Alan’s Weekly May 30th, 2016

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There were no new updates from this past week on the budget.


Here are the applications and net admissions data for the Fall 2016 semester as of May 23, 2016, point in time from a year ago.

Undergraduate admissions – SOE is up 63 in net admissions (up 48 in applications)
Transfer admissions – SOE is down 7 in net admissions (down 24 in applications)
Graduate admissions – SOE is up 23 in admissions (up 48 in applications)


Newaukee Discussion

On Monday morning, I met with Angela Diamani and Jeremy Fojut of Newaukee along with Tom Luljak, Tina Keller, and Brian Troyer. We are exploring a partnership with Newaukee to see how they can help UWM better link to Milwaukee and all the things available. As Brian Troyer mentioned from focus groups in the Chicago area, most people in Illinois do not know much, if anything about UWM. I believe if we invest in Illinois, we can gain significant enrollments right now since Illinois is experiencing a budget situation worst than Wisconsin. I think this coming fall will be critical to UWM and the Illinois market. If we do not take advantage of the situation right now, I fear we will lose an opportunity to gain a foothold in northern Illinois, because every institution in Wisconsin and surrounding states is probably looking at Illinois, so I believe this is a case of first in, wins and late arrivals will be left with nothing.

Meeting with Blake Peuse, Superintendent of St. Francis School District

On Tuesday morning, I drove to St. Francis School District to visit with Superintendent, Blake Peuse. Blake is an alumnus of UWM’s administrative leadership program. In all my conversations with Superintendents, I ask about their needs and what they are seeing or experiencing in terms of workforce talent. Blake shared he was pleased with the content knowledge of new teachers. However, he thought his teachers could proactively manage their classrooms in a better manner. In particular, he wanted his teachers to engage students in active learning and to use more formative assessment to gauge where their students are at and not rely on summative assessments. We exchanged some productive ideas about improving the environment for teachers and encouraging more people to become teachers. He said he was very supportive of National Board Certification for teachers and wish he could attract more teachers with this certification. Currently, St. Francis has no one with National Board Certification. I am finding out this certification is viewed as a very attractive credential to have. I suspect one of the reasons is because not many people have it. It is the classic case where people tend to value things that are very difficult to attain.

Bi-weekly Meeting with Provost

On Wednesday morning, I met with the Provost for my regular bi-weekly meeting. I gave him an update on the staff restructuring process and shared my thoughts on ways to improve the graduation experience. The Provost shared that the Chancellor’s cabinet had debriefed on the graduation ceremonies and ways to improve the experience for everyone involved. He shared with me that he would be requesting two-hour meetings with each Dean during the summer to review our goals for the upcoming school year. We also discussed the SOE workload policy in general and how campus is reviewing each school/college’s workload policies. Evidently, some schools/colleges do not even have workload policies. I shared my thoughts with him on the SOE’s workload policy and the faculty assembly’s initiative to look at differentiated workload. He was very supportive of differentiated workload based on research productivity.

Lunch with Alfonzo Thurman

I met with Alfonzo Thurman for lunch at Café Hollander. We are trying to get together for lunch every 4-5 months. Alfonzo is a great sounding board for me, because there is nothing like having someone who has sat in your seat to understand the complexity and difficulty of some of the issues one faces. Since my arrival, I appreciate his willingness to listen to my thought processes and provide me any contextual history that may be relevant to the issue.

Meeting with Phil Ertl, Superintendent of Wauwatosa School District

After lunch, I drove to Wauwatosa to meet with Superintendent Phil Ertl. We had a productive conversation about developing teachers and the needs of Wauwatosa School District. Dr. Ertl has been superintendent for 11 years, which is a long time for the average superintendent’s tenure. Dr. Ertl expressed some interest in developing a regional cohort program for both administrative leadership and teacher professional development. In the case of teacher professional development, he encouraged us to work with school districts to design a customized program to meet the needs of the area. I shared with him that I have a number of meetings with CESA #1 Superintendents and I hope to hit most of them by the end of summer.

City Year Banquet

To end my day on Wednesday, I attended the City Year banquet as a guest of Board of Visitor member and benefactor, Mary Kellner. I sat with several leaders from the Milwaukee I have a Dream foundation as well as Daryl Burns, the Principal at Clarke Street School, Sylvester Culver, a UWM alumnus of our administrative leadership program and admissions officer at University School of Milwaukee and several corp members who serve at Clarke Street School. I had met one of them when I visited the school about a month ago. Afterwards I googled the “I have a Dream” Foundation to learn more about the organization and I was impressed by the mission and focus of their organization. I shared this information with Laurie Marks in the Service Learning program as well as here, in case anyone wants to share it with their students. I am finding there is no shortage of good causes to help Milwaukee’s communities revive themselves.

Last year, I attended the City Year banquet as a guest of BOV member, Vincent Lyles. The City Year banquet is a high-energy event that celebrates the good work of Americorp members who serve in City Year to help urban students. These corp members serve one year, although some sign up for a second year to serve as a team leader. We heard from a number of them about their experience and how it changed their lives. It made me think about what would happen if everyone were required to serve his or her country in some capacity. Would we have a more compassionate and empathetic country if everyone served in some capacity whether it is the Peace Corp, City Year, FEMA Corp (my son served one year in FEMA Corp), military, or some other national service program? It is food for thought, although I suspect it would never happen, at least in the current environment.

During the evening, Daryl Burns and Darienne Driver shared touching moments about the impact of City Year and the linkages corp members make with students who need it the most. Darienne Driver shared a story that earlier in the day, she had to attend another funeral for a student who was shot and killed recently. Daryl subsequently shared during his three years as principal three students had been killed. Afterwards, Daryl said something to me that I have shared with my former leadership students. He said, “Doc, nothing in your program prepares you to deal with the loss of a child to murder.” That is so true and I told him, I hope he never has to attend another student’s funeral again.

In my little over one year in Milwaukee, it is coming very clear to me that we can not continue to do what we are currently doing and expect different results. If we want to change our community for the better, we have to explore new ways of addressing societal issues. During my many external visits, I have been a lot of people committed to improving Milwaukee. From what I have observed, the challenge we face is while there are a lot of committed individuals and organizations, I don’t think we are all moving in the same directions and at times, we are working at cross currents and as a result, we aren’t able to move the needle. What is required is bold leadership to put together a systemic comprehensive plan. Right now, I sense things are too piecemeal and diluted to make a large impact on the community.

Meeting with Deborah Vukovich

Thursday morning I drove to meet with Deborah Vukovich and Playworks. Playworks is an organization that promotes physical activity and the benefits of recess to the learning environment in predominantly K-5 grades, although they work in pre-K3 to 8th grade. I believe there may be some opportunities for collaboration in the future. They offered to invite one of our elementary level faculty members to observe one of their informational sessions to see if it was something worthwhile to consider for our students. I am going to ask Hope Longwell-Grice and Felecia Saffold to work with the elementary faculty to see if one of them is interested in learning more about Playworks. It was interesting, because as soon as I walked into their office, they have a protocol of engaging all visitors in a physical game. To be honest, I was a little surprised, but I caught onto the game and it was fun. I’m sure kids would enjoy this type of organized physical activity. And from what little I know about the benefits of physical activity and how it produces the releasing endorphins to enhance mental wellness, this seems like an area worth exploring.

Assistant Professor Brown Bag Luncheon

On Thursday at lunch, I met with a group of assistant professors including Jackie Nguyen, Leanne Evans, Candance Doerr-Stevens, and Maria-Antonieta Avila. I shared some thoughts on the tenure and promotion process and asked them how I could support them. As I shared, I want them to be successful in their tenure journey. I shared with them some examples of self-statements, tables and figures to articulate their research agenda. We plan to meet again in September and then monthly throughout the academic year. Personally, I really enjoy working to insure our assistant professors are successful. This was one of my major responsibilities in my former position as Associate Vice Provost for Academic and Faculty Support. With Cindy’s departure, I will be taking over the area to support our assistant professors and others in their research endeavors. If anyone has additional ideas for supporting our assistant professors and research endeavors, let me know.

Monthly Meeting with Chancellor

On Thursday afternoon, I met with the Chancellor for our monthly meeting. I updated him on Bradley Tech and the Grow your Own teacher pipeline initiative. We also discussed some politically challenging situations. I appreciate having Mark’s ear to bounce my thoughts and get his perspective on things I may be missing or should be aware of before moving forward. As I have discovered, being a Dean, you are pulled into many potentially challenging situations and the key to survival is knowing when to take a public stance and when to play a role in the background. In my opinion, Mark has done an exemplary job of this as I have seen him operate during my time at UWM.

We also discussed workload issues and this is a topic both the Chancellor and Provost want to see greater equity across the institution and within schools and colleges put in place. My sense is that workload and research productivity are going to get greater scrutiny from now on.

Bradley Tech Showcase

On Thursday evening, I attended the Bradley Tech Showcase. It was not well attended. As I shared in other Bradley Tech postings, it is going to take time to resurrect Bradley Tech to its former self. I read in a brochure they passed out that at its peak, 2,900 students attended Bradley Tech, making it one of the largest high schools in the state. Since its peak, it has fallen to approximately 750 students. Bradley Tech has a long haul ahead of it, but with persistence and the right attitude and team, I am confident they will slowly gain momentum and restore itself to what its proud alumni remember of the school.

Meeting with Mark Hansen, Superintendent of Elmbrook School District

On Friday morning, I met with Mark Hansen, Superintendent of Elmbrook School District. I met Mark several times last year. Elmbrook is working with the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences on some STEM and entrepreneurial initiatives. He is very interested in learning more about our work with Microsoft to develop a computer science teacher certification program. My meeting today with Mark Hansen reminded me that I have some work to do this weekend on the Microsoft initiative and to set up another skype call with my Microsoft counterpart, Mike Steele and John Boyland from CEAS.

Meeting with Jim Heiden, Superintendent of Cudahy School District

After lunch, I drove to Cudahy School District to visit with Superintendent Jim Heiden. Jim is an alumnus of the Administrative Leadership and UEDP. He shared some very fond memories of his time at UWM. Jim is very supportive of UWM and wants to get involved and help promote our programs. He is very interested in the computer science as well as special education add-on certificate programs we offer and said he would happily offer class space to support a regional cohort.


Here is a video featuring about twenty of UWM’s students and Mark Mone. Who knew Mark had moves like those! Don’t worry you won’t ever see me dance. I’m trying to attract and not repulse students from coming to the SOE.


Here is the Milwaukee Business Journal story on the Kelben Foundation’s gift. Thank you Mary and Ted. Your gifts will benefit the School of Education in perpetuity.


Congratulations to the K-12 leadership team (Leigh Wallace and John Tharp) and all the support people (Regina Smith, Alia Arafeh, Hope and Rob Longwell-Grice). This past week they informed me that they have put together a new cohort of at least 21 students in Racine to start this summer. This is big news, because this represents a net 21 new students who would not normally come to UWM.

I hope everyone enjoyed a relaxing Memorial day weekend.


  • None Scheduled

Have a good week!