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Chancellor optimistic about UW-RF future

September 21, 2006

With one of his greatest accomplishments being the creation of a mission and core values for UW-River Falls, Chancellor Don Betz moves forward through this next year with more plans and a clear focus.

During his first year at UW-RF, Betz worked to better define the University and what it is about.

“One of my biggest accomplishments is the mission and values,” he said.

Betz said the new mission statement seeks to promote leadership among staff, faculty and students.

“I am looking forward to engaging leadership at all levels, and to robust interaction with student leadership in student organization,” he said.
Betz has worked closely with the Leadership Center to help the team become more organized and gain a clearer direction.

“I put a lot of emphasis on the importance of leadership,” he said.

In an effort to promote student leadership, Betz attended a short-term study abroad course, the Chancellor’s Global Leadership Colloquium, with students in August. The course allowed students to explore leadership in an international setting and will be offered every year.

The chancellor has also been working closely with the Leadership Center to develop leadership classes and programs for all students. “Betz really supports leadership initiatives for students,” said Leadership Training Coordinator Brent Turner. “He supported students doing service over spring break.”

The Leadership Center created a destination program that allows students to do services such as providing meals, tutoring and building homes over spring break. Students helped Hurricane Katrina victims in the Destination: Gulf Coast mission during break last year. The program will be offered every year and will continually expand issue areas and sites.

“He [Betz] has shown great support and interest in our events and programs,” said Karyn Kling, associate student services coordinator.

In addition to promoting leadership on campus, Betz also seeks to promote international experiences.

“My goal is that virtually every student that wants to has an international experience,” he said.

In the near future, he said he hopes to begin teaching a few international courses.

International Studies Chair Wes Chapin said Betz has made internationalization a top goal. This goal is consistent with UW-RF’s goal to have about 25 percent of students study abroad.

“I am sure the chancellor would want to increase the percentage greatly,” Chapin said.

This year, Betz also wants to continue focusing on and working closely with the Student Senate and other leadership organizations.
Between now and 2008, Betz will focus on helping the University prepare for its reaccredidation and will continue to help with the campus’ technological redesign. The goals of the redesign are to make technology more accessible, provide more opportunities for students to learn and create more online courses.

Wireless Internet access is now available to students, faculty and staff in South Hall and Davee Library. It will also be available in the new Student Union when it opens in January.

Throughout his first year at UW-RF, the chancellor concentrated on listening to others throughout the campus about the direction they wanted the University to go. Betz has taken the input he received and incorporated it into his goals for the institution.

He said he hopes to create more scholarships in an effort to make a college education more affordable for UW-RF students. This past year, he facilitated the addition of 26 new scholarships to the University.

He has also spent time communicating with faculty and staff. Last year, he helped create Falcon Daily, a daily newsletter sent via e-mail to UW-RF staff and faculty. This year, Betz hopes to continue collaboration with faculty and staff.

Betz was inaugurated last April as UW-RF’s 16th chancellor.