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In the 2010-2011 academic year, the UW System, along with University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s faculty, staff and students were challenged continuously by dramatic decreases in state funding in a turbulent economy.

However, UW Oshkosh has maintained record enrollment levels while continuing the institution’s dedication to high-impact, innovative and entrepreneurial practices and advancements benefiting both student learning and collaborators and partners throughout the New North region and beyond.

“Simply put, the faculty, staff and students of UW Oshkosh have a 140-year track record of being at their most innovative and entrepreneurial when conditions test us. We are courageous,” UW Oshkosh Chancellor Richard Wells states in the opening of the new 2010-2011 UW Oshkosh Strategic Plan Update and Annual Report.

UW Oshkosh released the annual report and plan today, featuring updates on the University’s Growth Agenda strides, action initiatives and activities of the major units on campus. Among the standout accomplishments from 2010-2011:

UW Oshkosh celebrated 140 years of education during the 2010-2011 academic year. What started as a 314 student and eight faculty member school in 1871 has grown to a more than 13,500 student and 1,700 faculty and staff University. By the book, the University turned 140 on Sept. 12, 2011 – 140 years to the day the first classes were held. The University’s tradition of preparing career-ready graduates contributing to the state’s economy and quality of life continues in its 141st year. Since 2000, UW Oshkosh has been able to dramatically grow its enrollment and increase the annual number of degree-holding graduates by 27 percent from 1,700 graduates per year to more than 2,150. A recent examination and resulting report, “UW Oshkosh: Community Catalyst in a Challenging Economy,” shows nearly three-fourths of all our 2010-2011 degrees awarded – about 1,500  –  were specific professional, career-ready or science, technology, engineering and math-based (STEM) baccalaureate degrees. These graduates, in addition to the 600 UW Oshkosh-educated artists, communicators, social scientists and creative entrepreneurs annually finding new niches in this diverse economy, demonstrate the institution’s commitment to infusing our state with creativity, talent, skill and energy the workforce demands.

Sage Hall, UW Oshkosh’s newest academic building in 40 years, opened its doors in September after a highly attended public dedication ceremony. The four-story, 191,000-square-foot building provides more than 13,000 section seats per day and houses administration, faculty and program offices for the College of Business, along with several College of Letters and Science departments and programs.

Sage Hall, the most environmentally friendly and efficient building of its kind in the state, was designed for a gold LEED rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. The building supports the University’s mission to be sustainable through features that offer utilization of natural light, solar panels and a green roof. The sustainable features are expected to save $182,000 annually.

The UW Oshkosh anaerobic dry fermentation biodigester, a first of its kind in the western hemisphere, began producing energy in October. The renewable energy facility that generates energy from plant and food waste is expected to initially produce up to 5 percent, and eventually as much as 10 percent, of the campus’ electricity and heat.

Energy produced by the power generation is being sold back to the grid through regional utilities, which will ultimately help support student scholarships and academic program enhancements. The revenue realized over time will vary based on the level of gas production and power purchase agreements with Wisconsin Public Service.

UW Oshkosh remained dedicated to the Student Titan Employment Program (STEP). STEP offers students quality educational experiences while providing faculty and staff members with needed assistance in areas such as media services, student-faculty research, library assistance, instructional technology, Web page maintenance and development and more.

Learning opportunities were given to approximately 1,750 students through STEP’s campus-connected employment. In total, UW Oshkosh students were fueled with $5.3 million in annual wages last year, or, on average, $3,028 per student. That is equivalent to the tuition for one semester at UW Oshkosh.

A newly created Titan Transfer Center was designed to meet the unique needs of transfer students, which make up approximately 40 percent of UW Oshkosh graduates. The Center is designed to help in the transition process and make sure students are aware of high-impact programs, are familiar with academic learning support services and university learning outcomes. Meanwhile, the Titan Transfer Center helps students swiftly select classes that transfer into UW Oshkosh, saving them time and money.

UW Oshkosh continues to grow campus with facilities enhancements. The 340-bed residence hall, Horizon Village, is well on its way to welcoming students in the fall of 2012. The residence hall, located on the former site of Breese, Nelson and Clemans halls between Elmwood Avenue and Algoma Boulevard, is the first new residence hall constructed at UW Oshkosh in 40 years.

UW Oshkosh has also been given the go-ahead to move forward in planning for the revitalization of the Clow Social Science Center building. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2013.