Outlook Magazine - Fall 2020
‘You can’t do this alone’
learn to do that when you are working in groups and you are thinking about how people communicate. That’s a key point about leadership: You can’t do this alone. It’s about the team. It’s about the people who surround you. It’s about the campus community. It’s about the region. That is why Stout is such a successful, regional comprehensive polytechnic institution,” she said. Eldest of three children Frank is the eldest of three children. Her mother has been a special education teacher, stay-at-home mom and worked in real estate. Her father is an ophthalmologist. Her parents still live in Colorado Springs, Colo., where Frank grew up. Frank’s sister is a veterinarian in Philadelphia and her brother a real estate developer in Colorado, and she has four nieces. She credits many mentors throughout her academic career as well as her husband, Joe Dvorsky, a field service engineer who works for Morris Midwest. “Not only is he incredibly supportive, patient and generous, he is masterful at finding and encouraging balance in life. We make a good pair,” she said. Frank loves to stay active. She started running while in high school and has completed more than 10 marathons, including qualifying for and twice completing Boston. Although she has stopped competing, she remains an avid runner and cyclist. In her formative years, she tried field hockey, soccer and drama, had international service-learning experiences and spent time in France. “While I take work and responsibilities seriously, I try not to take myself too seriously. It is critical that we look for the good in life and in people, keep things in perspective, seek out joy and strive to improve. “It’s an honor to be chancellor. It’s an honor to serve as the first woman chancellor. I want to be an inspirational leader. Period. I want to do what’s right by the institution. That’s my focus,” she said.
The COVID-19 pandemic that disrupted normal university operations one week after she took office, coupled with previous budget issues, have only served to redouble Frank’s determination to make sure UW-Stout is on solid ground and prepared for the future. “We have dealt with the challenges of the pandemic through this lens, and it has allowed us to identify areas for potential growth that include new uses of technology to aid with applied learning and ways to reach different audiences of students by rethinking course and program delivery and degree structures,” Frank said. Former UW System President Ray Cross admires how Frank has led during a challenging time. “Katherine took office amid the pandemic, and I’ve been impressed with how she’s confronted the financial, employment, educational and health challenges facing UW-Stout. The university is in good hands at this difficult time,” said Cross, who left office July 1. Frank describes herself as hard-working and dedicated with high standards, but she knows that achieving successful outcomes at a university are a byproduct of collaboration. For her doctoral thesis, she researched the juvenile writings of the Bronte sisters of Victorian England. She saw an aspect of their lives that has helped guide her career in higher education. “The Brontes wrote together as children, and this collaborative practice influenced their novels. I really became immersed in thinking about collaborative models of authorship and collaborative models of leadership.” Her background is not from the polytechnic mold, like most previous UW-Stout leaders. However, she believes that liberal arts developed her skills in interdisciplinary learning and thinking and thus her “ability to communicate with a range of audiences within a variety of contexts,” she said.
KATHERINE P. FRANK
CHILDHOOD: Born in Durham, N.C., grew up in Colorado Springs, Colo. AGE: 48 FAMILY: Husband, Joe Dvorsky EDUCATION: B.A. in English from Bates College, Lewiston, Maine; Ph.D. and M.A. in English from University of Washington PREVIOUS WORK EXPERIENCE: 2019-20, vice president of Academic Innovation and professor of English, Central Washington University; 2016-19, provost and vice president of Academic and Student Life, Central Washington University; 2014-16, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Northern Kentucky University; previous administrative and teaching positions at Indiana University East and at Colorado State University-Pueblo HOBBIES: Running, road cycling, mountain biking, traveling and adventure, and animals (has three rescue cats)
“I rely on the expertise of others. You
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