As the new academic year approaches at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, we’re gearing up for our 150th fall semester. While life will continue to be impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, our campus communities can look forward to another year of quality and innovative education along with a full slate of sesquicentennial activities and events.
To learn more about what students, faculty and staff can expect in fall 2021, we caught up with our college deans and campus administrators for some Q&A updates.
Up first in our Titans Return series is Linda Haling, dean of the College of Education and Human Services (COEHS).
What lessons learned during the pandemic will faculty and staff in your college be bringing forward with them into the new academic year?
We learned that we appreciate even more teaching and learning in spaces that allow us to build rapport with our students. We learned both what technology can do to enhance teaching and learning and also what it cannot do. We learned that we can work remotely, but we missed our face-to-face time with each other and with our students. We learned that despite facing a challenge as difficult as the pandemic, we will persevere.
Several of the departments in COEHS will carry forward practices that worked well during the past year. For example, we will continue a virtual option to attend meetings so that more people have access, and some courses will continue in a hybrid or 100% online format.
What’s new in your college/campus for the 2021-22 academic year?
We are very excited to welcome several new faculty/staff members who joined COEHS over the past year. Michelle Sands will join the special and early childhood education department beginning this fall. Sands graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a doctorate in special education. Her specialization is early childhood special education and early intervention.
Chris Kleinheinz joined the college this past year as an academic department associate. She will primarily support our graduate program in teaching and learning. Likewise, Terry Kiel joined the college this past year as a program assistant for the Alternative Careers in Teaching (ACT).
This fall, the college will be preparing for our move out of the Nursing/Education building so that renovations can begin in February 2022. Although we will be dispersed throughout locations on campus during 2022, the faculty and staff are looking forward to modernized facilities for teaching and learning.
How will your college celebrating the sesquicentennial?
Because UW Oshkosh began as a normal school, the COEHS is celebrating 150 years of preparing educators. We decided to develop theme boards that emphasize the impact that the college has had on the community and the campus as a whole. These boards will hang in the Nursing/Education building during the fall semester and focus on the history of teacher preparation and the expansion of the college. Beginning in September, we invite all to visit our gallery of COEHS history.
What are your own personal thoughts about the coming semester following the unprecedented year we experienced in 2020-21?
Fall is one of the most exciting times to be on a college campus. After a summer of very few people on campus, I look forward to our students and faculty filling the hallways and walking the grounds. This burst of activity creates an energy that is uplifting and motivating. This anticipated moment means more than any other year because of the unprecedented year we just experienced. Our return to campus, however, comes with a need to be sensitive to the difficulty some may face during the transition. First and foremost, my goal for this coming fall is to help everyone through the transition.