University of Wisconsin-River Falls
Magazine of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls
Alumni Relations Update Your Alumni Record or Submit Classnotes

April 2007

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Along the South Fork

Alumni News

Alma Maters

About People


Campus Briefs

Relationship Building 101

Somek, Rahgozar, Nemecek ,Kilic

In February 2007, a three-member delegation from the College of Business and Economics traveled to Dubai, Bahrain, Turkey and Denmark, meeting with representatives from six universities to negotiate agreements for student and faculty exchanges and other cooperative programs. In Istanbul, they met up with Sakir Somek (left), a 1985 UWRF alumnus, who is vice president of the Financial Institutions Group for ABank. Members of the UWRF delegation included Reza Rahgozar, professor of finance and business administration department chair; Barb Nemecek, dean of the college, and Ozcan Kilic, assistant professor of marketing.

Destination: Spring Break

Students plan a variety of activities for Spring Break. Some head south for sun and surf. Others head home for rest and relaxation. And some—62 of them this year—head out on missions of care and concern.

As senior Becky Vandenhoy says, “It’s about time we started doing this!” She's referring to the Destination: Spring Break program, which sent UW-River Falls students to Chicago, Ill.; Athens, Ala.; Kansas City, Mo.; Gulfport, Miss.; and Crossville, Tenn., to volunteer their time in service to others.

Vandenhoy and fellow student Jordan Leithen spent a week on the Cumberland Trail with a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion, maintenance, and construction of trails in Tennessee. She and Leithen served as leaders for the group that included 11 students and one advisor. They planned the major trip details, raised funds to go, and conducted relationship and trust-building exercises for group members. This is Vandenhoy’s second year with the Destination: Spring Break program. Last spring she spent the week in Gulfport, Miss., helping with Hurricane Katrina reconstruction efforts.

Summer Theatre at UWRF
St. Croix Valley Summer Theatre Announces its 2007 Season Line-Up

The Last Night of Ballyhoo
A tender romantic comedy-drama from the acclaimed author of "Driving Miss Daisy."
7:30 p.m. nightly, June 26-30, and 1:30 p.m. matinee July 1.

Radio Gals
The musical and romantic shenanigans of a wacky quintet of singers (the Hazelnuts) who take over the Arkansas airwaves in the 1920s.
7:30 p.m. nightly, July 10-12, 14, and 18-21, and 1:30 p.m. matinee July 15.

Disney's High School Musical
The most popular Disney Channel original movie ever comes to the stage with all of the music from the movie plus two new songs.
7:30 p.m. nightly, Aug. 1-4 and 8-11; 1:30 p.m. matinee Aug. 5; and
young people's matinees at 1:30 p.m. July 31 and Aug. 7.

All shows presented in Blanche Davis Theatre, Kleinpell Fine Arts Building, UWRF campus. For more information and tickets, call (715) 425-3114 or 800-228-5423, visit, or e-mail

For Leithen, the trip closely paralleled learning he is doing in the classroom. As an agricultural education major and conservation minor, the trip to the Cumberland Trail allowed him to apply his knowledge of map reading and erosion to the projects the group undertook. It was his first Destination: Spring Break project, but he is no stranger to the volunteer experience. During the Fall 2006 semester he participated as a leader in a similar program in Wisconsin.

Amanda Moeller, Americorps VISTA member and campus coordinator of the Destination: Spring Break program, lauds the program as a great opportunity for students who will return "with a different lens to see what is happening in their own communities.”

Connecting With India

“Based on our travels, I think we will see students from India attending UWRF both at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels, particularly in the areas of business and science,” says Dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies Connie

They call it the "High Tech Triangle," that part of East India with its thriving cities of Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Mysore. Foster and the deans of each UWRF college joined Chancellor Betz on a trip to the region last September, where working relationships were forged with Indian universities to promote student and faculty exchanges. The UWRF delegation engaged in direct recruitment initiatives for the campus.

Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, Dale Gallenberg, says there are some obvious connections to be made between UWRF and Indian national research centers that focus on food science and technology. “Although the list of direct
contacts made with agricultural universities was short, the contacts that were made were very productive,” he says.

Helping New Teachers

While in college, teachers-in-training receive support from professors, peers and a plethora of professional resources. They spend a lot of time in elementary and secondary classrooms, as observers, interns and practice teachers. Still, their first teaching job can be a shock. They could use a shoulder to lean on.

To ease the transition for new teachers and fortify retention, mentors are now required by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. And to help mentors be effective coaches for their protégées, the Wisconsin New Teacher Project is working to help them coach those new to the classroom.

As part of the WNTP consortium, the UWRF College of Education and Professional Studies holds workshops for mentors, offering professional support and guidance.

“It is hoped that the new mentor will reverse the national trend where half of new teachers leave the profession before starting their sixth year,” says Mary Manke, associate dean of the college. "While mentoring alone won’t solve the problem, some studies of well-trained mentors show that mentoring can make a big difference in retention."


Some Final Words of Advice

"With your eyes fixed on the far horizon, however and wherever your destiny, you are the caretakers and shapers of our humanity, our land, and our ideals," said agricultural economics professor Nate Splett, speaking to 280 graduating students last December.

The 2006 Distinguished Teacher added: "I have two hopes for you—that you will always be passionate in your work and that you will always be humble."

Teaching is Splett's passion. "We teach to the best of our ability and always so that you graduate to fulfill your greater purpose as caretakers and shapers." He noted that his wife, Becky, is retiring from teaching third grade this year. Both receive satisfaction from the fact that many of their former students have become teachers and will carry on the joy of teaching and learning.   

Getting Their Hands Dirty

Six members of the UW-River Falls Horticulture Society have teamed up with Hudson Middle School students in an effort to spruce up the school's gardens.

This past fall, seventh and eighth graders in Cindy Lander’s classes helped club members plan and design an irrigation system, pond, and perennial garden on the school’s quarter-acre courtyard. The group removed old plantings and prepared the site; planting and installation of the irrigation system and pond will resume this spring.

"It's an educational experience for the kids and a way for us to engage our knowledge," said Michaela Molter, club president and a senior from Cadott, Wis. “It’s fun and hands-on, and they [the middle schoolers] can get their hands dirty.”



American Democracy Project

Art Smart

Meet the Provost

Homecoming: The Gangs All Here

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