Good morning, colleagues. I hope you’re enjoying the summer! Here is this week’s update from Academic Affairs.


Carol Hirschmugl, Marija Gajdardziska Josifovska, and Marvin Schofield, all from the Department of Physics, received a grant from the Department of Energy to support their university-incubated startup, SafeLi, LLC to support their project, “High Energy Safe Anodes for Lithium Ion Batteries.” This is a Phase I award from the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program in the amount of $154,800, with a sub award to UWM, that will make the startup eligible to apply for the larger Phase II grants with budgets in the $1-1.5M range. Congratulations, Carol, Marija, and Marvin!

Mark Schawrtz, Geography, is a co-principal investigator, with UW-Madison faculty, on a $1.5 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation to study how plants and trees contribute to weather patterns on a local scale. Mark was also recently quoted in a Tech Times article on climate change, and he will be receiving the 2019 Outstanding Achievement in Biometeorology Award from the American Meteorological Society. Great to see these recognitions of your work, Mark!

UWM’s Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) was highlighted in the Spring Newsletter 2018 in IAC Program Highlights. Center Director Ryo Amano demonstrated wastewater treatment plant assessment in Wisconsin, which is new to most industrial and manufacturing energy assessments. Amano showed that the overall energy use/energy cost savings averaged more than 10%, with the highest energy savings being 19.4% and the highest cost savings of nearly 16%. Kudos, Ryo!

Research supported by a sub-grant from UWM’s federally funded National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancements was featured in a recent Campus Technology article on improving outcomes in online STEM courses. DETA’s Tanya Joosten, Rachel Cusatis, and Lindsey Harness also had their article, “Research Innovation in Distance Education,” published in the SCUP Planning Journal this summer. WCET also published A DETA Update in its Frontiers blog. Congratulations to the DETA team!

The Water Council recently awarded the 2nd annual “Water Warrior of the Year” award to Dr. Marcia Silva from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee during a special ceremony at the 11th annual Water Leaders Summit at the Harley-Davidson Museum.

Merry Wiesner-Hanks, History, was featured in a New York Times story on planned changes to the College Board’s AP World History test.

Welcome to Dean Scott Gronert

Another word of hearty welcome to Dean Scott Gronert who will officially join us this Wednesday (August 1) as the Dean of Letters & Science. I am looking forward to working with you, Scott. In the same vein, I want to thank Dave Clark for serving as the interim dean for the past year and a half. Dave will serve on a part-time basis for at least the coming year in my office, assisting with, among others, the restructuring (two-year colleges), general education reform, workload policy, meta-majors and advising.

Milwaukee Athletics

Two long-time members of the Milwaukee Athletic Department staff recently announced retirements. Congratulations and best wishes to: Pete Corfeld (Track & Field/29 years at UWM) and John Ochsenwald (Head Athletic Trainer/26 years at UWM)!

The Week


I start the week with my standing meeting with Robin Van Harpen. I then have the Chancellor’s Executive Cabinet meeting. In the afternoon, I have my weekly staff meeting and the last meeting of the day is with Katie Miota.


In the morning, I meet with Tom Luljak, there is a Strategic Position Control (SPC) meeting, as well as an IT Advisory Council meeting, and in the afternoon, a corporate partnership meeting. 


I have a number of meetings with schools and colleges and will also attend a “FoxConn Planning” meeting. Later in the day, I will attend a Connected Systems Institute meeting, and I end the day with my weekly meeting with the Chancellor.


I’m attending part of the monthly Prep/UBR meeting, I have a meeting on NWQ space planning, another SPC meeting, and one-on-one meetings with Stephen Schmid and Brian Thompson, and the CEMAT Executive Committee meets.


In the morning, I’m welcoming scientists to UWM for the annual meeting of the Animal Behavior Society. I have a meeting with Brett Peters and ending the day and week with the third SPC meeting of the week.


UWM Brand Day Survey
In past years, University Relations has organized UWM’s Brand Day, which has served as a resource for information on the UWM brand and marketing resources. Looking at the future of this event, we are exploring new options and ideas to make it as useful as it can be for campus partners and therefore, would love to hear your feedback. Please take a short survey, which will take just a couple of minutes to complete. Your input is greatly appreciated!

Academic Staff Workshop

Enhancing Your Emotional Intelligence with Points of You® tools, a workshop for teaching and non-teaching academic staff, will be held on Thursday August 9 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in LUBAR S341. We have reached full capacity. If you would like to be placed on the waiting list, email Jude Rathburn at

Center for Community-Based Learning, Leadership, and Research 

– Please join the Center for Community-Based Learning, Leadership, and Research (CCBLLR) in a service event at Lloyd Barbee Montessori School on Wednesday, August 15. Volunteers will be assisting teachers in classroom set up. Please specify whether or not you will need transportation when completing the sign-up form.

– Join the CCBLLR and members of the UWM community for three days of service and adventure in Door County with Habitat for Humanity from August 6-9. Transportation, lodging, and most meals will be provided.


… and today is International Day of Friendship. And Wednesday is the start of the first test match between England and India. My money is on India.

Take care,

JohannesJohannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs