Tuesday, October 28, 2008

UW-Stout realigns and adds programs

One of UW-Stout’s biggest strengths is its academic programs. Since July 1, the programs have been reorganized into four new colleges to further strengthen the university’s mission and polytechnic identity.

The realignment creates four colleges: The College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences; the College of Management; and the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. A Center for Interdisciplinary Collaboration also will be created, and the Graduate School remains unchanged.

The former structure included the College of Technology, Engineering and Management; the College of Arts and Sciences; the College of Human Development; the School of Education; and the Graduate School.

No academic programs, outreach units or positions were eliminated as a result of the realignment, which had received approval from the Faculty Senate and the Senate of Academic Staff.

“The realignment positions UW-Stout to meet the current needs of faculty, staff and students and positions the university for increased competitiveness and future growth,” said Provost Julie Furst-Bowe, who led the realignment process for Chancellor Charles W. Sorensen.

“UW-Stout's new program alignment creates the necessary synergy, a basis
for collaboration, that will strengthen programs,” Sorensen said. “With the rapid changes taking place in all areas of the workplace, academic programs must be able to adjust to meet those new demands. We owe this to our students.”

The realignment is designed to achieve five major goals:

• It groups similar programs, departments and disciplines in units so they are better able to address common issues.

• It capitalizes on trends and opportunities that have emerged during the past decade, such as increased student interest in health and human service related programs, the growth of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) as a concept in education, and an increase in the number of management programs at UW-Stout.

• It strengthens UW-Stout’s polytechnic identity and positions the university among its national polytechnic peers. It also expands technology transfer and outreach efforts to more fully recognize economic growth and collaborative partners.

• It develops an administrative structure that is more descriptive and understandable to internal and external audiences, including potential faculty and staff hires.

• It provides a more coordinated approach to interdisciplinary and collaborative programs and facilitates joint appointments, team teaching, and faculty-student research initiatives.

Under the new model, the UW System Board of Regents is considering a UW-Stout proposal that calls for adding 17 new bachelor’s and master’s degree programs over the next seven to 10 years.

“It is an ambitious plan,” Furst-Bowe said. “Currently UW-Stout has a relatively small number of undergraduate majors, and it is our goal to expand our program array in areas consistent with our mission and our polytechnic designation.”

UW-Stout is finalizing the planning for two new engineering programs: a Bachelor of Science degree in plastics engineering and a Bachelor of Science degree in computer engineering. Both of these programs are pending final approval from the Board of Regents, which is needed before the degree programs can be offered in the fall of 2008.

Six other undergraduate and graduate degree programs have been given planning permission from UW System officials: Bachelor of Science degrees in professional studies, applied social science, science and technology education (dual certification) and science education. Master’s degree programs in science and technical communication is being planned, as is a master of fine arts program.

“Ideas for these programs came from faculty groups working with area professionals to meet needs in high-demand employment areas,” Furst-Bowe said. “This plan will benefit students as they will have additional majors to select from — majors that will lead to jobs in engineering, teaching and the social sciences.”

The other programs are in various stages of development and review by UW System officials. The complete list of the programs is available at the provost's Web site.

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