In addition to providing financial assistance to students through her scholarship, Schulke challenges the perception that public universities have excess resources and do not need charitable financial support. She knows full well the growing need for support in the midst of dwindling state allocations. Leading by example, the message Schulke wants to convey is clear: support students at state schools.
Schulke completed all credits toward a doctorate degree and earned a MSW from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a BA from Miami University. She devoted her career to the development and promotion of educational programs that emphasize high-quality services strengthened by collaborative efforts.
During her tenure at UW Oshkosh, she was instrumental in creating the Collaborative MSW Program with the University of Wisconsin Green Bay, gaining approval for the venture from colleagues, institutional leaders and system administrators. Having previously worked and built relationships at UWGB, she saw compatibility between programs, principles and personnel well suited to create the partnership.
The program was launched in the fall of 2003 and became fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education in July 2006. The MSW curriculum strives to meet the social service needs of the northeastern Wisconsin region and relies on the input and feedback from its many constituencies to develop a program that prepares social work leaders to meet the social service needs in regional communities. Leadership of the program alternates between UWO and UWGB and representatives of both institutions serve on the selection committee. Classes are held in the Appleton area on evenings and Saturdays to best serve the needs of its geographically dispersed enrollment.
Schulke’s mission is to protect the purpose for which the program was created, preserve the culture of collaboration and ensure its structural integrity. She is passionate that the program endures in the collaborative spirit in which it was created. She believes it can serve as a model for other MSW programs so they, too, can enjoy the benefits of collaboration.
Students enrolled in the MSW program through UWO or UWGB are eligible to apply for the scholarship. Schulke had the foresight to anticipate the possibility of additional educational institutions joining the program in the future. Therefore, she included a provision that any student accepted and enrolled in the program be eligible to apply for this scholarship. The scholarship provides reimbursement of tuition and other essential educational expenses toward the pursuit of a MSW degree by aspiring social work professionals who intend to enhance their long-term career goal of serving children and families in the public sector.
Schulke has fond memories of the students she taught, many first-generation, and the sacrifices they made to pursue their education. She derives satisfaction from knowing that her gift will benefit not only future recipients of the award but the clients they will serve throughout their careers.
As a UWO faculty emeritus, Schulke’s legacy will live on through the students she educated during her career as well as future recipients of the scholarship, which will be awarded in perpetuity through the endowed fund she has created.