UW System plans college merger

UW System’s logo 

Benjamin Patterson | patte055@rangers.uwp.edu

It is becoming widespread knowledge that the University of Wisconsin System is seeking to merge its two-year colleges with the closest “parent” four-year university. This plan to “restructure,” as it has been deemed, would be put into its earliest effect on July 1 if the Board of Regents approves it in their reviewal procedure, which is likely to take place during their scheduled Nov. 9 meeting in Madison.  

Noting the current information

Stephanie Marquis, the UW System’s current Director of Communications, responded about the details that might concern UW students that are similar to what the University of Wisconsin System’s website highlighted on this proposal. Marquis stated in her reply that this proposal is an attempt “to get more students into and through college” and “to use UW resources more efficiently and effectively”, which are apparent goals that people could encourage. Only, all the 13 two-year UW schools set to be impacted are filled with students, faculty and departments that will become restive or will be tempted to abandon the UW System. With those credits already accumulated becoming easier to transfer, there is little reason to assume this restructuring would be at the total detriment of the people aspiring and remaining dedicated at their current UW two-year college, and as Marquis notes, “Whether you are getting your associate degree or transferring to another UW institution… current tuition levels at the branch campuses post-merger will be maintained for general education courses.” These are the definite upsides, and more will be revealed as Nov. 9 becomes more imminent.

More from the opposition

Since 2010, initiatives of this sort come as a result of steadily declining enrollment at UW Colleges. The nonexistent opportunity for input from students and staff at these two-year campuses is caused by the sudden proposal that only brought uneasiness, especially in the minds of the faculty. The recent effort to outline the specific details of the plan has brought greater clarity to the minds of those involved or interested, yet that does not lessen the critiques of how its abrupt timetable has brought outrage from people like Noel Radomski, the current managing director of an education policy “think tank” at UW-Madison, who called the proposal’s established timetable a “folly”.

Where to go with this now

Though this is a consequential proposal for the UW System, no two-year UW campus is supposed to be closed as a repercussion of this plan. Additionally, professors with tenure at these 13 UW colleges will be transferred to the nearest four-year campus. Assuming the Board of Regents approves this proposal as it currently is, the greatest foreseeable adjustments to come directly out of this plan seem twofold: courses set to be taught at the two-year campuses will be in closer coordination with the four-year campus they had been merged into, and the process of transferring between universities in the UW system will become exponentially easier. Along with Marquis or the UW System’s website, more can be learned from contacting Ray Cross–the President of the UW System and proposer of this plan–or the Chancellor for the UW Colleges and Extension, Cathy Sandeen.

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