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Last updated: June 7, 2002Saturday, 14-Mar-2009 19:10:28 Central Daylight Time


Five Faculty Retire from UW-River Falls

Five faculty members with a combined service of 135 years have retired from UW-River Falls with the conclusion of the academic year.

Retiring are Geography Professor Michael Albert, English Professor Michael Barrett, English Professor Charles F. Owen, Education Professor DeAn Krey, and Agricultural Economics Associate Professor Larry Swain.

The retirees were recognized by Chancellor Ann Lydecker during a ceremony on May 20. Lydecker noted in the ceremony that during their careers, "They served others even as they learned about UW-River Falls. And as their careers progressed, they became the role models and mentors to others‹and the protectors of the values and traditions that make our University great.

"They remind us through their contributions that when all is said and done, it's the passion for UW-River Falls among our family members‹our faculty and staff‹that make this place special."

"The late Mother Theresa once said, 'We can do no great things; only small things with great love.' Our retirees have done many small things, and always with great love and pride." Lydecker asked the retirees to keep in contact with the institution. "Remember this university. We expect to see you back here for musical and theatre performances, athletic events, seminars and lectures, the International Film Festival, the Lion's Paw Book Club, continuing education programsŠ we want to see you at the Book Store, at Freddy's for lunch, at athletic events, at Falcon Foods for ice cream, cheese and brats; at the Art Gallery during the Annual Scholarship Sale. You name it."

At the ceremony, the faculty members were recognized with certificates of service appreciation from Gov. Scott McCallum and from the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents. They also received a commissioned glass raindrop paperweight with UW-RF lettering produced by students in the art department's glass studio program.

During the ceremony, Lydecker highlighted the careers and accomplishments of the faculty members.

Albert joined Geography and Mapping Sciences Department since 1977. While the department has become more comprehensive to reflect the trends in the discipline, Albert noted that his role has been that of an "all-purpose human geographer." He taught a wide variety of courses in human, cultural, and regional geography, including Human Geography, United States, Asia, Europe, Wisconsin, Urban Geography, Poverty in the United States, The American Landscape, Environmental Education, Historical Geography of the United States, and the Geography of Wine.

Albert noted, "I am proud to have contributed to the progress and evolution of the Geography and GIS/Cartography programs, as I view the study of geography as an essential part of a liberal education, as well as a discipline that imparts practical knowledge that needs to be applied to the solution of many problems that we face, regionally, nationally, and globally. I am proud to have contributed to the education and success of many students who are at work applying geographic principles for the betterment of society.

Department Chair Charlie Rader noted of Albert: "His versatility as a geographer has made him an extremely valuable department member in that his interests and teaching abilities broadly span the discipline. His depth of knowledge and sense of humor make his classroom both informative and fun, and his lectures are always well illustrated with slides from his many travels.

"Over the years that I have worked with Mike, I have found him to be an exemplary role model. He will leave a big gap to fill in our department. But to echo his own words: 'We'll get through this, somehow, I guess.' "

Albert eventually plans to move to Pine Island, Florida.

Barrett joined the faculty in the English Department in 1977. He taught in a variety of areas, including teaching American Literature, Modern and Contemporary Literature, International Literature, Science Fiction and Science Fiction Film, as well as Critical and Creative Thinking.

During his career, Barrett took on many additional activities. Among the two that he said he is most proud are service for two years, from 1985-1987, as president of the The Association of University of Wisconsin Professionals; and as the Honors Program Director, challenging UW-RF's brightest students during his tenure from 1991-1994.

English Department Chair Marshall Toman said that Barrett always made his presence known in the department whether he was there in person or in spirit. Toman related: "The department has received many postcards from Mike over the years because he enjoys traveling, and not only through physical geography but also through intellectual universes.

"He directed the Honors Program for many years, developed a particularly important course in International Literature, and he remained active in scholarly presentations, including papers delivered this year and last year on 'The Uses of Speculative Fiction in the Nineties.' "

Albert will spend his retirement in various pursuits: he plans to work during retirement in his hometown of Prescott, reading and continuing his scholarly activity, hopefully presenting at least one paper a year.

Krey has a history at UW-River Falls that began 42 years ago‹as a student in 1960. Lydecker noted, "Now she is retiring as one of our most exceptional University members: DeAn holds the coveted title of being a Distinguished Teacher."

Krey earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees at UW-RF, and her doctorate from the University of Minnesota. She was a teacher and professor for 37 years, spending five years in public schools and the last 32 years at UW-RF. In the early years she was a teacher in Ames Lab School on campus, and then, in the early 1970¹s she coordinated the establishment of a field-based elementary teacher education site in Stillwater, Minn. One of her major responsibilities for the past 30 years was to lead a three-person team of professors as they offered a 12-credit pre-student teaching experience to 50 juniors each semester.

Krey taught a total of 13 different courses in Teacher Education, with her specialties in Social Studies Methods and Children's Literature. She's been widely published and she is the author of a book on "Children¹s Literature in Social Studies;" and she served as president of the Wisconsin Council for the Social Studies and is a long-time member of its executive board. In the 1980's she served as Associate Dean of the College of Education. However, she never gave up her teaching.

Krey also traveled internationally, co-directing an exchange program for Ames Elementary School children and children from England. She also went twice to Taiwan teacher education institutions as an exchange professor.

As one would expect from someone so intimately associated with teaching, Krey will take away with her many fond recollections of students. Krey notes, "A memory that prevails is that of watching more than 5,000 pre-student teachers change from college students into future elementary school teachers. They were like butterflies emerging from a cocoon as they prepared lesson plans and taught children in the public schools for the first time. This was the most satisfying element of my work."

Professor Teri Crotty, chair of the Teacher Education Department, said: "De An has been extremely valuable as a faculty member because she consistently models what she teaches in the classroom, and she also embodies commitment to instruction at the college level, which has been our most honored tradition at UW-RF. The department will miss her leadership and passion for teaching."

In retirement, Krey and her husband are participating in a two-week concert tour in Italy in June with the UW-RF Alumni Choir. When they return, Krey plans to spend more time with her family and friends, and enjoy nature, books and her home.

With retirement Owen concludes a career that began at UW-River Falls in 1966. As a member of the English department, Owen had a full range of responsibilities for teaching, from such General Education courses as Freshman English and Literature, to electives like Modern Novels and Short Stories. He's taught courses for majors, including American Literature, as well as teaching focussed writing courses such as Business Writing and Technical Writing. He also was immersed in the department's internship program.

Owen cites those latter courses as being among his most challenging and rewarding. The Business and Technical Writing courses emphasized the practical professional element of preparing students for workplace writing after graduation. He also took his substantial expertise off campus to help professionals in the field through in 11 years devoted to Technical Writing instruction at 3M through the UW-RF Outreach Program.

Department Chair Marshall Toman said of Owen: "In addition to his commitment to the General Education program where he taught great numbers of classes in Freshmen English and sophomore Literature, Dr. Owen has taught American literature and been the department specialist in Technical Writing and Business Writing, two areas which have become extremely important in recent years. Dr. Owen also worked with 3M in offering special courses to their employees on effective business and technical writing.

"His voluminous reading, not only in his field but also in UW-RF 'bureaucratese', always helped the department keep on track"

Owen is still finalizing his retirement plans.

Swain joined UW-RF in 1990 in the agricultural economics with an appointment with Cooperative Extension as a statewide community economic development specialist in the Regional Development Institute. His position eventually shifted to include a teaching appointment, with classes in Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, and Cooperatives. He also coached the National Agri-Marketing Team for National Marketing Plan competition for five years and he served on numerous committees for UW-RF and the College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences.

Statewide for Cooperative Extension, Swain developed strategic planning programs and founded the UW-RF Survey Research Center and performed survey research work for townships, counties and municipalities throughout Wisconsin. He also led leadership training programs statewide.

Swain said his greatest accomplishments were related to rural Wisconsin:

Swain said his most memorable moment was any time that a student or Wisconsin resident told him that he made a difference in their lives.

Nate Splett, the chair of the agricultural economics department, said Swain's "signature" was his "optimism and belief in the possibilities."

Splett says, "His students benefited, we as colleagues benefited, and through his Extension appointment, communities throughout Wisconsin and beyond have benefited. I think he basically retired because he is too busy helping folks pursue their possibilities, such as family-owned and operated mini-dairies."

Swain's retirement plans include being an advocate for small family farms by assisting family sustainable farms to add value to their output will be his primary emphasis. He will also continue to work with Evangelistic Christian activities, as well as participate in more traditional retirement recreational activities.

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