Jessica Ott has been named Alverno College’s new director of athletics and head basketball coach. In these roles, she will head the basketball program, lead the athletics department in recruitment and retention efforts, supervise all athletics personnel and oversee the overall development and operation of the athletics department.
“We are thrilled to have Jess join our staff and lead the program,” said Jim Oppermann, senior vice president for finance & management services and chair of the search and hiring committee. “We are confident and honored to have her guide us into the next chapter of Inferno athletics.”
Ott comes to Alverno from the Milwaukee School of Engineering where she was a two-time Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NACC) Coach of the Year while serving as the assistant director of athletics since 2009, and head basketball coach and senior woman administrator since 2002. Prior to becoming the assistant athletics director, Ott served as the assistant athletics facilities director, assistant sports information director and head softball coach. She brings 16 years of coaching experience and 15 years of administrative experience to the Alverno Inferno.
“It is an honor to be named Alverno’s next director of athletics and head basketball coach,” said Ott. “I’ve always admired the sense of pride of Alverno’s student athletes and how well prepared they are for success on and off the court.”
In 14 seasons as head basketball coach, Ott compiled 146 wins. She earned her first coach of the year honor in 2009 when she guided the Raiders to the first .500 season in program history with a 13-13 record. The team had 11 more wins than the previous season, which earned the best turnaround of any team in NCAA Division III during that season. She was honored with her second award in 2012 when she led MSOE to the first winning season (17-10) in school history. Her 2015 team went 20-7 while last year’s squad went 18-8 and 16-4 in the NACC, just a game back of first place.
Ott inherits an Inferno team that was 14-11 (11-9 in NACC play). It was Alverno’s third winning season in the past four years. “I am very excited for the first day of practice,” added Ott. “This team is youthful and talented. I am looking forward to adding to the foundation that has been built over the years and eager to connect with many great alumnae and supporters.”
Ott is a member of the National Association of Collegiate Director of Athletics, Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point where she was named Most Valuable Player three times, honored as Female Athlete of the Year in 1999-2000 and was inducted in the Athletic Hall of Fame. She was a three-time first team All-Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference player for the Pointers, she still holds the UWSP all-time record for most three-point field goals made (223) and is third on the career scoring list with 1,592 points. The New Glarus native will begin her duties at Alverno on July 18 succeeding Brad Duckworth, who served as the director of athletics and head basketball coach for nine years. He was recently named the new director of athletics at UW-Stevens Point.
About Alverno College Athletics
Alverno College is a member of the NCAA, Division III and of the NACC. The Alverno Inferno was founded in 2000 and offers seven intercollegiate sports: basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball. Alverno’s athletics department is a six-time winner of the NACC annual food drive competition, Cans Across the Conference, and has won the NACC Sportsmanship Award four times.
Karin Wasiullah, DNP, has been named associate dean of Alverno College’s JoAnn McGrath School of Nursing. In this role, she will help to provide leadership to the School of Nursing, help develop new programs and partner with faculty to foster student achievement.
Wasiullah brings 17 years of experience as a nurse practitioner and 15 years as a nursing faculty member to her new role. She first worked at Alverno from 2001 until 2005, and returned in 2009. In addition to teaching classes in the School of Nursing, she helped coordinate an inter-professional education program with Concordia University. The program, which included students from six different disciplines, worked with clients in the Milwaukee County Drug Court and helped to improve the learning experience, enhance team-based care, and improve patient outcomes.
Wasiullah earned her Doctorate of Nursing Practice from Concordia University, her Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Alverno College.
About the Joann McGrath School of Nursing
The Alverno College Joann McGrath School of Nursing is the largest nursing school in the state, and has been educating nurses for more than 80 years. The school also boasts a historically high NCLEX pass rate, with 95% passing in 2015 according to the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services.
Alverno College is launching two new degree programs in the fall, broadening its health care offerings. Health education and kinesiology will provide opportunities for students who want to pursue a career in health care fields, adding to the college’s long-standing nursing program. Alverno is currently the only college or university offering a health education program at the undergraduate level in southeastern Wisconsin. Graduates of this program will be prepared to work in a variety of settings including public health, communities, schools, businesses, health care, hospitals and non-profit organizations.
“Health educators impact the health and well-being of individuals and communities,” said Ann VanEerden, assistant professor of nursing and one of developers of the program. “We are excited to offer this new program and to continue Alverno’s passion for training women who play crucial roles in health fields.”
Health educators work to promote and maintain health and wellness with individuals, communities and systems. Graduates of this program will be eligible to take the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) examination, a national designation required by many employers. While shaping the curriculum, Alverno consulted several area healthcare professionals who agree there’s a growing need for health educators, both in the private and public sectors. “Given the stronger national focus on health promotion, we feel the time is right for an undergraduate degree in this field,” said VanEerden. Thanks to Alverno’s long history and strong presence in nursing, the school has many partnerships in place for students, but more are being developed specific to this field. “Alverno’s new Heath Education major is a wonderful opportunity to train individuals within the community they call home,” said Libby Holte, public health educator with the Sheboygan County Public Health Department. “Having this program in Milwaukee will bring a new set of skills to the community and impact the overall culture of health.”
The new program includes 57 core credits that every health education major must take. Six to twelve credits of electives and two required internships round out the curriculum.
The new kinesiology program will offer two different majors, kinesiology/pre-physical therapy and kinesiology/sport management. Students opting for the pre-physical therapy major will have a strong focus on science, and will be able to work as a fitness trainer, corporate wellness manager, athletic coach or strength and conditioning coach. Students may also choose to continue their education and earn a physical therapy degree. For those who choose the sports management major, there will be more of a focus on business, management and communication. Career opportunities for graduates with this degree include coaching, health club management, athletic trainer on the high school, college or professional level and youth camp director. The pre-physical therapy major requires 53 core credits and one internship, while the sports management major requires 56 core credits and two internships.
“There is a huge demand for women in sports management, and Alverno College has a long history of preparing women to meet the needs of employers,” said Kaitlin Pike, assistant athletic director for health and wellness at Alverno and kinesiology program director. “With our new kinesiology program, we are opening up possibilities for women in sports management and fitness.”
An information session for these two programs is planned for July 19 at Alverno and is free and open to the public. For more information about the health education major or to register for the on campus event visit alverno.edu/healtheducation.
The following Alverno College faculty have been promoted, and were honored at a promotion ceremony on May 25:
Desiree Pointer Mace, Education; Bay View resident
Marilyn Reedy, Education; Milwaukee resident
Eileen Sherman, Business; Mequon resident
Tracy Thompson, Physical Science; Bay View resident
Chris Young, Biology; Milwaukee resident
To Associate Professor:
Alex Blom, Physical Science; Greenfield resident
Michele Burnie, Art; Menomonee Falls resident
Judy Calhoun, Physical Science; Waukesha resident
Brenda Kilpatrick, Psychology; Milwaukee resident
Mikki Ray, Psychology; Mequon resident
Barbara Gruener, nationally known author and character coach will speak at Alverno College on June 16. Her morning keynote address is part of an annual conference on school transformation and character education entitled “Everyday Heroes: Transforming Schools through Character.” Gruener, who strives to help educators make strong connections while improving school climate, will speak on empathy, compassion and kindness in building character.
Scott Shickler, a personal empowerment expert, will deliver a keynote address over lunch. During his talk he will share how using the 7 Mindsets can improve school culture and increase academic achievement. His unique social emotional learning program focuses on increasing student resilience and self-determination.
The 12th annual character education conference will include breakout sessions led by national and local experts in the field. Some of the topics covered include cyber teen, restorative justice, building relationships, mindfulness, improving learning, toxic classrooms and building character and leadership skills. School administrators, counselors, K-12 teachers, pupil services professionals, coaches, school board members, parents and community leaders are encouraged to register. The conference is sponsored by the School District of South Milwaukee in partnership with Alverno College and the Wisconsin Character Education Partnership (WCEP). The School District of South Milwaukee has been recognized as a State School District of Character by WCEP. For more information or to register, please visit www.alverno.edu/characterconference.
On June 15, thirteen Wisconsin schools will be recognized as a State School of Character or for their Promising Practice, a best practice award in the field of character education. They include Brown Deer Middle/High School, Meyer Middle School (River Falls), Pleasant Prairie Elementary School, Westlawn Elementary School (Cedarburg), Greenwood Elementary School (River Falls), Amherst Middle School, Capitol West Academy (Milwaukee), Rockfield Elementary (Germantown), School District of South Milwaukee, St. Monica School (Whitefish Bay), Westside Elementary (River Falls), West Milwaukee Intermediate, and Youth Initiative High School (Viroqua).