Refreshed Thinking for a New Semester

Dear Colleagues:

Happy new year, and welcome to UWM’s 67th Spring semester. Each time we welcome students back to our campuses, I reflect on how far we’ve come and where experts of the past predicted we’d be. A century ago, some ideas suggested for 2023 were farfetched and fanciful. Others were more grounded. For example, an airline authority calculated that radio would replace gasoline as a motive power and that the skies would be filled with myriad craft sailing over well-defined routes. The Richmond Palladium foretold that we would communicate using watch-size radio telephones. Much like Jules Verne’s and H.G. Wells’ fiction of the 1800s, many of these ideas—seemingly implausible at the time—came to be.

As I consider our future as we begin this new year, I am reminded of another idea from more than a century ago – the Wisconsin Idea. It remains central to our core values and the process of sifting and winnowing couldn’t be more relevant. It aids us in evaluating our work at UWM. We benefit from a deliberate focus on sorting what works, what doesn’t, and how to improve to meet the needs, opportunities, and constraints of a dynamic world.

In the spirit of discovery and advancing UWM, I hope you join me this year in carefully considering all we have underway, reflecting on our work, and engaging in improvements. You continuously upgrade and renew your materials and approaches in your classes, advising, and research. We all stand to benefit from reflection as we strive to improve student retention and graduation and implement our 2030 work plans and other priorities.

To that end, I invite you to engage in new opportunities this semester, including:

Welcoming Engagement
The semester gets a spirited start through events and activities to help you meet students, colleagues, and new friends. Be engaged, explore our winter-time campus, and see all the remarkable things UWM offers during Winter Welcome, from community volunteering opportunities, sports and recreation, arts and crafts, hot chocolate and coffee socials, and more.

Our Lubar Entrepreneurship Center offers brown bag sessions every Wednesday at noon to spark ideas and different ways of approaching things. Take advantage of the free professional development series presented by the Department of Human Resources. Take in a men’s or women’s basketball game before we head into Horizon League championship games next month.

Expanding Our Culture of Care
In my Dec. 19 campus message, I conveyed how important it is for UWM to support you. I promised to update you on additional resources being developed and am pleased to share this excellent support and organizational success resources website created for all employees across UWM developed by our HR team – with your ideas and input – to help us thrive in the times ahead. The following topic shows how we expand our culture of care through research, teaching and community engagement.

A Crosstown Collaboration to Address Poverty
Your innovative ideas have impact. This afternoon I joined Marquette University President Mike Lovell during his annual address to announce the first recipients of the President’s and Chancellor’s Challenge. This partnership brings together faculty from both of our institutions to collaborate with community organizations to focus on the urgent issue of poverty in Milwaukee. With support from the Johnson Controls Foundation, Marquette University, and UWM, the three teams’ principal and co-investigators and associated UWM staff and students who received awards are:

  • Expanding Access to Telemental Health Services for Young Adults Living in Poverty in Milwaukee. Hobart Davies is the principal investigator. He is a professor of psychology and department chair. Co-leaders from Marquette are Drs. Lee Za Ong, Stacee Larret and Julie Bonner.
  • Healing Adversity and Trauma through Conversation and Hope (HATCH). Members of this team include principal investigator Dimitri Topitzes, professor of social work and co-founder and director of clinical services at the Institute for Child and Family Well-Being; and Najee Ahmad, graduate student in the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare. Dr. Ed de St. Aubin is the PI from Marquette.
  • Changing the Story: The Story Fellow Program. Crucial members of this team include principal investigator Dr. Anne Basting, English professor and founder and president of TimeSlips; and Dr. Ben Trager, interim director of the Center for Community-Based Learning, Leadership and Research. PIs from Marquette include Drs. Andrew Kim and Sarah Wadsworth.

Keep an eye out for updates on the teams and the numerous individuals and partner organizations on the President’s and Chancellor’s Challenge website. Congratulations to all!

The Spring term is indeed off to a lively start filled with opportunities. I look forward to seeing you and wish you all a successful semester.

Best regards,

Mark A. Mone, PhD