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Michael R. Lovell

Lights, camera, action!
May 2013

t’s not exactly Hollywood, but some days it seems that way around the chancellor’s office. Increasingly, organizations from on and off campus are telling their stories via video and inviting me to be part of their productions.

I know this practice is on the increase because I’ve been told I have appeared in more videos in my first two years as chancellor than my two predecessors throughout their entire tenures. But I’m not planning on a new career as a leading man. I know that in this YouTube age, video is the increasingly preferred medium to convey a message.

Yet I find it interesting to consider who has asked me to be part of their video projects just this last month:

  • Milwaukee Succeeds, the education initiative for which I serve as a co-chair, interviewed many people, including me, about the regional imperatives for improving K-12 education.
  • Our own University Relations and Communications Division stopped by to talk with me about the growing importance of internationalization at UWM. The material is going toward both a Spotlight on Excellence video and a promotional video for international recruitment.
  • ANSYS Inc., which supports the UWM Institute for Industrial Innovation, is creating a video that describes the significance of our partnership and how our university sees the many aspects of that partnership in its role in preparing our engineering students for the future.

In addition to these recent videos that are still in production, completed videos about UWM greatly enhance perceptions about the university.

I have found videos to be excellent additions to speeches. At a recent presentation to the Milwaukee Rotary, I incorporated three videos: the Spotlight on Excellence about the Student Startup Challenge, the UWM Foundation video about Innovation Campus and the Johnson Controls video about its joint partnership with UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee. Each video received a warm round of applause and very positive comments following the meeting.

For all of you who follow the UWM YouTube site,, I’m sure none of my words about the explosion of video is a surprise. At the site you can find links to hundreds of videos created by UWM that have been watched more than 186,000 times.

The video about Macyn Taylor, the 17-year-old Peck School of the Arts graduate from 2011, is the most popular UWM-produced video with more than 30,500 views. Many other videos, including others from our great Spotlight on Excellence series, have been watched thousands of times.

In conversation with our University Communications staff members who focus on telling the UWM story, I’ve learned that prospective students looking for a university are interested in both academics and fun. So there’s great value in university-produced videos like the ones created at the start of the academic year for Pantherfest or, often even better, the student-produced videos
like the Panther Swim Team version of the
Harlem Shake, which has been viewed more
than 200,000 times.

I don’t want to put additional undue pressure on the team in University Relations and Communications that creates our outstanding videos by encouraging more people to call them for help. But I would encourage those who receive an upcoming survey from the UWM Video Task Force to respond to it. I know they’re studying ways to improve and potentially increase our video-creation capacity. I believe the survey will gather information about an important resource because, from my experiences, video is an excellent way to tell your story.


Michael R. Lovell