UW–Platteville Media Studies Professor Dr. Arthur Ranney will be retiring at the end of the spring 2015 semester after 17 years of teaching at the university.
Ranney held a variety of jobs before he started teaching in higher education. He was a motorcycle courier for about a year, a research technician at a petrochemical lab for six years, and worked in the newspaper industry for more than a decade.
He began his postsecondary education by earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati followed by a master’s degree and a doctorate from Ohio State University. Ranney taught for three years at a private college in Rome, Ga., before coming to teach at UW–Platteville.
“What has kept me here is the people I’ve worked with – amazing, really smart, dedicated people,” said Ranney. He also noted that he enjoyed riding his motorcycle through Platteville. “Platteville is a beautiful area. It quickly began to feel like home to me.”
Ranney said his favorite courses to teach are Basic Newswriting and Communication Law, but he enjoys advising student media even more. He advises the student newspaper, the Exponent, and the radio station, WSUP, and finds great satisfaction in both areas.
“Working with students outside of the classroom gives me some of my best opportunities for teaching,” said Ranney. “The students are highly engaged in learning when they produce content that they know the public will read or hear.”
Assistant Dean of the College of Business, Industry, Life Science and Agriculture Dr. Jodi McDermott has gotten to know Ranney well over the years.
“I think my favorite thing about Art is that he’s not afraid to question authority or fight for truth and justice,” said McDermott. “I know that Art will always do what he believes is right and not compromise his ethical standards. I respect and trust Art. He has been a valuable mentor for me.”
Some of the activities that stand out in Ranney’s mind are obtaining new equipment for the radio station, Homecoming activities, playing with bands and the University Undergraduate Curriculum Commission in its two-year review of the general education curriculum.
Dr. Mary Rose Williams, a professor in the Media Studies Department who has known Ranney for almost 20 years, said that she will miss Ranney’s humor, playfulness, wit and positivity in the workplace. During the years that they have worked together, Williams and Ranney founded a scholarship in honor of their close friend and professor in the math department, Dr. Anthony “Tony” Thomas, who died in 2011.
“Art is more than just an instructor and administrator,” said Williams. “He’s developed long-lasting relationships with students beyond the classroom. He really wants to make a positive impact on his students.
“Plus, he makes everyone laugh.”
Ranney said he will miss the daily contact with his colleagues and working with the 18–25 age group when he retires.
“It’s energizing coming to work,” he said. “I’ll have to find other sources of energy now.”
His retirement plans include promoting an up-and-coming band, The Mascot Theory, riding motorcycles, playing music and making home improvements “as long as I can stand it.” He said that if he does make any appearances at the university in the future, “it will only be to take people to lunch and gloat about retirement.”
His impact on the university will be fleeting, Ranney said. “After two or three years, there won’t be any students here who know me. My legacy, if there is such a thing, is sending students out into the larger community, students who have gained useful knowledge and who want to use it in an ethical fashion.”