A great Wisconsin Science and Technology Symposium

I was privileged this week to help host and address the 12th annual Wisconsin Science and Technology Symposium, which is sponsored by WiSys. The independent, nonprofit organization serves as the technology transfer office for the UW System, supporting the creation and transfer of innovations from the UW System to the marketplace.  WSTS was held in the Memorial Student Center and attracted over 200 students, faculty and administrators. We heard a great keynote address by Tim Boettcher, president and CEO of RealityWorks in Eau Claire, as well as a fantastic closing address by Provost Patrick Guilfoile.  I also had a chance to listen to Alan Yeung, director of U.S. Strategic Initiatives at Foxconn Technology Group, discuss the Smart Cities-Smart Futures competition the company sponsors, as it says, “to generate innovative ideas that enhance quality of life, improve working environments, expand transportation networks, inspire creative city planning and promote sustainable energy solutions in the state.”

My remarks to the WSTS focused on the vital role that research plays in an innovative and vibrant economy and the special focus that UW-Stout places on applied research. WiSys fills a critical role in supporting that applied research at comprehensive campuses. For example, at UW-Stout, WiSys facilitated more than $50,000 in research-related grant funding and helped with seven new invention disclosures from faculty in the last fiscal year.

I was especially proud that one of our students, Emily Lehmann, took first place in the WiSys Quick Pitch competition. Emily is from Chippewa Falls and is in the Master of Science program in food and nutritional sciences.

Presenters at the symposium included UW-Stout’s Jennifer Astwood, design department, on the Made at UW-Stout initiative; Dmitry Kadnikov, chemistry and physics, on the “Detection of Amino Acid Citrulline Using Modular Chemical Probes”; and Pranabendu Mitra, food and nutrition, on food engineering and product development research.

I want to thank the staff at the Professional Education Programs and Services office, especially Tiffani Taggert, for all their work in making the conference a success.


A fruitful and eye-opening trip to China

From June 15 to 25, I had the opportunity to travel to China to promote international education and exchange, and help cultivate new collaborations for our students and faculty. The first half of the trip was spent in Chongqing, China, where I attended the Sino-American CHEPD (Cooperation on Higher Education and Professional Development Program) conference. This conference was offered in partnership by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the China Center for International Education Exchange (CCIEE).  I presented at the conference on best practices regarding ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) accreditation. I also had the opportunity to speak about challenges and issues associated with international education as part of a panel at this conference’s Sino-American University Presidents’ Forum. There was a lot of interest expressed from participating universities in developing dual-degree programs with UW-Stout. I had the opportunity to meet with several American and Chinese university leaders to learn about their international programs and related activities.

On the last day of the conference, participants had the opportunity to visit the Dazu Rock Carvings, a series of spectacular Chinese religious cliff stone carvings dating back as far as the end of the Tang Dynasty and early Song Dynasty that depicted the influence of Buddhist beliefs. The carvings are nothing short of extraordinary!

The second half of the trip was focused on building partnerships with Chinese universities for academic collaboration and exchange. Scott Pierson, our director of International Education, and Min DeGruson, assistant professor of packaging in the engineering and technology department, did a lot of work in advance of our visits to universities to help set up partnerships with five universities in Shanghai, Changshu and Harbin that will provide:

  • Opportunities for Chinese students to complete dual-degrees by receiving a bachelor’s degree from both their home institution and UW-Stout
  • Chinese faculty opportunity to visit UW-Stout as visiting scholars
  • UW-Stout students and faculty opportunities to engage in short-term and semester exchanges at a Chinese partner institution

We were able to visit three universities in the Shanghai area including:

  • Shanghai Ocean University – developing dual-degree programs in food science and packaging
  • University of Shanghai Science and Technology – developing a partnership with their School of Art and Communication and exploring opportunities for articulation agreements with our art and design and packaging programs
  • Changshu Institute of Technology – developing dual-degree programs in food science, and apparel design and development

Thanks to the work of Scott and Min we had very productive visits to these universities, and I believe our students and faculty will benefit greatly from these efforts. Min is a native of Hunan, China and we greatly benefited from her ability to translate important concepts and ideas back and forth between us and our Chinese counterparts. In addition, Min kept us busy during the evenings visiting significant cultural sites and immersing us in Chinese culture. As you might guess, we returned home feeling both exhausted but fulfilled!