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Michael R. Lovell

Many ‘best place’ efforts already under way
May 2012

As UWM moves toward becoming the best place to learn and work, it’s exciting to see how much progress already is indirectly being made toward that objective by people from across campus. I mentioned one such example, our Department of History’s commitment to the National History Day Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Competition, in my column last month. Since then, I’ve seen several additional examples.

Along the way, I’ve also seen that making UWM the best place to learn and work has applications extending beyond our current faculty, staff and students.

On April 3, for example, I was invited to the student research conference coordinated by our Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) program. Just walking into the Union Wisconsin Room, I was overwhelmed by a room full of posters that demonstrated a high level of scientific expertise in biology and environmental health.

The posters had been created by the hundreds of high school students who were also in the room, along with their science teachers. UWM Distinguished Professor of Chemistry David Petering and UWM SEPA Program Outreach Specialist Renee Hesselbach had done an excellent job leading preparations for our guests.

The week before, I was asked to introduce the lunchtime keynote speaker at the 2012 Women Leaders Conference hosted at the Pfister Hotel by the UWM School of Continuing Education. The conference attracted more than 500 individuals, who I’m sure were well-informed by the excellent lineup of speakers sharing excellent professional insights.

I know I appreciated learning from the keynote of France Córdova, the president of Purdue University, who discussed the successful efforts of her university to recruit and retain women in the STEM fields.

Also in March, there was excellent energy again in our Union Wisconsin Room for “Safe Schools, Safe Communities,” a conference in support of LGBT youth sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and State Superintendent Tony Evers. Our LGBT Resource Center, led by Director Jennifer Murray, helped open UWM’s doors to this conference and more than 300 people representing schools from around the state.

At the event, I offered opening comments that encouraged attendees to find ways to partner with UWM in their research efforts. It was only a few days later that one attendee expressed to me past frustrations with trying to find research partners at UWM. As this column was being written, my office was working to connect this individual with a UWM group he hadn’t tried working with before – our Zilber School of Public Health.

And finally, I had an extremely gratifying visit to Milwaukee Brewers spring training in Arizona at the invitation of our Alumni Association. For the second straight year, they hosted a tailgate gathering prior to a baseball game. There were 160 people at the event, 50 more than last year.

What made the event so gratifying was the number of alumni who came up to me at separate times to talk about how well their education at UWM prepared them for their careers. The level of pride expressed by these people for their UWM education was very significant.

In the coming months, more information will be shared about the immense amount of work being done on campus to make UWM the best place to learn and work. From my recent experiences, though, I can tell you that what we will be seeking to do is – in many areas – already well under way.


Michael R. Lovell