University of Wisconsin Oshkosh is continuing its quest to meet teacher education needs in Wisconsin with a proposed renovation project of its College of Education and Human Services academic building.
“The demand for the best-prepared teachers has never been greater,” said UWO Chancellor Andrew Leavitt, “and the pandemic has only amplified the need for high-quality teachers who can quickly adapt to change. We need to train our students with the technology and techniques they will use in their own classrooms someday.”
The project calls for upgrading and renovating the existing UWO Nursing/Education building, a central hub of the Oshkosh campus. It was included in a 2011 request that called for renovations to the College of Nursing (CON) and the College of Education and Human Services (COEHS). The CON Clow Social Sciences Center project was completed in 2016, but the second half of this project has been delayed at the state level.
Teacher education has been the foundation of UW Oshkosh, since the university’s inception 150 years ago.
“As UWO celebrates its sesquicentennial, now is the time to get this project officially approved and underway,” Leavitt said.
The $26.9-million project does not include a new building.
Leavit said it provides exactly what UWO and Wisconsin need to respond to the teacher shortage: modern classrooms that mirror those graduates will work in. It will help UWO increase the number of students it serves and produce more teacher candidates to fill the shortage facing so many school districts in the state.
The teacher shortage in Wisconsin was identified by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction in 2015 as “the most critical issue” facing Wisconsin.
“UW Oshkosh has been working hard to address the critical shortage of teachers in Wisconsin,” said COEHS Dean Linda Haling. “But we are in need of upgraded facilities and technology capable of supporting high-quality, face-to-face and online teaching environments.”
Modernizing these spaces, Haling said, will not only model high-quality instruction but also allow UWO to prepare for and deliver quality online instruction that brings the benefits of face-to-face teaching to online environments.
Every year this project is delayed has added about $1 million to the cost. The project was part of the capital building projects included in Gov. Evers most recent biennium budget proposal. If the funding is approved by the State Legislature, UWO hopes to break ground later this year.