Chancellor Shields delivers convocation address

Chancellor Shields at Convocation

University of Wisconsin-Platteville Chancellor Dennis J. Shields delivered the annual faculty and staff convocation on Thursday, where he reflected on the past year while sharing his outlook for the upcoming academic year. 

“Every new school year presents us with the ability to renew our focus, work together and make a positive impact on our campus community,” said Chancellor Shields.

The topics he addressed included the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the community and individual health, and political and social unrest, while also highlighting the resistance movements from across the country.

“In order for us to heal as a nation we have to acknowledge that systemic racism, patriarchy, heterosexism, religious intolerance, colonization and transphobia exists,” said Chancellor Shields. “We have more than enough evidence that these ordeals, as well as economic inequality, are present on our campuses and within our communities. We are but a microcosm of broader society. We need to acknowledge the historical connections of these problems in order to heal and grow; not run away from them.”

Chancellor Shields emphasized the importance of UW-Platteville students being critical thinkers. He acknowledged the work of faculty who provided students the opportunities to learn more about diversity, equity, inclusion and justice.

“Knowledge truly is power,” said Chancellor Shields. “We need to ensure our students have the knowledge base and critical thinking skills to change the world for the better. We must all have the humility to recognize the limitations of our personal experiences when considering how we interact with the world around us.”

Chancellor Shields described the college experience as an opportunity for students to learn how to become global leaders, share perspectives and obtain skills beyond their professional careers.

“Our educational role is not to tell our students what to think,” he said. “It is to build in them the intellectual curiosity to question conventional wisdom, seek thoroughly for facts, think critically and be purposeful about how they interact with others. Doing so is, to me, the foundation upon which our students will become forces for good in whatever endeavors they choose to pursue.”

Looking ahead to the 2021-22 academic year, the focus will be on the strategic enrollment plan and reviewing the budget. Chancellor Shields said plans will be developed for effective recruiting. 

“I am confident that we can create a financial plan that will not only balance our budget and address our deficits, but create investment opportunities to provide the financial support necessary to continue to provide the high-quality educational experience that UW-Platteville is proudly known for both now and in the future,” he said.

Chancellor Shields and Provost Dr. Tammy Evetovich recognized the 2020 and 2021 university award winners and welcomed new faculty and staff members.

University Staff Award for Excellence

2020 recipient: Amy Udelhofen

2021 recipient: Patti Mitch 

LTE Award for Excellence 

2021 recipient: Christine Wunderlin

Academic Staff Award for Excellence

2020 recipient: Victoria Livingston

2021 recipient: Jessica Brogley 

Excellence in International Advising

2021 recipient: Barbara Kluesner

2021 recipient: Tammy Salmon-Stephens

Outstanding Professional Academic Advisor Award

2021 recipient: Kathleen Kerr

Outstanding Faculty/Instructional Academic Staff Academic Advisor Award

2020 recipient: Dr. Anne-Marie Lerner

2021 recipient: Dr. Lucie Kadjo 

Early Career Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence

2020 recipient: Dr. Kameko Halfmann

2021 recipient: Dr. Chelsea Lancelle

Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence

2020 recipient: Dr. Aric Ranen McLanahan

2021 recipient: Dr. Austin Polebitski

Innovations in Technology for Teaching and Learning Award

2020 recipient: Dr. Vettrivel Gnaneswaran

2021 recipient: Dr. James Hampton

Outstanding Woman of Color Award

2021 recipient: Angela Yang

UW System Wisconsin Teaching Fellow Award

2020 recipient: Dr. Andrey Ivanov

2020 recipient: Dr. Chelsea Lancelle

2020 recipient: Dr. Tyler Ostergaard

UW System Wisconsin Teaching Scholars Award

2021 recipient: Dr. Bidhan Roy

UW System Alliant Energy Underkofler Excellence in Teaching Award

2020 recipient: Dr. Kristina Fields

2021 recipient: Dr. Holly Attenborough

Dr. Carol Sue Butts Woman of the Year

2020 recipient: Dr. Tera Montgomery

2021 recipient: Elizabeth Schaal

2021 recipient: Valerie Wetzel

Nimocks Family Faculty Appreciation Award

2020 recipient: Kirthi Premadasa

2021 recipient: Dr. Rebecca Doyle-Morin