UW-Parkside reaches highest enrollment in five years

Students hurrying to get to their next class.

DEREK FYE | fye00001@rangers.uwp.edu

The beginning of a new semester for incoming freshman and transfer students always brings excitement, anticipation and a little uncertainty. UW-Parkside began the semester with a New Student Convocation, Tuesday, Sept. 5, in the Sports & Activity center welcoming the largest incoming class in the past five years.

The UW-Parkside class of 2021 totals 4769 students the largest enrollment since 2011 when enrollment was 4887. This year’s enrollment is also up from 2016’s total of 4399 students enrolled.

The growth of the university is an important milestone as it reflects UW-Parkside’s ability to remain a viable option for students. Especially non-traditional students, which many UW-Parkside students are.

UW-Parkside is one of the cheapest four-year public institutions in the state of Wisconsin and is in a convenient location between Milwaukee and Chicago. This is also a large draw for students who are from those larger areas but are searching for a school in a smaller area that is still able to offer good educational opportunities.

UW-Parkside also has a student to faculty ration of 19:1, which is fairly normal considering that, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, the national average for college student-to-faculty ratios is 18:1.

Thoughts from convocation

During the ceremony, students were introduced to key staff and faculty members and learned about the new and exciting opportunities afforded to them at UW-Parkside. The university offers 33 undergraduate majors and three master’s degrees in 22 academic departments.

Dr. Bryan Lewis, assistant dean for health-related professions, led an energetic and thought-provoking discussion at the new student convocation. His speech challenged the incoming students to deeply contemplate why they are pursuing their chosen major, and also encouraged them to continually strive to find meaning, purpose, and self-fulfillment throughout their academic careers.

UW-Parkside Chancellor Debbie Ford, reminded new students that someday they themselves would be walking across the commencement stage. “Begin with the goal in mind,” Ford said. Because the 2017 incoming class is so large, Ford anticipates yet another record breaking graduating class in 2021.

Record class size

Enrollment is not the only area in which UW-parkside has seen recent growth and success. In May 2017, the university celebrated its largest commencement in history. Last year, 529 students were eligible to participate in the spring commencement ceremonies, which were held on May 13. This number was larger than the previous year’s record class by 8 percent. In fact, more students have graduated from UW-Parkside in the past seven years than any other seven-year period in the university’s history.

Area of growth

Jody Sekas, associate professor of theatre arts and chair of the UW-Parkside Theatre Arts Department calls the incoming class for fall 2017 “one of the largest in recent history. This is an exciting time for the department. On behalf of my colleagues, we’re very happy to be working with this new group of talented students.”

The success and growth of the department comes as no surprise, especially when one considers the department’s constant efforts to improve and find new opportunities for students. Throughout the summer 32 Theatre Arts students participated in internships in the fields of design, stage management, performance and technology. These internships occurred in a variety of places around the country including, The Santa Fe Opera (New Mexico), American Players Theatre (Wisconsin), Pacific Conservatory Theatre (California), Kohl’s Wild Theatre (Wisconsin), Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre (Pennsylvania), Cumberland County Playhouse (Tennessee), Utah Festival Opera (Utah) and Sea World (Texas).

The faculty of the department were also busy this summer. Professor Brian Gill facilitated a 10-day training program with a Chicago-based professional fight director, held at UW-Parkside. Professor Gill, along with eight UW-Parkside theatre students, took the training and passed the Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD) proficiency test in unarmed stage combat. 

Professor Gill also arranged for representatives from Montana Shakespeare in the Park, and the Chicago Shakespeare Project to come to UW-Parkside this year to audition our students for internships.

Additionally, Professor Misti Bradford operated as a Costume Craft Supervisor at American Players Theatre, in Spring Green, WI, and Professor Jody Sekas worked as a Scenic Designer for a project at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.


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