIC. Click here to view the paper.

Nominations for the UPIC were sent forward through the University Committee. The inaugural committee is:

  • John Katers (Faculty; 4-year term)
  • Susan Gallagher-Lepak (Faculty; 4-year term)
  • Regan Gurung (Faculty; 2-year term)
  • Christopher Martin (Faculty; 2-year term)
  • Brent Blahnik (Academic Staff; 4-year term)
  • Katrina Hrivnak (Academic Staff; 2-year term)
  • Sousie Lee (University Staff; 4-year term)
  • Tracy Van Erem (University Staff; 2-year term)
  • Vanya Koepke (Student; 1-year term)
  • Sue Mattison, Dean (1-year term)
  • Athletics Director — Mary Ellen Gillespie
  • Vice Chancellor — Kelly Franz
  • Provost — Stephen Fritz

The UPIC will be chaired by Provost Stephen Fritz and CBO Kelly Franz. The group will begin its work this semester.

This new long-term, transparent university planning process will give us a platform for making the difficult choices we have before us.

Thank you.

Gary L. Miller