April 12, 2021  |  News & Events, Provost's Monday Updates, Timely Announcements

Good morning, colleagues. Here is this week’s update from Academic Affairs.


Ava Udvadia (Biological Sciences) received the 2021 Regent Scholar Awards, which recognizes distinction in research, innovation, and entrepreneurship for her project, “Enhancers for next-generation gene therapy vectors to treat optic neuropathies.” Congratulations, Ava!

Xiaoli Ma (Materials Science and Engineering) and Yin Wang (Civil and Environmental Engineering) received a $246,919 grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior to develop nanofiltration membranes for desalinating water. The project aims to make membrane desalination technology more energy efficient and affordable, enabling the broader deployment of desalination as a means to increase water supplies. Well done, Xiaoli and Yin!

Katie Avila Loughmiller (Theatre) received the 2020 Vel R. Phillips Trailblazer Award for her service to the community. Made by the city Vel R. Phillips Trailblazer Award Selection Committee and bestowed by Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs, the award recognizes selfless service and work to improve the quality of life for residents of Milwaukee. Congratulations, Katie!

Mauricio Kilwein Guevara (English) was invited to be the inaugural curator for Woodland Pattern Book Center’s Milwaukee Poem-a-Day Project. The Project is in celebration of National Poetry Month, and six of the seven poets Mauricio chose either hold degrees from UWM’s nationally recognized Creative Writing Program or are active graduate students. Well done, Mauricio and poets!

Kimberly Blaeser (English and American Indian Studies) recently had her poem, “The Where In My Belly,” featured as Poem of the Week by Split This Rock, a poetry organization devoted to justice and social change. She is also serving as guest curator for Split this Rock’s, “The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database.” Among the poems she selected is, “Music Arises from Component Parts or The Dream of a Clarinet,” by Toby Wray, an alumnus of UWM’s graduate Creative Writing program. The work of both poets will remain a part of “The Quarry.” Congratulations, Kim and Toby!

In the News

Criminal Justice graduate students Hailey Gallagher and Naomi Noble are working with the Milwaukee Preservation Alliance to map designated historic sites in Milwaukee. Their work was featured in a WUWM article about the lack of Latino landmarks in the city.

Academic Initiatives: M3 

M3 leaders will talk about the importance for high school seniors to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You are invited to attend this M3 Education Transformed virtual session on Wednesday, April 14 from 8:45 – 9:15 a.m. Learn how you can support students accessing higher education and encourage completion of the FAFSA form.

Milwaukee Athletics

The Milwaukee men’s and women’s soccer teams won their playoff games and advanced to the Horizon League Tournament Championship games. The women’s team beat IUPUI, 3-0, and will play top-seeded Northern Kentucky this Saturday, April 17. Game time is 12 p.m. CST. The men’s team defeated UIC, 2-1, and will also play at top-seeded Northern Kentucky on Saturday, April 17. Their game time follows the women’s game and is scheduled for 4 p.m. CST.

The Milwaukee men’s and women’s cross country teams earned U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division I All-Academic Team status again, the USTFCCCA announced. This marks the impressive 14th-straight season both programs have been honored by the USTFCCCA, starting in 2006 with the inception of the award.

For the second year, the Milwaukee Athletics Department will be holding a friendly competition among its head coaches and programs to raise philanthropic funds to supports its student-athletes. This year’s annual giving appeal will be in collaboration with the university’s “414 for UWM: Day of Giving” on Wednesday, April 14.

Celebrate the inaugural Milwaukee baseball season at Franklin Field with the Panther Double Play Pack presented by Milwaukee Brewing Company. For just $20, the package includes one ticket voucher redeemable at any home game, a six-pack of MKE Brewery beers, one brewery tour voucher, a Panther hat, and a Panther koozie. The package is valued at more than $40! There is also a non-alcoholic package on sale for $10.

The Week

I start the week with the Coronavirus Management Team (CMT) Leadership meeting, followed by my weekly meeting with Robin Van Harpen, my weekly check-in with Dev Venugopalan and Laura Pedrick, a Campus Budget Planning meeting, my bi-weekly meeting with Paul Klajbor, my weekly staff meeting, and I end the day with an L & S meeting.

In the morning, I attend an Online Learning Committee meeting, the quarterly Connected Systems Institute UWM Executive briefing, and my monthly meetings with Jen Doll, Marija Gajdardziska-Josifovska, and Kim Litwack. In the afternoon, I have a School of Freshwater Sciences succession-planning meeting, the monthly Integrated Support Services Executive Sponsors update, I’ll briefly attend the Summer Campus meeting, and I’ll provide an Academic Affairs update to the Academic Staff Senate. Then, I have my weekly meeting with Chancellor Mone and a meeting with Purush Papatla.

Today, I have my standing meeting with the Chancellor, Jennifer Abele, and Sue Weslow, followed by a meeting regarding the technical colleges, my one-on-ones with Scott Gronert and Kaushal Chari, my monthly update with Mark Harris and Dietmar Wolfram, my one-on-one with Scott Emmons, a Moon Shot for Equity check in, and the Academic Leadership Council meets. ALC agenda items include Athletic Working Group and Microcredentialing at UWM.

In the morning, I have another CMT Leadership meeting, my one-on-one meetings with Kyla Esguerra and Trudy Turner, my monthly meeting with Tina Freiburger and Hope Longwell-Grice, my standing meeting with Tom Luljak, Dave Clark, and Kay Eilers, and a meeting regarding the Secretary of the University position. In the afternoon, I have a meeting with the Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute Core Team, my monthly meeting with Nadya Fouad, a meeting with the CEMAT leads, and I’ll attend Faculty Senate.

I will be on vacation today.


Asian Celebrations: Japan
Celebrate the Japanese Spring Festival with Dr. Aragorn Quinn on Wednesday, April 14 at 7 p.m.

Picture a Scientist
The Divisions of Academic Affairs and Global Inclusion and Engagement invite everyone to join a panel discussion on diversity and inclusion in STEM on Friday, April 16 from 3:30-5 p.m. Panelists include Carmen Aguilar (Freshwater Sciences), Amy Harley (Public Health), Janis Eells (Health Sciences), and Wilkistar Otieno (Engineering and Applied Science).

The Long 2020
On Friday, April 16 at 4 p.m., C21 welcomes anthropologist Bernard Perley (University of British Columbia), education professor Nirmala Erevelles (University of Alabama), and high school teacher and author Tom Rademacher in conversation about pedagogy, indigeneity, disability, and the pandemic.

Undergraduate Research Symposium

The 2021 UWM Virtual Undergraduate Research Symposium launches Friday, April 16.

Latin American Film Series
Please join us for the 42nd Annual Latin American Film Series (2021), organized by the UWM Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, with a grant from Pragda’s Spanish Film Club. The virtual series will run April 16-22 on Pragda’s viewing site.

Earth Day Event
UWM’s Black Student Cultural Center and the Center for Water Policy at the School of Freshwater Sciences invite you to join our virtual Earth Day event. The event is Thursday, April 22 from 3-4 p.m.

Foundational training is now available through Canvas for all UWM employees for the new procurement tool, ShopUW+. The new tool launches on Friday, April 16.

Joanne Lazirko Award
Encourage deserving instructors to apply for the Joanne Lazirko Award for Innovative Use of Learning Technologies. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, April 20. Recipients will receive $1500 and be recognized at the Fall Awards Ceremony.

Teaching Fellows Applications

The UWM Libraries Digital Humanities Lab announced a call for applications for 2021-22 Teaching Fellows, an award intended to encourage faculty and instructors to share their DH-inflected assignments via workshops and documentation. The deadline to apply is May 7.

2021 Tornado Drill Canceled
The annual UWM tornado drill will not be conducted on our campus this year due to social distancing concerns in tornado shelter areas. Under normal circumstances the annual tornado drill would have been conducted on Thursday, April 15, during Severe Weather Awareness Week. Instead, staff members are asked to review the response to severe weather.

UWM Libraries DEI Plan
The UWM Libraries have launched a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan to guide its work as they seek to be more intentional in their efforts to create a safe and welcoming environment for everyone at UWM. The plan is the result of nearly ten months of discussions involving library staff and campus stakeholders. More information.

Have you checked out SilverCloud, yet? SilverCloud is an online mental health tool available to all UWM faculty, staff, and students at no cost. It offers self-guided programs for anxiety, depression, stress, resilience, or insomnia. Based on cognitive behavioral therapy principles, the self-guided and confidential programs are available at any time, on any device. More information.

Student Association Special Election
No candidates were elected for the Vice President of Academic Affairs or the Vice President of Student Affairs in the primary Spring 2021 Student Association election, so the Independent Election Commission voted to run a special election for these roles. Please encourage your students to run and represent their peers. More information.


Photographed alive in the wild for the first time . . .

Take care,

Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs