Academic Affairs

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The Division of Academic Affairs promotes the academic quality of the institution. We invite you to review the summaries from the academic programs within the division from the past year.

Academic Affairs also houses the: 

Enrollment Services:

Academic Unit Newsletters:

Betsy Morgan, PhD serves as Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

College of Business Administration expanding section
College of Business Administration overview expanding section

The College of Business Administration (CBA) had a number of accomplishments in 2016-2017. 

In order to further elevate CBA’s community profile, CBA began the Citizens State Bank First Friday Speaker Series.  This lecture series is underwritten by Citizens State Bank and is a collaboration between the UWL Advancement Office and CBA to bring back high profile alumni.  2016-17 also saw the continuation of the Russell G. Cleary Distinguished Business Leader Series.  Underwritten by the Cleary Family in cooperation with the UWL Advancement Office, this series brings speakers of national and international reputation to CBA.  Finally, the Sales Lab and Marketing Sales Competition continues to evolve and is now a corporate sponsored event featuring 12 companies.

Within the college itself, innovation continues through the UWL Assessment Commons. Initiated by a CBA faculty member in collaboration with UWL's Center for Advancing Teaching & Learning, it serves as evidence of the College’s reputation in matters of assessment (including CBA’s winning the 2013 CHEA Award for Outstanding Institutional Practice in Student Learning Outcomes).  In addition to program assessment, curricular innovation continues, with a business communication course required for all majors and a new Healthcare Analytics Management minor being offered in Fall of 2017.

In terms of wider impacts, the Multicultural Business Scholars program, begun in 2001 to retain underrepresented students, was expanded to include Accounting 221 as well as a CBA-specific section of the UWL 100.  Speaking of more concrete projects Wittich Hall, a designated historic building, will be remodeled to accommodate the CBA’s needs in a $24.6-million-dollar project.  The timing of the Wittich remodel completion is fortuitous as it coincides with CBA's 50th Anniversary.  The building and the anniversary will serve as major launch points for fundraising.  

Accountancy expanding section

Accountancy Department students were again above the national average on first time pass rate of the CPA exam.  Several personnel changes occurred during the year, including an IAS and tenure track leaving prior to the Fall 2017 semester.  A retired faculty member covered two sections of Audit, an adjunct from the community covered Fraud, and existing faculty had overloads to cover course demand.  A new IAS was hired January 2017 and a new tenure track is scheduled to start August 2017, and the department remains in search mode for two tenure track faculty. 

                The 34th Annual Accountancy Banquet was held in April 2017, sponsored by many accounting firms and businesses that recruit UWL accounting majors.  Scholarships provided by individuals, firms, and businesses aggregating over $100,000 were given to students.  202 people attended the banquet.

   The department plans to continue with the department strengths of preparing students for careers in accounting and success on the CPA exam, obtaining internships, and helping students obtain full-time employment upon graduation.  


Economics expanding section

The economics department engaged in the first major revision to the Major in nearly two decades. The results of the changes are documented in the Final Report of the Curriculum Redesign Grant written by the PIs Lisa Giddings, Betsy Knowles, and John Nunley:
“The Curriculum Redesign Grant (CRG), received for the period of July 1, 2016 to July 1 2017, grew out of our departmental deliberations over the curricular and assessment issues that we acknowledged over the past five years. The CRG team had an extremely productive grant period that resulted in what we hope will be seen in retrospect as the initial steps toward transforming the curriculum and assessment of the Economics Major. The Curriculum Redesign Committee itself, department brainstorming, and evening fall retreat were all firsts for the Department of Economics. The Committee accomplished five major goals over the course of the grant period: (1) the adoption of departmental values for our students; (2) the adoption of a new set of learning outcomes for the major that reflect stakeholder input - including current majors, alumni, and peer institutions; (3) a mapping document that links the new major learning objectives and economics course learning objectives; (4) an additional course requirement for our majors that addresses one of the learning objectives identified in the redesign process; and (5) development of an assessment plan which considers the curriculum revision.”

The Economics department continued with it speaker series bringing the following scholars to campus:

• 10/14/16 Rod Fort University of Michigan "Monetary Cost of Concussion: The Case of Major League Baseball Players."
• 10/27/16 Bryan Caplan George Mason University
• 11/4/16 Tonmoy Islam Elon University
• 2/17/17 Andy Young Texas Tech University
• 3/24/17 Ming Tsang Hamilton College
• 4/28/17 Jari Eloranta, Appalachian State Univ "Did the Rich Countries Win? Correlates of Aggregate Mobilization in the Two World Wars"
• 4/28/2017 Russ Sobel The Citadel
• 5/4/2017 Melissa Thomasson Miami University The Swan Song of the Country Doctor? How Flexner Changed the Practice of Medicine


Finance expanding section

Department of Finance:
Annual Report Submission to Digital Measures, 2016 - 2017
The 2016-2017 academic year was very productive for the faculty and students in the Department of Finance. Drs. Yuree Lim, Jared Linna and Adam Stivers, who have specialties in Corporate Finance and Investments, respectively, joined the faculty in Fall 2016. This brought the department to seven tenured or tenure-track faculty, two full-time instructional academic staff members and two part-time instructional academic staff members. Of the seven tenure track faculty, six have less than three years’ experience at UWL. Finally, Maureen Spencer ably supports the department as our ADA.

The department offers an undergraduate Finance Major and a Risk, Insurance and Financial Planning (RIFP) concentration within the Finance Major. It also supports the local MBA program and the UW Consortium MBA program. There are approximately 400 majors, of which approximately 300 have declared Finance as their first major. Career Services reports 129 Finance Degrees were awarded in 2015-2016. This is approximately one-fourth of the degrees granted by the entire college (477) and we are the second smallest department. Career Services statistics suggest 94% of responding Finance Majors are employed in a finance-related area and 80% of responding Finance with a Concentration in Risk, Insurance and Financial Planning are employed in a related field.

Regarding curriculum, the department continues to expand its offerings of online courses. During the 2016 -2017 calendar, Principles of Financial Management (FIN 355), Principles of Investments (FIN 380, Summer 2017), Money & Capital Markets (FIN 390), and Foundations of Financial Management (FIN 720, MBA Consortium Foundations Course) were all offered online. The finance major case course (FIN 485) is offered fall and spring as a writing emphasis course within the major. Kaplan-Schweser continues to support Advanced Financial Analysis (FIN 447), each spring semester. This is an excellent and nationally unique opportunity for our students as Kaplan-Schweser is the international leader in CFA training and their corporate headquarters is here in La Crosse.

The department continues to be active in service to the UW System, university, college, and community. Following is an abbreviated list:

  • UW System: Tax Sheltered Annuity Review Committee
  • University: It Make$ Cents! financial literacy program, Faculty Development, Instructional Academic Staff, UWL Online Advisory Board, Joint Promotion Committee,
  • College: Assurance of Learning Task Force, International Business Advisory Committee, Delta Sigma Pi Professional Fraternity Advisor, Scholarship Committee, and Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, and Graduate Curriculum Committee.
  • Department: Assurance of Learning, Bylaws, Curriculum, Library Liaison, Financial Management - Student Organization, Spellman Fund Oversight, Temte Scholarship, CFA – Advanced Financial Analysis
  • Community: Board of Directors for Marine Credit Union and Marine Credit Union Foundation, President of Viroqua Food Cooperative Board, and Advisory Board for Wisconsin Mutual Insurance Company
Information Systems expanding section

Through a national search, the Department has in February successfully filled the position left by Dr. Hua Dai with Dr. Nic Huang. However, Dr. Wen announced his retirement in April, which will become effective August 1, 2017. The request for Dr. Wen’s replacement has been approved and a national search for candidates is currently underway.
In March, 2017, the Department elected Dr. Haried as the next chair to take the office on July 1. Dr. Haried is also scheduled to become the director of the HIMT program on August 1, 2017.
As of early February, 2017, The IS department had 81 major students and 36 students in the IS minor program. With an additional 15 students in the Health Information Systems Management (HISM) minor program, the Department had a total of 130 students, a 10-student growth over the previous academic year. While the enrollment in the IS major has been stabilizing around 80 students in the past five years, the size of the HISM minor program has shrunk significantly since 2015. This has contributed to some required courses having low enrollment levels. The demand for IS 220 has been persistently high, resulting in our offering of two summer online sections again.

For the UW consortium HIMT program, the enrollment had reached 180 in the spring of 2017. AY 2016-17 marked the first year the program is making profit. Out of the $9,950 profit the program made for UWL, only $995 was distributed back to the IS Department. Currently, there are three students enrolled in the program.

During Academic Year 2016-17 the three IS tenure-track faculty have had 3 refereed articles published or accepted by high quality academic journals, and 4 refereed conference proceedings articles plus one book chapter published.

Drs. Haried and Yang received the 2017 CBA Summer Research Grant.

Management expanding section

General Summary

  1. Enrollment in courses was high: In the Fall Semester of 2016, 1,228 students were served in MGT courses, plus 36 students were taught by MGT faculty in BUS 310 (total: 1,264 students). In the Spring Semester of 2017 1,183 students were taught in MGT courses, plus 25 students were taught by MGT faculty in BUS 450 (total: 1,208 students). The number of Management majors leveled off (Fall, 2016 = 370 1st MGT majors) after several years of increases (e.g., Fall, 2015 = 377 1st MGT majors, up from 364 in Fall, 2014, 343 in Fall of 2012 and 290 in Fall of 2010). 111 B.S. degrees in Management were awarded in 2015-16 (the most recent data available), the second-largest in the CBA.
  2. During the 2016-17 academic year, current faculty and staff had 5 articles published or accepted in Peer-Reviewed Journals (if one includes former dept. faculty with ‘in press’ articles based on work done at UWL, the number rises to 9 articles). Current dept. faculty also wrote 2 book chapters and had 2 other publications. Faculty members had 12 professional conference presentations and 4 community and UWL (or other UW-school) presentations. Many of the conference manuscripts are currently under review.
  3. Dr. Christa Kiersch was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor, to be effective, July 1, 2017.
  4. Four college-level grants were funded.
  5. Several faculty were nominated to receive a (Provost’s) Eagle Teaching Excellence Award in Spring, 2017.
  6. Dr. Gail Gillis is retiring after eleven years at UWL, effective May 28, 2017. Chancellor Gow has conferred Emeritus status.

Update on New Programs/ Initiatives

  1. The interdisciplinary Health Analytics Minor (HAM) was approved and will be housed in the Department of Management; Mary Hamman in Economics will be its first director. Several MGT courses will be electives within the major starting Fall, 2017.
  2. Due to software challenges accurately recording student contact hours (SCH) in interdisciplinary BUS (“Business”) courses, the most popular BUS courses were re-labeled with their departmental prefixes. BUS courses commonly taught by Management faculty were re-labeled as MGT courses.
  3. The MGT major will be changed: MGT 328 (a principles and history of management thought course) will become an elective; instead, MGT majors can take either MGT 385 (a survey course in Human Resource Management) or MGT 420 (an Entrepreneurship course).

Existing Programs/Initiatives Requiring Additional Monitoring or Redesign

  1. The Dept. participated in the Integrated Core (MGT 308, MKT 309, FIN 355). The program allows students to provide clients with specific consulting that allows the students to apply knowledge from the three courses – and to see the interrelationships among the different disciplines.
  2. The Dept. continued to house the Sustainable Business minor, with 59 declared minors (Feb., 2017).

Summary of International Activities and Opportunities Offered

  1. The Department participates in the Global Consulting Program in Slovakia each summer, where student teams work on “live” client projects for businesses, nonprofits, or U.S. agencies in that country.
  2. In Summer, 2017, department faculty will participate in a study abroad program in London, England, teaching “Green Operations Management” and MGT 449.

Summary of major plans for upcoming year

  1. Hire a second Business Communications faculty member (a “full-time adjunct”).
  2. Implement the new (required) Business Communications (MGT 301) course for CBA students.
  3. Participate in the College “self-study year” for AACSB re-accreditation.
  4. Encourage faculty to actively engage in research and to publish in high-quality journals.
  5. Participate in CBA efforts to revitalize graduate education programs and to implement the new Health Analytics Minor.
Marketing expanding section

Number of Majors is Increasing: The Marketing major is currently the largest in the college with 485 Marketing majors in Fall 2016 and 464 in Spring 2017, up approximately 10-13% from last year (2015-16) and an increase of 80% from five years ago (2011-12). The number of Marketing majors is currently the highest it has been in the past two decades!

Staffing: The department currently has 9 full-time faculty members and this past year hired an adjunct lecturer at .25 load each semester. The average student-to-faculty ratio for 2016-17 exceeded 50:1, much higher than the 19:1 university average.

UWL Sales Competitions: The Marketing Department hosted its fourth UWL sales competition for Marketing students. Eighteen students competed in the competition; 24 business professionals served as judges and buyers and 12 businesses supported the competition by providing financial support and/or judges.

Plans for next year, internally, include reexamining the marketing curriculum and continued work on updating department by-laws. Externally, the department continues to focus on increasing engagement with the business community and advancement initiatives to support student scholarships and development.

Challenges for next year include the department still being relatively young with 4 of 9 faculty entering only their 2nd and 3rd years at UWL, combined with a limited number of senior (tenured) faculty; and, the growing number of marketing majors putting pressure on class sizes and advising loads. With the upcoming accreditation visit, there is also increased pressure and scrutiny to publish, and to do so in higher level outlets.

College of Liberal Studies expanding section
College of Liberal Studies overview expanding section

The 2016-2017 academic year was successful for the College of Liberal Studies (CLS). Highlights from this year include the fourth annual Creative Imperatives event. This year's theme was Identity Matters – an exploration of how identity matters to us individually and collectively, and how identity is defined by us and by those around us. Content addressed topics such as ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, career, and even sports fandom as items that can change our perception of identity as well as how identity is captured in works of art.  Beyond Creative Imperatives, CLS also hosted the 16th annual Evening of Excellence, where a number of faculty, staff, and students were recognized for their contributions to the college.  Highlights included, though certainly weren’t limited to, awards to Bryan Kopp (Faculty Recognition of Excellence Award for Teaching), Katy Kortenkamp (Faculty Recognition of Excellence Award for Service), Beth Cherne (Faculty Recognition of Excellence Award for Scholarship/Creative Endeavors, Lisa Caya (Instructional Academic Staff Recognition of Excellence Award), Antoiwana Williams (Friend of the College Recognition of Excellence Award), and Rachel Ramthun (John E. Magerus Award for Outstanding Graduating Senior).  In addition to these accolades, CLS also made progress on several aspects of curriculum this year.  In particular, work continues on the America Indian, Art Therapy, Digital Media Studies and Design, Leadership Development, Neuroscience, and Social Justice minors – some of which may be offered as early as 2018.  The Cultural Anthropology Emphasis within the Archaeological Studies major and the Hmong Studies certificate were both approved and will be offered as of Fall 2017.  Across the college, and in addition to curriculum additions and enhancements, a number of CLS academic departments reported impressive numbers of presentations and articles accepted for publication, as well as some noteworthy grant successes (over $20,000 in the department of Communication Studies).   

Archaeology & Anthropology expanding section

The Department of Archaeology & Anthropology faculty and staff continued to excel at teaching and remained active in scholarship and service activities. The department had a strong year for scholarship yielding 10 peer-reviewed publications and multiple international presentations. Drs. Kate Grillo and Liz Peacock were officially retained, and their next official retention decision will be for tenure. Dr. Amy Nicodemus joined our faculty in the Fall of 2016. Dr. Nicodemus, an archaeologist and physical anthropologist, has expertise in both faunal analysis and European prehistory (Bronze Age) and she has already diversified our international curriculum by developing ARC 311 European Prehistory. She has also already taken a student to Europe (during Spring Break) to conduct research, and she is planning a field season for this summer.

Our students were also well represented at UWL’s Celebration of Undergraduate Research (over 10% of all posters were presented by Archaeology Majors). We had a student present research at Posters in the Rotunda (Brett Meyer) and another student present research at the WiSys Board of Trustees Luncheon (William Feltz).

We successfully developed the Archaeological Studies Major: Cultural Anthropology Emphasis to serve students interested in pursuing a major course of study in Cultural Anthropology. This program was approved by all relevant committees and appears in the new catalog, and nine students were already enrolled in this new program as of mid-May. This emphasis serves students interested in international issues and cross-cultural studies, and it will reach students in all three colleges at UWL.

Finally, we completed our Academic Program Review process with a finding by the APR Committee of “No Major Issues.” This was a very rewarding process that revealed the many significant contributions our new department brings to UWL.

Art expanding section

The 2016-2017 academic year in the Department of Art continued to make progress on numerous fronts. With personnel, we successfully hired Ah Ran Koo as the art educator. Ah Ran extended some of the changes we made last year to the Art majors and applied them to the art educators. This will result in a more streamlined program and avoids some of the redundancies in the program. She also completed her doctoral studies at The Ohio University. Jennifer Terpstra successfully completed her post-tenure review. The fruits of the massive curriculum changes to the major and minors are beginning to pay dividends as we have seen an uptick in the number of both majors and minors. We continue to monitor this closely and seek feedback from the students as to how to improve the department programs. Our Gallery hosted eight shows this last year and the restructuring of the leadership of the Gallery has allowed us to do more advanced planning for the 2017-18 academic year.

We have completed significant outreach activities to the community. We participated in the Arts & Communication Day in the fall and continue to be the most popular draw among the students. We hosted the Visual Arts Classic in March and drew the most schools and students to the event in recent years thanks to the efforts of the art teachers in the region. Finally, we hosted in the Gallery the Wisconsin 3rd Congressional District High School Exhibition that attracts talented high school artists and displays the winning art works. We continue to seek ways to form positive connections with the schools and the community. Faculty and students successfully were awarded grants to support their work and research.

Communication Studies expanding section

The CST Department had a very successful and productive year. This is particularly noteworthy given the serious staffing challenges we faced in the fall. In addition to a faculty shortage, we also lost IAS GQA positions. We welcomed several new IAS members in the fall semester. A sudden resignation in October resulted in four faculty and IAS members taking on overloads mid-semester. The CST faculty and IAS members deserve recognition for keeping a positive spirit as we navigated a successful year, in part due to most individuals exceeding expectations for workload.

We welcomed Dr. Beth Boser as a first-year faculty member, and she contributes to two emphasis areas (Broadcast/Digital Media and Advocacy/Communication Criticism), the research core curriculum, and our general education program. In addition, her expertise has been an important addition to our ongoing work in streamlining two of our emphasis areas. We were thrilled to receive approval to search for, and then secure, three excellent colleagues who will begin in the fall.

The unusual semester did not stop productivity among our faculty members. The past year brought in over $20,000 in grants, 12 publications in the way of journals, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries, and nine faculty/IAS presenting competitive submissions at six different conferences. Eight individuals served as reviewers for journals and conference divisions. The amount of service generated by CST faculty and staff is abundant, and our leadership is felt across campus and in our discipline-specific organizations.

We have nearly completed all of our assessment mapping, and our work on Task Stream is up-to-date. We have revised important policies, including our supplemental teaching policy, merit policy, and post-tenure review process. We completed our work on two new interdisciplinary minors, both housed in CST and available for students now (Leadership Development and Digital Media Studies and Design). We were thrilled to secure a new scholarship donor, host our first outstanding alumni award-winner at a celebration of excellence, remain actively involved in Creative Imperatives, and continue to support undergraduate research. Coming up, we are exploring options for program entry and will continue to work on curriculum revisions and a strategic plan.

English expanding section

In 2016-17 the English Department coordinated the first annual La Crosse Reads initiative, funded by a $14,000 NEA Big Read grant in addition to $11,780 in matching grants from local sources. La Crosse Reads brought two nationally-recognized speakers to La Crosse—formerly incarcerated poet, memoirist, and activist Dwayne Betts and social justice educator and literacy scholar Dr. Deborah Appleman—in addition to offering other, more intimate local events—a community conversation, a member of the Wisconsin Innocence Project, film screenings and community meet-ups at cafes. Over 1500 people attended these events. In addition, the department expanded the La Crosse County Jail Reading Program. Our Professional Writing Speaker Series continued with a total of nine speakers in 2016-17. We partnered with the History Department’s Hear Here Project to bring Wisconsin Poet Laureate Kim Blaeser to campus to speak about place-based writing and to make a public Call for Poems that will culminate in a public reading and awards ceremony during ArtSpire 2017. Our student-edited literary and arts journal, Steam Ticket, was published this spring, and the student-run English Club continued to produce the University-wide creative works journal, The Catalyst. The department helped to host the area public schools' Battle of the Books event. The China 2+2 program added a new partner: Beijing Information Science and Technology University. The department held its sixth annual College Writing Symposium featuring presentations by ENG 110/112 students. Students in the Literature emphasis capstone course, and in linguistics courses, also presented their work in public forums, and the department’s colloquium series hosted six presentations by faculty and IAS.

Our faculty and IAS are highly active in teaching development, scholarship, publication, and in service commitments, as their individual reports show. In 2016-17, three faculty members were promoted: Drs. Rebekah Fowler and Kate Parker to Associate Professor and Dr. David Hart to Professor. Fourteen English instructors were nominated for the Eagle Teaching Award; Dr. Lindsay Steiner won the award. Dr. Bryan Kopp won the CLS Recognition of Excellence Award for Teaching. One of our recent English Education alumni, Kelly Denk (2015), received the Early Career Educator Award from the School of Education. Curriculum development also continued; the department’s collaboration with ART and CST led to a successful proposal for a new minor in Digital Media Studies and Design; and we approved a new framework for the majors that will structure a number of curriculum revisions in 2017-18.

Ethnic & Racial Studies expanding section

he Department of Ethnic and Racial Studies Faculty have made great strides, during the 2016-17 academic year, in further solidifying and developing the ERS Program, in reaching out to students, and in making connections to the local community. Most notably, ERS Faculty assisted faculty from around the College of Liberal Studies in developing and establishing a Hmong/Hmong American Studies Certificate which will be available in Fall 2017. The Department's outreach to students continued in Fall 2016 with the annual Halloween workshop; this year's event, organized by Dr. Breaux, was “Is your costume racist?"

Additionally, faculty worked with many groups around campus including Dr. Elegbede's work with the Islamaphobia workgroup, and Dr. Breaux's work with the Social Justice Institute.  For the overall program, the Department expanded upon key processes and criteria for promotion, retention, tenure and post-tenure for both faculty and IAS in their by-Laws, began the process of fully assessing the ERS Minor. For community outreach, ERS faculty consistently accepted invitations to assist, or give presentations at public schools, community events, and local organizations.  Further, ERS assisted UWL students in gaining valuable training and experiences outside of the classroom including providing monies for ERS minors to attend the Annual American Multicultural Student Leadership Conference, and to present research at the Western States Political Science Associations Meetings in Vancouver.

Finally, and most exciting, the Department of Ethnic and Racial Studies recommended that Dr. Richard Breaux be promoted to Associate Professor, and this recommendation has been forwarded to the UW-System Board of Regents for approval.

Environmental Studies expanding section

The Environmental Studies Minor continued to show strong enrollment, with 93 declared minors from across all three colleges. We continued our tradition of experiential learning for students enrolled in our classes, contracting for buses for 84 field trips, the majority of which are conducted during regular class periods. We also hosted guest speakers in a total of 55 class sessions, increasing student engagement with the local community. To improve our communication with students, we made substantial changes to our web page, linking a new ENV calendar feed and the Sustain UWL Facebook page, and creating new pages to list information about electives offered each term, environmental studies-related majors on campus, and internship opportunities. To promote our program with UWL instructors, we hosted an Instructors' Networking Event for UWL faculty whose teaching and research intersects with environmental studies. We successfully recruited a new full-time IAS member and a new ADA, and said goodbye to two instructors who decided to leave the University.


History expanding section

The Department of History had an extremely productive 2016-2017 academic year.  During the year we successfully promoted two faculty members (Gita Pai, Kenneth Shonk) and three of our faculty received tenure (Julie Weiskopf, Gita Pai, Tiffany Trimmer). During the year the department also completed a History Minor curriculum restructure as part of its larger Tuning and Mapping program, which is intended to better guide students through their educational experience and better prepare them for their futures.

Members of the department also developed new courses and made foundational changes to the major’s introductory and capstone courses. At the end of both fall and spring semesters, the department organized its senior capstone course symposia. The Department of History hosted the Regional National History Day competition. To fulfill its goals in community engagement, the department worked to expand the Oral History Program. Department members have also kept busy conducting scholarly research. In addition to dozens of conference and service presentations, the department has produced 50 projects published or accepted. Including, but not limited to, two academic books, three book chapters, and four journal articles, one edited volume, two exhibits, and one performance series.

In an effort to continue its contributions to the academic achievements of UWL faculty members of the Department of History have sought and received multiple internal and external travel, research, and development grants this year, including a Fulbright Fellowship (Julie Weiskopf). The Department of History also had a faculty member on a Fulbright Fellowship to India to do scholarly research (Gita Pai). The Department of History also restructured its bylaws. The department looks forward to continuing to continuing its work in 2017-2018.

Music expanding section

The 2016-2017 year was busy for the UW-La Crosse Music Department and included a number of changes . The Department saw two faculty members retire at the end of the academic year.  Dr. Gary Walth and Ms. Karyn Quinn both devoted over 50 years of combined instruction for our department and their dedication to our students will missed.  We have hired two full time interim Instructional Academic Staff: Jeff Erickson will be teaching applied saxophone and instrumental Jazz and Christopher Hathaway will be director of choirs and teaching Choral music education classes for our department during 2017-18. We are planning on conducting searches for continuing full time positions in the Fall of 2017. Nicole Novak, our new ADA joined our department in August.  

An extensive renovation of Annett Recital Hall began in January which adds new handicapped seating and will update most of the 40+ year old facility.  A feasibility study for a new and appropriate concert venue for our department began in spring 2017. Special signature events for our department included our second annual Music Department Gala, Marching Band Day, the La Crosse New Music Festival, The Jazz Residency, Swinging Yuletide, Big Band Cabaret, Flute Day and our Honors Recital to name few. 14 music majors presented their capstone senior recitals this year.

In addition to the dozens of concerts presented by our ensembles each semester we presented faculty recitals, performances and/or clinics by guest artists, Cole Burger, Ted Moore, Brandon Ridenour, Lindsay Garritson, Dr. William Elliot and the Wisconsin Brass Quintet. The UW-La Crosse Wind Ensemble, directed by Dr. Thomas Seddon, was again selected for a performance at the 2017 College Band Directors National Association.  Scholarship, creative and professional activity from the department includes compositions, residencies, research presentations and grants.

Philosophy expanding section

This year has been a productive year for the Philosophy Department. Department faculty had 5 peer reviewed publications and gave 20 professional presentations. The faculty were awarded six faculty development grants for teaching (totaling over $10,000), Krizan was a Co-Principal on an NEA funded grant associated with the NEA Big Read ($14,000), and Ross received a faculty research grant ($8350). Faculty also were active at university, professional, and community service. Dr. Tim McAndrews served the second of two years as the department’s Co-Chair with Dr. Eric Kraemer, both of whom will complete their service as Co-Chairs on June 30. In February, Dr. Sam Cocks was elected next Chair of the department and will take over in that role on July 1, 2017. Additionally, Dr. Mary Krizan was unanimously supported by the departmental for tenure. Drs. Glass and Scherwitz retired and were both granted Emeritus status.

Notable service positions include Chair of UPAC (Cocks), and members of JPB (Kraemer) and GEAC (Krizan). The department also advanced the Ethics Minor proposal and supported the Neuroscience Minor (housed in Psychology) through the CLS Academic Oversight Committee.

In terms of assessment, the department successfully completed their transition to Taskstream for both General Education and Program Assessment and their next three-year program assessment plan (2016-19) was approved by the UPAC. Notably, the department completed its APR 3-year progress report and it was accepted by the APR committee. Moreover, the department, under Dr Sam Cocks’ leadership, completed the seven-year APR Self Study, we selected and have scheduled the external reviewer, and the department is on schedule to complete the APR process by the end of AY 2017-18.

Finally, the department’s ADA, Mandy Wagner, moved to the Biology Department and after a long search was replaced by Mary Conrad who has acclimated quickly to the ADA position.

Psychology expanding section

All of the students who completed their residency in 2016 found full time positions for 2016-17 academic year highlighting our continuing streak of 100% placement. Students seem to be receiving multiple offers from districts and the last one was hired in April. All of the students and faculty took a field trip to Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) to focus on the role of the school psychologist in a culturally diverse location.  We continued our collaborative relationship with Milwaukee Public Schools this year when three students spending a week during J-Term in MPS schools, which were specifically chosen to represent diversity and low socio-economic status. These students wanted to experience an immersion into this type of learning environment. For Fall 2015 we offered 18 students the opportunity to study at UW-L and 12 accepted. We continue to be challenged to find quality supervisors in districts within a reasonable proximity to La Crosse.  To adjust for this, we had two pairs of students (i.e., a first year and a second year) pair up with the same supervisor. We are looking forward to some potentially strong new supervisors that will be eligible to supervise in the coming year. We continue to examine potential arrangements that can be sustained over the long term to meet our supervision needs. Student highlights include a 100% passage rate on the PRAXIS II exam based on the NASP training standards. For the current second year students, all twelve travelled to the National Association of School Psychologists Annual Convention in New Orleans, LA and ten presented their research posters (i.e., capstone projects). This continues our active participation in presenting research on the national level. An encore presentation of their research at the state convention. One student, Anna Yeager received the WSPA Research Award for her work. We had three students receive individual honors this year: Jessica Muehlbauer won the School Psychology Leadership Award. Ericka Grimm won the CLS Award of Excellence; and Amanda Yenter received the WSPA Minority Student Scholarship. Jessica also won the Graduate Student Achievement Award for the University. NASP has approved the School Psychology program through 2020. In response to the extreme shortage of school psychologists in the state, the program is exploring an online delivery format and add an additional cohort to the brick and mortar program beginning in 2017.

Sociology expanding section

The Department completed the APR process this year. Dr. Nick Bakken was on sabbatical for the spring 2017. Two faculty members, Drs. Marina and Norris, were successfully promoted to associate professor. One faculty member, Dr. Cooper Stoll, was awarded tenure. The Department focused on developing student major recruitment materials. We are in the process of finalizing a video featuring past graduates and current faculty that will appear on our website and we completed publication of a brochure for the sociology major. The number of Sociology majors increased by 8%, Sociology minors by 22%, and Criminal Justice minors by 7%. One tenure-track faculty member resigned from the department because we were not able to successfully find an academic position for her spouse in the area. The Department was given approval to search for a replacement and will start that search in July 2017.

Faculty published two books, four articles, and presented 19 papers at professional conferences. Faculty supervised approximately 15 individual undergraduate research projects in addition to their regular teaching workload.

Student Affairs Administration expanding section

Having completed its fifth year as an academic department, the SAA Department experienced some significant accomplishments during the 2016-17 year. The SAA faculty, a mixture of ranked faculty and student affairs practitioners who hold full-time administrative appointments across campus, have provided high level teaching, scholarship, research mentorship, and service to the SAA community throughout the year. However, it is the faculty’s extensive work on the development of an Ed.D program in Student Affairs Administration and Leadership that will have the most significant impact on the future of the SAA program and represents the top accomplishment of the department for the past year. Launched in May 2017, this applied doctorate program is described below:

  • Approved by the UW System Board of Regents in June 2015, the Student Affairs Administration & Leadership (SAA) Ed.D. received Higher Learning Commission (HLC) approval in December 2015. This applied doctoral degree option will be an online 54-credit program that students will be able to complete in three years.
  • The mission of the SAA Ed.D. program is to prepare student affairs professionals for advanced positions of leadership in diverse institutions of higher education.
  • The program is designed for individuals who are working in student affairs at the post-secondary level while completing this cohort model program on a year-round basis.
  • The SAA Ed.D program will be part of a unique cooperative doctoral partnership with three other UW institutions. Students from the Ed.D programs at UW-Green Bay (First Nations), UW-Oshkosh (Educational Leadership), and UW-Stevens Point (Sustainability Education) will join the SAA students in two 3-credit shared courses and 9 credits of elective courses.
Theatre Art expanding section

This year began with a very successful run and remount of our SummerStage production of All Shook Up. We sold the show exceptionally well and had a very successful scholarship remount. The fall semester began with our world premier production of 26 Pebbles, a new show by playwright Eric Ulloa dealing with the Sandy Hook school shooting tragedy from 2012. We were doubly fortunate to not only have the opportunity to fully produce this play for the first time ever but we were also able to secure funding to bring the playwright, Eric Ulloa to campus for the week leading up to our opening. Eric was able to work with our students, providing them an opportunity not often afforded to actors (student or professional) – working with the person wrote the piece they were performing. It proved invaluable to our students and an opportunity they were very appreciative of having been given. Eric was wonderful with our students and in fact the publicity of our production (mentioned in the NY Times) resulted in other theatres and universities requesting the rights to produce the show.

26 Pebbles was selected by the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival as one of 6 out of 40 college and university productions from the region (Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Indiana) to perform at the regional festival in Indianapolis, IN in January of 2017. It was a tremendous honor to be chosen and the cast performed to a standing room only audience of 700 at the University of Indiana. We were proud to represent UWL. That show was followed by Silent Sky and the semester was finished off with Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. All were well attended an exposed our audience to an all but forgotten female astronomer and the comic brilliance of Christopher Durang. Second semester began with our production of Company followed by our children’s show We Will Share the Sky and the semester finished up with our production of The Importance of Being Earnest. Again, the second semester productions were well received and attended.

In addition to our regular season of seven fully-staged productions, we produced 10 senior acting recitals, hosted a workshop for Rufus King Middle School, hosted a welcome BBQ for incoming Theatre students, participated in the SAC Recruitment Day, faculty and students attended the WI High School Theatre Festival for potential recruitment, brought Karen Olivo, Broadway actress to campus for Creative Imperatives where she also conducted a master class with our theatre students as well as an evening Q&A session with Ms. Olivo open to the public, faculty also conduced several workshops for the Creative Imperatives Festival and collaborated with the Financial Aid Office to create and produce the Money Monologues, an event to promote financial literacy to students.

Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies expanding section

WGSS continued work on revamping our recruitment and advising processes, our major and minor, and our assessment plan. Our goals are to attract an increasingly diverse group of majors and minors, and to develop a coherent process for students to better understand the skills they are developing in college and the many ways they could and will use those skills after college, as citizens, in their webs of relationship, as members of communities, and as productive members of society in whatever way they choose. We want our graduates to leave UWL having had many intentional opportunities over their time with us to consider their options.


To this end, the department finalized new student learning outcomes and sub-outcomes and designed new rubrics for assessing each sub-outcome. Mapping our courses to our new learning outcomes enabled us to identify where gaps between our aspirations and our current realities are likely to appear, and to begin planning for how we will address those weaknesses before students reach the courses in question. We began work on a sophomore seminar and on redesigning our capstone course. Individual instructors began developing new assignments or revising current courses to meet our new student learning goals. And we continued our work to design a new cross-disciplinary social justice minor.


WGSS continues its support of the Self-Sufficiency Program, a free pre-college bridge program designed for low-income parents aspiring to success in college. The director of SSP successfully inspired the community of La Crosse to consider the housing needs of low-income student-parents, serving as a consultant and advisor to the new 3 Rivers Scholar House that will open to residents in fall 2017.

College of Science and Health expanding section
College of Science and Health overview expanding section

In academic year 2016-2017 the College of Science and Health continued to provide new and unique learning opportunities to more than 5300 undergraduate and graduate majors within the College through the development of programs such as data science, neuroscience, and mathematical ecology, and dual-degree programs in clinical laboratory science and microbiology. Study abroad courses in Tanzania and faculty-lead research projects in Belize and Panama offered international exposure to students. Many departments revised curriculum, underwent reviews of academic programs with a focus on quality improvement, and received or renewed accreditations from external agencies. Public lectures by Nobel laureates, the establishment of a Tourism Research Institute, and service learning activities by faculty, staff and students, such as the annual Health for Generations Camp for Native American students, engaged the surrounding community and provided experiential learning opportunities beyond the boundaries of campus. College-sponsored programs, which include the McNair Scholars and First Year Research Exposure (FYRE), reduced gaps in equity for first-generation students. Programs, including a lecture by a visiting scholar of color and a workshop on inclusive excellence in the classroom, were offered to faculty. Twelve new faculty and six new instructional academic staff were hired for academic year 2017-2018 to replace personnel who have retired or resigned. However, changing enrollment demographics and static state funding resulted in a loss of 2.5 positions and a budgetary reduction in supplies and expenses for the next fiscal year. College goals for the 2017-2018 academic year include the development of a peer-mentoring program for new faculty and instructional academic staff, enhancing programming opportunities for students by developing new majors, interdisciplinary minors or certificate programs, creating additional undergraduate research fellowships, and promoting inclusive excellence by submitting grant proposals to fund scholarships for students of color and hosting equity events for faculty and staff.

Biology expanding section

In 2016-2017 the Biology Department replaced nearly 20% of its workforce.  Three new faculty, two instructional academic staff and a new ADA joined us:  Drs. Elizabeth Peitzman (human anatomy & physiology), Jaclyn Wisinski (cell biology), and Amy Yu (genetics) are tenure-track hires, Drs. Jason Freund (Ecology/Aquatics/Organismal Biology) and Bill Haviland (human anatomy & physiology Lab Coordinator) are IAS and Mandy Wagner is our new ADA.  A majority of the tenure-track positions in the department are now held by females.   A new biology concentration in Plant and Fungal Biology started in the fall of 2016, and a multi-departmental Neuroscience minor will be brought to the UCC in the fall of 2017.  Summer, 2016 saw the initiation of the Mathematical Ecology REU in collaboration with the math department.  Faculty and staff maintained their scholarly productivity and active engagement in undergraduate and graduate research education.  They submitted more than 20 educational, research, and service grants during AY 2016-2017; new funding from external grants exceeded $650,000.  Biology faculty authored 19 peer-reviewed publications or book chapters with several publications focused on SOTL.  In addition, faculty and staff, along with undergraduate or graduate co-authors, made more than 75 presentations at regional, national, and international science conferences.  Service to the university, professional societies and the La Crosse community continued as a strong component of Department activities.  For example, Dr. Jenny Klein is the vice-president of GROW La Crosse, which focuses on creating active science learning environments in gardens and on farms for local school districts, and Dr. Megan Litster is on the Board of Directors for the Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers.

Chemistry & Biochemistry expanding section

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry faculty and staff continued to excel at teaching while remaining very active in research and service activities. Seven chemists received multiple nominations for the UWL Eagle Teaching Excellence Award. The new course, CHM 413-Environmental Chemistry Laboratory was offered by Kris Rolfhus for the first time. Three chemists received awards from the La Crosse-Winona section of the American Chemical Society (ACS)–Dan Grilley and Todd Weaver for “Exceptional Dedication to Chemistry Education & Development,” and Rob McGaff for “Groundbreaking Chemistry Research.” Sandra Koster was recognized by the national ACS-Committee on Community Activities as a chemistry “Volunteer of the Year” and featured in Chemical and Engineering News. Our ACS-Student Affiliate chapter (“chem club”) advised by Basu Bhattacharyya, Nadia Carmosini, and Ben Haenni, was again recognized nationally with an Honorable Mention Award. Six faculty received UWL Faculty Research grants for the 2017-18 AY (Carmosini, Gorres, May, McGrath, Schenck, Weaver). Four patent applications were filed by chemistry faculty members this year (McGaff, Monte). Dan Grilley was tenured and promoted to Associate Professor, and Eugenia Turov was promoted to Lecturer. We searched successfully for an organic chemist, Dr. Valeria Stepanova, to replace retiring Prof. Bruce Osterby after his 34 years of dedicated service to UWL.

The Biochemistry Major received national accreditation from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), making it the first and only biochemistry program in the UW-System to be recognized for its high quality in this manner. Biochemistry graduates are now officially certified by the ASBMB. We continued to use one-time internal funding to upgrade and modernize our laboratory instrumentation and notably acquired a state-of-the-art FTIR to replace an obsolete model. The department completed and submitted its comprehensive, six-year, “Periodic Review” to its main accrediting body, the ACS-Committee on Professional Training and began preparing the UWL Academic Program Review self-study report for submission in 2017. The new department Strategic Planning Committee completed its initial survey efforts, presented findings to the department, and made initial recommendations for the 2017-18 AY following an all-department retreat at the end of the spring semester. We began initial preparations to move into the new science laboratories building in fall 2018.

Computer Science expanding section

The Department continues to see very strong demand for its programs both from new first year students and existing UWL students switching majors. In the last few years the number of majors has more than doubled with an increase of minors as well. The UWL Computer Science program has a reputation of excellence within the state and the upper midwest for its strong curriculum, broad array of upper level electives and all tenure track staff. Demand for graduates continues to be exceptionally strong.

The Department hosted the Midwest Instruction and Computing Symposium (MICS) in April of this year. This was the 50th year of the conference having been started at the University of North Dakota in 1967. The conference was attended by 250 CS faculty and students from the upper midwest and included programming and robot competitions and presentations on undergraduate research. UWL programming teams placed 1st and 3rd out of 60 teams totaling 180 students. The Best Graduate Student Paper award was won by a UWL MSE student.

The department has expanded it core offerings with the recent introduction of a three course sequence in computer engineering and is reorganizing the hardware related content of the 270, 370 sequence. These changes will better support upper level requirements and complement the computer engineering sequence.

The Distinguished Lecturer Series in Computer Science this year was Prof. Shafi Goldwasser (MIT). Prof. Goldwasser was the 2012 ACM Turning award winner which considered to be the Nobel Prize of Computer Science. Prof. Goldwasser spoke on problems in cryptography.

Geography & Earth Science expanding section

The Department of Geography and Earth Science continues to offer strong programming and opportunities for students. The Department conducted a revision of the Geography: Environmental Science Concentration Major and the Earth Science Minor, led by Dr. Joan Bunbury and funded by a UWL Curriculum Redesign Grant. The extensive revisions provide students with enhanced learning experiences. The Department continued implementing assessment of program SLOs. Assessment for several courses within the physical geography and techniques curriculum were conducted for the first time.

Debra Gerke is the new ADA with a 50% appointment, shared with the College of Science and Health. Krista Anderson (Physics ADA), has a 25% appointment to assist her. Ms. Gerke provides extremely valuable support to the Department faculty and students. However, this split arrangement is problematic, as there is no longer an ADA in the office full-time to provide continuous office support and management.

Faculty published 6 research papers and gave 11 conference presentations, and were particularly active in international activities. Dr. Colin Belby undertook field work in Belize with Dr. Gerrish (Biology) and Geography major Karl Radke, mapping marine habitat along the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. Dr. John Kelly served on a Master’s thesis committee for a graduate student in Morelia, Mexico, and conducted research in Mexico on conservation preserves. Dr. Daniel Sambu continued his research examining community wildlife conservation in rural areas in Kenya and co-lead (with Dr. Weiskopf, History) a study tour to Tanzania.

Geography students also were active in research. Two students (Karl Radke, Charlotte Peters) received UWL Undergraduate Research and Creativity Grants and another (Alex Engelson) received a CSH Dean’s Distinguished Fellowship. Thirteen students presented at the UWL Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creativity and 3 presented at national conferences (the American Association of Geographers and the National Conference on Undergraduate Research).

Health Professions expanding section

The Health Professions (HP) Department consists of four graduate programs: Medical Dosimetry (Med Dos), Occupational Therapy (OT), Physical Therapy (PT) and Physician Assistant (PA), and two undergraduate programs: Nuclear Medicine Technology (NMT) and Radiation Therapy (RT).  The department offers three undergraduate service courses, including one general education course. Student demand for the HP Programs is very strong based on applications received and student credentials of those applying.  Pass rates for all the HP programs remain excellent, well above the national average. Based on students surveyed, all obtained a job within 6 months of graduation.  The Physician Assistant Program had their on-site visit this spring.  The HP department had 1 retirement, 1 resignation and are continuing searches for 2 open positions.  Faculty scholarship has been productive and incorporated student researchers (over 17 faculty/student publications and approximately 20 faculty/student poster presentations at national and state conferences).

HP prides itself on faculty/student service and outreach activities.  Student placements occurred at over 230 clinical sites across the US in 2016-2017.  Faculty mentored OT and PT students have served over 100 clients through the OT adult and pediatric clinics and the PT program’s Exercise Program for Program for People with Neurological Disorders (EXPAND).  Interprofessional programs involving Viterbo and the Go Baby Go continue to bring students together for unique learning activities from different HP programs. Faculty/student service learning activities have been influenced over 20 community-based organizations and nearly 500 participants.  Faculty were involved and received recognition based on their service to the college, university, and their respective professional organizations.

Mathematics & Statistics expanding section

The Department of Mathematics and Statistics had a very successful and productive year. Following up on last year’s Department name change, this year a new course prefix was added. All statistics courses now have a STAT prefix. The number of undergraduate majors and minors continues to rise, and the collaborative Online Masters Degree in Data Science, with Jeff Baggett as the Academic Director, is in its second year and is growing rapidly, with 38 students, of whom 7 were enrolled through UWL in Fall 15 to 219 students with 44 enrolled at UWL Spring 17.

The level of scholarly activity in the Department continues to be high. Dr. Tushar Das published a research monograph through the American Mathematical Society (AMS), and there were eighteen articles in journals or conference proceedings accepted/published by twelve different faculty members. Seventeen additional articles were submitted. Drs. Bennie and Eager successfully ran the first summer of the UW-La Crosse REU in Mathematical Ecology, and the students involved attended and gave presentations at the Joint Mathematics Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.

Faculty in the Department are also involved in a wide range of service activities at all levels. Department members chaired two joint committees, two Faculty Senate committees, and four college-level committees. Dr. Allen also chaired the Search Committee for the new registrar. Drs. Chen and Vidden continue their networking with local companies and organizations resulting in several student internships. Several students were accepted to attend REUs or other programs over the summer. Once again, the Department had a great crop of graduating seniors. One of the Murphy Award winners was a Statistics Minor, and the other was a Statistics Major. Multiple mathematics or statistics graduates will be attending graduate school in Fall 2017.


Microbiology expanding section

The Department of Microbiology graduated thirty two Microbiology majors and twenty seven Clinical Laboratory Science majors in May 2017, concluding a busy year of curriculum revisions, scholarly activity and service.  We restructured the format and reduced the credits required for two core 400-level courses, microbial genetics and bacterial physiology from five to four, improving flexibility for students and faculty to pursue elective offerings.  The Microbiology minor was restructured to improve flexibility for students.  All these changes were approved by UCC.  

Our proposed dual CLS B.S./Clinical Microbiology M.S. degree was approved by UCC and GCC also.  In scholarship, faculty submitted eight research grants worth $708,771 including four external grants to NIH and USDA and three UWL grants.  Five grants were funded for $50,542.  Eleven research articles were submitted by faculty, of which three were published in refereed journals, three in non-refereed journals and the remainder under review or revision.  Faculty reviewed 20 research articles or grant proposals for professional journals or grant agencies.  One patent application was submitted for an antibiotic against drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.  Faculty mentored twenty five undergraduate students in research, with six students presenting their work either at the UWL Celebration of Research, the American Society for Microbiology regional meeting in Iowa in October 2016.

 In service, Microbiology faculty made strong contributions.  In the CSAH, our faculty served on the College Committee, Scholarship Ceremony committee, Sabbatical, Biosafety, Distinguished Speakers and Dean’s Distinguished Summer Fellowship Committees.  At the university level, our faculty served on Faculty Senate, the Graduate Education Leadership Board, Grad Council, Graduate Academic Program Review, UG Academic Program Review Committees.  The department continues to engage the community both at local elementary and middle schools, and through providing expertise in collaborative grants with Gundersen Clinic and research with personnel at BioCreations Inc., and USGS scientists at UMESC.

Physics expanding section

Producing Scientists & Engineers

  • The UWL Physics Department continues to be a top performer in the nation. According to the American Physical Society’s (APS) most recent rankings, the Department is one of the top five schools nationally for the average number of physics degrees conferred (27 during 2012-2014, the most recent compilation) by a Bachelor’s Degree-only institution.
  • UWL physics students continue to excel in research, with 39 majors participating in projects with faculty mentors. Students take part in campus-based research projects as well as prestigious Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) and Internships. Students continue to successfully apply for UWL and external agency funding to support their summer research work.
  • In the fall of 2017, 20 UWL physics majors will transfer to an engineering college as part of the Physics Department’s Physics/Engineering Dual Degree program. In the spring of 2017, the University of Minnesota – Duluth’s Engineering programs (mechanical, electrical, civil) became the newest addition to this initiative.
  • Enriching Students, Faculty, & the Campus Community
  • Dr. Shuji Nakamura of the University of California Santa Barbara and co-winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics served as the Physics Department’s Distinguished Lecture Series in Physics (DLS) speaker on October 13-14, 2016. Dr. J. Michael Kosterlitz of Brown University and co-winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics will be the speaker at the 18th annual DLS on October 26-27, 2017.
  • Dr. Sarah Demers of Yale University served as the Public Lecture Series speaker on April 27-28, 2017. Physics majors obtained a grant to fund Dr. Demers’ visit and they were very interested in both her science and career story.
Recreation Management & Therapeutic Recreation expanding section

During the 2016-2017 academic year, the Department of Recreation Management and Therapeutic Recreation successfully renewed their accreditation through the National Recreation and Park Association Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Related Professions. Along with the renewal of accreditation, the Tourism Research Institute ( officially launched in February 2017. The mission of the Tourism Research Institute is to promote and support research in the areas of travel, tourism, and recreation in Wisconsin and the greater Midwest region. The Institute seeks to fulfill its mission by partnering and collaborating with public and private organizations involved in the travel and tourism industry. The institute will include faculty members across campus to meet a variety of research needs, including opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to engage in tourism-related research.

With the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee approval of program and course revisions for the Recreation Management Program, the Program launched courses for their generalist degree and will also have three emphases. Emphases include: Community Recreation (non-profit organizations, municipal government, MWR, and camps); Tourism; and Outdoor Recreation (outdoor education, environmental education, and adventure programs). The Generalist includes completion of the core and a minor of the student’s choice. Therapeutic Recreation majors scored high on the national certification exam. The National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) 2016 report stated that over 98% of UWL Therapeutic Recreation (TR) majors, first time test takers, passed the NCTRC exam to become a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS).

The national passing rate for this period was 88%. The UWL TR majors are guided by a strong curriculum (, and a 560-hour, semester long internship that is focused on 69 job tasks or competencies that must be meet. With such dedicated faculty and highly motivated students, it is not surprising that the students in RMTR are flourishing.  

School of Education expanding section
School of Education overview expanding section

Enrollments in education remain strong at UWL, and teacher education continues to be one of the top five majors selected by UWL students.

This last year, the School of Education, Professional & Continuing Education (EPC) launched its first international program specifically for education students launched, where 14 students spent four weeks living in Luoyang, China with host families. This opportunity to explore another part of the world expanded future teachers’ way of thinking about the complex society in which they live and how that intersects with their professional aspiration of educating children.

Closer to home, EPC also launched its Milwaukee Urban Experience (MUE), the first extended urban experience for education students, occurred. This was a 10-week summer program where UWL students majoring in education participated in a hands-on experience in an urban environment alongside UWL faculty members. In a learning community format, UWL students spent time teaching and learning in urban elementary and middle schools, while building relationships with children and participating in home visits to better understand the whole child.

The Grow Our Own – Teacher Diversity program is underway with candidates enrolled. This program assists individuals from diverse backgrounds in achieving teacher certification. Institutional portfolio review processes and policies are now in place to assist students’ transition into and through the program.

A six-credit Social Justice certificate for educators has been developed and will begin this fall. The program is a collaboration between UWL’s Social Justice Institute and the

Department of Educational Studies.  UWL added another collaborative degree, MS-Health Care Administration. This degree will be housed in the Health Education and Health Promotion Department. It brings our total to four collaborative degrees.

Department of Education Studies expanding section

DES had another productive year with ongoing curricular development, campus community involvement, and scholarship activities. Dr. Adrienne Loh began her 3-year term as Chair.  Dr. Rita Chen (MC-EA) was promoted to Associate Professor and also won a Provost Teaching Excellence Award.  Ten junior faculty successfully underwent contract or non-contract reviews.  We also had one resignation - Dr. Jude Harrington.  

We expanded the number of sections of Foundations courses (which are General Education courses required in all teacher education programs), this year serving over 700 teacher education majors across almost all teacher education programs in EDS 203 and EDS 206.  An additional ~300 General Education students were served in EFN 205. We continue to adjust our curriculum to best prepare students, this year revising the Literacy curriculum for ECMC and MCEA majors, requiring that all DES majors take courses in global education and English language learners, and procuring nearly $80,000 in instruction-related grants.

 DES faculty and students were active in campus initiatives such as Creative Imperatives, Social Justice Week, Widening the Circle, and Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Productivity, and continue to be highly engaged with our area school partners, supporting 11 Professional Development Schools.  DES faculty were also very productive in their research, procuring nearly $30,000 in funding, publishing 17 papers/book chapters, and making 69 presentations.

 As always, departmental members continue to be heavily involved in service to the college, university, professional organizations and the community (for example, 12 faculty serve on Faculty Senate committees and 7 serve on Consulting Boards of Directors in the community). DES also revised Merit, Retention, Tenure, and Post-Tenure review sections of our bylaws.

Murphy Library expanding section
Murphy Library overview expanding section

Murphy Library continued to be an essential part of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse educational mission during the 2016-17 academic year. The Library organized several instruction and outreach events. These included events like “Freedom to Read”, the “STEM Teacher Resource Day”, author lectures, TEDx Salons, multiple exhibits around the Library and a regional conference on information literacy and collaboration among libraries of different types. Digital collections continued to expand and are now more readily accessible by their inclusion in the Digital Public Library of America. Grant writing activity has again been active this year for research, collections and outreach activities. A preliminary study shows a positive relation between usage of the Library (borrowing, interlibrary loan, library instruction attendance) and a higher GPA in students. Librarians have presented at local, state and national conferences and meetings. Members of the Library Department also were involved with significant service activities including university committees, systemwide Council of University of Wisconsin Libraries (CUWL) committees, committees within the Library, professional associations and community organizations. Staff members were involved in UWL governance. Collaboration with units and organizations outside the Library and University continues and leads to fruitful results, including a national award for the Special Collections unit. A multi-year remodeling project started in 2016 with the rejuvenation of the main floor, creating a more pleasant environment for students.

Library Department expanding section

Library department faculty engaged in another active year of contributions to teaching and learning at UWL. Librarians met with over 6,400 students in over 250 classroom instruction sessions over the year, and we individually assisted students, faculty, staff, and members of the community with their information research efforts more than 5,200 recorded times. The transition of our traditional classroom instruction sessions with CST 110 students (roughly 50 sessions per semester) to an online format marked a major change to our teaching strategy, one we hope will bring improved effectiveness and flexibility going forward. New additions to the digital collections included Leaping La Crosse News, the Burgess Photograph Collection, and the Freedom Flotilla Photograph collection, and Special Collections received significant new materials from UWL University Centers and the Racquet, plus numerous records from La Crosse County. Scholarly contributions included an article in the peer-reviewed International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Journal, a new book, Composer Genealogies, and two book reviews published in the national, high-impact Library Journal, along with numerous articles in local and regional professional newsletters. Librarians again formally shared their work with peers in a wide variety of conference settings, including the national Digital Library Federation Forum held in Milwaukee this year, and meetings of important regional and local organizations such as the Wisconsin Association of Academic Librarians, the Wisconsin Library Association, and the Council of University of Wisconsin Libraries. Furthermore, department members organized and hosted a new state-level conference to bring librarians together from the different fields of librarianship, called C.A.L.L. (Conference About Libraries and Literacy). Grant-writing resulted in nearly $65,000 in awards in support of our scholarly work. The department welcomed new members Amber Leibundgut-Peterson (Web and User Experience), Katherine Fish (Electronic Resources & Acquisitions), and Scott Pfitzinger (Access Services) this year.


Graduate Studies expanding section
Master in Business Administration expanding section


Finance faculty have a substantial role in supporting the UWL MBA program as well as the online MBA program through the UWS consortium. The Finance Faculty provide instruction for two of the core MBA courses and one to three electives per year (both on campus and through the consortium).

Information Systems

Dr. Wen taught one section of the BUS 755 class to the MBA program in spring, 2017.


  1. Due to low enrollment in the MBA program, we did not offer the usual number of in-person electives. Nevertheless, among faculty in the department, there was strong commitment to graduate business education in general and to the MBA program.
  2. The MBA curriculum is being examined by the college-wide Graduate Committee and the department is participating in that effort.


The department actively participates in the UWL on-campus MBA program and the UW Consortium Online MBA Program. The department has historically team-taught (with Finance) the Introductory UWL MBA Course (BUS 730 Decision Framing I) and Module 3 of the UW Consortium Online MBA program, which is UWL’s contribution to the Consortium (BUS 760/UW Consortium 713 Global Management).

School Psychology expanding section

This was a year of leadership transition as Joci Newton took over as Program Director for Rob Dixon while he continues to serve as external chair to another department. All of the students who completed their residency in 2017 found full time positions for 2017-18 academic year highlighting our continuing streak of 100% placement.

This year saw some of the earliest offers with everyone finding a placement before the year ended. For Fall 2017 we offered 18 students the opportunity to study at UWL and 12 accepted. Student highlights include a 100% passage rate on the PRAXIS II exam based on the NASP training standards. For the current second year students, all twelve travelled to the National Association of School Psychologists Annual Convention in San Antonio, TX and presented their research posters (i.e., capstone projects). This continues our active participation in presenting research on the national level.

The prestigious Bernice Krolasik Memorial Scholarship, awarded to one non-traditional age school psychology graduate student, was presented to our very own Jessica Showen at the 2017 Wisconsin School Psychologist Association Spring Convention. We had two students receive individual honors at UWL this year: Jessica Showen also won the CLS Graduate Student Recognition Award, and Rochelle Zabadal won the CLS Graduate Student Academic Achievement Award. Rob Dixon put in a lot of work developing a proposal for a program expansion for an online cohort; however, current resource limitations are not able to support expansion of the program at this time.

Graduate Student Affairs Administration expanding section

Having completed its fifth year as an academic department, the SAA Department experienced some significant accomplishments during the 2016-17 year. The SAA faculty, a mixture of ranked faculty and student affairs practitioners who hold full-time administrative appointments across campus, have provided high level teaching, scholarship, research mentorship, and service to the SAA community throughout the year. However, it is the faculty’s extensive work on the development of an Ed.D program in Student Affairs Administration and Leadership that will have the most significant impact on the future of the SAA program and represents the top accomplishment of the department for the past year. Launched in May 2017, this applied doctorate program is described below:

  • Approved by the UW System Board of Regents in June 2015, the Student Affairs Administration & Leadership (SAA) Ed.D. received Higher Learning Commission (HLC) approval in December 2015. This applied doctoral degree option will be an online 54-credit program that students will be able to complete in three years.
  • The mission of the SAA Ed.D. program is to prepare student affairs professionals for advanced positions of leadership in diverse institutions of higher education.
  • The program is designed for individuals who are working in student affairs at the post-secondary level while completing this cohort model program on a year-round basis.
  • The SAA Ed.D program will be part of a unique cooperative doctoral partnership with three other UW institutions. Students from the Ed.D programs at UW-Green Bay (First Nations), UW-Oshkosh (Educational Leadership), and UW-Stevens Point (Sustainability Education) will join the SAA students in two 3-credit shared courses and 9 credits of elective courses.


Masters In Software Engineering expanding section

Interest in the Master of Software Engineering degree (MSE) remains strong especially for the 5-year track that allows students to complete both the BS and MSE degrees in five years. Many prospective students who visit the department specifically ask about this program. It is clearly a distinguishing feature for UWL. While no curricular changes were made to the program this last year, the department is constantly aware of the need to make sure the program remains meaningful to practicing software engineers.

The MSE contract programs with Wuhan University and the South Central University for Nationalities (SCUN) continue to show strong interest. Each cohort is at UWL for two years (first year coursework, second year capstone project). Each cohort has been averaging ten students.

Graduate Reading Program expanding section

In March 2017, management and delivery of the Graduate Reading Program was moved to the Institute for Professional Studies in Education.  Curriculum development and approval is through a partnership between IPSE and DES.  DES faculty also serve the graduate School Psychology program by delivering required courses in their program: EFN 705, RDG 601, and SPE 715. DES faculty also teach CI 695, a professional development course with graduate credit for in-service teachers.  The last few students in the SPE Masters program are completing their programs in 2017-18; the program was officially suspended in Spring 2017.  Dr. Ann Yehle teaches in the Educational Leadership program offered through IPSE.

Graduate Health Professions expanding section

The Health Professions (HP) Department has four graduate programs: Medical Dosimetry (Med Dos), Occupational Therapy (OT), and Physical Therapy (PT).  These graduate programs are all accredited, continue to attract a strong and competitive applicant pool, have high pass rates on terminal/board certification exams (above the national average), and have good employment prospects for graduates.  Exceptional faculty/student research has resulted in over 17 publications, over 20 presentations at national and state professional meetings, and resulted in several external grants and contracts.  Service learning opportunities engage the students in many unique faculty supported programs within the greater La Crosse community.  Clinical internships, either regionally or nationally, foster professional learning opportunities so students are ready to practice in their chosen field.

Microbiology Master of Science expanding section

In terms of curricular developments, in June 2016 the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents approved the creation of a UWL Department of Microbiology Master of Science degree program.  Additionally, the Department developed a Dual Degree program in Clinical Lab Science (BS) and Clinical Microbiology (MS) which was approved, and a Seminar Paper track for the Microbiology MS degree, which is still in the approval process.  Now that we have our own Masters entitlement, we have begun work on program assessment and generating our own set of policies and guidelines.  

In Fall 2016 the Department enrolled three new students in the Microbiology program, and four students in the Clinical Microbiology emphasis.  Approximately twenty graduate students were actively engaged in thesis research, working with mentors in the Microbiology Department.  Approximately five students completed their thesis and graduated by May 2017.  Two graduate students acted as teaching assistants for MIC 100 Microbes and Society Labs, while four graduate students were prep room assistants, helping to prep lab classes.  Two other students received research assistantships and one student was awarded a NSF fellowship.  Graduate students received six RSEL grants to aid their research for a total of $10,746, and presented their work at UWL’s Celebration of Research, as well as regional and international conferences.  

Graduate faculty served on many graduate student thesis committees, ranging from two to twelve per faculty member, with five faculty serving on at least eight thesis committees including BIO as well as MIC graduate students.  A grant was received from Graduate Studies to explore the Professional Science Masters degree as a new path in our program.  Initial work will include surveying potential employers for interest, and exploring collaboration with the College of Business to offer graduate students training in project management and financing.