Faculty In Focus
Building a just and compassionate world
President Flanagan Takes on New Role
Dr. Scott Flanagan, long-time Edgewood College leader, and President since 2014, announced to faculty and staff in August that he will be taking a new Senior Consultant position with Academic Search, one of the most highly respected higher education search firms in the nation.
Over the last 21 years Dr. Flanagan has held a number of top leadership positions at Edgewood College, including Vice President for Planning and Enrollment and Executive Vice President. He has also served in various leadership roles in the national higher education community, including being elected to the Board of Directors of the National Association of Independent College and Universities in 2017.
“I have been extraordinarily fortunate to have been able to call Edgewood College home for so many years. It has been an honor to work with such outstanding colleagues and students and to be recognized locally, regionally and nationally as an exceptional campus for quality student learning,” Flanagan said. “I’m a better person because of my time here, and I am hopeful this is a better place because of my presence.”
Board of Trustees Chair Lucy Keane ’84 expressed appreciation on behalf of the board for Flanagan’s contributions.
“We have been so lucky to have had Scott in the Edgewood College family for as long as we have,” Keane said. “During Scott’s tenure at the College, he led enrollment management to record class sizes. After taking on the presidency he oversaw the recruitment of a more diverse student body; introduced innovative affordable pricing strategies and three new intercollegiate sports; invested in infrastructure to support philanthropic efforts; and as an excellent strategic planner he has set the stage for our future. Dr. Flanagan leaves the College in a strong financial position with a larger endowment and more reserves than at any time during the history of Edgewood College.”
College Accelerates Goal of Student/Faculty Ratio of 13:1 by Next Fall
Edgewood College will accelerate efforts to achieve a 13:1 student/faculty ratio when classes begin in the Fall of 2020. Sister Mary Ellen Gevelinger, O.P., Interim President, shared that information at the September 2019 College Assembly, which is a monthly meeting of faculty and staff.
“We are taking the necessary steps today to ensure we remain financially healthy, and to ensure we’re well-positioned for a bright future,” Gevelinger said. “The difficult work that has been done, and will continue yet this year, will both secure the excellent experience our current students expect, and create a strong foundation for our students five, 55, and 105 years from now.”
Edgewood College has been eyeing simplifying its organizational structure, consolidation of some academic and student services departments, reducing the number of majors offered, and other proposals designed to increase efficiency in meeting the needs of students. That work, done by faculty, staff, and Trustees, began nearly two years ago and continued through this summer.
“These changes will require the release of some faculty and staff colleagues from their time here,” Gevelinger said. “This is very difficult news to share with you, and I offer it with compassion, and in community and partnership. This change is uncomfortable, and it must occur so that the future of Edgewood College can be bright.”
Because of the dramatic national demographic shift, “Every responsible college and university is taking an honest, close look at how its resources are aligned with the needs of today’s students, and the students who will follow,” Gevelinger said. “Edgewood College is not alone in these changing times.”
Unique Partnership Earns Civic Engagement Award
The Healthy Food for All partnership at Edgewood College has received the Esther Letven Campus-Community Partnership Award at the annual Campus Compact for Wisconsin (CCWI) Civic Engagement Institute.
The award recognizes outstanding community partnerships in Wisconsin, and recipients are selected by a committee of community partners. The award honors Esther Letven, a former UW-Parkside employee who helped to build infrastructure to support and promote community engagement there. Letven is also a founding member of CCWI.
“It is exciting to honor strong community-university partnerships this year, including the Healthy Food for All partnership with Edgewood College,” Trina Van Schyndel, Director of CCWI, said. “Strong partnerships like these support the public purposes of higher education by promoting student learning and development as both citizens and professionals.”
The Healthy Food for All partnership is part of a capstone course within the School of Business. Each semester, teams of students work with a community partner that has identified some need for business-related skills. Since 2017, students have worked with Healthy Food for All and Four Lakes Processing Collective, both of which have relationships with FEED Kitchens, to address hunger and food waste in the Madison area.
Through this partnership, students have helped develop business and marketing plans for Healthy Food for All and Four Lakes Processing Collective, while gaining valuable, real world experience in the process. Students help with initiatives to address hunger, prevent food waste, and create economic opportunity to combat marginalization.
“The students…provided suggestions we could use immediately to create our brand and market our product,” Joe Mingle, Volunteer Coordinator at FEED Kitchens, said. “We could never have made such leaps forward without their skills, knowledge, commitment, and the guidance they get from their faculty.”
You can read more about the partnership in the last issue of the Magazine.
College Makes Top 15 Nationally in New U.S. News Ranking for ‘Social Mobility’
For the second consecutive year, Edgewood College has earned a top ranking among national colleges and universities for promoting social mobility, according to U.S. News & World Report. The College is the highest performing school in Wisconsin in the Best National Universities list for 2020, coming in at number 14 in the category.
“Edgewood College provides a truly life-changing experience. We pride ourselves on our commitment to helping students from all economic backgrounds achieve their goals,” Amber Schultz, Vice President for Enrollment Management, said. “I am thankful and honored to be recognized for our work toward facilitating the success of our students.”
The ranking calculates social mobility through two separate indicators: the first compares the graduation rates of students who received federal Pell Grants with those who did not. Pell Grants are given to students from families with an annual household income of less than $50,000. This indicator measures schools’ success at supporting their students from low-income families to the point of achieving equity with students from families with stronger financial backgrounds. The second indicator looks only at the graduation rate of students who received Pell Grants.
The marks the second consecutive year Edgewood College has ranked among the very best in the country for this student-centered measurement. U.S. News & World Report introduced the measurement for the first time in their 2019 rankings.
Major Gift Helps Launch Inclusive Internship Project
A major gift from the Oscar Rennebohm Foundation has helped launch the Inclusive Internship Project. This new initiative, getting underway this fall, will support paid internships for students, especially those in liberal arts majors, or from low socioeconomic backgrounds.
The project will create 40 paid student internships per year. For students with financial need, extra part-time jobs and family demands may mean participation in an internship program is either not possible or is a hardship. Research shows experiences like internships, while valuable to all students, allow students in underrepresented populations to make particularly large gains in their learning.
“This gift allows us to build off momentum and plan intentionally to support and grow internship opportunities,” Sara Hanson, Director of Career Development and Internship Coordinator at Edgewood College, said. “Students will have access to internships that enable them to gain relevant experience and grow valuable connections that assist in their career trajectory. The benefits of the program will be exponential for students, and for the communities they’ll serve.”
Student interns will serve in a broad range of local business and organizations, including small and mid-sized companies and non-profits. The impact on the Greater Madison community will be significant; most undergraduates at Edgewood College are from Wisconsin (89%); most who will obtain post-graduate employment will do so in Wisconsin (87%).
The $450,000 gift is the latest example of the extraordinary history of partnership and support of the Oscar Rennebohn Foundation. The Foundation has supported Edgewood College with $6 million over more than 37 years, including funding for the Center for Healthcare Education & Simulation, the Oscar Rennebohm Library, and the Sonderegger Science Center.
Henry J. Predolin Foundation 2018 Grant Supports More Than $900,000 in Scholarships for Previous and Current Year Students
Over the past 10 years Edgewood College received more than $8.5 million in total grants from Henry J. Predolin Foundation. These generous grants are made annually to support undergraduate students majoring in the areas of business, nursing, and science. Funds are allocated toward scholarships, equipment, and capital construction for those academic areas.
In 2018, the College was honored with a grant from Henry J. Predolin Foundation totaling $906,000—and for the first year it was entirely allocated toward scholarships. The total scholarship support received from Predolin Foundation since 2008 is more than $4.5 million and has benefitted nearly 400 students.
In the hundreds of letters of thanks written by Predolin Scholars, they report their gratitude and the scholarships’ impact on their lives in a myriad of ways, including “Your generosity has allowed me to be the first person in my family to further their education at a four-year college” and “Your support has given me the opportunity to continue my education at my dream school” and “Thank you for believing in me.”
The Predolin Scholarships continue to be among the largest and most far-reaching benefactor-supported scholarships offered at Edgewood College.
Honorary Degree for Legendary Public Servant
With an estimated 3,000 graduates, their family and friends, and faculty and staff looking on, Edgewood College conferred the honorary degree of Doctor of Law upon Justice Shirley Abrahamson during Commencement on Sunday, May 19, 2019.
“Justice Abrahamson’s life embodies the College’s values of Truth, Justice, Partnership, Community, and Compassion,” Scott Flanagan, President of Edgewood College, said. “Her decisions show that she believes the law exists to serve the people. As the longest serving state supreme court justice in the country, her commitment to truth, justice, and fairness shine throughout her career.”
Justice Abrahamson addressed the ceremony from the podium. “Fortunately, I had to work much less for this degree, than you, today’s graduates did for yours,” she joked. “Edgewood College has a long history as an important and vibrant part of the fabric of the Madison community. I am especially proud today to become part of Edgewood’s history, and to have this opportunity to wish today’s graduates the very best of luck in the future. Thank you.”
Justice Abrahamson was appointed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 1976, and was elected to ten-year terms in 1979, 1989, 1999, and 2009. She served as Chief Justice from 1996 to 2015.
Dr. Willie D. Larkin Joins College as Diversity Officer
Dr. Willie D. Larkin, immediate past President of Grambling State University in Louisiana, has joined Edgewood College and will serve in the role of Chief of Staff and Diversity Officer.
“We are honored to have a leader like Dr. Larkin bring his talent and experience to this community of learners,” Mary Ellen Gevelinger, O.P., Interim President, said. “His voice and counsel will help me direct our renewed efforts to become the inclusive community that our Strategic Plan calls us toward. Our future is indeed bright, and Dr. Larkin will play a key role in that future. Becoming the community we aspire to be – a community where all gifts and differences are celebrated and embraced – is central to that bright future.”
Before assuming the role of Grambling’s President, Dr. Larkin was the Chief of Staff and Executive Assistant to the president of Morgan State University, Dr. David Wilson, in Baltimore, Maryland from 2010 to 2015. Dr. Larkin also served as the Chief of Staff and Executive Assistant for Dr. Wilson during his tenure as the Chancellor of the UW Colleges and UW-Extension in Madison from 2006 to 2010.
“Diversity, equity and inclusion are important characteristics of our iconic College. To get the job done, we must collectively unify our efforts to be a welcoming institution of higher education for all,” Dr. Larkin said. “Diversity is about everyone, but especially our students, as they are our next generation of leaders. We must prepare them to become world-class citizens.”
Dr. Larkin holds two degrees from Tuskegee University, and a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. He has more than 40 years of successful senior level experience in higher education.
Dr. Larkin is a member of the Dane County Chapter of the NAACP, a member of the Mount Zion Baptist Church Trustee Board, a member of the Board of 100 Black Men of Madison, and serves on the Foundation Board of Agrace Hospice. Dr. Larkin is a proud member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., and a proud member of the Divine Nine.
New Vice President for Enrollment Management Named
Amber Schultz, Ed.D. has been named Vice President for Enrollment Management.
Dr. Schultz most recently served as Assistant Vice President for Admissions, Marketing, and Recruitment at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minn. Dr. Schultz also served as adjunct faculty member in the Higher Education Administration Master’s Program at St. Cloud State. She began her new role in July.
As Vice President for Enrollment Management, Dr. Schultz will oversee Undergraduate Admissions, Graduate Admissions, Financial Aid, and Marketing & Strategic Communications. She will also serve as a member of the President’s Council.
Prior to her current role, she held leadership positions in Enrollment Management at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, The University of Minnesota – Crookston, and Winona State University. Dr. Schultz holds an undergraduate degree from UW-LaCrosse, a Master of Science in Educational Leadership degree from Winona State University in Winona, Minn., and a doctoral degree from the University of Minnesota.
New Coaches, Programs, for Athletics
The addition of three new sports that will launch with the start if the 2020-2021 academic year has Eagles Athletics poised for growth and wider competition.
With the addition of Men’s Volleyball, the Eagles will join one of the top Men’s Volleyball conferences in the country in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference. By next fall, the conference will have 13 members with both the Eagles and Wisconsin Lutheran College joining the league standings.
Named to the head coaching position is Jeff “JT” Thomas. Thomas is familiar with Edgewood College, having served as an assistant coach under Paul Schlomer with the Women’s Volleyball team for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. He also served as a strength & conditioning coach for the Eagles during that time.
McKinley Perform Arts Center Hosts First Events
In August, the new McKinley Performing Arts Center at Edgewood High School welcomed visitors and music lovers to the first events held at the new facility.
The 465-seat facility is funded through the generosity of philanthropic gifts from Edgewood High School alumni, parents and friends, as well as funds generated from a long-term usage agreement with Edgewood College.
In September, the Edgewood Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Blake Walter, inaugurated the 2019-2020 concert season.
“In terms of learning, students will be able to clearly and accurately hear the other members of their ensembles – the improvement in acoustics will be amazing for our students,” Beatriz Aguilar, Professor in Music and Chair of the Music Department, said. “Our Music Media and Production majors will now have access to a professional environment for sophisticated recording with superb quality. Audiences for our concerts will appreciate the new space perhaps most of all.”