Outlook Magazine - Fall 2020


Extra efforts by students, faculty, staff made it possible to finish an unusual semester

L ife at a university is a finely choreographed daily dance among students, faculty and staff. So, imagine adding a pandemic midsemester, requiring the need to largely vacate campus and yet continue the semester.   That’s what UW-Stout faced almost overnight this past spring.  Fall semester academic plans, as of mid-August, included hybrid learning, a mix of online and at least 50% face-to- face instruction with social distancing in the classrooms. Fall athletic seasons, including homecoming, have been canceled. Commencement, other events go online Spring commencement on May 9 was held virtually for 1,183 graduates to engage through video presentations, curated social media streams and submitted photos. Katherine P. Frank, in her first commencement as chancellor, told graduates that while “the last couple of months have taught us all many things, one of the most significant lessons I believe we have learned has been that relationships and community matter.”  Other events that went online included: School of Art and Design Senior Show; Stout Game Expo; WEAR Fashion Show; and Research Day.

Students, faculty, staff adapt

Katie Jo Walker, human development and family studies major, like many seniors wrapped up her college career studying from her family home. “The professors have made it as smooth as they can,” she said.   Three students faced a double dose of upheaval: Along with their education going online, they were called to active duty in the Wisconsin National Guard for pandemic support.  Longtime hospitality professor Phil McGuirk taught a virtual cooking class for the first time. His students made food in their own kitchens instead of Cedar Café in Heritage Hall.   Professor Kevin W. Tharp developed an alternative teaching methods crash course for colleagues using Microsoft Sway.  Faculty in art metals created and mailed kits to students so they could work on studio projects at home.   Staff efforts included: Dining and Student Health Services delivered meals and health care kits to about 70 students who remained on campus in Red Cedar Hall. The Counseling Center offered online appointments. Admissions pivoted to online sessions and a virtual campus tour.


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