|Magazine of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls
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Up Front With Chancellor Don Betz
The close of the academic year came swiftly for us as winter seemed to linger longer than usual, and then suddenly it was finals week and commencement.
Spring semester is a blur of activities— programs, concerts, presentations and visits to UW-River Falls by thousands of prospective students, their families, alumni and others attending events on campus. This “spring semester madness” is the norm here. Energy, creativity and sense of discovery and accomplishment are in the air. This is what we should expect of a university dedicated to teaching and learning.
This edition of Falcon Features highlights UWRF’s continuing commitment to scholarship and service. The first precept of our strategic plan, “Living the Promise,” declares that we are actively creating a vibrant culture of learning.
We at UW-River Falls believe that undergraduate research is one of the most effective ways to help students learn. It connects faculty and students via common research interests. It is clear that learning is accelerated and enriched in this problem-solving environment. Across America and beyond, involving undergraduate students in substantive research is reaping genuine benefits for students, faculty and the community. Undergraduate research has been described as the pedagogy for the 21st century.
This semester UWRF was proud to host the University of Wisconsin’s undergraduate research symposium, which attracted nearly 200 projects and over 300 participants to the University Center. These gatherings are unique and exceptional events, the type I wish all of the citizens in the region could attend to witness the level of commitment and accomplishment so ably demonstrated by our students.
Importantly, four UWRF students and one recent graduate presented their research in Madison at the annual “Posters in the Rotunda” this year. At the first legislative symposium ever convened in conjunction with this program, UWRF biology professor Tim Lyden and former student Travis Cordie were among the three faculty-student research teams from the UW institutions invited to present to legislators and their staffs on the nature and importance of their research.
Each spring, the National Council for Undergraduate Research sponsors its annual “Posters on the Hill” in the U.S. Capitol to enhance Congressional awareness. This year only 60 student projects from across the country were invited. Of that number, two UWRF students were selected. Most institutions would be proud to have one student project invited to participate. Our hearty congratulations to Amanda Liesch and Matt Blodgett on this national recognition of their research efforts and to their faculty mentors, Jim Madsen and Bill Anderson.
“Living the Promise” also dedicates the university to championing sustainable community development. For us, sustainability includes energy conservation, “going off the grid,” and reducing our carbon footprint. But these worthwhile endeavors are the opening initiatives for a longer-term commitment to improving the quality of life in the communities and region we serve. Soon in our energy efficient and environmentally sensitive University Center, a new sign will remind all of us of our common vision. It will read: “Learning to Serve and Sustain our Communities.” No one and no single institution or community can achieve its sustainable goals in isolation. Collaboration is fundamental to our success as a university and as a society.
Our intentions are clear. We strive to serve the people and the future of the St. Croix Valley, Wisconsin, and the region. We are actively partnering with those who seek to collaboratively create that future by being able stewards of our resources and by taking care of each other in the midst of the accelerating changes that are becoming the hallmark of this global century. Don Betz
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