(Richland Center, Wis.) University of Wisconsin-Richland recently named Acting Campus Administrator Greg Zimmerman their 24th Kaplan Fellow. Zimmerman was nominated for this award by his peers and selected by the campus Steering Committee. The Kaplan Award recognizes the outstanding contributions to students made by UW Colleges’ faculty and instructional or non-instructional academic staff.
Zimmerman retired as principal of Hillsboro Middle School/High School in May of 2016 and began his student services advisor role at UW-Richland in July of 2016. He previously served the Wisconsin public school system for 31 years; nine as a teacher and 22 as a principal. His role as acting campus administrator at UW-Richland is effective through August 2018 pending restructuring of the campus with University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
Zimmerman’s colleagues nominated him for multiple reasons: his work in advising students; his initiation of the idea to bring high school groups to preview the campus; and, his commitment to present and future students and his contributions to the collegiality of the UW-Richland campus.
Arriving as an advisor on campus in 2016, Zimmerman remembers asking faculty, “How can I help you out?” “Bring students to campus,” they said. “I can do that,” Zimmerman replied. “I contacted the high school counselors first. They are the key people. They set up recruiting visits and visits to colleges. Together we decided to give the students a college experience,” he explains. Campus visits, as organized by Zimmerman with full cooperation of campus faculty and staff, include a dorm visit, attending a college class, talking to students about their anxieties about college, and more.
Have these visits translated into enrolled students? Yes. In fall of 2017, more than 200 area high school students visited UW-Richland because of these efforts. For example: six students visited from North Crawford High school, three enrolled; nine students from Ithaca High School visited, six enrolled; six students from Riverdale High School visited, two enrolled; and, there were others, including three students from Milwaukee.
The UW-Richland award winner is named Kaplan Fellow for the academic year and receives a $500 stipend, $250 of which is provided by the UW Colleges, and $250 of which is provided by the Richland County Campus Foundation. The funds may be used for professional development and/or supplies and equipment. What are Zimmerman’s intentions for the stipend associated with this award? Nothing solid yet. “If there was something I could get to put toward the campus itself that the students could use – that would be of interest to me,” Zimmerman reflects.
The Kaplan Award, established in 1993, honors Arthur M. Kaplan, a former provost of the UW Colleges. Each UW Colleges campus awards between one and four Kaplan Awards annually depending upon the size of the institution. To learn more about the UW-Richland campus visit richland.uwc.edu.