Monthly Archives: October 2018

Free Speech Week a success, with Cabot event coming up; renovations at Price Commons are looking good

Free speech and civil discourse were treated to a full airing at UW-Stout this week with the successful series of forums sponsored by the Center for the Study of Institutions and Innovation during its annual Free Speech Week.

I had the privilege of moderating a very interesting, and lively, panel that included a former biology professor at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., Bret Weinstein, who challenged a day of racial segregation and faced backlash, including having to hold classes off campus because university police could not guarantee his safety. The other panelists were Damon Sajnani, of UW-Madison African Cultural Studies, and John Sharpless, co-director of the Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy at UW-Madison.

Student Free Speech in the UW was another topic on Tuesday at a panel that included Jim Manley, senior fellow at the Goldwater Institute, co-author of a model policy used by the regents; Coltan Schoenike, who is studying for a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy at UW-Stout and opposed the policy’s adoption; and Casey Mattox, senior fellow at the Charles Koch Institute, who influences free speech policy and practice at a think tank. Doug Mell, UW-Stout executive director of University Communications and External Relations, moderated the session.

Other session topics included Debating Hate Speech and the First Amendment; and Free Speech and Originalist Jurisprudence.

I want to commend the center and director Timothy Shiell for excellent Free Speech Week activities and showing everyone that civil discourse about weighty and controversial issues is still possible in our society and on our campus. 

Free Speech

Price Commons renovations impressive

I toured the renovations underway at Merle M. Price Commons, and they were very impressive. The first floor is being completely redone, including a new layout and an updated look to better serve our students and staff.

The work, which began in May and is expected to be completed in December 2019, includes upgrading the fire suppression, mechanical and electrical systems; renovating all four main entrances and patio; adding new exterior windows and sills; and remodeling offices and areas including SLS Tech, University Dining Administration, the Qube, Mini-Mart, and the Glass Lounge.

Price Commons is open during the renovations, which is important because the main dining hall, renovated previously, is on the second floor.

I want to thank Malinda Hebert, Student Centers assistant director, and our Facilities Management staff for arranging the tour. I look forward to another tour when the project is completed. More information on the renovation is available here.

PriceCommons

Please attend Cabot Executive in Residence address

I also want to encourage everyone to attend the 2018 Cabot Executive in Residence address from 10:10 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24, in the student center ballrooms. The address is by Denise Coogan, of Subaru of America.

Coogan, a champion of sustainability, women’s leadership and cultural sensitivity, also will be engaging with faculty, staff and students in numerous activities, classes and meetings from Tuesday through Thursday.

Faculty are encouraged to invite students to participate.

Denise Coogan Photo

 

Homecoming weekend another great experience; new video production major approved

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Few things bring a bigger smile to my face than interacting with our alumni. That’s why homecoming weekend is one of my favorite events on campus.

Granted, this year’s weather was a little on the chilly side, but my wife, Debbie, and I enjoyed ourselves immensely Saturday at all the activities: the Blue Devil Run/Walk, great parade, tailgate in the football stadium parking lot and, of course, the game.

Even though the Blue Devils ended up losing to UW-La Crosse in overtime, it was a great game and I’m proud of how our team played and fought to the very end.

I would like to thank our Homecoming Committee, Blue Devil Productions, the Alumni Association, Athletics, Urec and everyone else who planned events and put in many hours of effort to make homecoming a success.

The staff at University Communications did a great job in documenting the weeklong celebration; if you haven’t already, I would recommend you check out their photos and video from homecoming on our UW-Stout Facebook page.

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Video production major gets UW System approval

During last week’s UW System Board of Regents meeting at UW-Parkside, UW-Stout received approval for our 50th undergraduate major. The Regents unanimously approved a Bachelor of Science degree in video production, a natural outgrowth of our successful photography and video minor.

Graduates of this degree will have the knowledge and skills they need to create and edit still photography and video projects. The degree fills an increasing demand for video content by business and industry.

Provost Patrick Guilfoile told the Regents’ Education Committee last week that “In keeping with UW-Stout’s career focus, this program is not aimed at film and video as fine art but rather as a communication medium for business, nonprofits and other entities wishing to reach an audience through visual means.”

Provost Guilfoile and I also had the chance to address the full board on what UW-Stout has submitted to the UW System as our “capacity building” initiatives for 2019-21. These initiatives are part of the system’s proposed 2019-21 budget that the regents approved earlier this year. Our proposals are intended to build capacity in our engineering programs; information technology and computer science programs; biochemistry, molecular biology and industrial chemistry programs; and Career Services office.

Free Speech Week events Oct. 15-18

I’d also like to encourage as many people as possible to attend Free Speech Week events beginning Monday, Oct. 15, sponsored by the UW-Stout Center for the Study of Institutions and Innovation.

I will participate in a panel discussion Oct. 15. Other events are scheduled through Thursday of that week.

School visit with admissions counselors provides insight

This week I also had the opportunity to join Erin Konsela and Joan Ebnet on an admissions visit to Centennial High School in Circle Pines, Minn. The visit gave me insight into the broad range of questions that our admissions counselors field, as well as gain hands-on knowledge of how user-friendly (or in some situations unfriendly) our online UW System application form is for prospective students.

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I was impressed with how customer-oriented Erin and Joan were and how incredibly successful the visit was with respect to helping Centennial students apply to UW-Stout.

I’d like to recognize the entire admissions staff for its efforts to help steer prospective students toward UW-Stout as we try to meet enrollment challenges. I’m very impressed and grateful for these efforts.

I was also very encouraged by the positive response that prospective students had to our new Blue Devil Guarantee.  The guarantee lets prospective students know up front what scholarship support they qualify for given factors including their academic performance and ACT scores.

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Homecoming 2018 full of exciting events

Homecoming began back in March 1917 when Stout Institute officials decided to invite alumni to the fledgling campus to celebrate a historic day: the dedication of the new, four-story brick Domestic Science Building constructed just east of the Manual Training Building.

Now, 101 years after the opening of what we now know as Harvey Hall, I’d like to invite our students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members to participate in the wide range of activities planned for this week. The full homecoming schedule is available here.

There are so many things to do it’s hard to pick out a few, like the Soapbox Derby put on by Blue Devil Productions, the Blue Devil Run/Walk organized by Urec and the 11 a.m. homecoming parade, organized by the Homecoming Committee.

Soap Box Derby

Of course, there’s the final main event — the 2 p.m. football game against UW-La Crosse. I hope you can help me cheer on our Blue Devils as they pursue elevating their record to 4-1.

I’d also like to recommend you take a look at the magnificent and inspiring homecoming video put together by Rachel Hallgrimson, our social media coordinator.

A lot of people have put in hours and hours of hard work to make our centennial homecoming a success. As a proud UW-Stout graduate, I always look forward to this special week and express my gratitude to everyone who has worked to make homecoming a Stout Proud day!