As the lead admissions specialist for the Center for Distance Learning, Clint Nemitz works with his team to connect prospective students with their desired academic programs. He is also the latest participant of the Division of Professional Studies’ Pioneer Profiles—a series of Q&A’s with members of the division’s dedicated staff. The following conversation details Clint’s thoughts on the benefits and challenges of his position, as well as his passion for helping distance students.
You first joined the Center for Distance Learning in 2006 and have stayed with the department ever since. How has your background and experience shaped you as an advocate for distance learning?
It was my journey that helped me become an advocate for distance learning. My educational path was a winding road to say the least, as most of that time I had more questions than answers: What do I want to do with my life? I have some visions of how I see my life, how can I get there?
These questions were constant throughout my educational journey, so I took plenty of time completing my degree. I started out at UW-Richland, earning my associates and then transferring to UW-Platteville, where I often switched majors before “settling” on a teaching degree. Because of this experience, I find it very easy to relate to a student who contacts UW-Platteville Center for Distance Learning, looking to complete their degree and find their path.
What do you enjoy most about working for the CDL?
I love our team! Anytime you can surround yourself with people that would help you in an instant it makes life that much easier. Our team also provides a great service to a lot of people. Online learning provides people with an opportunity to better themselves and meet lifelong goals through high quality education. Laura Schieltz, Paige Thomas, Stacy Chiaverotti, Joanna Mueller, Rebecca Eck and Nicole Waterman all have a common trait, they all genuinely love helping people reach their goals. It is hard not to enjoy helping people and they are the best at it.
In your opinion, what has been the most significant change that’s occurred within the department during your time here?
The most significant change by far has been the rapid increase in our program offerings. It has required a large amount of staff hours to update websites, communications, program plans, processes, etc. We’ve added two associate degrees, two bachelor programs and two master’s degrees—not to mention the collaborative programs we take part in with other UW institutions. I saw the staff being stretched and a different kind of stress that I hadn’t seen in our department, but because we have such a strong group with great leadership, we ultimately came out stronger and more prepared to serve a broader range of students.
What does a typical day look like for an Admission Specialist?
Our day is built around outreach to our future students. Being the first person a student speaks to is an important role. The student is making a commitment to themselves that will affect them financially and socially for an extended period of time. There is typically a lot of anxiety that goes into making that decision. Our staff is there to alleviate as much of that stress as possible and make their first steps effortless.
Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your responsibilities in any way? If so, how have you adapted to the “new normal”?
The pandemic has caused everyone to make shifts in their daily lives, but it is situations like this where you become proud of your work. Our office hasn’t missed a beat. Our staff has been very responsive, and it’s been business as usual. The biggest effect COVID-19 has had on us would be that people are hesitant to get back to school because of the uncertain future. People need to be reminded that the world is still turning. If you have a desire or passion for finishing your bachelor’s or master’s, go for it, regardless of the circumstances.
What is an example of an obstacle or problem you’ve experienced as an Admission Specialist? How did you solve said problem?
I think one of the biggest obstacles we have faced is the redesign of our website. Again, we have some dedicated staff working long hours here, but the website is looking sharp! From the Admission Specialist standpoint, it has been a challenge because the website is our go-to for information. With that source looking a little different, our dedicated staff has had to do a little more outreach to help future students navigate through the admission process and again take away any anxiety for the student in the event they can’t find information.
What is one fact people should know about you, and one fact that may surprise them?
Outside of work, I have a wife, three boys, two dogs and depending on when this article is posted perhaps two cats. I also coach basketball at Southwestern High School. The fact is I’m just like our students in the sense that I understand the time constraints we all have in one form or another.
In 2011 I was coaching basketball at Platteville High School. One night we were going to a team meal at a player’s house in a nice part of town that I hadn’t been before, and I said, “Someday I’m going to live in a neighborhood like this.” Fast forward to 2020, I have lived in that very neighborhood going on 7 years. Positive thinking works and is important to hang onto with today’s challenges.