Skip Navigation


Marian University Invites You to Discuss Issues

September 15, 2023
By CSA Sisters of St. Agnes

Marian University Invites Community to Discussion of Wider Issues Around Education and Career Development

Can we talk?  Marian University is introducing a new event in this year’s Homecoming schedule and everyone is invited.  Conversations, Connections and Community, which will take place on Thursday, September 21, is a gathering of Marian faculty, staff, students and alumni, along with leaders from the local community and the general public, to discuss issues surrounding higher education and career development.  There will be presentations, panel discussions and opportunities for the audience to ask questions. Topics will include:

  1. The Brain Drain in Wisconsin: How to Keep Talent from Leaving the State
  2. Bridging the Generation Gap in the Workplace
  3. ChatGPT – The Implications for Business and Education
  4. Engaging in Career Conversations

Some of the special guest experts include Sarah Van Buren, Director of Business Intelligence, Envision Greater Fond du Lac; Kayla Gabler, Talent Acquisition Specialist, Church Mutual Insurance; and Anne Zizzo, Founder and CEO of The Zizzo Group, as well as local business leaders from Michels Corp., Naviant, Badger Liquor, Northwestern Mutual, Society Insurance, Edward Jones, Bank First, CliftonLarsonAllen, Fond du Lac County, NAMI of Fond du Lac, Destination Lake Winnebago Region Visitors Bureau and more.

The event is free and open to the public and begins at 9:25 am in the Stayer Center Auditorium at Marian University, and concludes with a Reception from 3:00 – 5:00 pm.  Parking is available in the parking lot next to the building at South National Avenue and East 2nd Street.

One of the topics, ChatGPT, has been contentious at many universities, but Marian University professors have collaborated across departments for a unique approach – to examine how to harness the power of ChatGPT to improve practices in Business and Education, and do so through the lens of Marian’s values-based education. 

"At Marian University, we are exploring the ethical integration of AI to enhance both our community and educational standards,” said Johanna Groene, Adjunct Professor in Education at Marian. “Through the use of ChatGPT, we are fostering environments where critical thinking thrives, laying a solid foundation for a harmonious and inclusive workplace and society."

Marian Professor of Business James Gray sees the event as part of Marian’s efforts to get students connected to the community before they graduate. “As part of our core values here at Marian University, we promise students that we engage in a lifelong learning process of seeking truth, appropriating knowledge and values to transform the individuals, our community and the world,” said James Gray.  “With Conversations, Connections and Community, we’re putting that promise to action, so students can make those connections with people in our community and realize their role in helping make our community better.”

Marian University was founded in 1936 by the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes, a group of pioneering sisters, in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.  The university has a rich tradition of dedication to the education of the whole person and offers a variety of undergraduate, masters and adult learning degrees at its main campus and online.

Full Agenda

Conversations, Connections and Community
Marian University, Stayer Center,
45 South National Avenue, Fond du Lac, WI  54935
Thursday, September 21, 2023
9:25 am – 5:00 pm

Session 1 – (9:25 am -10:40 am)

The Brain Drain in Wisconsin: How to Keep Talent from Leaving the State
Host:  Kate Candee, Senior Vice President for Advancement and Alumni Relations

When educated or highly-skilled people leave our state, it hurts.  This panel will examine how the outflow of people, particularly those with advanced skills and/or education, affects the economy and culture of Wisconsin.  The discussion will include the effect of the brain drain on job opportunities and the impact on the tax base, as well as solutions to stem the tide of outflow.  Panelists will include representatives from academia, industry and government, as well as representatives from the communities most affected by the brain drain.  The goal is to generate an open dialogue that leads to actionable solutions to retain talent locally and in our state.

Session 2 – (10:50 am –12:05 pm)

Bridging the Generation Gap in the Workplace
Host:  Callista Gould, Assistant Vice President for Marketing and Communications

There are as many as four generations working together in today’s workplace.  They think differently, they communicate differently and have different expectations of what their work should be.  How can we all get along?  In this session, our speaker and panel will tackle issues such as effective leadership, communication, productivity, recruiting and retention.
Featured Speaker: Thomas Boyer, Ph.D. Leadership Studies, who graduated from Marian University in May, will present on his dissertation: “The Effect of Authentic Leadership on the Retention of a Multigenerational Workforce.”

Session 3 – (12:15 pm – 1:30 pm)

ChatGPT – The Implications for Business and Education
James Gray, JD, Professor, Sports and Recreation Management
Johanna Groene, Adjunct Professor of Education and Ph.D. Candidate
Therese Gedemer, Assistant Professor of Business

It’s banned in some places.  But can it be a force for good?  This panel will define and discuss ChatGPT (Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer), a chatbot that uses Artificial Intelligence to generate content.  Panelists will consider uses for ChatGPT in Business and Education, ranging from producing “human-like” responses from customer inquiries through life chat integration, to copy for websites, emails, flyers or similar visual advertising or electronic marketing media.  Discussions will address the effective use of ChatGPT question phrasing as well as the pitfalls, and how to distinguish between accurate facts and reliable research vs. content that has incorporated misleading information.
Guest Speakers: Ethan Heck (Marian student), Johanna Groene, Gina Possin (Assistant Professor, Psychology), Therese Gedemer

Session 4 – (1:40 pm –2:55 pm)

Engaging in Career Conversations
Jessica Little, Chair of the Business Department, Associate Professor of Marketing
Teri Passow, Director of Career & Professional Development
Therese Gedemer, Assistant Professor of Business

How do we get university students more involved in our community?  In this workshop, businesses in the community will give short presentations on their business’ impact on the community and opportunities for students. Then we’ll move to a roundtable format, where students will have an opportunity to engage with businesses (including other panel members from previous sections).  There will be time limits, so students have an opportunity to have face-to-face conversations with the businesses, alumni and other speakers from the day.

Reception – (3:00-5:00)

Time to converse about the topics, network and connect!

Invitation Only