2012 Message from Department Chair Kimber Wilkerson
June 19, 2012
While the 2010-11 academic year was notable for the Department in our physical transition from our Murray St./East Campus Mall home to the fourth floor of the renovated Education Building on Bascom Hill, 2011-12 brought a whole host of transitions related to personnel.
After four years of service as department chair, David Rosenthal stepped down from that role in May 2011. I had the honor of taking over from David, and am slowly starting to feel at home in the now-famed “tree house” office. David took a sabbatical leave for the Fall 2011 semester and came back recharged with a smile on his face.
The academic year also brought a record number of retirements. Marge Hanson retired in June 2011 after 17 years with the department and 35 years with the University. With her capable attention to detail and her calm, steady presence, she was a pleasure in the office. Donna Littel also retired in June after 15 years with the department and 33 years with the University. Donna received a distinguished staff award in her last year with us and can still be seen around the building on a weekly basis working with professors David Rosenthal and Fong Chan on a grant-funded project.
Surprising many people after 42 years in our very own department, Jan Kuehl retired in December 2011. With so much experience, departmental knowledge and an impressive memory for students, Jan was our “go to” person for any number of questions on a wide range of topics. I know that she touched many lives over her career. Jan was gracious enough to come back to work for us temporarily this spring to help train her replacement. We marked Jan's retirement with a lovely party at the end of May.
Another surprise retirement in December 2011 was Professor Norman Berven. Norm retired after 35 years of service at UW. He chaired the Rehabilitation Psychology Area for many years and mentored countless students. He has already been granted emeritus status and plans to stay involved in the profession for many years to come.
In addition to these retirements, we also had several other faculty and staff move on to new positions elsewhere. Dolores Fries took a position at WCER, Bob Gervey (RP) left to devote himself to his work in New Orleans and Wendy Machalicek (SE) accepted a position at the University of Oregon. While we miss all of these individuals, we also wish them well in their next phases.
We also mourn the loss of Emeritus Professor James McCarthy. He is remembered fondly as a kind and thoughtful man who made strides in the field of learning disabilities and assessment. We will be drafting a memorial resolution to share with the UW Faculty Senate in the fall. Feel free to contact me if you would like to contribute to this effort.
So many transitions also bring new faces to the department. We are pleased to have three new staff members, one new RP faculty member this year, and two additional new SE faculty starting in Fall 2012. Our new RP faculty member, Brian Phillips, is profiled in this issue. Our incoming SE faculty include: Bonnie Doren, who specializes in transition research and adolescents with high incidence disabilities, and joins us from a research position at the University of Oregon; and Andrea Ruppar who recently earned her PhD from the University of Illinois and specializes in the education of students with intellectual disabilities. Our new staff members include Jenni Hart, our new department administrator; Laurel Shelhamer, our student services coordinator; and Ann Paremski, who performs an array administrative duties. We are lucky to have our open positions filled by so many capable, dynamic individuals.
While I know that transitions are part of life … and I realize our faculty and staff have an impressive collection of expertise related to aiding the successful transitions of others … I can also say that I now look forward to developing a groove!
I welcome any and all of you reading this newsletter to stop by for a visit next time you’re in Madison or near Bascom Hill.
Wishing all an enjoyable summer... Kimber Wilkerson