|Magazine of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls
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Along the South Fork
Relationship Building 101
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.
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
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.
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.
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