Eagle Voice: Dr. Betsy Morgan


retrieved from uwlax.edu

RAQ Radio

Noah Finco, Managing Editor

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs takes the lives of students very seriously in her role, though it may be a difficult role to explain.

“I like say that nobody except for my mother knows what a provost is,” joked Morgan when asked about her role. “It’s an unusual job but I oversee all of the academic programming at UWL and a great deal of non-academic offices report to me as well.”

Originally from California, Morgan attained her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Women’s Studies from the University of California Santa Cruz; Home of the mighty Banana Slugs as Morgan likes to point out.

“After graduation I took a year off and worked in a little clothing boutique before attending the University of California Irvine for graduate school,” stated Morgan.

Though she attained her doctorate in Social Psychology from the University of California Irvine, Morgan prefers students to call her by her first name. “I always said I liked students to call me Betsy after calling me Dr. Morgan once,” explained Morgan. “The purpose of that is to establish who I am in your life, formerly as a professor and now a provost.”

Following graduation from graduate school, Morgan applied all over the nation for roles and was offered a job in the Psychology Department at UWL. Serving initially as a professor then later as Department Chair for the Psychology Department. Then the opportunity arose to serve as Vice Provost which Morgan describes as similar to an internship to the Provost.

“The previous Provost left so I was asked to serve as Interim Provost until another was hired. That Provost left as well, and I was later offered the permanent job,” explained Morgan.

A self-described workaholic, Morgan occupies her free time attending talks, watching movies, reading and hanging out with her cats. Recently however, she has been battling breast cancer.

“I usually say that my hobby lately is battling cancer which if you ask me is a crappy hobby,” joked Morgan.

Morgan received her diagnosis this past March three days before she was offered the job as Provost. She has completed her chemotherapy treatment and nearing the end of her radiation treatments.

“A lot of people don’t understand the length of battling cancer. I’ve battled it for nine months already and I have a long time still,” noted Morgan. “That was the part of the journey that took me mostly by surprise.”

When asked about the biggest challenge facing universities today, Morgan believes the lack of funding is the largest hurdle.

“Without funding, tuition goes up and therefore you’re pricing students out of higher and giving students more debt,” says Morgan. “Nationally there is a devaluing of education and that scares me.”

As for what gives Morgan hope for the future, she decided to give what she calls the “cliché” answer.

“It’s the students that give me hope and I would say that the worst part of being Provost is that I don’t get to see students or teach,” explained Morgan. “I am not at all concerned about the future I think students bring tremendous energy and new ideas and it’s a privilege to interact with them.”

For the full interview with UWL Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Dr. Betsy Morgan click the SoundCloud link above, courtesy of UWL RAQ Radio.

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