The Student Association met on Wednesday, Nov. 20 to discuss plans to remove and replace the senate seat for the School of Arts and Communication, and to listen to guest speakers Provost Betsy Morgan and Chief of Police Allen Hill. They also discussed the retirement of Dr. Larry Ringgenberg, Director of University Centers.
Provost Betsy Morgan attended the Student Association meeting to explain her role on campus and her work over the 26 years she’s worked at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Morgan told the senate about her childhood, during which she spent time in Afghanistan while her parents worked for the peace core. She spent most of her childhood in California and earned her undergraduate degree at the University of California-Santa Cruz. She got her doctorate degree in Social Ecology from the University of California-Irvine.
Morgan is also the title of Vice-Chancellor of Academic Affairs which oversees all academic units, such as Murphy Library or the School of Education. She said that she manages the “interesting clump” of enrollment services, including the Financial Aid Office, Career Services, the Admissions Office, Records and Registration, and the Center for Academic Teaching and Learning (CATL). “Out of approximately 1200 people employed here, 800 of them are associated with my units,” said Morgan.
Morgan said that CATL is in the process of adding more faculty members to the program, including hiring someone who specializes in STEM. CATL members currently include coordinators who represent inclusive excellence, writing emphasis, and a member who is an expert with the Canvas program.
Morgan’s office is working on implementing a new advising software, Navigate, which Morgan said is “much more user-friendly.” Navigate would make it quicker for students to set up meetings with their advisors and would allow students to view updates and comments from their professors. The program would replace the Eagle Alert system currently in place, and Morgan said it is already showing success with 2100 UWL students setting up advising appointments for next semester.
Morgan was asked on improving student advising, to which she explained what it means to have students advised by paid faulty versus paid advisors. Having students be advised by their professors is cost-effective and useful for students if they are in search of advice from an experienced source, but many professors are not qualified to be considered full-time advisors for students, as Morgan said their amount of expertise on advising issues is “variable.” Morgan would like to see a full advising system set up for all students, but the budget does not allow for it.
Chief of Campus Police Allen Hill, who started his position at UWL in October, came to the meeting to introduce himself to the Student Association. Hill said he aims to create a relationship with the campus and to learn its culture.
Hill said that the most important thing for him is safety. “I don’t sleep at night if I know this campus isn’t safe, and I like to sleep,” said Hill. Hill asked the senators if they are familiar with the services the UWL Police Department provides, which includes unlocking cars, assistance with flat tires, jump-starting cars, and personal escorts to and from classes. Hill wants the senators to spread this information so that students don’t call a locksmith or any other service which may be costly.
Hill also provides ALICE trainings, works with the bait bike program to combat bike theft on campus, and collaborates with the City of La Crosse Police Department on topics that affect both campus and community life, such as drug and alcohol abuse, vandalism, and general theft.
With the help of Sen. Schock’s advocacy, UWL is committed to having 300 extra security cameras installed on campus in the following years, in addition to the 100 that are already on campus and the 13 UWL Police Officers.
Hill said that community engagement is also important for the department as they are committed to keeping an open dialogue with campus regarding crime and other incidents on campus. By law, UWL police are obligated to provide the last 90-days’ worth of information they have regarding crime around campus, which they do with the “daily crime log” available on the police department website.
The senate discussed resolutions to remove and replace the Arts and Communications seat on the senate. The Senate passed the resolution which would transfer Sen. Stock’s at-large senator position over to a position for STEP representation, meaning the Senate will have two School of Education representatives. Sen. Neader’s Arts and Communication would be seat dissolved, and he would move to an at-large senator position. Sen. Schock and Sen. Lichtfuss disagreed with this move, as it eliminates representation for art students.
There are over 500 education students at UWL, while there are 150 visual arts students, meaning some on the senate believe this move is what is necessary to provide proper representation.
Dr. Larry Ringgenberg, Director of University Centers at UWL will be retiring July 6, 2020. Ringgenberg has worked at UWL for over 30 years. Many senators thanked Ringgenberg for his dedication to UWL and expressed appreciation for his guidance.