June 1, 2020  |  News & Events, Provost's Monday Updates, Timely Announcements

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

Scenario Planning Work Group Update

I charged UWM’s Scenario Planning Work Group (SPWG) in early May to plan for multiple scenarios for the 2020-21 academic year and their impacts on instruction, enrollment management, and research activities. The group’s report will be finalized later this week, with review by the Chancellor-led Crisis Management Team to follow. We will use the scenarios in making crucial decisions about fall semester by mid-June, drawing as well on the comprehensive Emergency Operations Center report that will also be completed this week. Scenario Planning information shared at the May 27 Town Hall for prospective students.


Kim Blaeser (English and American Indian Studies) presented the webinar, “Ancient Light: The Role of Native Arts in Indigenous Flourishing,” for the Network for Native American Student Achievement (NNASA). This May 22 Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction online event also included selections of her picto-poems and ekphrastic poetry. Well done, Kim!

Woo-Jin Chang (Biomedical Engineering) received a $193,230 NSF COVID-19 RAPID grant to investigate an electrical trapping technique to rapidly concentrate the SARS-CoV-2 virus from patient samples. The pure viruses could help spur development of vaccines, therapies, cures, and rapid diagnostic methods. This is the second COVID-19 RAPID grant for CEAS. Congratulations, Woo-Jin!

Nikita Sessler Werner’s (Anthropology graduate student) 2019 MS thesis on the archaeological evidence for child labor in prehistoric European mining contexts was featured in the June 2020 issue of Discover magazine. Well done, Nikita!

Support for Undergraduate Research Fellows (SURF) student Miguel Jaimes (Engineering and Applied Science) received an award that brought national recognition to UWM’s membrane research. The senior, who worked with Xiaoli Ma (Materials Science & Engineering), received the Undergraduate Conference Award from the North American Membrane Society for research on developing a new material to reduce textile mill pollution. Great work, Miguel and Xiaoli!

Doctoral student Ashley Brennaman won the Lambda Alpha Graduate Research Grant Award. Sponsored by Lambda Alpha, the national honor society for anthropology, this award is one of only six given nationwide each year. Ashley’s project is titled, “The Truth Behind the Tooth:  An Investigation of Nutritional and Health Disparities though Reconstruction of the Historic Oral Microbiome,” (advisor: Dr. Pat Richards). Professor Paul Brodwin, faculty advisor for Lambda Alpha, notes that this is the first time a UWM Anthropology student has won the award. Congratulations, Ashley!

In the News

MacArthur Genius Award winner Anne Basting describes her breakthrough work with people with dementia in her new book, “Creative Care: A Revolutionary Approach to Dementia and Elder Care.”

Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History Margo Anderson is featured in a documentary on Milwaukee’s socialist past. The documentary “America’s Socialist Experiment,” will air nationally on most PBS stations this month.

Distinguished Professor of Geography Mark Schwartz and Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science Paul Roebber were interviewed on WUWM about their collaboration and research on weather forecasting, phenology and climate change.

On the Brighter Side

Since campus is closed due to the pandemic, gardeners couldn’t plant their vegetables in the rental garden plots. To the rescue, UWM’s Office of Sustainability will be planting and caring for the plots this summer and all the fresh produce will go to the UWM Food Center and Pantry. Read the full story.

The Week


I start the week with my usual Crisis Management Team (CMT) Leadership meeting, my weekly meeting with Robin Van Harpen, an Enrollment Management meeting with Dave Clark and Kay Eilers, the Chancellor’s Executive Cabinet meeting, my one-on-one with Mark Harris, my weekly staff meeting, and my daily meeting with Dev Venugopalan and Laura Pedrick.


In the morning, I have another CMT Leadership meeting, a TechEd Frontiers meeting, a Campus Budget Planning meeting, and my monthly meeting with Tom Lipinski. In the afternoon, I have my monthly meetings with Kaushal Chari and Kim Litwack, my standing meeting with Val Klump and Tim Grundl, my weekly meeting with the Chancellor, and my daily meeting with Dev and Laura.


Today, I once again have a CMT Leadership meeting, followed by my monthly meeting with Brett Peters, my standing meeting with Scott Gronert, a one-on-one with Leigh Wallace, an Executive Cabinet meeting, a meeting with LabMidwest representative Matt Kirchner, the weekly UW System Provosts meeting, and my usual “end of day” meeting with Dev and Laura.


The Board of Regents meeting will occur by teleconference today.


In the morning, I have the final CMT Leadership meeting of the week, followed by a preview of Online Learning Modules with the UWEX campus team, and meetings with my direct reports. In the afternoon, I have my one-on-one with Dave Clark and my daily meeting with Dev and Laura.


AFSA Statement

The Asian Faculty & Staff Association (AFSA) would like to share our Statement of Solidarity Against Anti-Asian Racism and Xenophobia, which may be found on our website. We hope you will support this statement by sharing it widely, and perhaps joining us with a shared statement of your own.

From the Center for Community-Based Learning, Leadership, and Research

The UWM Panther Response Team (PRT) will be holding a virtual orientation on Tuesday, June 16 at 12 p.m. The PRT facilitates opportunities for UWM 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. Interested in learning how you can become involved? Come to the Panther Response Team Virtual Orientation to learn more about specific service opportunities! To sign up, contact zgarrity@uwm.edu.

From the UWM Libraries

The UWM Libraries are excited to announce a contactless pick-up service for books and DVDs at all library locations, beginning June 1. More information about the service and specific procedures.



A common cuckoo made an epic 7,500-mile migration.

Take care,


Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs