Local colleges named as branches of UWSP

For the Metro Wire 

UW-Marathon County and UW-Marshfield/Wood County will become branch campuses of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point on Sunday, July 1, as part of the restructuring of the University of Wisconsin System.

With the approval of the Higher Learning Commission earlier today, the UW System finalized plans to restructure the 13 UW Colleges into branch campuses of seven of its four-year institutions. Students, as well as faculty and staff members at all three area campuses, will benefit from shared services, resources and opportunities through expanded programs and community partnerships.

“We see this as the complete integration of higher education in this part of the state,” said UW-Stevens Point Chancellor Bernie Patterson. “We are stronger together than if we stand alone.”

As a regional public university, community engagement is UW-Stevens Point’s mission, said Greg Summers, provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. “We are thrilled to formally join Wausau and Marshfield, and we look forward to participating in the life and education of these communities – continuing the access mission of the UW Colleges, bringing new opportunities for students to earn baccalaureate and graduate degrees, and serving the region for opportunities for lifetime learning and professional development.”

The branch campuses will be under new leadership. Michelle Boernke has been named the new campus executive at UW-Marshfield/Wood County and will start July 9. Ann Herda-Rapp is the new campus executive at UW-Marathon County and starts July 16. Keith Montgomery, who has served as regional dean for both campuses, is transitioning to the UW-Stevens Point campus.

The restructuring makes it possible for students of the branch campuses to more seamlessly continue their education at UW-Stevens Point. It expands academic offerings, such as bringing a master of business administration degree to Wausau and doctoral programs to Marshfield.

Application fees will also be waived for students applying to the two-year campuses for the upcoming fall 2018 term. Existing tuition levels at the two-year campuses will not change for the 2018-19 academic year.

“Our primary concern is ensuring the UW System is in a position to provide greater access, affordability, and opportunity for our students and the state of Wisconsin,” said UW System President Ray Cross. “To help meet Wisconsin’s growing needs, it is imperative we take action now and be increasingly bold in our efforts to get more students into and through the educational pipeline.”

The UW System Board of Regents will confirm names for the branch campuses at their August meeting. During the next year, the two-year campuses will continue to function as they do now while preparing to integrate administrative functions. Student support services, such as admissions and financial aid processing, will continue through the branch campuses.

After July 1, 2019, UW-Stevens Point will undertake operational planning and integrate its services into the two-year campuses.

Learn how the restructuring ensures student success at UW-Stevens Point, UW-Marathon County, and UW-Marshfield/Wood County at https://youtu.be/pJAsBn5hVSY.

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