Extension Conference Centers

UW Flex admission process kicks off with news conference and celebration


Todd Richmond, Aaron Apel and Karen Herzog

Todd Richmond, Aaron Apel and Karen Herzog

Aaron Apel was the center of attention as UW-Extension, UW System, UW Colleges and UW-Milwaukee leaders announced the opening of the UW Flexible Option admissions process at a news conference Nov. 18, 2013, at the Pyle Center in Madison.  Apel, who works in the registrar’s office at UW-Madison, represented the most important focus of the event: prospective students.

As such, he was congratulated on his application by news conference speakers: UW System President Kevin Reilly, Chancellor Ray Cross, Regents Regina Millner and Tracy Hribar, UW-Extension Interim Provost Aaron Brower, Continuing Education, Outreach and E-Learning (CEOEL) Dean David Schejbal, UW Colleges’ Flex faculty point person Kim Kostka, CEOEL Director of the Office of Student Success Jan Ford and UW-Milwaukee College of Nursing Dean Sally Lundeen.

Apel also was interviewed by media, including, pictured here, Todd Richmond of the Associated Press and Karen Herzog of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Additional information about the event is available through the news release and the UW Colleges and UW-Extension Facebook photo album. In addition, the event recording is archived on Mediasite.

If you know someone interested in exploring the UW Flexible Option, please direct them to the website, http://flex.wisconsin.edu/ , where they can take the Flex Fit self-evaluation to see if a UW degree or certificate program offered in the Flexible Option format would be a good fit for their educational needs, goals and expectations.

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Posted at: Chancellor, Continuing Education, Outreach and E-Learning, Extension Conference Centers, UW Board of Regents, UW Colleges, UW System, UW-Extension, UW-Extension Provost | Comments Off

“And the walls came tumbling down…” with song at UW-Extension awards event


Krystal Wambold and Jonathan Overby  at UW-Extension Academic Staff Council awards event

Krystal Wambold and Jonathan Overby

Singing is not usually part of the University of Wisconsin-Extension Academic Staff Council Awards of Excellence program. In fact, the awardees don’t usually even have a speaking role. This year, however, Chancellor Ray Cross invited Jonathan Overby to grace the audience with his voice Oct. 16 at the Pyle Center in Madison.

Overby earned a hearty round of applause for blessing his colleagues with the chorus of “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho,” as well as for the body of work that led to his recognition as a “superstar” in his field. He earned the “distinguished” prefix, so now bears the title of distinguished senior broadcast specialist with Wisconsin Public Radio, part of UW-Extension’s public broadcasting division.

“Since 1994 Wisconsin Public Radio listeners have tuned in to hear Dr. Jonathan Overby engage, entertain and inform through his talk, variety and music programs,” said Krystal Wambold, chair of the Academic Staff Council, who introduced the award recipients. “Dr. Overby’s career at WPR began as a Sunday morning talk-show host, later a variety show host and producer and then executive producer and host of his current Saturday evening world music broadcast ‘Higher Ground with Jonathan Overby.”

Chancellor Cross noted that, in August, Overby had marked his 1,000th broadcast for Wisconsin Public Radio. UW-Extension Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor Aaron Brower added that Overby several years ago made his son “feel like a rock star” by inviting him to be on one of his shows a few times.

Wambold acknowledged that Overby’s performance would be a hard act to follow, joking, “I wonder what Mik and Angela will do.”

“Mik” is Michael Derks, a producer for Wisconsin Public Television, also in UW-Extension’s public broadcasting division. He was one of two to receive an Academic Staff Council Award for Excellence.

“Mik has produced many documentaries sharing Wisconsin’s history including Wisconsin Veterans’ history. He also helped in the planning of LZ Lambeau, providing a long overdue welcome home to veterans of the Vietnam war,” Wambold told the audience of about 75. “Mik is currently working closely with Wisconsin tribal communities to document Wisconsin Indian Nations. His recent program ‘Jerry Apps: A Farm Story’ was very successful with viewers and was purchased by PBS for national distribution.”

Angela Voras-Hills received an Academic Staff Council Award for Excellence for, in part, her work with a pilot project that served as the forerunner to the UW Flexible Option expected to launch with applications accepted in late November.

 “Angela currently serves as a student services specialist in the Independent Learning program, the Division of Continuing Education, Outreach and E-Learning’s oldest program at 121 years and counting,” Wambold said. “This past year she took the lead in student services for the Independent Learning Flexible Option pilot program, serving 100 participants through three program offerings. Angela acted as primary contact for program students, led in the establishment of required policies and procedures, developed a proactive advising schedule and messaging, helped in establishing proctoring procedures and assisted with public relations.”

Information about the Awards for Excellence is posted at: http://www.uwex.edu/secretary/awards-excellence.html Details about the distinguished prefix guidelines are available with “Progression Resources for Academic Staff” at: http://www.uwex.edu/secretary/title-progression.html

Angela Voras-Hills and colleagues

Angela Voras-Hills and colleagues


Aaron Brower, Krystal Wambold, Michael Derks and Ray Cross

Aaron Brower, Krystal Wambold, Michael Derks and Ray Cross


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Posted at: Awards/honors, Broadcasting and Media Innovations, Chancellor, Continuing Education, Outreach and E-Learning, Extension Conference Centers, UW-Extension, UW-Extension Provost | Comments Off

3 ways to learn about the Chancellor’s Awards

Chancellor's Awards 2013 group shot before ceremonyThe seventh annual Chancellor’s Awards ceremony and reception honored UW Colleges and UW-Extension faculty and staff and, in some cases, their community partners for exceptional teaching, outreach and collaborations. The event was Sept. 12, 2013, at The Pyle Center in Madison.

Here are three ways to learn more about the annual event:



1. View a photo album showing many of the participants at: https://www.facebook.com/uwex.uwc#!/uwex.uwc/photos_stream

2. Read the news relase at: http://bit.ly/UWCUWEXawards

3. Watch for news in spring 2014 about how to nominate your peers and community partners for the eighth annual Chancellor’s Awards at: http://www.uwex.uwc.edu/chancellor/events/ (where official photos of 2013 recipients later will be posted)




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UW-Extension Classified Staff Advisory Council invites nominations, comments and questions

UW-Extension Classified Staff Advisory Council  “We are not a replacement for the union. We are here to be your voice,” Rod Rotar told a group of 50 gathered Aug. 27, 2013, for a UW-Extension Classified Staff Advisory Council brown bag lunch meeting at the Pyle Center in Madison.  

In addition to Rotar (back row, left, in the photo), the current council includes: Katy Sticha and Dan Wanish (also in the back row); Lisa Perkins, Inga Foley and Julie Hunter (from left to right in the front row); and Jim Stull (not pictured). Stull will be leaving in October. The council’s recently completed bylaws call for nine members, so there are three openings. Nominations will be accepted through September for an October election.

As the name implies, this is an advisory group representing colleagues’ interests in policy decisions. Unlike the Cooperative Extension classified staff group, this council is open to classified staff from across UW-Extension. The Academic Staff Council and Faculty Senate, the two other UW-Extension governance groups, have invited the classified staff council to meet with them quarterly  to evaluate ideas to bring up to the administration and to respond to ideas from the administration.

UW-Extension Interim Chancellor and Provost Aaron Brower, Human Resources Director David Prucha, Human Resources Manager Joann Johnson, Interim Secretary of the Faculty and Academic Staff Dan Hill and Interim Vice Chancellor of External Relations Jessica Tormey, who serves as the chancellor’s liaison to the group, spoke briefly and answered questions at the brown bag. Questions centered around the delayed Universal Personnel System (UPS), work environment issues, professional development opportunities and tuition reimbursement.

The Wisline service was not working during the meeting, so those unable to attend in person are invited to email questions or comments to any member of council if they do not want to wait for the next brown bag. For information, visit: http://www.uwex.edu/secretary/university-staff-governance-committee.html

Details on the 2012 creation of the UW-Extension Classified Staff Advisory Council and the UW Colleges Classified Staff Advisory Council are included in a previous News and Ideas post.

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Posted at: Chancellor, Cooperative Extension, Extension Conference Centers, Governance, Human Resource System, UW Colleges, UW-Extension, UW-Extension Provost | Comments Off

Chancellor is “Ray of hope” at Town Hall

Where are we, what do we know and what are we attempting to do about the largest base cut in the history of the University of Wisconsin System? And how will this impact UW Colleges in particular?

 “We’re going to land on our feet, but we’re trying to think this through over the long-term,” said Chancellor Ray Cross, introducing the topic of the Aug. 13, 2013, UW Colleges-wide compressed video Town Hall Meeting from the Pyle Center in Madison. If you missed the meeting, you can watch the archived hour-long recording. Click on the following link (or copy and then paste the link in your browser) to view the recording:

System wide the reduction is $52 million in 2013-14 and almost $62 million in 2014-15 and ongoing, explained Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance Steve Wildeck.

 “The ongoing impact is what we pay attention to and that really hurts,” Wildeck said.

Asked whether we should be talking to legislators about negative impacts of the base reduction, Cross responded that the most important step is to show legislators that we’re making changes in response to questions raised about the program revenue balances accumulated before this biennial budget.

Provost and Vice Chancellor Greg Lampe added that campus leaders must balance what to invest in, hold off on or cut. Lampe, along with Cross, stressed the continued commitment to finding funds to support compensation.

Wildeck indicated that information about specific cuts to the UW Colleges will be finalized and communicated to the campuses shortly.

Asked if any UW Colleges campuses would close, Cross emphatically said no. What’s on the table are innovative ways to consolidate back-office services and a greater focus on priorities instead of work that’s important but not a top priority.

Questioned about UW System’s work to reestablish positive relationships with legislators, Cross pointed out the increased involvement of the Board of Regents and the increased receptivity on the part of legislators in building collaborative relationships with campus leaders. “The Board of Regents is taking a leadership role on that,” he said.

In response to a question about hiring impacts, Cross said, “The first thing we have to do is filter through what we can do that least impacts the classroom and that allows us to provide a quality education.”

“It is easy to resort to methodical business practices and to set aside the fact that we’re human beings and that we care for, respect and value our colleagues,” said Cross. He reiterated his support for faculty and staff and said the conversation would continue at the UW Colleges fall convocation later this month.

The chancellor also encouraged UW Colleges faculty and staff to keep joking and laughing. He, however, was unaware of an inadvertent self-referential pun that had the audience chuckling earlier as he spoke of balancing bad news with a “ray of hope.”

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Posted at: Chancellor, Extension Conference Centers, State budget, UW Board of Regents, UW Colleges, UW Colleges Provost | Comments Off

UW-Extension accountant reflects on time shadowing the chancellor

Dan Wanish and executive team

Dan Wanish and executive team

Dan Wanish’s day started differently from usual June 24, 2013. That’s because he was shadowing Chancellor Ray Cross instead of reporting to work at UW-Extension’s Conference Centers, where he is a senior accountant.

Since it was a Monday morning, the chancellor began the day leading the weekly executive team meeting. Pictured here at that meeting are, clockwise from left: Barb Sandridge, Aaron Brower, Greg Lampe, Ray Cross, Dan Wanish, David Prucha and Rosemary Potter).

“I was impressed with how friendly and down-to-earth Ray is, with his quiet, laid-back style, and with the thoroughness of his organization and preparation,” Wanish said after reflecting on the experience. “It was also interesting to see how tactful Ray is guiding his executive team through difficult conversations while still maintaining an informal and humor-filled atmosphere.”

While the chancellor makes no promises about being entertaining, he does invite others to contact him about the job shadowing opportunity. The process remains very simple: If you are interested in the shadowing opportunity, send a brief request to ray.cross@uwex.uwc.edu along with your dean or supervisor’s approval.

Here’s an earlier News & Ideas post with feedback from others and a link to the chancellor’s original invitation to employees: http://blogs.uwex.uwc.edu/ni/2012/08/15/youre-invited-to-shadow-chancellor-cross/

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Posted at: Chancellor, Extension Conference Centers, UW Colleges, UW Colleges Provost, UW-Extension, UW-Extension Provost | Comments Off

Learn about UW Flexible Option at LEAP 2.O Conference

The University of Wisconsin System is sponsoring a conference, “LEAP 2.0: Integrating Liberal Education into a Changing Landscape,” Thursday and Friday, May 30-31, 2013, at the Pyle Center in Madison.

 The conference will address topics such as how institutions of higher learning can continue to offer high-quality liberal learning in the context of changing delivery methods. The faculty and staff who are working on curricular development and student services for UW Flexible Option programs will lead panel sessions and workshops to share their experiences in developing a competency-based education.

If you are interested, please review the meeting agenda for details about the break-out sessions and presenters. Additional information is posted at http://liberaleducation.uwsa.edu/index.htm

There is no charge for the conference. Participants who have not registered in advance will be asked to register at the table set up on the third floor of the Pyle Center outside the meeting rooms.

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