MADISON—The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents and the Wisconsin Technical College System Board on Friday (March 5) appointed a joint committee to address the state’s brain-gain needs by developing recommendations to expand the number of bachelor’s degree holders in Wisconsin.

The committee was formed in response to a series of recommendations to both boards in December by a joint UW-WTCS task force charged with identifying ways of expanding college opportunities for Wisconsin citizens and further facilitating course credit transfer between the two systems.

“We are asking this new joint committee to look specifically at cost-effective and collaborative ways in which we can expand the pool of college degree holders in Wisconsin, an area in which Wisconsin currently falls below the national average,” said UW System President Katharine C. Lyall.

“This is a great opportunity for our two systems to work together on the critical issue of increasing the number of bachelor’s degree holders in the state,” said WTCS President Richard Carpenter. “We know the need is great and the demand is strong. This committee will recommend ways in which we can best meet that demand.”

The committee will be jointly chaired by UW System Regent Charles Pruitt of Milwaukee and Wisconsin Technical College Board member Brent Smith of La Crosse.

Other members include:

  • UW System Regents Roger E. Axtell and Eileen Connolly-Keesler;
  • Technical College Board members Allen Kehl and Mary Cuene;
  • UW System Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Cora Marrett;
  • WTCS Vice President Deborah Mahaffey;
  • UW Colleges Chancellor William Messner;
  • Western Wisconsin Technical College President Lee Rasch;
  • UW-Stout Provost Robert Sedlak;
  • Northwest Wisconsin Technical College Provost Lori Weyers;
  • Moraine Park Technical College faculty member Mary Alsteens;
  • UW-Superior student Joseph Stensland;
  • Chippewa Valley Technical College student Cherish Mudgett.

A UW faculty member yet to be named will be added in the near future.

Lyall and Carpenter have asked the committee to look at six areas: collect data on degree production across all sectors of higher education in Wisconsin; seek input from decision makers in business and government on future workforce needs; identify gains to the state from the expansion of baccalaureate degree holders; consider the challenges associated with expansion and options for meeting those challenges; review strategies that other states have employed to meet such needs; and consider proposals for graduating more non-traditional, adult students.

The committee intends to have its work completed by early fall, said Pruitt and Smith.

The two systems have been working closely together for four years to make the state’s public higher education system more seamless and have greatly expanded credit transfer and joint programming between the two systems.

They have established ombudspersons to work with students in both systems and sponsor a “transfer information system” website that allows students to see which courses will transfer between the two systems before they make decisions on what courses to take. Please visit the Transfer site for more information.

Media Contacts

Erik Christianson UW System 608-262-5061
Deb Mahaffey WTCS (608) 266-2302