Why restructure UW Colleges and UW-Extension?

The purpose of this restructure is to keep campuses open and expand access to higher education by leveraging the strength of our four-year institutions at a time when overall enrollments at UW Colleges are declining.  The primary objectives of integrating UW Colleges with four-year and research institutions include:

  • Expanding access to higher education by offering more courses at the two-year campuses
  • Identifying and reducing barriers to transferring credits within the UW System
  • Maintaining affordability by continuing existing tuition levels post-integration for courses currently offered at the two-year institutions
  • Further standardizing and regionalizing administrative operations and services to more efficiently use resources
  • Leveraging resources and shared talent at our institutions to get more students into and through the educational pipeline successfully, better aligning the university to meet Wisconsin’s projected workforce needs

Does the restructuring call for closing any UW Colleges campus?

No, all campuses will remain open. The restructuring will allow the UW System to better address current and projected enrollment and financial challenges at the two-year institutions, while maintaining the important UW presence in local communities.

Which two-year campus is assigned to which four-year or research institution?

Each two-year institution will be joined with a four-year comprehensive and research institution as a branch campus. UW Colleges Online and Continuing Education, Outreach and E-Learning (CEOEL) will be aligned with the receiving four-year UW institutions.  Please see the Proposed Restructuring Map pdf .

Where are the divisions within UW-Extension being assigned?

Integrating Cooperative Extension with UW-Madison is consistent with the practice in many other states, including Illinois, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Integrating the following divisions of UW-Extension into UW System Administration will recognize and develop their statewide role:

  • Division of Business and Entrepreneurship (DBE)
  • Broadcasting and Media Innovations (BAMI) including Wisconsin Public Television and Wisconsin Public Radio
  • Continuing Education, Outreach and E-learning (CEOEL) including UW Flexible Option

How will the UW-Extension restructuring affect 4-H?

4-H is an important resource for Wisconsin communities, and it will continue throughout the state. The Cooperative Extension Division of UW-Extension will become part of UW-Madison.

When would the restructuring of UW Colleges and UW-Extension go into effect?

The restructuring proposal was approved by the Board of Regents in November 2017, and the UW System is now proceeding with planning and implementation. The proposal calls for the restructure to go into effect on July 1, 2018 – there will be no changes prior to this date. Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 academic programs will continue as normal.

What is the next step in the process?

UW System Administration is working on implementation planning. On January 15, 2018, UW System President Ray Cross submitted the UW System Substantive Change Proposal for Restructuring University of Wisconsin Colleges to the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) for their consideration and approval. The HLC grants accreditation to degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions.

What criteria were used in pairing two-year campuses with four-year and research institutions?

A variety of factors were examined including geographic proximity, transfer rates, existing partnerships, and programmatic compatibility.

What will the name of the campus be after July 1, 2018?

Two-year institutions will keep their same name in the immediate future. If a receiving four-year institution chose to change the name of a branch campus, such a change would require (1) Board of Regents approval, (2) UW must remain in the campus name, (3) stakeholders must have a voice in the process, specifically with county/city that has a collaborative MOU with the campus, (4) receiving institutions must hold focus groups to hear input from community stakeholders and prospective customers.

Will you work with shared governance on the restructuring?

Shared governance groups are integral to this process, and the Steering Committee includes faculty, staff, and student representatives from each governance group who attend meetings as part of the planning and implementation process.

What kind of cost savings will this achieve?

The UW System has been engaged in ongoing consolidation and streamlining efforts as part of its Commitment to Operational Reform and Excellence (CORE) project. The intersection of the CORE project and the restructuring of UW Colleges and Extension will allow for even greater standardization of processes across campuses and the regionalization of services. This will have a long-term impact that will generate savings due to greater operational efficiencies, while improving the services provided to students, faculty, and staff.

What support services are being streamlined? Will I have to go to a four-year institution to receive services, such as career counseling or student advising?

A key goal of the restructuring is to improve services provided to students, faculty, and staff. The exact configuration of services long-term will be determined during implementation planning.

What were the challenges that led to this proposal?

A combination of different factors led to the restructuring:

  • Enrollment: There has been a 32% decline in the number of full-time equivalent students at UW Colleges since 2010.
  • Budget: UW Colleges has already done a great deal of restructuring to help manage declining enrollments and budget reductions, and we thank all who may have been involved or are already affected by those efforts. The restructuring will allow the UW System to better address long-term enrollment and financial challenges at the two-year institutions, while maintaining the important UW presence in local communities.
  • Economy: There is a need for closer alignment between research and practice as we help the state meet its broader economic and workforce needs.

What is going to happen to the foundations affiliated with the two-year institutions?

Foundations are independent entities that exist to support the university, and it is expected the alumni support of each two-year campus will continue.

How can I provide more detailed feedback?

Submit your questions about the restructuring online. We will continue to update our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on a regular basis as new information becomes available.

 

Questions?

New information about the UW Colleges and Extension restructuring proposal will be posted as it becomes available. If you do not see your answer here, please feel free to submit your questions about the proposal online.