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Opinion

UWRF success depends on students

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September 28, 2007

Every 10 years, UW-River Falls hosts a team from the Higher Learning Commission. Their goal is to check us out and make sure that we are doing everything we’re supposed to do. You can play a part in helping us succeed when the team visits campus next spring.

Here are some specifics of what you can do to help:

The team members love to walk around campus asking students what they know about UWRF. Can you answer these questions?

What’s our mission? Our mission is to help students learn so that they are successful as productive, creative, ethical, engaged citizens and leaders with an informed global perspective. This means UWRF is a student-centered institution. Our mission is you.

What are the core values we hold as an institution? Our core values are integrity, academic excellence, inclusiveness, community and continuous improvement. These core values mean that we are honest and ethical as an institution, that our goal is to help students reach their full potential, that we respect everyone, provide academic freedom, and appreciate individual differences and rich cultural diversity, that we reach outside the University to connect with and serve the larger community, and that we make decisions based on our intention to be better and better.

It’s great for you to be able to tell a team member about our mission and core values. Wallet cards available around campus give you a handy reference to these important ideas. You can adopt these goals as your own — honesty, academic excellence, respect, community service and personal improvement are great goals for students, too.

But there’s something even more important you can do to help UWRF reach these goals. If you think we’re not living up to one or more of these core values, or to our mission, tell someone about it. Student input is essential to our improvement, and faculty, staff, administrators and student leaders want to know how they’re doing. Or you could write a letter to the Student Voice. Your input is even more valuable if you have an idea about how we can fix the problem, do it better, or change our approach.

Something else you can do has to do with the look of our campus. Returning students are probably noticing some of the improvements around campus since last year. Personally, I really appreciate the new sidewalk that goes from the Wyman building to G lot — no more mud on my shoes. A good-looking campus makes a good impression on the team. It shows that we care about the place we live and work. There are lots of ways you can help, from being careful with grass and plantings to avoiding littering. Just keep in mind that how we look actually matters.

Each of these ideas for helping out with our upcoming accreditation team visit is actually an idea for making your university better. So join in UWRF’s effort to be the best we can be.

Mary Manke is associate dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies and is in her ninth year in that position. She coordinated accreditation for Educator Preparation in 2003 and is now beginning to prepare for the 2010 visit. She teaches in the Shared Inquiry Master's Program.