Martin Rudd, a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, earned his PhD from the University of Warwick and was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Bergen in Norway. He taught chemistry in Texas, Louisiana and Wisconsin before he became dean of UW-Fox Valley in January, where he has taught since 2003. He spoke with Insight Associate Editor Nikki Kallio about the college’s collaboration initiatives.
I WAS BORN IN THE FAR southwestern part of England in the county of Cornwall, and some people around here think they know a little bit about Cornwall because it is the original home of Cornish pasties. Those pasties eventually made their way to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with many of the Cornish miners. The heritage of Cornwall is very much tin mining and many of those miners immigrated to the Upper Peninsula and made their way into Wisconsin, and that’s how the Cornish pasty came to be so popular up here.
I’ve been a passionate teacher in the classroom. I’ve been passionate about learning how to teach and I see that in a large number of the faculty and staff that I work with on a daily basis. I’m passionate about the unique position that UWFox and the UW-Colleges holds in the state education system. I wouldn’t have gone into the perils of academic administration if I didn’t believe that I could make a difference in this position.
So UWFox has gone through a lot of changes. You can see the physical change in the facilities that we have – a relatively new science wing, and of course a brand new communication arts center that was built through the funding of the counties and the state and the UWFox Foundation in the last couple of years. We are, of course, expanding the number of collaborative degrees that we have, and making sure that those collaborative degrees remain strong. UWFox has garnered a very good reputation for its collaborative engineering program with UW-Platteville, and we’re very impressed with the number of graduates from that program who’ve lived locally and have been trained locally and now have chosen to remain in the Fox Valley area.
We’re actually beginning to explore other types of engineering possibilities. For instance, we’re currently exploring opportunities in engineering technology. We’re working with other four-year campuses to see if we can bring those to the Fox Valley area and to the lakeshore and to southern Wisconsin.
We hope to realize some extended collaborations that we can have with our four-year campus partners. We’re in conversations at the moment with UW-Oshkosh in a degree to offer various types of education such as early childhood and special education, locally in the Fox Valley.
1655 University Avenue, Menasha, will be the new home of the UW-Platteville engineering collaboration starting in the fall of 2012. The facility was purchased a couple of years ago and has been renovated by Outagamie and Winnebago counties to turn it into a new engineering lab and facility, so we’ll have some classroom space, meeting space and extensive amount of laboratory space. With the moving of the engineering program from the main campus, we’re going to be making some changes on campus as well. We’ll be expanding our learning center on campus, bringing our Writing Pad out of the library to a more accessible location for students, expanding some of our delivery methods.
I didn’t anticipate how big the distances are in the U.S. – how far it is to drive and how far it is to fly from one place to another. Here, people don’t think anything about getting in a car and driving 500 or 600 miles in a day, so that’s one thing to get used to. The other thing I have to say is the sunshine, and although Wisconsin is maybe not the sunniest place I’ve ever lived, believe me, compared to where I grew up in England it seems like there’s endless sunshine here.