Highlights and Facts

At UW Oshkosh, students, faculty and staff come together to form a distinctive institution that prides itself on engaging people and ideas for common good. Our University Highlights, including Facts and Points of Pride, are some of the many achievements that set us apart.


A few proud highlights that follow exemplify the University’s many successes since 2000.

Spring Commencement 2012

We have larger enrollments, and we have increased the number of students of color and adult students, degrees conferred and retention rates:

  • Headcount enrollment increased by 1,835 to 13,519 students, up 15.7 percent.
  • Full time enrollment increased by 1,562, up 16.8 percent.
  • Enrollment of students of color tripled from 438 to 1,310.
  • Enrollment of undergraduate adult students age 25-plus increased by 544, up 39.2 percent.
  • Degrees conferred increased from 1,712 to 2,192, up 28 percent.
  • The retention rate for first-year students increased from 72.2 to 75.4 percent.

We secured more grants and more private dollars than ever before:

  • Grants increased from $8.8 to $11.8 million, up 34.1 percent.
  • Foundation endowments increased from $6.0 to $12.3 million.
  • Foundation total assets Increased from $7.4 to more than $25 million. Our institution acquired funding for 12 National Merit Scholarships and 93 Academic Excellence Scholarships, a more than three-fold increase. We also secured our first-ever, fully endowed academic program chair — the Viessmann Endowed Chair in Sustainable Technology — supported through a major gift from CEO Martin Viessmann and his wife Annette of sustainable energy and efficiency pioneers the Viessmann Group.

We raised the level of academic preparedness of our first-year students and continue to increase the number and diversity of high-impact degree programs we offer:

  • The number of first-year students from the top quartile of their high school class increased by 6.7 percent.
  • 12 first-year students are new Academic Excellence Scholars, and three are new National Merit Scholars, raising the total to 69 scholars.
  • Most recently, we joined 13 higher education institutions in the New North to develop and launch three new, baccalaureate engineering technology majors — a nationally unique and workforce-responsive academic collaboration.

We added new academic majors, graduate certificate programs and baccalaureate degree completion programs, including:

  • Three New North-based, collaborative and workforce-responsive baccalaureate engineering technology majors in Mechanical Engineering Technology, Electrical Engineering Technology and Environmental Engineering Technology.
  • Undergraduate majors in theatre arts, environmental studies and environmental health.
  • Accelerated Math and Science Teacher Education Program in collaboration with five UW colleges. 11 new graduate certificate programs.
  • Collaborative master’s degree in social work with UW-Green Bay.
  • Accelerated bachelor’s degree for non-nursing graduates.
  • Wisconsin’s first Bachelor of Applied Studies and Fire and Emergency Response Management degrees.
  • The University’s first doctoral degree, the Doctor of Nursing Practice.

We added tenure-track faculty positions and expanded support programs:

  • UW Oshkosh received $3.8 million in Growth Agenda funding for 27 new faculty positions.
  • The Student Compact provides $1 million annually through differential tuition to enhance and integrate student academic support services.
  • The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning enhances student learning by inspiring the teaching community to achieve excellence through exceptional research.

We enhanced our facilities by completing and launching approximately $320 million in construction projects from 2000 through 2015, blending $160 million in state investment with $111 million in program revenue (from residence hall fee to business service fee revenues) and more than $45 million in donor, University-private sector partnership investment. The campus and community transformation is characterized by:

  • A series of renovations and ground-up projects enhancing our academic and sustainability efforts, from Halsey Science Center’s renovation, to the new academic center Sage Hall, to construction and start-up of the nation’s first commercial-scale dry fermentation anaerobic Biodigester, which generates energy and revenue from the controlled decomposition of crop, yard and food waste.
  • An array of student affairs and residence life projects, including: the renovation of Taylor Hall and construction of the new Horizon Village residence halls, the purchase and renovation of the 30,000-square-foot Newman Center for Academic Support and Diversity and Women’s Center and construction of the nationally acclaimed Student Recreation and Wellness Center.
  • The multi-phased renovation of Kolf Sports Center and the transformation of the Oshkosh Sports Complex.
  • The construction of the 40,000-square foot UW Oshkosh Alumni Welcome and Conference Center. The renovation and modernization of Clow Social Science Center.
  • The pursuit of urban and rural catalytic community projects in collaboration with private partners, including the $15 million renovation and revitalization of downtown Oshkosh’s waterfront hotel and convention center and the development of our second and third Biodigesters at Wisconsin’s largest dairy farm and one of its thousands of smaller, family dairy farms.
  • The transformation of the former Oshkosh Area School District Lincoln Elementary School into Lincoln Hall, a new home for the Division of Lifelong Learning and Community Engagement and the Children’s Learning and Care Center.

Garden Planting PartyWe earned national recognition for our commitment to “green” principles by decreasing negative environmental impacts through water and energy conservation, pollution reduction and recycling:

  • Reduced water consumption by 24.5 million gallons/year, an annual savings of $130,986.
  • Reduced energy consumption by 563,017 kilowatt-hours, an annual savings of $27,600.
  • Reduced emissions of coal/natural gas boilers by constructing a $2.8-million heat plant stack.
  • Reused light poles, resulting in more energy efficiency and less light pollution and saving $300,000.
  • In 2012, we became the 25th institution in North America and the first in Wisconsin to earn the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE’s) Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS) “Gold” rating.
  • Received the 2004 National Wildlife Federation Award, the 2005 Energy Star Award and the 2006 Wisconsin Clean Air Award. Became the first Fair Trade University in the country in 2008.
  • Featured as one of 21 colleges on the Princeton Review’s 2013 Green Honor Roll and ranked 14th nationally on the Sierra Club magazine’s Coolest Schools list.
  • Received the Solid Waste Association of North America’s 2011 Silver Waste-to-Energy Excellence Award for our dry fermentation anaerobic Biodigester facility.

We were recognized as a national model for developing and highlighting exemplary campus-wide liberal education programs and redesigning a groundbreaking, high-impact, high-quality general education experience:

  • Adopted a set of student-learning outcomes in May 2008 based upon the Essential Learning Outcomes of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), developing definitions and performance indicators for each.
  • Featured online by the American Council on Education’s (ACE) Solutions for Our Future.
  • Lauded by the AAC&U for linking its Liberal Education and America’s Promise initiative to the ACE’s Solutions for Our Future.
  • Chosen by the AAC&U as one of five campuses across the nation to be profiled in a spring 2013 publication for our collaborative work to innovate and redesign general education into the “University Studies Program” (USP). UW Oshkosh’s USP also will be featured in a chapter in an upcoming book written by the chair of the Learning Alliance for Higher Education and founding director of the Institute for Research on Higher Education at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education.

We are establishing and emerging with a national reputation for the way we engage and partner with all types of individuals and organizations to better serve our region:

  • Founding member Northeastern Wisconsin Educational Resource Alliance (NEW ERA), a consortium of executive leaders of northeastern Wisconsin’s 13 public universities, serving 1.2 million Wisconsin residents with quality, seamless education.
  • NEW ERA also is a founding member of New North Inc., a consortium involving northeastern Wisconsin’s chambers of commerce, workforce development boards, economic development professionals and CEOs of major corporations. New North’s vision is to be nationally and globally competitive for advancing job growth while maintaining a superior quality of life for the region’s citizens.

We are especially proud of the accomplishments of our faculty and students:

  • Six individual faculty members and three departments have received the prestigious Regents Teaching Excellence Award.
  • UW Oshkosh has the most successful Model United Nations program in the world, receiving 28 Outstanding Delegation awards at international competitions.
  • The College of Nursing passing rate for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for undergraduate students continues to be the highest in Wisconsin.
  • Senior business majors at UW Oshkosh taking the Educational Testing Services business knowledge assessment ranked in the top 5 percent nationwide, while MBA graduates ranked in the top 2 percent nationally on the MBA students’ assessment exam.
  • UW Oshkosh students who took the CPA exam placed the University in the top 10 schools nationally.
  • The Advance-Titan has won the top national award for student newspapers five times.
  • More than 200 UW Oshkosh graduates have gone on to receive the Herb Kohl Teacher Fellowship of the Year award for excellence and innovation.
  • The best graduate programs in the nation covet our College of Letters and Science graduates.
  • UW Oshkosh has won 44 national athletic championships.

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