Faculty Senate Discusses New Programs


Morgan Fuerstenberg graphic

On Nov. 23, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Faculty Senate held their biweekly meeting to discuss the introduction of two new programs as well as take time to answer some of the questions presented by Faculty Senate members at the previous Nov. 9 meeting.

The first program introduced by Asad Azemi was a computer engineering major. This major is a combination of electrical engineering and software engineering. Azemi assured the Faculty Senate members that introducing this program would be of no cost to the university, but would be very beneficial to the university, as it is a sought after and growing field.

The next program introduction was presented by Afzal Upal. He introduced the computer science major with B.S. emphases. This includes emphases in history, philosophy, computational biology, chemistry and psychology. This program would add the aforementioned emphases to the CS+X major.

The rest of the meeting was dedicated to answering the Faculty Senate’s questions about the budget and enrollment presentations at previous meetings. To answer their questions, Provost Tammy Evetovich invited Rose Smyrski, vice chancellor of University Relations, Angela Udelhofen and Elizabeth Niehaus, assistant chancellor for Admission and Enrollment Services and director of recruitment, respectively, and finally Paige Smith, vice chancellor of Administrative Services.

Smyrski went first, discussing the Faculty Senate members concerns with the current website and virtual recruitment efforts. The first point she wanted to make was that the Marketing and Communications Department is not in charge of the Portal or SharePoint websites, but they do work closely with ITS, who do manage those sites.

She also wanted to let the members know that they can make website requests online, which are typically resolved within a week, depending on how complex the request is.

She also gave some information on upcoming website refreshes and search engine optimization efforts to increase online recruitment efforts. The Marketing and Communications Department is hoping to have another website refresh within the next year.

In terms of SEO, they are working with a firm to improve the search results. One Faculty Senate member took time to search for “engineering schools in Wisconsin,” and found that UW-Platteville did not show up on the first page and showed up as a result below colleges that do not have engineering programs.

Next up were Udelhofen and Niehaus discussing enrollment and recruitment. The first point they brought up was the source for the enrollment data they provided during their presentation, which was the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.

The importance of mentioning this source comes into play when looking at data projections for enrollment. Udelhofen clarified that this data only looked into graduation rates of public high schools, not public and private, in Wisconsin. This, when compared to data shown at a presentation a few years ago, which did include private high school graduation rates, makes for differing enrollment projections.

As she ended her presentation, Udelhofen wanted to assure the Faculty Senate members that they are using the new data from more recent reports to help in their recruitment efforts.

Niehaus began her presentation on recruitment by assuring the Faculty Senate members that faculty and staff are welcome to come to campus visits and that they are a “big selling point” on campus. She also spoke about special campus visit days that have recently occurred for students, who primarily speak Spanish, and their families, specific multicultural visit days and foster care visit days.

Next up was Smith to answer some questions the members had about the budget presentation given at an earlier meeting. Her first point was to clarify that she recognizes that the projections have not always been helpful, and they are making efforts to try and rectify that. In order to do this, they are looking into why the university is consistently underspending.

One proposal Smith put forward was adding some student representatives to senates and boards across campus to make sure that budget information is shared throughout the entirety of the campus.

Finally, Smith clarified a miscommunication that happened in the email with the budget presentation attached. Many Faculty Senate members took the warning to mean that they should not share the presentation, that it was confidential and not to be shared across campus. The intended message was to not share the presentation outside of the campus, as someone off-campus looking for that information has to go through specific channels on our website to gain access to it.