January 13, 2023  |  News & Events, Provost's Updates, Sad News, Timely Announcements

Good morning, colleagues. Welcome back! I hope you all had a relaxing break. As a reminder, you can submit items to be included in the update using our online form. Here is this week’s update from Academic Affairs.

2030 Feature of the Week
As part of the Aligning and Engaging Workforce Action Team, a new website has been launched that highlights the generous benefit packages that support and enrich UWM’s staff and faculty: Benefits to Benefit You and Your Life | Human Resources (uwm.edu).

Megan Orcholski (Communication) and Hilary Snow (Honors College) have been competitively selected for the Wisconsin Teaching Fellows and Scholars (WTFS) Program sponsored by the Office of Professional and Instructional Development at UW-System. They will have the opportunity to network with educators across the UW-System and be provided support in a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) research project. Congratulations Megan and Hilary!

Junjie Niu (Materials Science and Engineering) published a lithium ion battery work entitled, “A BF3-Doped MXene Dual-Layer Interphase For Reliable Lithium Metal Anode,” in the top journal, “Advanced Materials.” In this work, he designed a double-layer interphase to stabilize the lithium metal as anode, which provides greatly improved battery energy-density and lifetime in electronic devices and vehicles. Well done, Junjie!

The Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Mary L. Nohl Fellowships for Individual Artists program recognizes visual artists who are making, or will make, significant contributions to their fields and to our community, and who promote the arts in the region through continued excellence. Janelle VanderKelen (Film, Video, Animation, & New Genres) received a $35,000 Establish Artist award and Alyana Pernell (Art & Design) received an award in the Emerging category. Finalists included Emily Belknap (Art & Design) and Blanche Brown (BA 2017). Congratulations, Janelle, Alyana, Emily, and Blanche!

In the News
Robert Beck (Political Science) was interviewed on January 10 during WTMJ Radio’s “Afternoon News with John Mercure” show about ChatGPT and its implications, including for higher education.

Milwaukee Athletics
The Milwaukee men’s basketball team stands by itself in first place in the Horizon League standings at 6-1 after defeating Northern Kentucky Thursday night. Come see the Panthers host Wright State Saturday evening at UWM Panther Arena! Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. and tickets are available here.

The Milwaukee women’s basketball team is hosting its annual alumni celebration on January 28 at the Klotsche Center. Panthers’ women’s basketball alumni and families from all eras are invited to a day-long celebration beginning with check-in at 9:00 a.m. This year’s alumni scrimmage is scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. Alumni and families are then invited to a pregame social in the Klotsche Pavilion Classroom at 12:00 p.m. and the celebration continues when the Panthers tip off against IUPUI at 1:00 p.m. Alumni will be honored during halftime of the game.

The Milwaukee Athletic Department will honor a former baseball student-athlete with a bobblehead giveaway at an upcoming men’s basketball game. The Daulton Varsho Bobblehead Giveaway presented by Odyssey will take place against Green Bay on February 6. The first 500 Panther fans will receive the bobblehead.

The Week in Retrospect
I began the new year last week with a meeting with leaders of the Waukesha County Business Alliance that included Chancellor Mone. This is a semi-annual meeting focused on how UWM connects with the Waukesha business community. I also met with leadership from MATC to discuss potential creative partnerships aligned with the Froedtert Scholarship funding that both institutions received recently. Later in the week I attended part of a full day workshop related to UWM’s grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (Inclusive Excellence 3 program) aimed at enhancing STEM transfer pathways from MATC to UWM. This week, I provided updates related to enrollment and recent UWM leadership announcements to the Academic Staff Senate. On Wednesday, I attended the launch meeting of the Marketing Study Group, which is charged with reviewing the marketing efforts that exist across UWM, in and out of the Marketing and Communications division. On Thursday, I had the opportunity to offer opening remarks at the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning Symposium and finished the day watching a stirring victory by the UWM Panther men’s basketball team. They are off to a great start, and create a fun and exciting atmosphere in the Panther Arena!


  • Research, Scholarly, and Professional Accomplishments Reporting
    My message about how you will be reporting the breadth of your work for accreditation purposes is available on our website.
  • Sport & Recreation Meditation Classes for Students
    Sport and Rec has a wide variety of 1- and 2-credit meditation classes available for students this semester. These classes can help improve physical and emotional well-being and may help students feel reduction of stress. Classes include: Be Kind to Your Mind, Introduction to Meditation & Relaxation, Meditation with a Touch of Yoga and Meditation in the 21st Century. Some classes begin January 23 and another set of 7-week classes begin March 27.
  • Sad News
    • Professor Emerita Joan Marjorie Jones (Social Welfare) passed away peacefully at home in the company of her family on November 23, 2022, at the age of 82. Joan was a graduate of Stanford University (BA, MSW) and UC-Berkeley (PhD). She continued her research and teaching at UW-Milwaukee Helen Bader School of Social Welfare, earning Professor Emerita in 2005. In retirement, Joan made West Palm Beach, Florida her home, practicing as a child welfare specialist and advocating for foster care children through her role as a sustaining member of the Junior League. She is remembered by a colleague as “vibrant, engaging, intelligent, playful, and transparent, with a great laugh that was often heard in the halls on the 10th floor of Enderis.”
    • Kenneth Neusen passed away on December 9, 2022, at the age of 87 following a long and distinguished career with the College of Engineering and Applied Science. He worked as a nuclear engineer for Allis Chalmers before joining the faculty of UW where he taught for 35 years in the Mechanical Engineering Department. He was a great researcher in water jet cutting and in areas of alternative fuels. In addition, Ken carried out administrative responsibilities in the UWM Graduate School. He served a lengthy stint as Associate (and also “Interim”) Dean at various times during his career. Ken will be missed by many at UWM. His obituary may be viewed online.

Campus Events

  • Moving the Needle – Culture of Racism, Recovery, and Resiliency (CR3) Series
    The 12-part series continues to provide insightful, 90-minute sessions devoted to a range of timely topics, including leadership in diversity, restorative justice, cooperative economics, and mental health. The series consists of 12 monthly sessions occurring on the second Thursday of each month from 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. via Zoom. Information and registration.
  • UWM Planetarium Open House
    Celebrate 57 years of the UWM Planetarium with its annual Open House on Saturday, January 14 at 1 p.m. Enjoy free cake plus live, indoor stargazing shows that will take audience members on an interactive tour of the night sky. This event is free and open to the public.
  • Northern Lights Planetarium Show
    Enjoy the radiance of the night sky and colorful displays of dancing lights with a behind-the-scenes tour of the science behind one of nature’s most remarkable light shows. The show runs every Friday from January 20 – February 24 at 7 p.m. Information and registration.
  • Every Semester Needs a Plan
    The Faculty Mentoring Program, Multicultural Scholars Collaborative and Mosaic Networking are pleased to host another opportunity for discussion of an NCFDD webinar, open to faculty and graduate students. The next meeting, to reflect on the NCFDD Webinar, “Every Semester Needs a Plan,” will be on Tuesday, January 24 from 12-1 p.m. with in-person and Zoom options. Information and RSVP for refreshments if attending in person.
  • Preparing Your File for Indefinite Status
    This workshop for Instructional and Research Academic Staff who are currently on probationary appointments will take place Wednesday, January 25, from 3-4:30 p.m. via Microsoft Teams. The workshop will cover the ins and outs of preparing for indefinite status, including record keeping, documentation, other requirements, and frequently asked questions. It is highly recommended that all HR Business Partners and Personnel Representatives also attend this session.
  • Panel Discussion and Networking
    Student Experience and Talent (SET) and a group of academic departments will host a “Panel Discussion and Networking Event for Students in the Natural Sciences” on Wednesday, February 15 from 3-4:30 p.m. in Vogel Hall. Complimentary food and beverages will be served. Please share with students; faculty and staff are welcome as well. Information and registration.
  • AFSA Awards Ceremony and Reception
    Please join the Asian Faculty and Staff Association (AFSA) in celebrating our student scholarship winners at our annual AFSA Awards Ceremony and Reception on Friday, February 24 from 2-4 p.m. in Greene Hall. Special guest speakers will be Chancellor Mark Mone, Vice Chancellor Chia Vang, and Vice Provost Dev Venugopalan. Please RSVP so we can approximate attendance. Visit our website to learn more about AFSA. If you have any questions, contact Janey (christof@uwm.edu).
  • Campus Safety Training
    Instructor-focused, classroom disruptions and campus safety presentations are once again under way this semester, with a goal of reaching 100% of UWM’s faculty and instructional academic staff. The focus of the presentation is to address disruptive students, students in crisis, and what to do in case of a violent incident. Seven (7) 90-minute sessions will be offered virtually and in-person between February and May. Dates and registration. If you have questions, email safety-training@uwm.edu.

Something Different
Here is a wave that no one would contemplate surfing!

Take care,


Scott Gronert
Interim Provost
University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee