March 9, 2020  |  News & Events, Provost's Updates, Timely Announcements

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

Contingency Planning for Continuity of Instruction

In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control has advised colleges and universities to plan for the potential impact on instruction related to COVID-19 cases occurring in our community.

The UWM Infectious Disease Preparedness Team, led by UWM Health Officer Dr. Julie Bonner, is monitoring the situation and planning for various contingencies, including the possibility of significant student, faculty, and staff absenteeism and appropriate campus responses should that occur. An Academic Preparedness subteam, with representation from Academic Affairs, CETL, UITS, Classroom Technology, the Registrar’s Office, and our branch campuses, has developed an academic continuity plan that would guide our actions if social distancing measures are necessitated by a local COVID-19 outbreak. Nationally, this is a rapidly evolving situation. While this plan is a start, I am convening a meeting tomorrow of deans, associate and assistant deans, department chairs, and governance representatives to discuss the plan and next steps we will take as an academic community.

COVID-19 Biosafety Protocol

Also, in the midst of a novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) outbreak, we recognize the value and impact researchers at our institution may have in advancing the knowledge and science around this emerging viral pathogen. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Research Compliance Office would like to remind you that all research activities involving Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, including studies utilizing genomes, isolated genes, etc., must be approved by the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) prior to commencing any studies. No work is to be conducted until a risk assessment and protocol review has been conducted and IBC approval has been granted for the activities. See the biosafety protocol submission site.

Reminder: Information Security Awareness Training

If you have not completed your Information Security Awareness training, please do so as soon as possible. Check your email for the initial message with the subject line, “University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Online Training,” from the email address Reminders are sent out every Wednesday, with the subject line, “University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Course Status Reminder.” These messages contain your personalized link to access the online training course: Data Security and Privacy. All UW employees are required to complete this training by March 31.


Vice-Chancellor Joan Prince (Global Inclusion and Engagement) was selected as one of the honorees of The Network Journal’s 22nd annual 25 Influential Black Women in Business Awards program. Congratulations, Joan!

Aneesh Aneesh received a prestigious 2020-2021 Berggruen Institute Fellowship administered by the University of Southern California to pursue work related to the institute’s focus on “Great Transformations.” Well done, Aneesh!

Kate Webb (doctoral student in Psychology) was selected to attend the 70th annual Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting this summer. Congratulations, Kate, this is a rare and prestigious honor!

Yael Gal-Ben Yitschak (Foreign Language & Literature; Jewish Studies) has been awarded the 2020 Levy Family CJL Jewish Educator of the Year by the Coalition for Jewish Learning. Well done, Yael!

Tim O’Brien (Sociology) has received two major grants. He was just awarded an NSF grant for research entitled, “The Legal, Political, and Social Filtering of Expert Witnesses into Court.” In addition, he also won a sub-award from the Templeton Foundation (via Rice University) with his long-term collaborator, Shiri Noy. Great work, Tim!

In the News

Abigail Phillips (SOIS) works to address mental illness among librarians.

The Week


I start the week with my standing meeting with Robin Van Harpen, followed by a meeting with Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities, Planning, and Management candidate Michael Pieper, a standing meeting with Jennifer Abele, my one-on-one with Joely Urdan, a Crisis Management Team meeting regarding the Coronavirus, my monthly meeting with Leigh Wallace, my one-one with Mark Harris, my weekly staff meeting, and an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.


Today, I will attend the 2030+ Think Tank meeting with Chancellor Mone, we then have the Coronavirus (COVID-19) planning meeting that I referenced earlier, a standing meeting with Joan Prince, and my one-on-one with Tom Lipinski. Later, I meet with Val Klump and Tim Grundl, I have my monthly meeting with Brett Peters, I’ll provide updates to the Academic Staff Senate, I have my weekly meeting with Chancellor Mone, and a meeting with Helen Bader School of Social Welfare leadership to discuss Dean candidate feedback.


In the morning, I have a breakfast meeting with Simon Bronner and then I’ll be attending to administrative tasks and meetings with my direct reports.


I start the day with a breakfast meeting regarding online international education opportunities, followed by my monthly meeting with Alan Shoho, a Campus Budget Planning meeting, and monthly meetings with Kaushal Chari, Marija Gajdardziska-Josifovska, and Nancy Frank. I end the day with Faculty Senate.


Today, I have a meeting with Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities, Planning, and Management candidate Steven Hoselton, monthly meetings with Michael Doylen and Scott Emmons, my one-on-one with Dave Clark, and a standing meeting with Scott Gronert. I end the day with a meeting with Simon Bronner and Scott Emmons.


Stahl Center for Jewish Studies

Jessica Kirzane (University of Chicago) presents, “Collaborative Digital Open Access to Publishing and Community Building,” on Thursday, March 12 at 3 p.m. Following her afternoon discussion, Dr. Kirzane will launch her translation of Miraian Karpilove’s book, “Diary of a Lonely Girl: or The Battle Against Free Love,” at 7 p.m. at the Sam and Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies.

Spring Fitness Classes

The UWM Wellness Team will be offering employee fitness classes beginning the week of March 23. Sign up today!

Pre-Retirement Workshop

The UWM Benefits Staff is offering a pre-retirement workshop on Thursday, March 26 from 2 – 3:30 p.m. in Lubar S185. The workshop is intended for employees who are considering retirement within the next five years. Registration is required. Information and registration.

CCBLLR VR Experience

Participate in the Ashe ’68 virtual reality experience on April 1 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. in the Union Concourse.

School of Architecture & Urban Planning 50th Anniversary

The School of Architecture and Urban Planning celebrates its 50th anniversary this year with a weekend full of events, April 16-18. All events are open to the public and we particularly welcome the campus community to join us!

E-sports and Game Studies

E-sports programs and Game Studies scholarship are on the rise at many colleges and universities. I have asked Stuart Moulthrop (English, and Thomas Malaby (Anthropology, to explore UWM’s potential in these areas. Please reach out to them if you have an interest in participating; they will schedule an initial planning meeting this spring.

Morris Fromkin Memorial Research Grant and Lectureship

The UWM Libraries are pleased to announce the 2020 Morris Fromkin Memorial Research Grant and Lectureship has been awarded to a collaborative team of UWM faculty – Julie Ellis, Paru Shah, Sandra Millon-Underwood, Renee Walker, and Lynne Woehrle – and two community partners, Nicole Brookshire and Darryl Davidson. More information.


Yesterday was International Women’s Day, and congratulations to the Australian Women’s team who won the T20 Cricket World Cup, played in front of a record crowd of 86,175.

Take care,


Johannes Britz
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs