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COLS Highlights Archive COLS Home

Portrait photo of John Kokor

Dear Friends of the College of Letters and Science,

In one recent 24-hour period I had the privilege to:

  • listen to finely tuned speeches by four finalists in the Department of Communication’s Spring Speech Festival competition;
  • attend the reading of an original and funny play written by a Radio/TV/Film and Theatre student and read by student actors;
  • travel to Taycheedah Correctional Institute to talk with students – both “inside” and “outside” students – about the profound benefits of our Inside/Out program, a program that offers courses to a class comprised of both UW Oshkosh students and residents of the Institute;
  • witness the work of committed students who spent hours working in our science labs, in our animal colony and in our herbarium following flooding in the Halsey Science Center basement this spring;
  • enjoy the reading of two original poems written by a senior student from the Department of English;
  • and, relax while attending a preview of a top music student’s junior-year piano recital.

I am enormously proud! And these are but a few examples of the fine dedication and levels of accomplishment that I frequently see from our students.  I am proud of our students and proud of our faculty and staff whose dedication and creativity have given rise to these opportunities and have nurtured students’ academic commitment.

Unfortunately, we continue to experience difficult financial times, and I worry that there may be more ahead. I am grateful for the previous support of donors to the College of Letters and Science and I hope you will assist us in our higher education mission by considering a gift to one of our funds listed below. Indeed, I deeply appreciate the collaborative spirit and sense of partnership from our alumni and friends.

The featured stories in this issue of Highlights illustrate the excellent educational experiences and collaborative research projects provided by the College of Letters and Science. Please join me in a collective sense of pride in the outstanding successes achieved at UW Oshkosh! 


John Koker, Dean

MartinViessmannDr. Martin Viessmann may be at his most futuristic when he is emphasizing a business model that is as old fashioned as it gets. While he leads an internationally renowned, award-winning, $2.5 billion energy-systems titan in the Allendorf, Germany-based Viessmann Group, Viessmann is also the 3rd generation helmsman of a family owned company. He provided an eye-opening overview of Viessmann Group’s vision and ethic to an audience of about 100 UW Oshkosh students, staff, faculty and community guests on May 11.

For the complete story, please see Viessmann: "Family-owned,' 'sustainable' equally important values for future.

larry carlinBefore every class, UW Oshkosh professor Larry Carlin psyches himself up for the next 60 minutes. He mutters to himself as a performer would before stepping on a stage or a football player before he sprints onto the field. “Here we go,” he says before the clock starts. “There is a challenge before you.”

To his students, it is another hour of philosophy; to Carlin, it’s game on.
Carlin, a 2011 Edward M. Penson Distinguished Teaching Award winner, has been shaping the minds of young philosophers at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh since 2000. He relishes in the A-ha! moments when his students realize that philosophy is not only about dead men talking and that it is an integral part of their everyday lives.

For the complete story including audio podcasts, please see the Spring 2012 edition of Endeavors.

JimFeldmanOn this day, James Feldman and his students will climb atop Winnebago County’s tallest peak. It isn’t too windy; it’s also not too hot. The students may not appreciate those weather details yet, but Feldman knows, they soon will. On this day, Feldman is teaching his students a lesson that cannot be replicated in the classroom. He has taken his Campus Sustainability class to the Winnebago County Landfill. “There is no more tangible way to understand the problems that we have with waste management, and the problems that we have with over-consumption than by standing at the top of highest point of Winnebago County,” says Feldman, an associate professor of Environmental Studies and History at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. “This is the tangible place to experience what it means to consume like an American.”

For the complete story including audio podcasts, please see the Spring 2012 edition of Endeavors.

MartyRobinsonEvery once in a while Marty Robinson is struck by a piece of music. The music may come from a snippet from a radio commercial or a theme song to a TV show. Then Robinson remembers why the tune gives him pause - he had composed it.

For the complete story and to hear the audio interviews and samples of Robinson's music, please see the Sound of Jazz.


As a child, Michael David loved unraveling word problems. Recently, what began as a childhood hobby has turned into an outright fixation of crossword puzzles. Not just working crossword puzzles, but creating them. David, 31, a math education graduate student at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh will soon see not one, but two of his crossword creations in the hallowed halls of crossword aficionados: The New York Times.

For the complete story and to hear an audio-only podcast, see Michael David, A Man of Words.


Not many people can say they have published a book by the age of 21. Sonja Funnell, however, can say she has three under her belt. The UW Oshkosh senior works as an illustrator for a series of children’s books called "The Adventures of Henry." She’s already done three of the seven books in the series. Her sister, Eve Funnell, is also working on the series. The UW Oshkosh sophomore has already completed one book and is currently working on a second.

For the complete story and to hear an audio-only podcast, see From Pupil to Published.

Two first-year science teachers, UWO grads, earn state recognition
Two recent University of Wisconsin Oshkosh grads who are now science teachers were among just a few in the state to be recognized by the Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers with a Frank Zuerner New Teacher Award.
The Frank Zuerner New Teacher Award  is presented to recognize new teachers with great potential in the field of science education. The award, given to teachers in their early years as a teacher was recently awarded to Dan Curran ’10, a science teacher at DeForest High School and Brittany Rumphol ’11, a science teacher at Chilton High School.

Student stats analysis: Recall election a go, signatures fall short of ‘million’
Math is everywhere. It’s in the traffic of our morning and evening commutes. It’s in the sports we follow. It’s in the vast array of technology we use every day. That includes Wisconsin’s ongoing recall election saga.

UWO prof, student on team to discover primate in Borneo thought to be extinct
An international team of scientists, which included University of Wisconsin Oshkosh anthropology assistant professor Stephanie Spehar and student Eric Fell, found one of the rarest and least known primates in Borneo, Miller’s Grizzled Langur.
This species was suggested to be extinct or on the verge of extinction, but the team’s findings, published in the American Journal of Primatology, confirmed the continued existence of the endangered monkey and revealed that it lives in an area where it was previously not known to exist.

COLS study abroad

Alumni and friends of COLS are invited to travel and study abroad with students, faculty and staff on COLS study abroad programs. From the many programs that vary in location and length of study, we have selected two opportunities to feature. For a complete listing, click here.

Social Work in Germany -- Poverty
Location: Fulda in the state of Hessen - Germany
Dates: Summer 2013
Accommodation: hotel
Program Model: Student Exchange/Faculty-led
Contact: abroad@uwosh.edu
Website: http://www.uwosh.edu/oie/abroad/fulda.php
The Social Work in Fulda International Summer University (ISU) attracts an international student population.  Social work courses are taught in English and all participants take an intensive German language course at levels ranging from beginner to advanced. Round out your experience with an impressive cultural program, complete with excursions, sight-seeing tours, guest lectures and social events.

European Odyssey
Location: Amsterdam, Paris, London, Rome, Dresden, Berlin, (Mini Spring Break in Venice, Italy)
Dates: February 10, 2013– May 17, 2013
Accommodation: multi-bed rooms in hotels or hostels
Contact Co-Directors: John Minniear, 233-4142 and Heike Alberts, 424-7109
Website: http://www.uwosh.edu/europeanstudies/european-odyssey
VISIT and EXPLORE historic sites, museums, galleries, concert halls, theatres, universities and civic / community centers as part of the academic experience. Faculty have crafted this program to be intellectually stimulating, educationally challenging and personally enjoyable. Dr. John Minniear from the Department of Music and Liberal Studies and Dr. Heike Alberts from the Geography and Urban Studies Department will be in residence with the group throughout the semester. Dr. Minniear’s courses will focus on European culture, values and the arts, while Dr. Alberts’ course will feature topics in European Geography. Two additional faculty will join in the European Odyssey for two-week residencies in London and Berlin. Dr. Monika Hohbein-Deegen from the Department of Foreign Languages will cover the Interdisciplinary / International Studies topic: “Germany-from Separation to Reunification.” Dr. Larry Carlin from the Department of Philosophy will present “Philosophy in Britain, from the 17th century.”

A liberal arts degree from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh provides our graduates with endless possibilities. 

Thank you for reading about the students, faculty, staff and alumni that comprise the College of Letters and Science.  As a friend of the College of Letters and Science, please consider an investment in current and future College initiatives by making a gift to support one of the funds below.

College of Letters and Science Excellence Fund – This fund represents the area of greatest need for the College.  These monies are used to support scholarships for students, professional development opportunities for faculty, and to bring speakers to campus. Such high impact opportunities are invaluable as they further enrich the liberal arts education we provide to our students.

Diversity and Global Learning Initiatives Fund – Contributions to this fund will help us to grow the number of courses and learning opportunities that address issues of diversity, social justice and global culture.  Our European Odyssey study abroad program, the Black Howler Monkey Research trip to Belize and a host of student/faculty exchange programs are examples of opportunities made possible through donor generosity.

Student/Faculty Collaborative Research Fund – With this fund we are increasing the priceless opportunities for our students to engage in research collaborations with our faculty.  The value of students’ active involvement in empirical observation, cutting-edge technologies and discovery simply cannot be understated.  Gifts to this fund allow us to provide travel support for presenting research results at professional conferences and to offer stipends to upper level students who might otherwise need to work in jobs unrelated to their fields of study.
Roseanne Hoefel Multicultural Education Fund – Support to this fund provides speakers and programs that educate our campus community about diversity and create a comfortable learning environment for all students. Recently funded events include the UW Oshkosh Pow-wow, Dialogues in Diversity art production with black students and support for the Gateway to Success Mentoring Program which pairs diverse students with faculty mentors.

Click here to make a gift to support COLS Funds at the UW Oshkosh Foundation. Please designate your gift for the COLS Excellence Fund.

For questions about establishing a scholarship fund or including COLS or a COLS Department in your estate plans, please contact Barbara Beuscher, COLS Director of Development, 920.424.2428 or beuscherb@uwosh.edu.

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