Vice Chancellor Roter leaves UWO

Alex Nemec

UW Oshkosh Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Petra Roter stepped down after 11 years of service on April 25. Roter will be replaced by Brandon Miller, current vice chancellor of enrollment management, and will serve as the interim vice chancellor starting July 1, 2016. Roter said she stepped down because she is at a professional juncture in her life and thought it was time for a change. “My ultimate professional goal is kind of an executive in higher [education], presidency, chancellorship,” Roter said. “I really need to kind of focus on that next level and trying to gain some different experiences that will allow me to expand my portfolio.” Roter said being able to be there for orientation and commencement and seeing people come in the front door then walk across the stage is one of her favorite memories. “Knowing that I had some kind of part in helping [students] reach their goals and be successful, for me, is the gratifying aspect of what I do,” Roter said. Roter said her time as interim chancellor was one of her most fond memories in her tenure. “For me that was a phenomenal opportunity to lead and to serve,” Roter said. “The support that I got from the campus, faculty, staff and students was remarkable.” UWO Chancellor Andrew Leavitt said his proudest moment of Roter’s while here was her term as interim chancellor. “Her service was an excellent bridge from the chancellorship of Richard Wells,” Leavitt said. Leavitt said Roter’s work as vice chancellor for student affairs was filled with accomplishment and leadership. “She has worked as a solid and contributing member of the University’s senior-level leadership team,” Leavitt said. “We are excited for her to have this opportunity to serve the UW System.” OSA President Jordan Schettle said Roter was his guide when it came to understanding UW systems. “[I] came into student government about three years ago and at the time I didn’t know much, I was just a kid who thought it would be cool to be involved in student government,” Schettle said. “It was [Roter] who took me aside and sat me down and explained everything in a way that a 19-year-old kid could easily understand and comprehend.” Schettle said it was Roter’s help as OSA advisor that has gotten them to where they are now. “Without her help and guidance over the past few years, we wouldn’t be where we are now: moving forward on certain resolutions, certain issues,” Schettle said. Leavitt said Roter has always been a student-centered, results-oriented administrative leader. “Her energy, leadership and established priorities make her a strong advocate for achieving and advancing important goals,” Leavitt said. “She is an accomplished student affairs professional.” Schettle said one of Roter’s greatest qualities is her advocation for student rights for the past 11 years. “She never loses sight that the university is here for students,” Schettle said. “There’s been colleagues of mine from across the state who have met with her in meetings and they’re just like ‘Wow, I wish she was my [OSA] advisor.’” Schettle said while people on campus like to focus on other issues and get caught up in the politics in the UW system, Roter stayed focused on the students. “Dr. Roter did a wonderful job of making sure the impact and purpose of why we’re here is to simply serve the students, and what we can do to help those students,” Schettle said. Schettle said he thinks what the future leaders of OSA will miss about her is their ability to rely on Roter to inform the OSA members. “It was consistently always her who was willing to reach out,” Schettle said. “She’d be working late into the night to make sure that anything we needed help with, anything that we wanted to get done, she was there, by our side helping us.” Miller said Roter made a lasting impression when he interviewed for his job last year. “I had known of Dr. Roter and what she had done to create a very nationally well known division of student affairs,” Miller said. “So finally meeting someone who I looked up to was a highlight for me.” Miller said it is too early to decide whether or not he is going to interview for the interim chancellor job. “My love is enrollment management, especially as it pertains to student success,” Miller said. “I don’t know what the future will hold, at this point my goal is to continue the good work and exemplary work under the leadership of Petra.” Roter said the reason she got into this field is because she likes to work with students and that is what she will miss the most. “There are a lot of great aspects of working at a system office, but you do not have students,” Roter said. “I’ve worked with students directly for 35 years. For me, that I think is going to be the hardest adjustment, but I will be working on initiatives at programs that I know will impact students, not just on this campus, but on all the campuses.”