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News briefs

October 26, 2006

UWRF receives grant for online learning

A $2.5 million grant has been awarded to UW-River Falls and Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) to expand online learning. “Stronger Together: An Educational Partnership for the Changing Economy,” was one of only five joint grants awarded by the Title III program of the U.S. Department of Education in the current year. Title III awards funds for developing academic programs to meet regional workforce needs. CVTC President Bill Ihlenfeldt said the grant strengthens the region’s economic vitality through the expansion of online courses. The program will be offered in the two campuses’ shared service areas of Polk, Pierce, St. Croix, Dunn, Pepin, Chippewa and Eau Claire Counties in Wisconsin, and Washington County in Minnesota. CVTC and UWRF combined currently educate more than 15,000 traditional and adult learners. Through 2011 CVTC and UWRF will: train faculty in delivering courses via web-based education, instructional television and compact learning; develop and offer courses using the same methods; achieve student retention for alternative delivery programs equal to the retention on campus by providing online and evening access to services, advising and counseling; and explore new bachelor’s degree programs providing ease of credit transfer. Katrina Larsen, UWRF outreach director and Title III project director, said program will include online instruction, interactive TV, webcasts and flexible scheduling.

New Dairy Learning Center is under way

Representatives of the UW System, the UW Board of Regents, the state of Wisconsin, the dairy industry, and UWRF students, faculty and staff celebrated the groundbreaking for the new Dairy Learning Center last Friday. The $9.3 million complex is located at the Mann Valley Farm.UWRF has one of the largest undergraduate dairy science majors in the nation. The Dairy Learning Center is expected to be completed by the summer of 2007 and will replace the aging dairy operation constructed in the 1950s, located at Lab Farm 1 on the main campus. The complex will feature a lactating cow barn, special needs barn, milking center, calf barn, heifer barn, hay barn, feed shed, and machine shed. It also includes an environmentally friendly composted bedding housing system for 100 lactating cows; a BouMatic double-6 herringbone parlor with a StepMetrix automated lameness detection system; research bays with Calan gates, allowing the herd to be split into groups for nutrition trials; two 25-student classrooms, which can be expanded for industry-based workshops and meetings; and confinement and pasture-based management systems.

Art department, Art Society host exhibit

The UW-River Falls art department and the Art Society are set to host an impromptu juried show in Gallery 101 of Kleinpell Fine Arts Oct. 30 through Nov. 5. The UWRF Art Society is made up of students interested in pursuing extracurricular artistic endeavors. The organization is very active on campus, participating in the annual fall outdoor art installations, the art department’s scholarship sale in December, and fundraising activities for group trips to Chicago. Exhibits in Gallery 101 are free and open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Monday-Friday, as well as 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, contact the UWRF art department at 715-425-3266.

Recommendation given to journalism dept.

Reaccredidation site team members visited UW-River Falls Oct. 23, and gave the journalism department a recommendation for reaccredidation. The site team reviewed the department, and interviewed journalism students and administration. The department was notified of the team’s recommendation on Oct. 25. “Being accredited means we are providing a quality program for our students,” department Chair Colleen Callahan said. The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication will inform the department if it is reaccredited by May 2007. The department is up for reaccredidation every six years, and has been accredited since 1982.

RF may get drive-through coffee shop

The deal remains far from done, but all indicators look good that a drive-through coffee shop will get built on the east side of North Main Street. To reach the location, drivers would turn onto Sullivan Court, just opposite of the Paulson Road turnoff that’s used to get to ShopKo, McDonald’s and Sears. Land owners requested a zone change recently that would allow Grind’n Away Fine Coffees to occupy a roadside shop at this intersection. Husband and wife coffee-shop proprietors Damon and Chris Plattner plan to lease the land from three co-owners: Michael Manteufel, Randy Deiss and Donald Jackelen. Chris Plattner said the shop may offer other goods beside coffee, but will be a drive-through establishment targeting commuters and convenience seekers. It won’t be a sit-down shop. Damon Plattner thinks it will be several months before they get the green light.

Briefs compiled by Leah Danley