Alan’s Weekly January 28th, 2019

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Here are the semester credit hour generation, applications and net admissions data for the Fall 2019 semester as of January 22, 2019, point in time from a year ago.

Undergraduate admissions – SOE is down 58 in net admissions (down 93 in applications)
Transfer admissions – SOE is down 7 in net admissions (down 8 in applications)
Graduate admissions – SOE is even in admissions (down 7 in applications)
Total admissions (UG, T, and G) – down 65 in admissions (down 108 in applications)

2019 Spring semester credit hours signed up for is down 2.8% point in time from 2018.


This week I had regular meetings with Hope Longwell-Grice, Stephen Wester, Kathy Quirk, and the Deans.

Deans Provost Meeting

On Tuesday morning, the Deans met for the first time in the new year with the Provost. The Provost just returned from a trip to South Africa. He shared a number of updates related to searches for the Dean of the College of Health Sciences, and other executive level positions being searched including the Executive Director for the Data Sciences Institute and the Connected Systems Institute.

We also talked briefly about next Monday afternoon’s Chancellor’s Retreat. We discussed how imperative it is for higher education to change and adapt to a new environment. The Chancellor will be addressing this in his address at the retreat. Each Dean will be given 2-3 minutes to share some change initiatives going on within their school/college. I am working the Deans to identify the talking points for me to share with the group.

The Provost asked us to check on the workload policy for academic staff as well as the status of each department’s post-tenure review process. And finally, he shared some thoughts on the 3/6/10 goal setting process due on January 31st.

ACHEA Finalist Interview

On Wednesday, I picked up Sara Bano and took her to breakfast. She is the 1st finalist for the ACHEA Assistant Professor search. She is ABD and getting her Ph.D. from Michigan State University in May 2019. Her scholarly interest center around the experiences of Chinese visiting scholars at American universities. We had a nice chat during breakfast and at the end of the day.

Meeting with MPS Superintendent Keith Posley

After taking Sara Bano to Simone Conceicao, I drove to MPS to meet with Superintendent Dr. Keith Posley, Interim Chief Human Resources Officer, Leah Scoptur, and Senior Director for Talent Management, Lonnie Anderson. The purpose of the meeting was to follow-up on a potential partnership for paraprofessionals who already have bachelor’s degrees. Hope Longwell-Grice had put together a nice summary of our initial talking points, so we review those. The key takeaways from this meeting are MPS is looking for a one year post-bac licensure program starting in summer 2019. The program would be delivered off-campus at an MPS site or online with collaboration in the delivery and design with MPS leadership. We agreed to explore a pilot program where a critical mass of interested people exist. The next step is for MPS HR to determine the program area where a critical mass is and then I have asked Hope Longwell-Grice to work with the identified program area and the department co-chairs to meet with Leah Scoptur and Lonnie Anderson to work out the details of the pilot program.

Next Door Foundation Board Meeting

On Thursday morning, I participated in the Next Door Quarterly Board meeting. This year, Next Door is celebrating its 50th Anniversary, so they are making plans to mark the big milestone. As I reiterated after participating in the board meeting, if every child in Milwaukee had a high quality early childhood experience, this city would be light years ahead of where it is now.

IUE Meeting

Later Thursday morning, Hope Longwell-Grice and I met with Barbara Bales to discuss the IUE and the faculty director search. It was a very productive meeting and I think the IUE is on a good path towards re-imagining itself. Next step is to search and hire a faculty member who will serve as the Director. If you know of anyone who has a strong urban education focus, please encourage them to contact Hope Longwell-Grice as chair of the search committee.


I want to introduce and welcome Xu Li to the School of Education. Xu will be starting in August.

Xu Li, Educational Psychology.I was born in a southwestern province in China named Sichuan, which is the hometown of panda, and also the spicy Sichuan cuisine (for example, hot pot) that’s often found in Chinese restaurants in the U.S. My first 15 years were spent in the city of Dazhou, which is a small town surrounded by mountains. I am currently a passionate hiker and enjoy going to the mountains, and I think this is where that passion was cultivated. When I was 16 years old and was ready for high school, under the encouragement of my family I took one brave step to go to Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan province, and attended the most competitive high school there. The three years in high school taught me a lot, greatly broadened my horizon, and inspired my deep desire to “look beyond the mountains” to see the fantastic world outside.

I was accepted into the School of Mathematical Sciences in Beijing Normal University for college. Life as a math major was difficult, and a big part of my college life was characterized by studying in the library after class taxing my brain to solve all the challenging math problems. I loved the pure pleasure of logical and rigorous intellectual exploration and creation, but also realized gradually that a big piece of my interest laid in interpersonal contact and helping others, was missing in the math major. After a lot of efforts in career exploration, I found the field of counseling psychology where I for the first time in life felt a “career calling.”

I attended the master’s program in counseling psychology in Beijing Normal University, before applying for and being accepted into the counseling psychology Ph.D. program at University of Maryland, College Park. The career path in counseling psychology witnessed the integration of my identity as a “curious explorer” and a “warm helper,” as the combination of clinical work that helps others, and scientific research that informs more effective clinical practice provided the best recipe for fulfilling my career interests and aspirations. I felt very fortunate finding this career direction.

I also feel tremendously blessed, that I found my life-long “attachment figure,” my wife Hongyang, during graduate school in the U.S. She sees, hears, and understands me at a profound level, and I am so amazed by her smartness, genuineness, humor, and deep compassion about others, especially those who are suffering. We had our wedding ceremony in the summer of 2018 in China, and she is now completing her Ph.D. degree in educational psychology at University of Maryland.

We have been each other’s research colleague, “fellow therapists,” close confidant, and life-partner. We are both big “nature lovers,” and during our leisure time, our biggest hobby is to go hiking together, and we have explored nearly all famous trails within a 2-hour-drive radius from where we live. Getting back into the arms of Mother Nature, is what we have found the most healing and re-energizing for our bodies and souls.

Beside the outdoor adventures, we also love music, cooking, sports (e.g., badminton), card games (e.g., Texas Hold’em), or talking to friends and family. Our families and many friends are now living in China, and we miss them a lot and express how much we miss them by spending a lot of time on video chats with them. In a way, both my wife and I have been long “hikers” in our life, climbing up the “mountains” and crossing over the “seas” to explore the bigger world. And it’s through our beloved family and friends, that we feel anchored, get comfort, and find belongingness.


This week I received a recognition letter from the Fulbright Institute of International Education’s Council for International Exchange of Scholars (IEE/CIES) for Liz Drame. Liz served on a Regional Peer Review Committee, which recently completed the merit review of applications received for the 2019-20 Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program competition. Congratulations Liz on this recognition from the Fulbright Institute.


If you have published a new book since March 2017, I encourage you to participate in the UWM Authors Recognition Event. For details, see this link.


Top 10 Soft Skills info graphic.


  • March 2nd –  SOE Basketball Fun Night v. Wright State at 6:00 pm at Panther Arena.
  • May 9th – All School Meeting – 4th Floor Library Conference room starting at 1:00 pm.