Exterior of Nancy Nicholas Hall in the evening, with lamps and windows glowing.
News & Events

In Photos: Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin listens and learns at the School of Human Ecology

Handmade sign that says, "Welcome Chancellor Mnookin" with colorful, children's handprints on it.

Welcome sign for Chancellor Mnookin made by the Child Development Lab. Photo by Rosie Yang.

A moving truck stalled in Arizona would not stop Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin from her first day as the 30th leader of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. From breakfast with student leaders to lunch with new faculty to an ice cream social, Chancellor Mnookin is 100% committed to listening and learning what makes this university extraordinary and this state a destination for innovation.

Top of her schedule was not one but two engagements with human ecology in three weeks: touring Nancy Nicholas Hall and focused conversation with Dean Shim, as well as attending the all school retreat to speak with faculty and staff.


Dean Soyeon Shim stands under a tent holding up small containers of ice cream. She is smiling and surrounded by other people
Dean Shim at the ice cream social welcoming Chancellor Mnookin to campus, August 4, 2022. Photo by Lori DiPrete Brown.

Dean Soyeon Shim joins Chancellor Mnookin and campus leaders serving up Babcock’s best to more than 2,000 students, staff and faculty in an ‘only in Wisconsin’ welcome celebration for Chancellor Mnookin.


Chancellor Mnookin and Dean Shim walking outside on the sidewalk.
Chancellor Mnookin is greeted by Dean Soyeon Shim in front of Nancy Nicholas Hall, August 15, 2022. Photo by Andy Manis.

Dean Shim and Chancellor Mnookin share this perspective: walking meetings are both productive and healthy.


Four people are around a table looking at and discussing a yellow quilt.
Chancellor Mnookin visits the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection at Nancy Nicholas Hall, August 15, 2022. Photo by Andy Manis.

“Why are acorns tied to the ends of this silk?”

— Chancellor Mnookin

Sophie Pitman (Pleasant Rowland Textile Specialist and Research Director; second from right) explains why we don’t know that answer. These questions are precisely why research on material culture is critical. With just five minutes to introduce the collection to Chancellor Mnookin, Sophie selected four objects that showcased the breadth and possibilities of the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection.


4 people gather in a white room with drawers up the entire wall, looking at objects on one of the shelves pulled out.
Chancellor Mnookin visits the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection at Nancy Nicholas Hall, August 15, 2022. Photo by Andy Manis.

These drawers hold more than 13,000 objects from across the globe, notes Carolyn Jenkinson (Collections Manager; left). Working with instructors to integrate “material textbooks” into their curriculum provides breadth to the student experience. Studying textiles gives insights on cultural traditions; technological development over time; and trade, or other forms of exchange, that can reach a global scale.


Chancellor Mnookin stands in front of a group of small children holding a small gift they gave her.
Chancellor Mnookin visits the Child Development Lab at Nancy Nicholas Hall, August 15, 2022. Photo by Andy Manis.

Children in the Child Development Lab’s “Bunny” classroom created a colorful melted-crayon Bucky. The statue was warmly received by the Chancellor…with a promise to come back soon!


Chancellor Mnookin, Dean Shim and Jerry O'Briend stand in a hallway talking to one another.
Chancellor Mnookin meets Jerry O’Brien, August 15, 2022. Photo by Andy Manis.

Surprise – you never know when the Chancellor will show up at your door! Jerry O’Brien (Executive Director of the Kohl’s Center for Retailing; left) shares about the ways he builds partnerships and guides students to achieve their maximum potential.


4 people stand in a hallway talking to one another. The 100 Women Wall of Honor is in the background. It is a window with red, yellow, orange, and green circles.
Chancellor Mnookin meets Human Ecology professors in front of the 100 Women Wall of Honor, August 15, 2022. Photo by Andy Manis.

Professors Sigan Hartley (100 Women Distinguished Chair in Human Ecology; left) and Carolee Dodge Francis (Ecology of Human Well-Being Professor; right) discuss research, growth of the graduate program, and the breadth of intersectional work of faculty in human ecology.


Chancellor Mnookin speaking, leaning on a podium
Chancellor Mnookin speaks at the retreat for all Human Ecology faculty and staff, August 25, 2022. Photo by Andy Manis.

“I’m very focused on two priorities: listening and learning. My goal has been to connect with people from many backgrounds and perspectives to talk about the value of UW–Madison and hear ideas and concerns. Because the university’s next chapter has to be built on a collective vision.”

— Chancellor Mnookin


Heather Kirkorian stands in a full room of Human Ecology faculty and staff sitting at tables. Heather is asking Chancellor Mnookin a question.
Chancellor Mnookin asks questions of Human Ecology faculty and staff at their retreat, August 25, 2022. Photo by Andy Manis.

Professor Heather Kirkorian (left) responds to Chancellor Mnookin’s question asking each department what they are hoping to achieve and where they see opportunities as part of the self-study that Human Ecology is currently undertaking to set strategic priorities for the next 10 years.