UWL student speech receives standing ovation from several hundred school administrators at national conference of colleges, universities
UWL student Mark Moralez delivered a special address — a call to action for college and university administrators around the country — at a national meeting Saturday, July 28. Once he finished, he received a standing ovation from the several hundred people in the room.
Moralez was one of several people from UWL to join the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Academic Affairs meeting in Seattle. The goal was to collaborate with other colleges and universities to promote student success. UWL faculty members Jo Arney and Tim Dale led the closing plenary session of the meeting.
In his speech, Moralez said students should more frequently be allowed into administrative spaces to create more transparency and communication between students and administration when decisions are made. He also challenged administrators to increase the preparation for every student’s transition into graduate school and/or their career — decreasing the risk of graduating without a plan. Lastly, and most importantly, says Moralez, he challenged the audience to embrace and promote equity, diversity, and inclusion by creating administrative positions and funding programs/offices/organizations that address the needs of students of color, first generation students and low income students.
“In all instances I used UW-La Crosse as an example for what schools should be doing, with the understanding that we can and should do much better as a university as well,” says Moralez.
Gow calls the speech unprecedented and a proud moment for UWL.
“I have been attending a variety of administrative conferences since 1995, and I cannot recall a time when a student gave an address to the entire group of attendees,” says Gow. “And it was wonderful to see that our student’s address received a standing ovation.”
AASCU is a Washington-based higher education association of nearly 420 public colleges, universities and systems. Members share a learning and teaching-centered culture, a historic commitment to underserved student populations and a dedication to research and creativity that advances their regions’ economic progress and cultural development.
Arney and Dale have held leadership roles within AACSU, particularly with an AASCU national project, Re-Imagining the First Year (RFY). Arney took a two-year leave from UWL be director of the Re-Imangining the First Year initiative where she worked with 44 campuses to help them implement student success strategies for first year students. Dale was a consultant.
Arney will now become UWL’s new director of student success.
“Jo Arney and Tim Dale are nationally-recognized experts at promoting student success, so we are very fortunate to have them on our faculty, leading our own efforts,” says Gow.