Telfer’s ideal campus calls for involvement

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Thomas Fuller, British writer of Gnomologia, once said, “A good garden may have some weeds.”

UW-Whitewater reflects this notion by having some loopholes of its own.

Chancellor Richard Telfer represents UW-Whitewater as a campus of true experience, but one in need of more student involvement.

“A lot of the things we do are the way it ought to be done,” Telfer said. “In some sense, I like what we’re doing and I’d like to continue to go in that direction.”

Telfer said the most difficult aspect in having an outstanding university is blending together the academic challenges and non-classroom related programs to create “the ultimate experience.”

With the wide variety of majors offered on campus, experiences are plentiful. Telfer said each major uniquely presents ways for students to practice their knowledge.

“If you’re majoring in education, you have plenty of experiences with students, public schools K-12, as well as student teaching,” Telfer said. “If you’re going to do broadcast journalism, print journalism or the combination, we want to see you have the chance to practice that. If there are areas where it makes sense to go away from campus to get an internship, I’d like that.”

Telfer said his ideal university would have more students working on campus. Not only would an increase in student jobs bring money to campus and to the students, but it would provide a great “people experience.” Telfer said student jobs is one of the elements which the university is trying to promote.

Undergraduate research is another important component that Telfer hopes to see more student involvement with in the future.

Students would have the chance to work closely together, promoting a real-world scenario.

“Working together to refine research questions, to test hypotheses, to gather data and to engage in interpretive analysis … gives students a competitive edge in applying for admission to graduate schools and real-world employment,”said Mary Pinkerton, dean of College of Letters and Sciences, on UW-Whitewater’s Undergraduate Research Day website.

UW-Whitewater has significantly diverse majors, but doesn’t get into them all, Telfer said.

“We don’t get into nursing and we don’t get into engineering,” Telfer said. “Would it be nice to have those? Yes, but it’s also ones that are very expensive.”

Starting a new program, especially one like nursing or engineering, wouldn’t make economic sense right now because of the hardships in the state.

UW-Whitewater has connections with other campuses for students to go to their programs if UW-Whitewater doesn’t have them.

“I’m not dissatisfied at all with the programs we have,” Telfer said.

With the newly constructed Innovation Center in Whitewater, the possibilities for students have increased. Telfer said the building is focused on businesses, but it is not limited to business majors.

“The people that start businesses come from all over campus,” Telfer said. “A business is often more about the idea.”

Advisory groups from multiple other colleges have taught Telfer that students majoring in English, foreign language, communication and many other programs end up running businesses in the future.

A perfect campus is not easy to come by, but it’s something every university strives for, Telfer said.

“That’s what we’re working to try and provide,” Telfer said. “We want people to feel good about being here, good about interacting with their peers and good about interacting with their professors.”