The career paths of more than 300 UWL alumni have led them back to their alma mater. All across campus, it’s easy to find a fellow alum. This month we’re highlighting one of those Eagles @ Work: Doug Kuenn, UWL assistant director of Residence Life
Q:When did you graduate and what were your degrees?
A: I finished my undergraduate degree in 1984 in Physical Education & Coaching. I got my master’s degree two years later in College Student Personnel.
Q:Who was your favorite professor as a student?
A: Mike Kinziger. He was a recreation professor and probably interacted with the majority of the student population. He enjoyed being outdoors. He probably camped more than 180 days out of the year — many of those while leading trips for the university, including canoeing the Boundary Waters, whitewater canoeing, backpacking and winter camping. I took the Boundary Waters trip and one of those winter camping trips, which influenced me to teach that for 10 years. Although Mike has retired, he still has incredible drive to be active and is truly an experiential outdoor recreation teacher who focuses on environmental and human respect.
Q:Any funny moments from your time here?
A: There are many. But I’ll tell you about the mistake I made while getting my master’s degree. I didn’t realize how many classes or credits I was supposed to be taking at the time, so I just continued on like I did during my undergraduate years. I took 18 credits. By the time registration came around for fall of my second year, I didn’t have many classes left. I talked to my advisor and he explained I was taking double the number of classes I should have been taking. So, after a few more credits in the summer, I finished my program in one year.
Q:What was your first job out of school?
A: After earning my undergraduate degree, I taught for two years at a private high school for students with learning disabilities. It was an all-male boarding school. Students came from all over the country. The setting was an old resort, so some of the cabins served as their homes and others were classrooms. I taught physical education; some class were traditional, like tennis and basketball. I also taught some non-traditional classes, like ping pong, water skiing, and winter camping.
After graduate school, I worked as a hall director at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. One of the best things there was my supervisor. At the time, she was one of the rare lgbtq+ out people. She was a phenomenal leader and supervisor; and really helped me grow in my appreciation for diversity and inclusion.
Q:What brought you back to UWL?
A: The position was created in Fall of 1999, and I loved the idea of enhancing the facilities side of UWL Residence Life. In winter of 2000, I accepted the job and sought to use my previous experience with both facilities and residence education. I used this background to bring a needed blend of facility knowledge with a student-centered focus to help further the sense of community of Residence Life. It was a tough decision to leave the University of Minnesota, Morris from both a personal and professional perspective. I have so many friends and colleagues that are still so important to me. In hindsight, the return to UWL has been more impactful than I could have imagined, especially having been on the design teams for Reuter and Eagle halls.