Environmental science

UWO College of Letters and Science dean offers back to school update

The arrival of August can only mean one thing… the new academic year is almost upon us. In just a month, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh students will start or head back to college at one of our three campuses—Oshkosh, Fond du Lac or Fox Cities.

Over the next several weeks, we’ll feature Q&A stories with the leaders of our colleges and access campuses to learn what to expect in 2022-23. Today, we start with our College of Letters and Science Dean Anne Stevens who joined us at the beginning of 2022.

Anne Stevens

What’s new in your college for the upcoming academic year?

This fall we will be welcoming 11 new tenure-track faculty members in African American studies/communication studies, biology/medical technology, English, environmental studies/geography, indigenous studies/history, kinesiology, political science, psychology, radio TV film and sociology . Among these faculty for the first time ever we will have a faculty position split between the Fox Cities campus and the Oshkosh campus, Amber Lusvardi in political science. And a number of the other new faculty contribute to more than one department and/or program.

Our new director of Indigenous studies, Margaret Huettl, will be tasked with developing and promoting the Indigenous studies certificate, and the new faculty member in African American studies, Denae Powell, will help expand course offerings for that program.

Kinesiology and athletic training will be adding two new faculty, Kevin Biese and Kyle Petit, to support that popular undergraduate program and the new and growing Master of Athletic Training Program.

We are also hiring a number of instructional academic staff, including a scholar from the Ukraine, Oksana Katsanivska, and we are continuing to hire new staff for the fall.

There will be lots of new equipment coming to the college this fall, such as replacing outdated computers in labs, and some facility updates that affect the college. One that I am personally very interested in is the new COLS Dean’s office suite on the first floor of Swart Hall.

What are you personally looking forward to the most about the fall semester?

I joined UWO in January, so I’m really looking forward to experiencing my first start of the fall semester. My office is currently planning orientation events for department chairs and program directors and for new faculty and staff. I’m also excited to experience Opening Day and all the beginning of semester festivities. And of course I’m really looking forward to experiencing Wisconsin’s celebrated fall colors again after living in the desert for so many years.

What advice would you give to incoming first-year students about how to succeed at UWO?

The two pieces of advice that I would give to incoming students and that I share with the groups of parents and supporters during Titan Takeoff are to take advantage of everything the University has to offer and to ask questions.

First-year students should explore all the wonderful opportunities they will have during college: working on campus through the Student Titan Employment Program, getting involved in undergraduate research and presenting at the Celebration of Scholarship, publishing their work in the Oshkosh Scholarparticipating in internships, joining campus organizations like Model United Nations, listening to the campus radio station WRST and cheering on the new Titan Thunder marching band.

Secondly, I cannot stress enough the importance of asking questions both inside and outside the classroom. When I teach I always encourage students to visit their professors’ office hours and to ask questions in class if there’s anything they don’t understand about the material or upcoming assignments. Usually if one student has a question many others have the same question, and everyone in the class will benefit from having the question raised.

Share something you learned over summer break.

I’m an English professor so I’m constantly reading. One summer read that I would recommend is Percival Everett’s novel The Trees. I have enjoyed Everett’s satirical novels, such as Erasure, in the past, and in The Trees he combines political satire with a murder mystery plot set in rural Mississippi. I also really enjoyed Torrey Peters Detransition, Babyand Nella Larsen’s Passing, a classic work that had somehow escaped me until now. Besides reading, I also got to travel to Iceland this summer, so I learned a great deal about that country’s history, geography, culture and geology.

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