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Fall 2011 semester filled with challenges, growth

December 16, 2011

UW-River Falls has had some low points this fall semester, but a lot of growth has also happened and the University is looking forward.

The semester started off with Professor Thomas William Barnett being charged with second degree sexual assault, after an alleged incident at the Hudson Theatre. Along with that event the budget repair bill, which kicked in this semester, caused major cuts in salaries and hurt the morale of professors and staff through an almost $4 million cut throughout the University. With all this, it’s hard to see the good that has happened this semester.

Aside from all these negative things there have been a lot of positive growth happening throughout the University, one being the Hudson Center which has grown over the last year.

“Last fall we were teaching 14 classes there,” said Blake Fry, special assistant to the chancellor, “this fall however we have increased that to 25 classes.”

Change has also begun to occur that will improve student’s learning environments with the new Falcon Promise, which enhances various rooms throughout campus. Selected classrooms have already started to see a few changes in technology and seating and are scheduled to be completely finished by the start of the spring semester.

Chancellor Dean Van Galen said, “Over time this will transform to provide a better learning environment, some of these classes are 30 years old and this will allow us to take a step forward.”

A Falcon Promise logo will be placed outside each one of these classrooms to show students and faculty which classrooms were renovated. The Falcon Promise has also begun to recruit students for the Falcon Scholars program which will grant students an opportunity for more scholarship support.

A UWRF Foundation fundraising campaign is also scheduled to start in the spring which is geared towards two goals, one being scholarship dollars and the other is the new health and human performance building. A goal of $2 million from fundraising is set for this new building while most of the planning also begins in the spring.

Another improvement on campus will be the increased dormitories with the new South Fork Suites II building. This will house an additional 240 students who are of sophomore status and will be a coed residence hall.

“Currently the new South Fork Suites II is ahead of schedule and should be all ready for students next year,” said Fry. A house has also been donated to UWRF which will be used for special events hosted by the University and also visiting scholars will be allowed to stay there.