UW-Marshfield/Wood County grad Graham Pearce wins National Scholarship

For Graham Pearce, May 20 commencement ceremonies at the University of Wisconsin-Marshfield/Wood County brought a big surprise.

UW Colleges and UW-Extension Chancellor Cathy Sandeen announced at the event that Pearce has been named a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholar. Pearce will receive up to $40,000 per year (for up to three years) toward tuition, living expenses, books, and fees when he continues his studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison this fall.

graham cathy“We are grateful to the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation for recognizing a promising UW Colleges transfer student with this prestigious national award,” Sandeen said. “Graham Pearce was the very first student I got to know when I began my position as chancellor a year and half ago. He has impressed us all with his intelligence, hard work, and commitment to service. This generous scholarship will ensure that Graham can focus on his studies when he transfers to UW-Madison in the fall and become as successful as we know he will be.”

Pearce graduated Friday, earning an Associate of Arts and Sciences degree with a mathematics emphasis. He intends to study business at UW-Madison.

Pearce is among 75 scholars nationally—and the only one from Wisconsin—selected to receive this year’s scholarships on the basis of academic achievement, leadership, service, and other factors. He’s the first UW Colleges student to receive the award.

Pearce has been active in student government, serving as UW-Marshfield/Wood County Student Senate president, president of the UW Colleges Student Governance Council, and chair of UW Student Representatives—which includes student leaders from across the UW System—for 2016-2017.

He also has tutored peers in math, co-edited the Insight campus newspaper, sung with campus choral groups, and co-owned custom woodwork and solar businesses. He’s a member of Marshfield Young Professionals, and received the UW-Marshfield/Wood County Recognition of Meritorious Achievement in Mathematics and the UW Colleges Lee Grugel Memorial Leadership Award in 2015.

The Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship is the largest private scholarship in the nation for students transferring from two-year schools to four-year institutions awarding bachelor’s degrees. The awards recognize students who demonstrate both merit and financial need.

“These extraordinary young people have proven repeatedly and conclusively that top two-year college students have the ability to thrive in top four-year colleges,” said Harold O. Levy, Cooke Foundation executive director. “They deserve equal educational opportunity.”

After earning bachelor’s degrees, Cooke Scholars are eligible for graduate school scholarships worth up to $50,000 per year for four years.


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UW-Fox Valley research group makes a splash this spring

UW-Fox Valley research teamUndergraduate research programs on UW Colleges campuses provide students an opportunity to develop skills and make connections that propel them to future success. And for five students at UW-Fox Valley, a research project became a chance to wow at national and international conferences.

Dr. Saleh Alnaeli, assistant professor of computer science at UW-Fox Valley, established a new research group for undergraduate students, to prepare and engage them in research and help establish professional relationships with research communities and local companies.

Five students – Amanda Ali Taha, Melissa Sarnowski, Tyler Timm, Calvin Meier and Yanting Liang – are working with Dr. Alnaeli to study the development and construction of tools to analyze large-scale software systems. These tools are applied to support and improve programmers’ abilities to understand, develop and evolve software systems, and provide valuable insight into current development trends.

Students are involved with the research at early stages, to expose them to national and international research communities and protocols. The students make important connections to the research community and gain skills to prepare them for future research.

The research team had a busy spring, presenting research papers at conferences and competing in programming competitions. In April, the team presented a paper at the Midwest Instruction and Computing Symposium in Cedar Falls, IA, where they also competed in a computer programming contest.

In May, Dr. Saleh will present a paper co-authored by the research team at the International Conference on Electro/Information Technology in Grand Forks, ND. And two students, Amanda Taha and Tyler Timm, will present with Dr. Alnaeli at the International Conference on Software Engineering Research, Management and Applications in Maryland in June. The team will present one more time in September, at the Association for Computer Mechanics conference in Upland, IN.

Congratulations to the research team!

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David Schejbal: Reflections on a year with UPCEA

David_SchejbalDavid Schejbal, Dean of Continuing Education, Outreach and E-Learning at University of Wisconsin-Extension, recently concluded a year as president of the national University Professional and Continuing Education Assocation (UPCEA). Below, David shares reflections on his year leading UPCEA and what’s next for adult education in UW-Extension and beyond.

What key learnings did you take away from your time as president of UPCEA?

The non-traditional student is really front and center now in American higher education. And many institutions are trying to find ways to provide better access and better models to meet the needs of those students.

We know, depending on the research, that anywhere between 75 to 85 percent of today’s college students are non-traditional, meaning they work or have family responsibilities or come in and out of school, and they don’t behave the way that students behaved when I was an undergraduate. They don’t necessarily live in dorms, study full time and try to finish in four years.

When I started in continuing education 20 years ago, continuing ed was very much on the margins of most institutions. They didn’t see adult students as a key audience. Adults were fringe students, who institutions would serve if there was enough time and money to do so. That perspective has changed, and adult students have become the focus for many institutions.

One thing that was reaffirmed for me when I was president [of UPCEA] is that this experience is really widely shared among continuing education deans and directors around the country. And at least at some institutions, this can cause tension between continuing ed divisions and traditional colleges. In the past, traditional colleges were all competing for 18-22 year-old students. Now, traditional colleges are also competing for adult and non-traditional students, and we’re seeing a lot more competition between traditional and non-traditional schools.

What we see within the UW System and elsewhere, some schools relegate continuing ed to non-credit offerings, ceding the for-credit realm to disciplinary schools. I think that’s unfortunate for two reasons: first, that continuing education units have historically been the creative and entrepreneurial units of those campuses, because they had to be. Secondly, those continuing ed units have far more experience with adult students, after many years of meeting their needs. Rather than continuing to separate these two disciplines, it makes much more sense to leverage expertise across both. Continuing education units have a tremendous amount to offer through knowledge of the adult and non-traditional educational market, and a lot of experience providing services to meet the needs of that market.

What were the best experiences of the past year?

Some of the best experiences were engaging with colleagues, really thinking about national strategies for how UPCEA can help improve our national competitiveness, how UPCEA can help continue to push the boundaries of where higher education is going, and how UPCEA can really help provide continuing information and professional development for individuals who are working in continuing education units across the country.

How did your time with UPCEA change your perspective on higher education?

My time with UPCEA reinforced the importance of the work we do here in Wisconsin. One thing that has become really clear to me is that we have become national leaders in alternative models for education, whether through competency-based or online education, focusing on adult learners, or alternative credentialing. Those really are both the boundaries of where higher ed is now and the directions of where higher ed is going. So far, we have managed to be very successful helping to lead in those areas, both within UW System and nationally.

Do you have any new insights about the future of adult education?

When I try to answer those kinds of questions, I look more broadly at where the really big mega-needs are. Clearly we know that more educated people live better lives. And the research is pretty definitive about that. People with more education make more money, tend to be more socially engaged and live more healthfully.

Second, we have national goals, whether from the Obama administration or the Lumina Foundation, goals to increase educational attainment. We’re currently at about 40 percent of adults with higher educational attainment. Organizations like the Lumina Foundation are aiming for 60 percent of adults with some kind of post-secondary credential by 2025.

Thirdly, we have to look at global changes happening that are completely outside of higher education, but of course are intimately intertwined. Issues like climate change, or transitioning into a truly global economy, require really different world views, and higher education really needs to help students understand those new ways of seeing the world around us. So when I look at what’s next, I think that we have to figure out how to provide the kind of educational experiences for students that help them see this new reality, and to function well within it. How can we provide flexible opportunities, knowing that people change jobs often, that the economic instability forces job changes and reimagining oneself often, that people live much longer lives and have to remain employed much longer than they used to?

What’s next for the UW-Extension division of Continuing Education, Outreach and E-Learning?

We now have degree-granting authority for UW-Extension, and CEOEL is the division developing the degrees. We’re building the business and management degree in a competency-based format, and it’s only the first of what we hope will be many such degrees.

We recently launched the University Learning Store, an alternative credentialing model. This is a partnership with a number of top universities across the country. We’re looking forward to really expanding that and providing more access to higher education, especially to students who might not want traditional degrees.

And we continue to look at the regulatory environment, especially at the federal level, that’s being influenced by the current political environment. These are things like the need to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, and the increasingly apparent disconnect between where higher education is going and how federal financial aid is awarded.

Those are three big items that continue to focus us for future, but our bread and butter continues to be partnerships with UW System campuses and working together to develop more online degree programs. Our focus really is to work across UW System to increase access for students.

We often hear higher education is changing, and there’s a lot of lip service paid to that, and a lot of people don’t believe it, or think it’s a phase or fad. We need to be very careful in dismissing the importance of changes, because they’re real, they’re tremendously impactful, and we need to be far more cognizant of our own destiny and how we position ourselves for the future than we have been in the past.

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Remembering the Musical Legacies of Prince

Note: Prince Rogers Nelson died April 21. Below, UW Colleges music lecturer Rosemary Walzer remembers the late artist for his innovative musicianship, music-centered live performances, and impact on the careers of diverse performers – women, especially.

Merely four and a half months into a year that already claimed David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Maurice White, and George Martin, among others, fans were once again rocked by the news that another musical icon had died: Prince. Since news of his sudden passing broke on Thursday morning, April 21, the internet has teemed with essays, articles, listicles, tweets, and memes eulogizing the fifty-seven-year-old pop star. Over the weekend, the casts of “Hamilton” and “The Color Purple,” Bruce Springsteen, and even Garrison Keillor, paid special tribute to Prince with renditions of “Purple Rain” and “Let’s Go Crazy.” Cities throughout the country illuminated buildings and bridges with purple lights in his honor. Saturday Night Live aired a compilation of Prince’s appearances on the show over the years, and MTV played his music videos all day – a rare return to the network’s musical origins from the reality shows that now dominate its programming. In his hometown of Minneapolis, thousands of people swarmed the famous First Avenue nightclub for all-night memorial dance parties that featured impromptu performances by local rock and hip hop artists.

These collective displays of grief show the remarkable scale of Prince’s status and impact as an American cultural icon. However, it can be easy to overlook Prince’s musical achievements and innovative contributions to the American popular music industry as we are dazzled by the visual trappings of pop stardom.

Born into a family of musicians, Prince was a versatile performer and composer who drew from an array of influences, from black pop to psychedelic soul, rock and roll, funk, jazz, and classical music, to create a unique sound. Perhaps best known for his voice and guitar work, he was skilled at playing many different instruments, and, on albums like 1999, recorded all of the instrumental tracks himself. According to sound engineer, Chuck Zwicky, Prince skillfully incorporated these influences into his music. “When he sits down at the drums, he hears Dave Garibaldi (Tower of Power),” Zwicky explains. “When he plays his guitar parts, he’s thinking about James Brown’s guitarists (Jimmy Nolen and Catfish Collins); those guys had the definitive funk chord approach to the guitar. When he plays the bass, he’s thinking like Larry Graham (Sly and the Family Stone). When he’s at the keyboards, he’s either thinking like a horn section or like Gary Numan.”[1]

Prince also experimented with synthesizers, drum machines, and studio tricks to create fresh sounds in his music. On “Starfish and Coffee,” for instance, Prince recorded the drum track backwards, creating a kind of inverted reverb effect. He also altered tape speeds on his recordings to change the pitch and timbre of his guitars and vocals. One of his most creative decisions was to exclude a bass track in hit songs “When Doves Cry” and “Kiss.” Bass has been an integral part of black popular music from the walking bass lines of Jimmy Blanton and Walter Page in 1930s jazz to the syncopated funk lines of James Jamerson and Bootsy Collins in the 1960s and 1970s. To completely replace this fundamental element with synthesized drums in these songs was quite revolutionary in the mid-1980s.

While, historically, pop groups like the Beatles often stopped touring when they started producing intricate studio music, Prince adapted his studio work to live performances with a backing band. As music videos became key vehicles of the music industry in the 1980s and 1990s, live performances of pop icons like Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, and Madonna increasingly highlighted intricately choreographed dances. Prince certainly established himself as a great dancer in both his video and live performances, but also still played guitar and kept instrumentalists in the spotlight.

Much like one of his greatest influences, Sly and the Family Stone, Prince strove to assemble as diverse a group of musicians for his live performances as possible. In an industry where women were (and still are) largely underrepresented, Prince made an effort to advance the careers of women instrumentalists, like drummer Sheila E (who later became his musical director), bassist Rhonda Smith, keyboardist Gayle Smith, saxophonist Candy Dulfer, and the duo Wendy (Melvoin) & Lisa (Coleman) of the Revolution. One of his last albums, Plectrumelectrum, featured his all female touring band, 3rdeyegirl.

Just as Prince had an eye to the past with his music, we have fond memories of him to cling to – perhaps dancing to “Purple Rain” at prom, laughing at his appearances on Muppets Tonight or New Girl, listening to radio stations endlessly replay “1999” at the turn of the millennium, plugging jukeboxes with “Let’s Go Crazy” on Friday nights, or watching him rock the 2007 Superbowl Halftime Show. Reliving these memories through ongoing tributes, music marathons, and dance parties is certainly comforting when we are faced with the loss of such an important part of our lives and collective culture. But Prince’s musical legacy also challenges us to move forward as he did: to master the old, make it our own, improve on it, and make it more inclusive.

[1] Chuck Zwicky, quoted in Touré, I Would Die 4 U (New York: Atria Books, 2013), 6.

Rosemary WalzerAbout the author:

Rosemary McGee Walzer is a music lecturer and performer. She has taught Music Theory, Aural Skills, Music Appreciation, the History of Rock and Roll, the History of Jazz, and Choir in the UW Colleges System. Rosemary received her Bachelor of Music Education degree from Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio in 2006. In 2011, Rosemary received a Master of Music degree in Instrumental Conducting from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In addition to her work in the classroom, she free-lances on saxophone in the Milwaukee area and is a member of the East Side Chamber Players and the Eastside Jazz Orchestra.  

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A new way to keep connected

This week, UWCX Communications launches a series of email news updates designed especially for UWEX faculty and staff. We’ll showcase stories developed by our staff and by colleagues throughout the institution, as well as coverage by local, state, and national media.

Our goal is to highlight work by faculty and staff; provide a look at what’s happening across Extension’s divisions; and provide practical information. See details of story selection criteria here.

Starting out, UWEX faculty and staff will receive a news update every other week. The schedule may change depending on audience feedback, and special dispatches might appear between regular updates.
We’ve selected news with you in mind—please let us know what you think. Email stories you hope to see, achievements you’d like to tout, and general feedback to communications@uwex.uwc.edu.

And if you didn’t receive the email, here’s our first set of stories:

Lin Larson
Assistant vice chancellor for communications and marketing
UW Colleges and UW-Extension

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UWEX News for Faculty and Staff

News for Faculty and Staff is a regular email update developed especially for UW-Extension faculty and staff. It showcases stories about UW-Extension people and programs and links to various UW-Extension websites, plus external media sites.

UWCX Communications manages the project with support from colleagues across the institution, choosing a range of stories that reflect the following criteria:

Since UW-Extension spans all 72 counties and four diverse divisions, we aim to highlight stories with wide interest and appeal. We also strive to represent a variety of divisional programs, organizations, and individuals.

We’re always looking for feedback and story ideas—send yours to communications@uwex.uwc.edu. We realize we can’t tell every story, but we hope to identify and tell some of our very best.

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A new way to keep connected

UWCX Communciations launches news updates for UW Colleges faculty and staff

A lot is happening at UW Colleges. If you’re a UWC faculty or staff member, you have a new way to keep connected.

This week, UWCX Communications launches a series of email news updates designed especially for UWC faculty and staff. We’ll showcase stories developed by our staff and by colleagues throughout the institution, as well as coverage by local, state, and national media.

Our goal is to highlight work by faculty, staff, and students; share ideas across regions and campuses; and provide practical information. See details of story selection criteria here.

Starting out, UWC faculty and staff will receive a news update every other week. The schedule may change depending on audience feedback, and special dispatches might appear between regular updates.

We’ve selected news with you in mind—please let us know what you think. Email stories you hope to see, achievements you’d like to tout, and general feedback to communications@uwex.uwc.edu.

And if you didn’t receive the email, here’s our first set of stories:

Announcing two new steps to improve compensation

Faculty spotlight: Visual arts at UW-Waukesha

UW-Barron County students win national Rube Goldberg competition

UW-Marshfield/Wood County’s Julie Tharp receives Fulbright award

Lin Larson
Assistant vice chancellor for communications and marketing
UW Colleges and UW-Extension

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