I am thrilled to share with you some exciting news. The message below from UW System President Cross outlines a new plan to restructure UW System by merging the UW Colleges with their nearest four-year campus. This plan brings both UW-Fox Valley and UW-Fond du Lac together with UW Oshkosh to form one university.
We have had a rich and deep connection with these campuses for many decades and I look forward to welcoming them to UW Oshkosh as we form a new university together.
We have a lot to figure out when this plan moves forward, but the prospect of bringing together the talent across three campuses is an exciting one. We have an incredible opportunity to enhance access to degree programs and to provide multiple pathways to education for our region.
I have two open forums scheduled for us to discuss this proposed plan. While there are a lot more questions than answers, I’d like for us to begin talking about the possibilities and how to approach this tremendous opportunity.
This map outlines the proposed restructuring plan for the UW Colleges and Extension: Click here to download the map.
Chancellor Andy Leavitt
Message from UW System President Raymond Cross
I am pleased to join Chancellor Leavitt in announcing that I plan to restructure the University of Wisconsin System to help improve access to higher education. Today, we announce to the public a proposal to merge UW Colleges with their nearest four-year institution.
For UW Oshkosh, this will mean UW-Fond du Lac and UW-Fox Valley will be integrated with your institution effective July 1, 2018. Essentially, there will be no change this fall or spring, and we will be looking forward to see how to best leverage UW Oshkosh to expand access to higher education by offering more general education and upper-level courses, as well as identify and reduce barriers to transferring credits within the UW System.
As part of the plan, I will also propose the realignment of UW-Extension operations. UW-Extension Cooperative Extension and UW-Extension Conference Centers would be moved to the state’s land grant institution, UW-Madison, as is consistent with the practice in other states. Other aspects of UW-Extension will be integrated with UW System Administration in order to maintain their statewide role. This proposal will go before the Board of Regents in November to get approval to proceed with implementation planning.
This decision comes at a time when UW campuses are managing enrollment and financial challenges. Demographic trends indicate that current enrollment challenges are not likely to significantly improve in coming years. By 2040, nearly 95% of total population growth in Wisconsin will be age 65 and older, while those of working age 18-64 will increase a mere 0.4%. Our labor force growth will be flat, while the demand for an educated labor force is growing exponentially. We must get more students through the educational pipeline to help meet Wisconsin’s needs.
We must be bold and reform where we can so our institutions can continue to meet the needs of the state and our students. This plan will improve access to higher education with a continued focus on affordability for students and families, as well as access to extension programs for local communities. By integrating our campuses—leveraging resources and shared talent across the campuses—we can greatly improve access and enhance offerings to the communities we serve, while realizing efficiencies and potential cost savings.
We know that change can create uncertainty. The details of the plan are still being developed, and I am confident Chancellor Leavitt and other leaders will work closely with faculty, staff, and students to help make this a smooth transition. Our success will be measured in our ability to listen and respond to the needs of individual regions so we can provide opportunity for all.
We will continue to share more information as it becomes available. If you have a particular question, please visit go.uwsa.edu/restructurefeedback so we can help provide more answers to you in the future.
President Raymond Cross