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Mary Jae Kleckner



For 22 years, Mary Jae has been helping traditional and non-traditional students develop the organizational, interpersonal, and writing skills they need to optimize career success. She has taught Small Group, Occupational, Oral/Interpersonal, and Written Communication courses at UW-Madison, UW-Stevens Point, and Mid-State Technical College, and conducted professional development workshops in both the public and private sector. Her non-academic work experience includes both supervisory and communication roles at Vail Resorts, UW-Platteville, Krause Publications, and the U.S. Army.

Mary Jae is a Wisconsin native who has also lived in Illinois, Kentucky, Washington state, Arizona, and Colorado. Her travels have taken her to 49 of 50 states. In addition, she has visited Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, China, and Cuba. Her favorite place on earth, however, is Wisconsin’s own Driftless Area, where she loves to ride her 2010 Harley Davidson Dyna Street Bob.

Experience and Interests

Teaching Experience

  • Associate Professor, School of Business and Economics, UW-Stevens Point (2014-present)
  • Communication Instructor, General Education Division, Mid-State Technical College (2004-2014)
  • Program Coordinator, University of Wisconsin Teaching Academy (2001-2004)
  • Teaching Assistant, Communication Arts Department, UW-Madison (1998-2000)

Research Interests

  • Employee Recruitment and Retention
  • Workforce Training and Development – Communication Skills
  • Student and Employee Engagement​
  • Communication and Organizational Culture
  • Faculty Development

Professional Experience

  • Program Coordinator, University of Wisconsin Teaching Academy, Madison, WI
  • Teaching Portfolio Project Coordinator, Delta Program, Madison, WI
  • Assistant Supervisor, River Run Ski Rental Shop, Vail Resorts, Keystone, CO
  • Interim Assistant Publications Director, UW-Platteville, Platteville, WI
  • Ad Processor, Antique Trader Publications, Dubuque, IA


  • Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award, School of Business and Economics, April 2018



  • Common Council Assessment Subcommittee (2020-present)
  • UW System High-Impact Practices Initiative (2019-present)
  • Critical Thinking Pilot Project (2018-present)
  • School of Business & Economics Rules Committee (2016-present)
  • Senior Week Events Committee (2016-present)
  • Panelist/Mock Potential Investor, UW-Stevens Point Department of Art & Design


  • Press liaison and correspondence advisor (June 2014-Present)
  • Ah Dah Wa Gam chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution

Professional Memberships

  • Association for Research in Business Education (2015-present)
  • Association for Business Communication (2014-present)
  • The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi (1993-present)

Presentations and Publications


  • Kleckner, M. J., & Butz, N. T. (2020). Addressing undergraduate skill gaps in higher education: Revisiting Communication in the Major course outcomes. Journal of Education for Business, 96(1). DOI: 10.1080/08832323.2020.1844119
  • Achenreiner, G., Kleckner, M. J., Knight, P., Lilly, B. (2019). Student self-efficacy, employee engagement, and community vitality: A Collaborative data collection model for regional workforce development. Journal of Education and Work, 32(5), 19.
  • Kleckner, M. J., & Marshall, C. R. (2015). Critical communication skills: Developing course competencies to meet workforce needs. Journal for Research in Business Education, 56(2), p. 59-81.

Fun Facts

Last book you read?

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Best advice you ever received?

There are only two things that are truly under your control in life: Your attitude and your actions. The attitude you choose will determine whether you see opportunities or obstacles in your path. The actions you choose reveal which of those your attitude allows you to see.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?


Favorite Quote?

“Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius.”
— Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, (Sherlock Holmes) Valley of Fear, 1915

“Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?”
— Steve Jobs

One thing about your school that you are most proud of?

The camaraderie and collaborative spirit of SBE faculty invigorates everything we do.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

Watching students discover that real power — the most authentic power — lies within.

A piece of advice for students in your school?

If you feel afraid of doing something, then do it … The result may not always be favorable, but before you know it, you will be afraid of very little.

Mary Jae Kleckner
Associate Professor - Business Communication

476 College of Professional Studies


Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis
UW-Madison, 2004

UW Consortium, 2020

M.S. in Life Science Communication
UW-Madison, 2000

B.A. in Journalism and English
Western Illinois University