August 31, 2020  |  News & Events, Provost's Updates, Timely Announcements

Good morning, colleagues. A quick reminder that today is a furlough day for faculty and staff on nine-month contracts and here is this week’s update from Academic Affairs.

Let us welcome our new faculty and instructional academic staff (including adjuncts) to campus.

Instructor FAQ 

An Instructor FAQ has been posted online that provides answers to many questions we’ve been fielding this month about what to expect and how to handle COVID-19 related events. The questions are particularly relevant to our instructors teaching in-person classes. However, we think all instructors and academic support staff will benefit, since many of you may hear questions from students or colleagues.

We hope the information and recommended actions will help instructors and students navigate these novel and unfamiliar times. We understand that your class or circumstance may have unique considerations not addressed in this document. Should that be the case, please contact your dean or Adam Jussel, Dean of Students.


Erica Young (Biological Sciences), along with collaborators at Boise State University, University of Florida, and UW Madison, received a $1.26M ($386,903 to UWM) NSF grant from the new cross-cutting Understanding Rules of Life – Microbiome Theory and Mechanisms program. Excellent news and congratulations, Erica!

Jie Yu (Civil and Environmental Engineering) was awarded $71K by the US Department of Transportation for her project, “Understanding the mobility needs of older adults in Wisconsin.” Congratulations, Jie!

Andrew Whetten and Joseph Paulson (Mathematical Sciences graduate students) and Ryan Whetten (undergraduate at Brigham Young University) were awarded first place in the American Statistical Association’s ENVR Data Challenge 2020. They will be presenting their results at the ASA’s ENVR Workshop in Provo, UT in October 2021. Well done, Andrew, Joseph, and Ryan!

Lori Klos (Kinesiology) received a $30K planning grant for her project, “Fueling a diverse workforce: a post-secondary inter-institutional approach to nutrition and dietetics education in Milwaukee County,” in partnership with Mount Mary University and MATC. Congratulations, Lori, on your first federal grant!

Rebecca Freer (Dean of Students Office) received $10,000 from the Chancellor’s Student Success Fund to launch a Wifi hotspot program. Well done, Becky!

Kimberly Blaeser (English and American Indian Studies) was among the poets featured in the “One Poem: A Protest Reading in Support of Black Lives.” The virtual reading, sponsored by the national Poetry Coalition, in association with the Academy of American Poets, was designed to support organizations working against racial injustice, including three in Milwaukee. Well done, Kim!

Ryo Amano (Mechanical Engineering) and students Alaa Hasan, Abdel Rahman Salem, and Ahmad Abdel Hadi were awarded the Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) Award for Excellence in Applied Energy Engineering Research competition for their project, “The Power Reclamation of Utilizing Micro-hydro Turbines in the Aeration Basins of Wastewater Treatment Plants.” This was one of only six awards made by the Department of Energy. Congratulations, Ryo, Alaa, Abdel, and Ahmad!

In the News

Celeste Campos-Castillo (Sociology) discussed “Social Media and Communication Technology Use During the Pandemic” on Wisconsin Public Radio.

Phyllis King (Academic Affairs and Occupational Sciences and Technology) shared her thoughts about “Living in the Age of Coronavirus” in bizwomen.

The Week

I start the week with my daily Crisis Management Team (CMT) Leadership meeting, followed by my weekly meeting with Robin Van Harpen, the Chancellor’s Executive Cabinet meeting, a budget  meeting, my one-on-one with Mark Harris, and my weekly staff meeting.

In the morning,  I meet with Brett Peters, then I have the CMT Leadership meeting, a TechEd Frontiers Core Team meeting, a meeting with the Student Association, and my monthly meeting with Michael Doylen. In the afternoon, I have the UC meeting, my weekly meeting with Chancellor Mone, and a discussion regarding scholarships.

Today, I again have the CMT Leadership meeting, followed by my standing meeting with Jennifer Abele and Sue Weslow, my standing meeting with Brian Thompson, my monthly meeting with Scott Emmons, the final Department Chair Retreat session, my monthly meeting with Tim Behrens, and I end the day with the Academic Leadership Council meeting.

In the morning, I have another CMT Leadership meeting, my monthly meeting with Ron Perez, my biweekly meeting with Tom Luljak, the Executive Cabinet check-in, and my monthly meeting with Nancy Frank. In the afternoon, I have my monthly meeting with Marija Gajdardziska-Josifovska, a meeting to discuss the December Commencement, an enrollment management meeting, my monthly meeting with Kim Litwack, and my one-on-one with Scott Gronert.

Today, I have my final CMT Leadership meeting of the week. I’ll spend the remainder of the day attending to administrative tasks and meeting with my direct reports.


Start-of-Semester Memo
My start-of-semester memo is now available on the Academic Affairs website.

Center for Community-Based Learning, Leadership, and Research 
Join the Panther Response Team this fall! The UWM Panther Response Team (PRT) facilitates opportunities for UW-Milwaukee students, faculty, and staff to train and serve with agencies and non-profit organizations that support individuals and communities as they prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies and disasters. There are two upcoming information sessions about the program if you are interested in learning more! The virtual session will take place on September 11 at 12 p.m. (sign up here) and the in-person session will take place on September 18 in the Union Room 181 at 3 p.m. (limit of 10 people) (sign up here).

Norris Health Center
UWM welcomes two digital emotional well-being resources! YOU@UWM provides customized student success and well-being information while highlighting available campus resources through a web-based platform that is available 24/7. SilverCloud is an online mental health tool available to all faculty, staff, and students. It offers self-guided programs for anxiety, depression, stress, resilience, or insomnia, and is available at any time on any device.

UWM Libraries
The UWM Libraries have become a member of academic publisher MDPI’s Institutional Open Access Program. UWM authors will now receive a 10% discount on article processing charges in MDPI journals. For more information, contact Svetlana Korolev (

Toward an Anti-Racist Campus: A Call for Action Mini Grants for Faculty and Staff
The Office of Research and the Division of Global Inclusion and Engagement are allocating funds for action mini grants aimed at ideas and specific actions to address systemic racism on our campus.  Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. on September 14. Details are available here.


Today is National Diatomaceous Earth Day.

Take care,


Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs