March 23, 2020  |  News & Events, Provost's Monday Updates, Timely Announcements

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

Personal message

Colleagues, following the Chancellor’s message earlier today, I also want to share a personal message with you all. After the first week of our extended spring break and in preparation for classes starting next week, I want to include in my Monday update a more personal message. Never did I think the situation would change so rapidly when I called an academic planning meeting two weeks ago with the department chairs and the leadership of schools and colleges to discuss contingency planning for the rest of the spring semester. Upon reflection, I realize how abnormal these circumstances are and how, in such a short period of time, we all worked together in a remarkable way to ensure the continuity of our university. I want to thank all of you for your support and for reaching out to others. All of your efforts as instructional and non-instructional staff are making a huge difference – specifically for those who depend on us.

Thank you to those of you who are teaching courses, for demonstrating adaptability and creativity (under very challenging conditions) and planning to offer your courses in a different format – in most cases online. I also want to ask, if you can, please take a moment this week (if you have not already done so) and reach out to your students to let them know we are all working together so that they can complete their courses and progress to the milestone as planned.

It is, furthermore, my hope and wish that you will take good care of yourselves and those close to you. I know that this will pass, and we need to start thinking about how this crisis will alter the landscape of higher education and, in particular, UWM. As we move together into the future, I know we will find ways to overcome the challenges we are facing right now, and other obstacles, so that we can support our students, pursue new knowledge, and be the leaders I know all of you are. We make a difference here in Milwaukee and I believe we will be doing that for many more years.

COVID-19 Update

The withdrawal deadline has been extended to April 12. CETL has produced a useful set of tips on how to be a successful online student, and the Dean of Students Office has added a COVID-19 section to the Student Handbook on support resources for students. In response to inquiries about tenure clock extensions due to the COVID-19 virus, I support an extension. Details will be worked out between my office, the University Committee, and schools and colleges, with an announcement to follow soon. I am also in discussion with the Academic Staff Committee on indefinite status extension. Due to the extraordinary circumstances, we have also decided not to do formal course evaluations this semester. More details will be communicated to the schools and colleges.

Helen Bader School of Social Welfare Dean Announcement

I am delighted to announce that Dr. Tina Freiburger (Criminal Justice & Criminology) has accepted the position of Dean for the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare effective August 1. With 13 years at UWM, Tina brings a wealth of experience and institutional knowledge to the role. Previously, she served for seven years as Department Chair for Criminal Justice and Criminology. She was also the Graduate Coordinator for Criminal Justice and a Center Scientist with the Center for Addiction and Behavioral Health Research.

Tina earned her B.S. from UW-Platteville, her M.A. in Criminal Justice and Criminology from Sam Houston State University, and her Ph.D. in Criminology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Tina’s teaching areas are Juvenile Justice, Research Methods, and Crime and Criminal Justice Policy, and her research interests include the intersection of substance abuse and behavioral health issues with the criminal justice system and racial disparities in criminal justice decision making. She has more than 40 peer-reviewed publications, three books, and more than $2M in external grants. I look forward to working with you in this new capacity, Tina!

I also want to express my personal gratitude and appreciation to Stan Stojkovic for his 16 years of remarkable and outstanding service as Dean of the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare, and his 37 years at UWM. That’s quite a legacy, Stan!

Finally, I’d like to extend my thanks to the Search and Screen Committee, chaired by Rebecca Neumann along with Vice Chair Colleen Galambos, for its hard work in selecting such an excellent pool of candidates.

Commemorating the Life of Dr. Clifford Smith

Chancellor Mone has shared with us this very special note commemorating the life of Clifford Smith, who served as the fourth Chancellor of UW-Milwaukee from 1986-1990.

Dr. Clifford Smith passed away on Friday, March 13 in Portland, Oregon at the age of 88. Dr. Smith had the significant distinction of being the first African-American chancellor of a four-year institution in the UW System. He was a member of the faculty at the City University of New York, Tufts University, the University of Massachusetts and the University of Connecticut before coming to UWM from Oregon State University where he was head of the Radiation Center and the Department of Nuclear Engineering.

At UWM, Chancellor Smith lead efforts to expand research, which contributed to the R2 designation UWM earned in the 1990s. He also helped expand the campus, securing approvals for the Architecture and Urban Planning and School of Business Administration buildings. He nurtured the nationally acclaimed Profession Theatre Training Program at the School of the Arts and supported UWM’s move into NCAA Division I play.

Following UWM, Dr. Smith became president of the General Electric Foundation, in which he supported many programs, including creating and awarding scholarships to various individuals and companies. Thereafter, Dr. Smith continued to consult for a number of years for engineering companies and sat on a number of company boards before he officially retired in 1999. He and his wife Nina spent their retirement years gardening, traveling, enjoying theatre and focusing on philanthropic work. Nina passed in 2016, one month after she and Dr. Smith celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary. Dr. Smith remained active until a recent decline in 2020.

A brief obituary is online. Dr. Smith’s family shared that a comprehensive obituary will be published at a later time, and a full service will occur after the conclusion of the pandemic. We will share those details when they are available.

Our condolences to Chancellor Smith’s family and to the many others whose lives he touched.


Anne Dressel (Nursing) has been appointed Chair-Elect (2020) and Chair (2021) of the American Public Health Association (APHA) national Action Board. In her new role, Anne also serves as co-Chair of APHA’s Joint Policy Council, and as an ex-officio member of the APHA Executive Board. The APHA Action Board is tasked with leading public health advocacy efforts nation-wide to promote better health for all. Congratulations, Anne!

Junjie Niu (Materials Science and Engineering) published his paper, “Inter-layer-calated Thin Li Metal Electrode with Improved Battery Capacity Retention and Dendrite Suppression,” in Nano Letters, one of the top journals with an impact factor of 12.3 in 2018. Well done, Junjie!

The Team – Week Meetings

Due to the current situation, I’m keeping my calendar more “open” to accommodate meetings as needed.

Today, I have a follow-up COVID-19 Academic Continuity Planning meeting with the deans and shared governance, the Chancellor’s Extended Cabinet meets, followed by a Crisis Management Team (CMT) meeting, and I have meetings with my direct reports.

I will attend CMT meetings and will also have update meetings with my staff.

Today starts again with a CMT meeting. In the afternoon, I will join a System-wide Provost meeting and will end the day again with meetings with my direct reports.

I start the morning with a CMT meeting, followed by the APBC meeting, and a Campus Budget Planning meeting. In the afternoon, I meet with Dev Venugopalan and Laura Pedrick.

The day starts once more with a CMT meeting and I will also meet with my direct reports.


Resources to Move Your Courses Online

    1. Move Your Course Online for Spring 2020
    2. Canvas: Basics
    3. Synchronous Video Conferencing with Collaborate Ultra
  • For support:
    1. Contact: cetl@uwm.edu
    2. Schedule a virtual appointment (Monday-Sunday, 9-4:30) cetl@uwm.edu
    3. Request support from CETL and your School/College. We are working together to help make your transition smoother:
    4. Get help with Canvas anytime (24 hours, 7 days a week) from Instructure/Canvas:
  • Resources to Share with Students:
    1. How to Be a Successful Online Student:
    2. UWM Libraries Research Help is accessible through Ask a Librarian:

IT News & Teams Tip of the Week

  • Audio Conferencing was enabled to enhance Teams meeting functionality. Audio conferencing became available on March 14 and faculty and staff received an email from Microsoft regarding this feature.
  • Headsets are available for faculty and staff who need one to work remotely with Teams.
  • UWM’s password expiration time-frame has been extended from 180 days to 365 days.
  • Want to keep meeting while working at home? Convert your meetings to Teams meetings!

History Research Methods

In light of the extraordinary moment we are living in, students in Professor Chris Cantwell’s “Local History Research Methods” course are pivoting to documenting how the Milwaukee area is experiencing the pandemic. They created a website that allows users to upload photos, videos, and stories of this moment.

Take care,


Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs