UW- Whitewater Chancellor Richard Telfer announcers retirement

Posted by on Tuesday, November 25, 2014 17:39 - 0 Comments

WHITEWATER—Richard Telfer has 30 years of memories at UW-Whitewater.

Some of his fondest are of student leaders preparing for campus-wide conferences, incoming students stepping foot on campus for the first time and students wearing purple with pride after one of the school’s numerous national athletic victories.

Telfer will retire as chancellor June 30. EP-141119724.jpg&MaxW=332

In a letter to the university sent Monday, Telfer told faculty and students it “is with mixed emotions” that he is retiring.

Telfer started as an assistant professor in 1985 and was promoted to department chair, associate vice chancellor, provost and in 2007 interim chancellor. He was named the university’s 15th chancellor in 2008.

Telfer said any accomplishments during his 30 years belong to students and staff, not just him.

“We have an environment that a number of people have gone into creating, and it’s really a supportive environment which has allowed us to do well,” Telfer said.

Telfer said he’s proud of the:

— Close relationship that’s been forged between the university and Whitewater community, especially through the Whitewater University Technology Park and Innovation Center.

— University’s first doctoral program in the College of Business and Economics. It began in the fall.

— Freshmen learning communities and a new student seminar to help freshmen acclimate to college.

“I believe we have exceptionally talented people in leadership positions who will continue to push for quality in the classroom and beyond,” he wrote in his letter.

In the next few weeks, the UW-System will begin putting together a committee of community members, students, faculty and staff to search for the next chancellor, Telfer said. A job will be posted in spring, and the committee will interview candidates and narrow the list to five to be considered by the board of regents. A separate board of regents committee will interview the candidates and appoint the next chancellor in June, if things happen on schedule.

Like anyone with enough time served and the means to do so, Telfer has toyed with the idea of retirement for some time. It wasn’t until about a week ago that the decision “crystallized” and he put things in motion, he said.

Once retired, Telfer plans to travel and spend time with his children and grandchildren.

The decision wasn’t easy, Telfer said.

“I think it was a wonderful experience,” he said of his time at UW-Whitewater.

As Telfer changed roles at the university, he looked at each as taking a chance on a new opportunity to challenge himself. He encourages all students—past, present and future–to do the same.

“Look at opportunities. Take opportunities. And take some risks along the way because I think when you do that, you’re often really rewarded by taking some opportunities,” Telfer said.

Ray Cross, UW-System president, thanked Telfer for his time and services to the university. Other UW-System chancellors admire Telfer’s commitment to higher education, Cross wrote in a statement.

 “He has been a thoughtful, visionary decision-maker, and it has been our privilege to work with him,” Cross wrote. “Under his leadership, UW-Whitewater’s reputation for academic and athletic success has soared both in the state and beyond.”

Telfer earned a bachelor’s degree in speech and English in 1970 and a master’s degree in secondary education and reading improvement in 1972 from Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant. In 1984 he received a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the UW-Madison.

Before his time at the university, Telfer was a public school teacher in Indiana and Wisconsin and taught at a university in Kansas. He and his wife live in Whitewater.

“We will always be a part of the UW-Whitewater and Whitewater communities,” he said. “This is our home, and it is a special place, indeed.”


Here is a timeline of Richard Telfer’s time at UW-Whitewater:

1985-89: Assistant professor

1989-95: Assistant dean of graduate studies and professor in the department of curriculum and instruction

1995-97: Department chair in the department of curriculum and instruction

1997-2002: Associate vice chancellor for academic affairs

2002-07: Provost

2007-2008: Interim chancellor

2008-present: Chancellor


Here are some of the things retiring UW-Whitewater Chancellor Richard Telfer considers accomplishments by the university during his 30 years at the school:

— Record retention and graduation rates for two out of the last three years.

— Record enrollment for four out of the last five years.

— Strong athletic teams that bring home national titles year after year.

— New student seminar. A one-credit course that helps freshmen adjust to college. Has been in place for about 10 years and between 80-90 percent of freshmen take it, Telfer said.

— Freshmen learning communities. For the last six to eight years, freshman have been able to choose to live in a learning community with students they take two classes with.

— A six-year endowment campaign that has raised more than $45 million to help retain students and programs, among other things. The campaign had a goal of $40 million and will come to a close in December.

— The Whitewater University Technology Park and Innovation Center. The partnership between Whitewater, the university and businesses began in 2008. The buildings opened in 2011.

— The King Chavez and McNair Scholar programs. Telfer and Roger Pulliam, assistant vice chancellor at the university, created the McNair Scholar program in 1991-92. The program funded by federal grants is designed to help first-generation, low-income and underrepresented minority students get doctorate degrees. Juniors in college are eligible. The King Chavez program grew out of the McNair program and is for freshmen who are also first-generation, low-income and underrepresented minority students.

– See more at: http://www.gazettextra.com/20141117/uw_whitewater_chancellor_richard_telfer_announces_retirement#sthash.7yO0a8mk.dpuf

This article was originally published in the GazetteXtra on November 17, 2014.

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