January 24, 2022  |  News & Events, Provost's Monday Updates, Timely Announcements

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

Spring COVID-19 Guidance Documents

As we start our fifth semester with COVID-19, I want to thank you for your resilience and dedication to serving our students and community. We all look forward to the days when the virus ceases to be disruptive. Please be aware that UWM and Academic Affairs have updated guidance for the spring semester. You can find the updated documents on the Academic Affairs Covid page and on UWM’s FAQ pages. UWM will be extending both its mandatory indoor mask mandate and mandatory testing for unvaccinated persons. As you probably noticed from other communications, UWM is supplying medical-grade masks for students and staff, recommending them over the use of cloth masks. Finally, UWM has updated isolation and quarantine guidelines to accord with the CDC. All of these updates are available by following the two links provided above.


Simon Bronner (Dean of the College of General Studies and Distinguished Professor of Social Sciences) was selected to receive the National Jewish Book Award for Jewish Cultural Studies (Wayne State University Press, 2021) in the category of education and identity. The National Jewish Book Awards were established by the Jewish Book Council in 1950 in order to recognize outstanding works of Jewish literature. They are the oldest and most prestigious awards of their kind. The awards ceremony will be held virtually on April 6. Simon will also be featured in Brigham Young University’s Founder’s Lecture on January 26 at 2 p.m. MST (3 p.m. CST) in person and online. More information and Zoom linkCongratulations, Simon!

Michael Laiosa (Public Health) was awarded an NIH R21 grant entitled, “Regulation of metabolism by the Aryl hydrocarbon receptor in hematopoietic and immune cell progenitors.” This project is funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences for more than $412,000. Well done, Michael!

Kudos to Pradeep Rohatgi (Materials Science and Engineering) and his students, who had two research papers selected for the 2022 Best Paper awards by the American Foundry Society and will be at the AFS Cast Expo 2022. “Cast Magnesium Foam for Energy Absorption and Bone Regrowth” was selected by the Molding Methods and Materials Division of AFS and “Sand Casting of Surface-Alloyed Butterfly Valve with Improved Hardness and Corrosion Resistance by Incorporating Metal Powders in-mold Coatings” was selected by the Steel Division of AFS.

UWM’s 7th annual Teaching and Learning Symposium was a tremendous success – 62 colleagues contributed to the program and 380 instructors and staff engaged in the full-day, virtual event. Congratulations to the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) for organizing this important symposium!

Alvaro Saar Rios’s (Theatre) play, On the Wings of a Mariposa, is now available for worldwide licensing through Broadway Licensing/Playscripts, Inc. An acting edition of the play will be published later this year. Created in collaboration with Dinorah Márquez (MM 2001), On the Wings of a Mariposa premiered at Milwaukee’s First Stage in 2019. Well done, Alvaro!

Marquayla Ellison (UWM Alum, PSOA 2013) was named one of Milwaukee’s 40 Under 40 for 2022 [subscriber link] by Milwaukee Business Journal, which recognizes young professionals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement while also becoming leaders in their communities. Congratulations, Marquayla!

Chief Human Resources Officer Finalists

Senior Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administrative Affairs Robin Van Harpen is pleased to announce that, beginning this week, we will be hosting finalists for the position of Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) at UWM. The finalist interview dates are:

  • January 25
  • January 27
  • February 1
  • February 3

During each visit, the candidates will make a presentation at a Teams Live open forum that is open to all. Audience members may ask live questions of the candidates. Details about the position, the candidates, and the open forums are available online.

Milwaukee Athletics

Milwaukee student athletes continue to score high marks in the classroom and during the fall 2021 semester posted a collective 3.408 grade-point average, despite still dealing with an unpredictable learning environment during the COVID-19 pandemic. This marks the 43rd consecutive semester—now spanning 20 years—that Milwaukee student athletes have recorded a GPA of 3.0 or better, as well as the 14th straight with a 3.20 GPA or higher!

The Week


I start the week with my standing meeting with Robin Van Harpen, followed by a Chancellor meeting, I will then attend a meeting on marketing followed by my weekly staff meeting, and my bi-weekly meeting with Paul Klajbor.


In the morning, I have a Coronavirus Management Team (CMT) Leadership meeting, the Associate Dean’s meeting, the bi-weekly CEMAT Leads meeting, and my weekly check-in with Dave Clark and Kay Eilers. In the afternoon, I have my one-on-one with Jason Puskar, my monthly meeting with Student Association leadership, an interview with Chief HR Officer finalist Eric Roesler, and my weekly meeting with Chancellor Mone.


Today, I have the Deans Morning Meeting, a Student Financial Services meeting, and I’ll attend the Groundbreaking Celebration for the new Chemistry Building. Then, I have the bi-monthly executive sponsors update on the Space Optimization Project, and my monthly meeting with Mark Harris and Rebecca Klaper.


In the morning, I have another CMT Leadership meeting, my one-on-one with John Reisel, a UWM/MCW update with Chancellor Mone, MCW President John Raymond, and Provost Joseph Kerschner, and a meeting on research. In the afternoon, I have a Campus Budget Planning meeting, the 2030 Leadership Meeting, and I’ll attend the Faculty Senate meeting.


I am out of the office today.


Start of Semester Memo

My start of semester memo is available online.

Groundbreaking Celebration

Join us as we break ground on construction of UWM’s new Chemistry Building on the main campus. We’ll gather at noon on Wednesday, January 26 at the Kenwood Interdisciplinary Research Complex lobby for a reception and brief remarks. All are welcome. Contact Lynn Wilk (414-229-6917 or lcwilk@uwm.edu) with questions.

Constellations of the ZodiacThe UWM Planetarium starts a new series, “Constellations of the Zodiac,” on Friday, January 28 from 7-8 p.m., featuring the stories and science of each month’s zodiac constellation. Delve into the astronomy and mythology behind the zodiac and learn how to find your zodiac constellation in the night sky. In this live, interactive show, we will explore the stories and science of the zodiac constellations with a focus on what makes this month’s constellation, Aquarius, unique. Tickets/Registration.  For questions about this event, please email planetarium@uwm.edu.

Classroom Safety Training

Instructor-focused classroom and campus safety training is once again under way with six sessions offered this semester. Training will take place in person and in a virtual setting via Microsoft Teams. View dates/times and register for training. Contact Aundria Johnson (414-229-4627, aundria@uwm.edu) for questions regarding the sign-up procedure. For questions on the content of the training, contact Officer Craig Rafferty (414-229-4627, rafferty@uwm.edu).

Tech Tips

Microsoft is introducing a new meeting recording auto-expiration feature for Teams meeting recordings.


Not following the “Dutch Reach” in Britain can cost you.

Take care,


Johannes Britz

Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs