Posted September 19, 2016
Paul Shepherd, the UW-River Falls director of student involvement, is leaving the university. Shepherd will become the new system director for student development with the Minnesota State System office in St. Paul.
Shepherd will be working closely with more than 50 schools in Minnesota. The schools are a mixture of community and technical colleges along with four-year institutions.
His main focus will be helping those schools create student involvement initiatives on their respective campuses. Minnesota State used to be known as the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system until earlier this year.
Shepherd said that he sought after the position once he knew that it was available.
“I felt that my skill set would work very well in the position. It was a quick process,” Shepherd said.
Despite the financial strain that the UW system has been under the past few years, Shepherd didn’t cite it as one of his main reasons for leaving UWRF.
“It’s been tough here for a few years now, but I’ve been in this system my whole career and it was very difficult to make the decision to move on from that,” Shepherd said.
Shepherd said he thinks because the Twin Cities are so close to River Falls that there are a lot of people who go back and forth. Many institutions on the Minnesota side of the St. Croix River are well within driving distance of River Falls. Shepherd plans to remain living in River Falls for the time being.
Before coming to UWRF, Shepherd worked at UW-Eau Claire and UW-La Crosse. Shepherd has been with UWRF for the last seven years and was also the staff advisor for Student Senate.
“I’m proud of the programs we’ve started with incentives for students like Falcon Five and the Pick One program,” Shepherd said. Throughout the year, Student Involvement sponsors certain events where students can swipe their IDs and earn rewards.
Shepherd had a large role in getting the TEDx event started on campus as well.
There really weren’t any overriding regrets Shepherd had when asked about what he leaves behind. The one thing he did mention was that it would’ve been a huge deal to him if the Involvement Center in the University Center didn’t get redone.
Someone will have to fill Shepherd’s shoes, at least for the time being. That person will be Gregg Heinselman. He will be overseeing a team effort until a plan is in place to start a search for candidates.
Heinselman’s official title is associate vice chancellor for student affairs, but he is involved in numerous efforts on campus and abroad including being the Title IX coordinator and serving on the budget committee.
Student Body President Chris Morgan and the rest of Student Senate worked closely with Shepherd. Morgan isn’t concerned over the transition.
“Gregg is very familiar with what we do and he will be beneficial to us,” Morgan said.
Morgan did say what will be missed about having Shepherd is his helpfulness and willingness to be there as a guide. There was a lot of trust built between Shepherd and Student Senate. But, Morgan is confident in his team and positive about the future.
Shepherd’s last day at UWRF was scheduled to be Sept. 19.