University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

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A year in the life of an interactive, regional public university:
Highlights from 2004
December 30, 2004

(UW-Eau Claire photos by Rick Mickelson)

January February March April May June July August September October November December


Super Bowl advertising researchers
Researchers Charles "Chuck" Tomkovick and Rama Yelkur, management and marketing, along with marketing student Patty Traczyk, a May 2002 graduate, completed work on a Super Bowl advertising effectiveness study.

Super Bowl advertising research brings national attention. UW-Eau Claire marketing researchers completed work on the first known Super Bowl advertising effectiveness study. The study found that the millions spent on ads in the Super bowl do pay off for the Hollywood movie industry. The research was featured in the Journal of Advertising Research this year. The researchers, Charles Tomkovich and Rama Yelkur, were interviewed by a number of local, regional and national media regarding their work.

Students, faculty work with area non-profits to improve technology. A project to help strengthen the technology capabilities of local non-profit agencies is under way. The university matched in-kind a $10,000 Building Social and Economic Capital planning grant to fund the project. Students and faculty are working with the United Way to help non-profits bridge the digital divide caused by inadequate organizational technology. Students with expertise in management information systems, computer science, organizational development, business communications, communications and journalism, social work and sociology work in teams with faculty mentors to address agencies’ information technology integration needs. Students receive service-learning credit and projects meet some course requirements. Go to top of page


UW-Eau Claire welcomes Fulbright Scholar. UW-Eau Claire hosted Fulbright Visiting Scholar Mohamed Riffi from Gaza, Palestine. Riffi, an associate professor of mathematics at Islamic University of Gaza in Rimal, Gaza, was one of approximately 800 foreign faculty and professionals brought to the United States to teach and do research through the Fulbright Scholar Program. While at UW-Eau Claire, he was researching the use of technology as a tool in the teaching of mathematics. In addition, Riffi taught a statistics course.

Students help Hmong girls improve family relationships. Several nursing and psychology students worked with the Hmong Mutual Assistance Association to help middle-school girls, their mothers and other family members build better relationships and resolve conflicts. The students conducted a workshop titled “Between Mothers and Daughters: Getting to Know Each Other Through Self-Disclosure.” The university students shared information about their own relationships with their families and discussed how they resolved conflicts within their families. Go to top of page


Faculty, student in Materials Science Center
Doug Dunham, assistant professor of physics, collaborates with senior physics major Sara Chamberlin using equipment in the Materials Science Center.

UW-Eau Claire creates Materials Science Center. Science faculty pooled resources to provide students with more opportunities to work on research relating to materials science and to create new ways for the university to assist local industries. The Materials Science Center supports research, facilitates collaboration among science faculty across disciplines, promotes interactions between the university and local industries, and encourages undergraduate students to do research. It provides a more coordinated approach to research and coursework, and makes it easier for industries to seek help from the university. Materials science involves the study of the structure and properties of materials, the creation of new materials and tailoring materials for specific uses. It includes things such as semiconductors, metals, ceramics, plastics and polymers. Advancing materials and developing new materials are important to economic development, including technological arenas such as microelectronics, homeland security, national defense, commercial products and nanotechnology.

Josh Kinsman
Josh Kinsman

Geology major participates in expedition to Antarctic. Sophomore geology major Josh Kinsman was chosen to participate in a once-in-a-lifetime voyage. The trip was part of a marine geology research project to find out why the Antarctic Peninsula is warming faster than other parts of the world. He joined a research team in the Weddell Sea, Antarctica, the site of the famed Ernest Shackleton voyage. Kinsman was one of seven students from the United States and Canada chosen for the expedition. Expedition leaders were interested in the natural record of environmental variability locked in glacial marine sediments in fjords and inner coastal basins on both sides of the Peninsula. Researchers were on board the Gould, an ice-strengthened vessel leased to the National Science Foundation to support research in the Antarctic Peninsula region. The expedition was a crash course on marine geology for Kinsman and exposed him to cutting-edge research. Go to top of page


Gina Duwe and Andrea Mitchell
2004 Devroy Fellow Gina Duwe (left) and Andrea Mitchell

Prestigious journalism forum brings nationally known reporter to campus. Andrea Mitchell, chief foreign affairs correspondent for NBC News, was the featured speaker at the Ann Devroy Memorial Forum at UW-Eau Claire. Mitchell’s presentation was titled “The 2004 Presidential Campaign: New Challenges for Broadcast News.” Since being named chief foreign affairs correspondent in 1994, Mitchell has reported on foreign policy issues in the United States and abroad for all NBC News broadcasts. In 2002 and 2003, she covered the United Nations debate leading to the Iraq war and reported on questions surrounding pre-war intelligence and weapons of mass destruction. During the forum, junior Gina Duwe, Wausau, was introduced as the seventh recipient of the Ann Devroy Fellowship. The fellowship includes a three-week residency at The Washington Post, a $1,400 scholarship to defray the costs of the residency and an internship at a Wisconsin newspaper in the summer of 2005.

UW-Eau Claire hosts popular Viennese Ball. The university hosted the 30th annual Viennese Ball, the largest social event hosted by UW-Eau Claire. The ball showcases the University Symphony Orchestra, which performs waltzes and polkas from the Strauss Era, and Jazz Ensemble I, which performs music from America’s Big Band Era. Student and faculty ensembles and regional musicians also are featured, performing music from various periods. Documented as the largest Viennese Ball outside of Vienna, the event provides funds for music scholarships and international study awards, while promoting positive university, community and international relations and an appreciation of the culture, history and music of Vienna, Austria. Go to top of page


Jonathan Watson Suzanne DeCann
Jonathan Watson was UW-Eau Claire's first physics and engineering dual degree program graduate. Suzanne DeCann was one of the first online MBA program graduates.

Graduates are among first to complete new programs. Graduating in May were the first 11 students to earn their master of business administration degrees completed online. For some in the online MBA program, commencement was the first time they had stepped foot on campus or met their professors and classmates face-to-face. Since 2002, UW-Eau Claire MBA students have had the option of completing the entire MBA program online, the entire program on campus or combining the two options as it meets their needs. Learn more about UW-Eau Claire's MBA program, ranked among the top such programs in the nation. Also graduating in May was the first student to complete UW-Eau Claire's physics and engineering dual degree program. Through the program, students earn a physics degree from UW-Eau Claire and an engineering degree from either UW-Madison or the University of Minnesota in about five years. Typically students spend three years at UW-Eau Claire and about two years at the engineering school. Learn more about the dual degree program.

Health care administration program gains national attention. UW-Eau Claire's health care administration program continued to gain national attention for its success in bringing students to the health and aging services administration field, a field that has had difficulty attracting young leaders in recent years. The program is the only one of its kind in the country that's growing. Enrollment doubled in the last four years. UW-Eau Claire's health care administration program is one of a handful of undergraduate programs in the country with an emphasis on health and aging services. With the nation's population aging, an increase in senior alternative living options, the influence of chronic care conditions on the health system and the health care industry quickly moving patients from hospitals to rehabilitation-type facilities, program graduates are in demand. UW-Eau Claire created the Center for Health and Aging Services Excellence, which brings health care professionals together with health care administration faculty and students. Go to top of page


Altoona MIddle School teachers Terri Hanson (left) and Barb Nelson collaborate as they participate in the "Learning by Doing" public history program.

UW-Eau Claire receives grant to help teach area youth American history. More than 200 elementary and secondary teachers from 39 school districts in northern and western Wisconsin are learning new ways to teach American history thanks to a $1 million federal grant awarded to UW-Eau Claire's history department, in collaboration with CESA 10 and 11 and the Chippewa Valley Museum. The "Learning by Doing: Public History in the Classroom" program enables teachers to earn certificates in public history, earn up to 15 graduate credits (at no cost), and bring new skills and resources to students and colleagues in their districts. It's possible because of a three-year $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. This is an extension of the "Learning by Doing" program that UW-Eau Claire launched in 2002, also with a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Graduates finding jobs. Despite a tight job market and struggling economy, UW-Eau Claire graduates have found jobs, a survey showed. Ninety-seven percent of the 2002-03 UW-Eau Claire graduates responding to the survey were employed or continuing their education a year after graduation. A majority of the graduates included in the survey — 56 percent — were working for businesses and organizations in Wisconsin. Of those, 21 percent were working in the Chippewa Valley. Go to top of page


Partnership helps students in northern Wisconsin earn social work degrees. The road to a degree in social work was made smoother for students in northern Wisconsin, thanks to an educational partnership between UW-Eau Claire and Nicolet College, a public community college serving that area. The partnership makes it possible for Nicolet students interested in a social work degree to take introductory social work courses from UW-Eau Claire via distance education at the same time they are working on a two-year associate degree through Nicolet. After transferring to UW-Eau Claire, they can complete a bachelor's degree in social work in two years.

Program offers new teacher education opportunities. Education students at the UW-Eau Claire and UW-River Falls have new opportunities for teacher education, thanks to a collaborative program that utilizes the resources of the two UW System campuses. The cooperative program makes it possible for UW-Eau Claire students in the early childhood special education program to earn pre-kindergarten through third grade certification endorsement through UW-River Falls and for students from UW-River Falls to earn their early childhood special education license through UW-Eau Claire. Neither school offers both teacher education opportunities. The partnership increases employment opportunities for teacher education students because more teaching situations require that teachers are qualified in general and special education. Go to top of page


U.S. News Best Colleges logoUW-Eau Claire again recognized nationally for excellence. For the 10th consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report magazine ranked UW-Eau Claire as one of the best public regional universities in the Midwest. The publication also again named UW-Eau Claire's undergraduate research program as one of the best in the nation. The rankings put UW-Eau Claire at No. 3 among regional public universities in the Midwest, a region that includes schools in 12 states stretching from the Dakotas in the west to Missouri in the south to Ohio in the east.

Talented new freshmen join campus community. A total of 2,034 new freshmen joined the campus community. The 2004 freshman class, selected from a record-number 7,300 applicants, is one of the most academically talented classes in the university's history. The average ACT composite of the freshman class was 24.4, well above the Wisconsin average of 22.2 and the national average of 20.8 About 20 percent of the students ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating classes and 56 percent ranked in the top 25 percent of their high school graduating class. A total of 764 students — or 37.5 percent of the freshman class —started their college careers with credit through the Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams or college coursework taken while in high school Ten members of the 2004 class started with enough credits to be sophomores, and 118 were considered second semester freshmen. The class included four new National Merit Scholars and 21 Wisconsin Academic Excellence Scholars. Go to top of page


Stephen Drucker and student researcher
Associate professor Stephen Drucker (right) works on a laser-based research project with Nathan Pillsbury, a 2003 graduate who currently is pursuing a Ph.D. in chemistry at Purdue.

Chemistry department receives NSF grant for high-tech equipment. UW-Eau Claire's national reputation for undergraduate research in chemistry took another step forward thanks to an unusual shared grant from the National Science Foundation. UW-Eau Claire was one of four undergraduate research programs that are sharing a transportable pulsed laser system, purchased with a $241,663 NSF grant. The other participating schools are Hope, Kalamazoo and Calvin colleges in Michigan, with technical support and maintenance coordinated by scientists at Purdue University. State-of-the-art instrumentation is a challenge for physical chemists at undergraduate institutions. But it's crucial to support and sustain undergraduate training in laser-based methods, in part because of the range of advanced studies that employ lasers. The new laser system will reside at each school from three to nine months.

Faculty lead prairie restoration project. Two biologists and their student assistants are using a 15-acre plot of ground in Eau Claire County as a scientific laboratory for a prairie restoration experiment. The project will add to the basic science of plant biology and ecology and lead to a better understanding of how to restore prairies and grasslands in a way that is best for the land. Funded by a $316,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, Evan Weiher and Tali Lee are investigating how several important forces combine to control the composition of organisms in an ecosystem. By varying the planting history, soil nitrogen and fungicide applications throughout the site, researchers can compare and assess their relative and independent importance in terms of species richness and composition. Go to top of page


Students and faculty enhance services for children with autism. An innovative program that pairs psychology students with children with autism and their families has been so successful that the program expanded to serve more children and provide more university students with real-life experiences. For two years, UW-Eau Claire has been bringing children with autism to campus for intensive behavior intervention sessions. The program expanded to offer in-home services, which involve students working with children and families in their homes for 35 hours a week. The program is the only one of its kind in the country. When a child is diagnosed with autism, the family can apply for state and federal dollars to fund in-home therapy. But it takes months for funding to kick in, a significant amount of time for a child to go without the intense behavioral intervention. Research shows that children with autism make the most gains if they receive intensive behavioral intervention — at least 30 hours a week — before age five. The university's on-campus program provides therapy until funding is secured for in-home sessions.

Fund-raising campaign artworkFoundation increases fund-raising goal, extends campaign. The UW-Eau Claire Foundation increased its fund-raising campaign goal to $50 million after surpassing its initial $35 million goal more than 15 months ahead of schedule. The Foundation will extend the Fulfilling the Promise of Excellence campaign's closing date to Dec. 31, 2007. The university's first comprehensive fund-raising campaign has raised more than $38 million since it began July 1, 2000. Go to top of page



Chauncy Harris
Chauncy Harris

Senior chosen for prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. Chauncy S. Harris Jr., a senior at UW-Eau Claire, is one of 32 Americans chosen as 2005 Rhodes Scholars. Harris, a geography and history major, is the first Rhodes Scholar to be elected from UW-Eau Claire. Harris, a native of Eau Claire and a 1999 graduate of Memorial High School, has won numerous academic awards, is a leader in multiple campus organizations, is an Eagle Scout, and served as a missionary in the Mediterranean for two years. Harris, 23, who plans to graduate in August 2005, is involved in numerous campus organizations, serving in leadership positions in many of them. He's currently the president of the Golden Key International Honour Society, the Mortar Board and Phi Alpha Theta History Honors Society. The Rhodes Scholars were chosen from 904 applicants, who were endorsed by 341 colleges and universities. Rhodes Scholarships provide two or three years of study at the University of Oxford in England. Harris will enter Oxford in October 2005, where he hopes to study Modern Middle Eastern Studies.

Jim Phillips and student researcher
James Phillips (right) collaborates with a chemistry student on a research project.

Chemistry professor receives Dreyfus award. Dr. James Phillips, professor of chemistry, was awarded a Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation of New York. Phillips, one of nine 2004 award recipients, was honored with the $60,000 award for his accomplishments in teaching, mentoring and research with undergraduate students. A first rate teacher-scholar, Phillips is one of the most scholarly active faculty members in UW-Eau Claire's chemistry department. Since his arrival in 1998, he has been continuously successful working with students, obtaining funding for projects, and disseminating the results through papers and presentations. After arriving at UW-Eau Claire, Phillips received start-up funding from Research Corp. and ACS-Petroleum Research Fund, and later received renewal grants from each agency. His proposal for an Infrared Spectrometer with high resolution capability was supported by the NSF-MRI program, and his proposal to continue a nitrile complex project was funded by the NSF-RUI program. In six years, Phillips' total grant funding is nearly $400,000.


Donald Mash and Bill Ihlenfeldt
Chancellor Donald Mash and Chippewa Valley Technical College President Bill Ihlenfeldt

Partnership to increase number of nurses in region. Nursing enrollments in the Chippewa Valley will increase 10 percent in a year thanks to a joint venture that creates slots for an additional 24 nursing students. The Chippewa Valley Nursing Alliance, a partnership of UW-Eau Claire and the Chippewa Valley Technical College, promotes dual enrollments in the schools, providing opportunities for students to enroll in CVTC nursing classes and UW-Eau Claire general education classes concurrently. UW-Eau Claire's nursing programs turn away about 180 qualified students a year because it lacks the funds to hire enough faculty to meet the needs of all nursing applicants. The Chippewa Valley Nursing Alliance will allow 24 students to enroll in CVTC's associate degree nursing program, while continuing to take general education classes at UW-Eau Claire. The students can live in residence halls, have a university adviser and have access to all campus services. After completing CVTC's nursing associate degree program, students can enroll in the UW System's Collaborative Nursing Program to earn a bachelor's degree from UW-Eau Claire. Go to top of page


Gov. Jim Doyle
Gov. Jim Doyle

UW-Eau Claire named regional center for Wisconsin Entrepreneur's Network. Gov. Jim Doyle announced the selection of UW-Eau Claire as one of four regional centers for the new Wisconsin Entrepreneur's Network. The network is a joint effort among the UW Extension, the WiSys Technology Foundation, the Wisconsin Technical College System and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. It will be funded with $1 million a year through 2006. It provides money for entrepreneurial centers and tax credits for early-stage investors and establishes a technology commercialization grant and loan program. In addition to the Eau Claire office, the network includes regional centers in Green Bay, Madison and Milwaukee and several outreach centers. The centers will open in three to six months. Go to top of page

UW-Eau Claire Home

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 Judy Berthiaume, Director
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 201
(715) 836-4741

Updated: January 3, 2005