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Wheeler to assume position at community college

February 25, 2010

After devoting a total of 15 years to UW-River Falls, Lisa Wheeler, the interim vice chancellor of administration and finance, is embracing a new employment opportunity.

Wheeler has accepted the vice president of student affairs position at Normandale Community College located in Bloomington, Minn. Some of her responsibilities in this position will include being in charge of student life, counseling, academic support, multicultural programs, disability needs, admissions, marketing, financial aid and registrar.

Normandale is an urban two year community college serving primarily the southwestern metropolitan region of the Twin Cities, according to the school’s Web site.

Wheeler has filled the vice chancellor of administration and finance position since 2008. According to Wheeler, her favorite part of the job is fixing things in the organization and making them better. Wheeler is also very appreciative of the group of professional people she gets to work with.

Wheeler said there are several things she will miss about her job here.

“I will miss the three minute commute, the comfort of an organization where I know a lot of people and have good contact with them. I will miss the spirit of the people who work here and the dedication this school has to providing a quality experience for the students.”
Wheeler said she has decided to take the position at Normandale Community College because student affairs is where her professional heart is.

“Working in the student affairs department is really motivational. You get a chance to give people an opportunity to change the course of their lives for the better.”

Wheeler said she will be able to do just that because 25 percent of Normandale’s students are of color and many are first generation college students.

Wheeler has had much success here at UWRF. As the interim vice chancellor she helped develop a strategy that avoided across-the-board cuts and retained focus on strategic initiatives. Wheeler also led a University-wide comprehensive review of all administrative departments. This involved identifying potential improvements through process redesign, better utilization of technology, improved business practices and reorganization of key departments.

From 2006 to 2008, Wheeler was asked by the Chancellor to come back from her position as vice president of learner services at Capella University to be the interim executive director of Information Technology Services. Through this position Wheeler created a comprehensive multi-year plan to respond to an external review of Information Technology Services and led the plan’s initial implementation. Wheeler also created a subunit within I.T.S to support faculty in their use of technology in teaching.
 
Wheeler was also the first director of the Academic Success Center from 1997 to 2001.

Wheeler’s led the creation of the Academic Success Center and was its first director. Wheeler was also the primary author of the University’s strategic plan, ‘Plan 2008: Educational Quality through Racial and Ethnic Diversity.’

Wheeler’s first position here at UWRF was assistant dean of students from 1989 to 1997. During this time she created an orientation program for new students to assure smooth transition into the University.

Wheeler recruited, selected and trained volunteer student staff and created a funding mechanism to assure adequate resources for the program. Wheeler also served on nine committees during her time her at UWRF.

Wheeler’s colleagues can attest to her achievements.

“Lisa is very talented, organized, professional and driven. She works very hard. She is also an impeccable person, very approachable and nice,” said Heather Wittkopf, an office worker for the Administration and Finance department.

Wittkopf wants Wheeler to have continued success in her next position. “Normandale is lucky to have her and we appreciate all of her contributions to UWRF,” Wittkopf said.

Wheeler’s last day here is March 12. She will be starting her new position at Normandale Community College March 22.