UW System to propose restructuring of 2-year, 4-year schools - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

UW System to propose restructuring of 2-year, 4-year schools


University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross will propose integrating UW Colleges campuses into UW four-year institutions, according to a press release from the UW System. 

There are currently 13 two-year UW Colleges campuses located statewide, two of which are in central Wisconsin.

According to the release, Cross will propose integrating the institutions to be effective July 1, 2018.

“Change often produces uncertainty, but we cannot be afraid to pursue needed reforms," Cross said Wednesday. "We must restructure these two organizations given the state’s demographic challenges, budgetary constraints, and the need for closer alignment between research and practice.”

The propose restructuring comes as enrollments at UW Colleges decline, Cross said.

"Our goal is to expand access and provide more educational opportunities for more students, while ensuring our faculty are appropriately organized and supported," Cross said. "We are committed to making the transition as smooth as possible for students, faculty, and staff.” 

The UW System representatives said they hope the changes will ensure success for the small campuses around the state.

"I am optimistic about the potential of this new structure to keep student access and student success at the forefront,” Cathy Sandeen, Chancellor for UW Colleges and Extension said. “Our team has been enacting major change and transformation efforts for the past three years so we’re well positioned to help lead a smooth transition upon board approval. Our goal is to ensure the successful future for these campuses because we need more doors open wider to more people in this state than ever before.”

Cross will also propose assigning divisions within UW-Extension to UW-Madison and UW System Administration.

Bernie Patterson, Chancellor of UW-Stevens Point, welcomes the change. If the proposal passes, both UW-Marathon County and UW-Marshfield/Wood County would merge with UWSP. 

"Expand access for students, help students succeed at a higher rate, be more efficient in our use of resources," he said. 

He did, however, address that there are still several questions left unanswered, including what will happen within each department.

"We are reviewing all of our programs here at the university to determine which ones need to be scaled back, and which ones need to be expanded," Patterson said. 

Another unknown is what will happen to athletics programs at the current two-year colleges.

Keith Montgomery, who represents the UW North Region, which includes UW-Marathon County and UW-Marshfield/Wood County, said he doesn't see a negative impact on staff at either of the colleges.

"I have no concern of losing staff on either campus," he said.

The restructuring proposal will go to the Board of Regents in November, seeking approval to proceed with the changes.

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