Academic Program and Student Success

Early Learning ClassroomOverview

The University experienced growth and change through its curriculum reform efforts, program development and partnerships. The first year of the implementation of the new University Studies Program engaged a significant number of faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members in the design of courses, experiences and partnerships across and off campus. The launch of new STEM programs and partnerships will provide the community with graduates in areas of need in our region. Innovative partnerships and collaborative programs developed through the NEW ERA group also brought new programs such as the BS in Radiologic Science, the MS in Sustainable Management and the BS in Engineering Technology in specialty fields. Future students and employers in the region will have many new opportunities as a result of these new programs. The University continued to prioritize its work by integrating quality, inclusive excellence and innovation into curriculum reform efforts. The following curriculum initiatives are guided by the goals of the Growth Agenda’s More Graduates for Wisconsin and the University Academic Program Plan.

Curriculum Initiatives

  • University Studies Program

The curriculum reform efforts of the University Studies Program (USP) are guided by the AAC&U Principles of Excellence to make excellence inclusive, to connect knowledge with choices and action, and to foster civic, intercultural and ethical learning. The USP is infused with high impact practices (HIPs) and pedagogies of engagement designed to prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century. Foundational to the USP are smaller class sizes in first year courses, learning communities, peer mentors, and systematic assessments. The integrated learning curriculum design fosters success for all students, thus leading to increased retention and graduate rates. Assessment undergirds the reform efforts guided by a new University Assessment Plan. The ePortfolio will be used to document student application of learning and reflection through a variety of high impact experiences employed in a multitude of educational settings throughout the undergraduate experience.

The implementation of the USP necessitates campus-wide participation of all academic programs, student services, governance groups, alumni and administrative offices across campus. This reform effort will impact all academic departments, all offices of Academic and Student Affairs, the Library, Alumni Affairs and the peer mentors from throughout the community of Oshkosh. Faculty and instructional academic staff from each academic unit are eligible to participate in professional development and to submit courses for approval by the University Studies Program Committee. The Admissions and Advising offices are reconfiguring training and promotional materials, as well as student planning documents. The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning is directly involved in the design and offering of professional development, as well as supporting faculty in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning research about USP courses. Faculty governance groups are all actively engaged in the curriculum and policy approval processes. Administrative offices are redesigning systems, procedures and policies related to the implementation of the new curriculum and degree requirements. Alumni Affairs is recruiting and training alumni mentors for the community engagement projects. Student Affairs is assisting the establishment of volunteer and field-based learning experiences that are required for students in the USP program. The Office of Institutional Research is involved in policy, the design of data systems, and the collection and reporting of data. Instructional technology provides assistance through training and design of the ePortfolio. All undergraduate students will participate in the implementation of the USP through their activity in classes, and high impact practices, and in serving as peer mentors, and student workers in offices that support the initiative. The scope of the project consists of every faculty member, every student and every office on campus related to Academic Affairs and Student Affairs.

  • STEM Initiatives

During the course of the last two years, the University approved and implemented a variety of new programs to increase the number of STEM graduates in areas of need in our region. The following programs are highlights of curricular innovations related to UW-Oshkosh’s strategic plan to increase the number of graduates in high-demand STEM disciplines and to better meet workforce development needs.

  • Radiologic Science

The UW Oshkosh mission is to provide “students access to a high-quality, affordable, comprehensive education” and to foster “scholarly activities of faculty, students, and staff.”  This new program enables students to obtain access to a professional discipline in the biological/medical sciences and in-demand careers in Radiologic Science. The program also meets the aims of the College of Letters and Science to “develop the whole person who values knowledge for its own sake as well as for the achievement of specific objectives,” and to develop “responsible citizens who understand and contribute to the changing world in which they live.” The B.S. in Radiologic Science further supports UW-Oshkosh’s central function of “sharing [its] intellectual and specialized capabilities with individuals, organizations, and communities in our Wisconsin region, and beyond,” especially since a variety of regional and national stakeholders and health organizations, including Schools of Radiology in the region, are active contributors to the program. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-11, employment of radiologic technologists is expected to grow much faster than average, at 17% nationally from 2008-18.  The job outlook for medical imaging in Wisconsin looks highly favorable over the next five years, as job openings for radiologic technologists are expected to grow by 20%, with diagnostic medical imaging jobs expected to grow by 21% and nuclear medicine technology positions expected to grow at a rate of 17%.  Since the national average for growth in the U.S. is 15%, this means that Wisconsin has higher demand than most states for medical imaging jobs.

Baccalaureate-trained radiologic technologists use high-end instrumentation to perform diagnostic medical imaging procedures such as CTs, MRIs, and ultrasounds, and serve in leading and coordinating roles in the field.  The recent implementation of a B.S. in Radiologic Science is part of UW-Oshkosh’s strategic plan to increase the number of graduates in high-demand STEM disciplines and to better meet workforce development needs in the region by providing advanced degree options to practitioners in the health industry.  As the American health care system becomes increasingly complex and undergoes rapid technological change, there is an increased need for highly qualified radiologic professional practitioners and clinical program coordinators with advanced preparation beyond the associate degree level.  Due to its existing faculty expertise and experience in providing health technology degrees, UW-Oshkosh is poised to deliver an innovative and intellectually rigorous B.S. in Radiologic Science through the optimal use of resources and new partnerships with hospital-based Schools of Radiology in the region, that are equipped neither to offer a full range of college curricula nor to grant degrees.  The distinguishing feature of the new program in Radiologic Science is that it offers students a strong liberal studies education combined with training in a career that will require an increased understanding of complex scientific and societal issues.

  • Engineering Technology

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh approved collaborative Bachelor of Science (B.S.) programs in Electrical Engineering Technology, Mechanical Engineering Technology, and Environmental Engineering Technology. These degrees will prepare students for careers as engineering technologists.  The programs reflect a distinctive, collaborative degree between NEW North institutions and business. The collaboration involves shared faculty, curriculum, facilities, oversight committees and advisory groups.  Additional partners in this program include private industry and other higher education institutions in the NEW ERA group.  Partnerships across business and industry will be in the form of internships, expert guest speakers, research collaborations, touring of facilities, advisement on programs, and student placements.  The higher education partnerships will consist of articulation agreements among five University of Wisconsin Colleges, (UW- Fond du Lac, UW-Fox Valley, UW-Manitowoc, UW-Marinette, and UW-Sheboygan), four Wisconsin Technical College System institutions (Fox Valley, Lakeshore, Moraine Park and Northeast Wisconsin Technical Colleges), and the College of Menominee Nations.  Students from these institutions will be eligible to transfer into each of the three engineering technology programs.  Additionally, faculty from the transfer partner institutions may do teaching, guest speaking, research, or advising depending on program needs and faculty expertise.

Graduates will have the technical and managerial skills necessary to enter careers in the design, application, installation, manufacturing, operation and maintenance of engineering systems. Coursework will prepare students to specialize in areas such as product improvement, manufacturing, construction, and operational engineering functions.  The programs will benefit students, employers, and the educational institutions involved in the collaboration.  The programs will also provide students with instruction and hands-on experience to develop competencies in applied engineering and analytical and critical problem solving skills.  As a result, industry will benefit through the attainment of a more knowledgeable and flexible workforce who will continue to build their confidence and competence relative to their employment positions. Business and industry in the region will also benefit from state-of-the-art technology and training centers in regional technical colleges, UW institutions, and regional industrial facilities. The B.S. programs in Engineering Technology will respond to the workforce needs articulated by manufacturers and municipalities in north eastern Wisconsin, as well as 2010-2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics projections that estimate between a 14%-20% increase in engineering technology positions.  The programs will fill this need by producing a highly competent and technically knowledgeable workforce with expertise related to Engineering Technology.  The graduates will fill positions in regional industries, manufacturing, and engineering service firms.  The institutions involved in the collaboration will further their educational missions to support regional economic and workforce development while making more efficient use of their intellectual, human, and physical resources through collaboration efforts.

  • MS Sustainable Management

The 2012-2013 year was the first year of implementation of the collaborative M.S. in Sustainable Management. The M.S. in Sustainable Management is an online 34-credit graduate program offered jointly by UW-Superior, UW-Stout, UW-Parkside, UW-Oshkosh, and UW-Green Bay. This online M.S. in Sustainable Management will focus primarily on adult and nontraditional students who hold an undergraduate degree and have the desire to continue their education towards a graduate degree.  Particular attention will be given to ensuring that students are well versed in both business and science by teaching them about complex topics that require both perspectives. The program will ensure that students gain a comprehensive understanding of the ways in which changing human activities affect the inseparable natural, social, and economic environments.  One need not look far to recognize the importance of sustainability for our society and for the world. Sustainability, combined with a knowledge economy, creates the need for well-educated leaders who can address some of the more pressing concerns of the 21st century. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics handbook, jobs in environmental sustainability or “green technology” careers are becoming big business; especially, as the global market expands and more companies expand their commitment to environmental sustainability. Indeed, careers in green technology are expected to grow much faster than the average job market as a whole, translating to about a 20 percent increase per year, at least until 2018.

The online M.S. in Sustainable Management contributes to all three components of the Growth Agenda by providing a degree in demand and supported by Wisconsin businesses and organizations, and develops competencies that enable graduates to help Wisconsin employers meet the triple bottom line (strong profitability, a healthy environment, and vital communities).   It is a degree targeted at adult and nontraditional students possessing a bachelor’s degree and thus broadens access for alumni and others to the university environment. At UW-Oshkosh, the M.S. in Sustainable Management aligns well with its mission to provide a wide array of quality educational opportunities to the people of northeastern Wisconsin and beyond through the discovery, synthesis, preservation, and dissemination of knowledge.  This degree enables educators and students to explore and engage the challenges that confront regional, national, and global communities, using their intellectual and creative capabilities to understand, investigate, and solve problems. The social awareness component of the degree will allow students to respond to domestic and international needs for equitable and sustainable societies. The M.S. in Sustainable Management also supports UW-Oshkosh’s learning outcomes of sustainability, leadership, and social and personal responsibility.

Graduate Studies

Fifty years and 13,000 graduates later, Graduate Studies continues to provide important graduate programs to northeastern Wisconsin residents and beyond. Programs available have expanded beyond the one teacher preparation program offered in 1962 to include 15 masters programs, 15 certificate programs, one doctorate in nursing and more ideas and programs emerging each semester. Such advanced learning is critical for it “provides students with the advanced knowledge and skills that will secure our future intellectual leadership in the knowledge economy” according to The Path Forward: The Future of Graduate Education in the United States. Graduate Studies expanded efforts to promote programs and to update their web presence using web analytics and optimizing them for key word searches. With over 30 graduate program options available, learning and leadership occurs in many, many different disciplines and formats. Below is a sampling of highlights and accomplishments from the 2012-2013 year.

Graduate Student Association

  • Graduate students spent the year organizing the first ever UW Oshkosh Graduate Student Association. They became a recognized organization in September 2013.

College of Nursing

  • College of Nursing Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) students continue to have 100% pass rates on their respective national certification exams.
  • The first class of BSN to DNP students was admitted in fall 2012.
  • Jessica Griswold received the Nursing Research Award at Celebration of Scholarship for the poster presentation, Utilization of Adolescent Suicide Screening Tools by Primary Care Providers to Augment Early Detection of High-Risk Patients: A Systematic Review of the Literature.

College of Business

  • Introduced and began the first cohort for the Executive Path MBA in September 2013.  The program is sixteen months in length and offered on Saturday’s in our new Appleton Executive Education Center.  The first class of twenty students will graduate in December 2014.
  • UW Oshkosh MBA students once again participated in the Educational Testing Service (ETS) field assessment exam, ranking in the top 5% nationwide.
  • The new MS Sustainability degree offered its first courses in Spring 2013. The program is 100% online.

College of Education and Human Services

  • A new, fully online, masters program entitled Transnational Human Services Leadership was approved and will start fall 2014.
  • The newly renamed Department of Literary and Language expanded its graduate outreach efforts by collaborating with CESA #3 and CESA #5 in establishing three new cohort groups of educators working toward their 316 Reading Teacher Licensure. These cohorts join other educators in the Menominee, Sheboygan, Marinette and Lac Du Flambeau areas who are completing licensure as Reading teachers and Reading Specialists.
  • The Fox Valley Writing Project completed Year Three of Enhancing Learning in Subject Area Classrooms (ELSAC), a three-year project in partnership with the Appleton Area School District, funded by a grant from UW System, Wisconsin Improving Teacher Quality.  It included 20 high school teacher participants from six area school districts, four FVWP teachers and three-university faculty who served on the leadership team. The Fox Valley Writing Project also held the first Rural Wisconsin Writing Institute in Clintonville, WI.  This institute was provided in partnership with three rural school districts.  It included 12 participants a three-person leadership team.
  • The Jeollanamdo Office of Education in the Republic of Korea is supporting 10 students through scholarships to study in the Educational Leadership program.  The students, all teachers or administrators in South Korea, will spend two years in the US to complete a Master of Science in Educational Leadership degree.
  • Dr. Judith Hankes developed a two-year Math Intervention program and piloted it with 28 teachers in north central Wisconsin including Wausau.

College of Letters and Science

  • A significant number of Biology and Psychology students published or presented with faculty members and other researchers on a wide range of topics.
  • The Public Administration Department and MPA program revised the Graduate Healthcare Management Certificate, established a new partnership in its delivery with the College of Nursing, which is in addition to its partnership with College of Business, and conducted an extensive marketing campaign of the MPA program and the Graduate Healthcare Management Certificate throughout the state of Wisconsin. It also conducted and successfully recruited and hired a new faculty member from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.
  • MPA faculty and students also contributed extensively to exploring local problems and offering solutions. Many were also award winners.

New Programs

The following are the academic program changes at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh from the 2012-2013 academic year.

College of Education and Human Services:

  • Division of Human Services and Educational Leadership (COEHS) into two departments:  “Human Services Leadership” and “Educational Leadership Department”
  • Renamed COEHS’s Department of Reading to Department of Literacy and Languages
  • New Certificate Program:  Community Health Studies Certificate

College of Letters and Science:

  • The Geography Major has eliminated the Secondary Education Emphasis within the Geography Major.  In addition, the Geography Minor(s) have been revised from two separate minors,  “Elementary Education” and “Secondary Education” combined into one:  “Geography Minor for Education Majors”
  • “Legal Studies” emphasis was eliminated from the Political Science department
  • New Minor:  Law and Policy within the Political Science department
  • “Women’s Studies” program is renamed to “Women’s and Gender Studies”
  • New Certificate Program:  LGBTQ Certificate

College of Business:

  • New Emphasis:  Web and Mobile Development Emphasis
  • New Emphasis:  Enterprise Systems (ERP) Technology Management Emphasis
  • New Emphasis:  Retail Management Emphasis
  • New Emphasis:  Business Analytics Emphasis
  • New Emphasis:  Human Resource Management Emphasis

College of Nursing:

  • New Emphasis:  MSN-DNP Family Nurse Practitioner Specialization, CON

Assessment of Curriculum

In May 2013, the Faculty Senate adopted the following plan and purpose statement related to assessment. The entire University Assessment Plan can be found on the Provost’s website. All assessment activities are guided by this plan. Assessment results will be published in the Oshkosh Student Achievement Report and distributed across campus. The UW Oshkosh Assessment Plan describes assessment of student learning in all undergraduate and graduate programs including the University Studies Program and University-wide data. The plan divides assessment processes and reporting into three major areas: 1) University Studies Program, the general education program at the University, 2) undergraduate and graduate academic programs, and 3) University- Wide assessment. Each of these processes is a part of the university governance processes. Several assessment methodologies are used to assess student learning. The Assessment Plan is developed in compliance with the UW System assessment guidelines and the criteria of the Higher Learning Commission.

The general purpose of assessment, as articulated by the faculty committee, is to improve student learning and to inform evaluations of the curriculum or programs through the collection of data about student learning and student experiences. This can be accomplished by: 1) exploring the relationship of student learning and the educational experiences offered by the University; 2) gathering evidence about student learning so that we know what and how students are learning in our programs including the University Studies Program; and 3) using the results to create appropriate responses to our programs. The campus uses an inquiry approach to assessment that involves posing questions and analyzing data about the learning process. Assessment is grounded in the identification and definition of learning outcomes. Faculty members and academic staff plan educational experiences, identify methods for assessment, determine the timeline for data collection, analysis, and reporting and use the data to make informed program responses. Assessment is guided by the following practices:

  1. Assessment of learning reflects the University mission, vision and strategic priorities.
  2. Assessment includes a wide range of educational experiences, both inside and outside of the classroom that influence student learning.
  3. Assessments are developmental in nature and reflect learning over time.
  4. Explicit learning outcomes are foundational to the assessment process.
  5. The assessment process is collaborative and involves the entire university community.
  6. The scholarship of teaching and learning is foundational to the assessment process.
  7. Reports about assessment results are shared among the university community.

Higher Learning Commission Quality Initiative 

Throughout the 2012-2013 academic year, various governance groups reviewed and approved the UW Oshkosh Quality Initiative Project as a part of the accreditation process by the Higher Learning Commission. The overall goal of the Quality Initiative is to reform undergraduate education at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh through the implementation of our new general education program University Studies Program and a review of degree requirements. This work will involve the entire university community in the implementation of the University Studies Program (USP) that is infused with high impact practices, documented through ePortfolio, and monitored by a new university assessment plan. In addition to this new framework for general education, the faculty and staff will review degree requirements to create proposals for revisions.

The University community selected this project with the goal of enhancing the quality of the curriculum and educational experience for all students. The institution-wide change represented in this project centers on the need for a more cohesive undergraduate experience to foster greater efficiency in terms of less time-to-degree, fewer average credits-to-degree, enhanced educational quality, and increased success for all students. The University Studies Program represents a shift in curriculum design from a distributive general education model to a more cohesive and integrated learning experience supported by numerous high impact practices, such as freshman seminars, learning communities, community engagement projects, inquiry- based synthesis projects and capstone experiences. New partnerships are being formed across the campus where faculty and staff are planning integrated experiences. The curricular change is also a response to concerns raised during two prior Higher Learning Commission reviews related to assessment and the configuration of general education. The outcomes of the project represent a continuation of several key campus initiatives identified in the Academic Program Plan focusing on retention and curriculum reform and informed by the LEAP guiding principles.

Academic Programming Priorities

As a result of the strategic planning process, the four colleges of the University and Life Long Learning and Community Engagement have identified four strategic academic priorities that their individual plans and missions have in common. Below are highlights of activities that support these cross cutting themes.

  • Engaged Learning

Guided by the principles of liberal education and inclusive excellence, student-learning experiences involve engagement with real-life challenges and address issues of inclusivity. From a program perspective, the colleges have designed various learning experiences that provide students with opportunities to apply their learning in real-life situations. Students in the College of Nursing participate in partnerships with local and international health care agencies to carry out and disseminate research to promote health across communities. The College of Business recently added an Executive Pathway to its MBA program in order to provide opportunities for professionals to participate in higher education programs. The College of Education and Human Services continues to broaden its research and professional development offerings to reach at-risk populations in authentic learning experiences in districts across the state and with underserved populations. LLCE has extended a comprehensive leadership-training program for chiefs and officers in Wisconsin’s fire and emergency response services. The College of Letters and Science participated in a collaborative endeavor to create three engineering technology programs that will fulfill regional manufacturing needs.

  • Globalization and Diversity

The Colleges and the University continue to build a campus environment that reflects quality programming and increased recruitment, retention and graduation of underserved student populations. Efforts are continuing to build student global understanding and intercultural knowledge through course development and faculty development associated with the University Studies Program. International partnerships, internships, and other collaborative endeavors provide the University with several pathways to build global and diverse learning experiences. A new MS in Transnational Human Services Leadership in COEHS brings together diverse learning experiences in a global context and skill development for bridging cultural understanding. International partnerships are already in place for students to be mentored in this new program. Collaborations with the Viessman group across both COB and COLS allowed students to experience cutting-edge sustainable energy practices both here and abroad. The first medical surgery clinical in India and Peru help to prepare culturally competent nurses in the CON. Fourteen COB students went to Fulda, Germany, to participate in seminars and presentations related to business. Collaborative degree programs with the Menominee Nation in the COEHS provide reading instruction and training to underserved teacher populations. Service Learning projects in Counselor Education in Malaysia represent expanded efforts at globalization through this innovative pedagogy.

  • Community Engagement

The University continues its commitment to develop outreach activities, develop partnerships and build collaborative programs to serve the community and the institution. In addition, the new University Studies Program promises to enhance existing and future community engagement activities as an integral part of the Quest III community experience. The COB reports 169 partnerships with business and organizations in northeastern Wisconsin. As one of the state’s primary outreach programs, the COEHS partnered with numerous K-12 districts, and CESA agencies. The Biology Department in the COLS has many long-standing partnerships with municipalities and private companies to monitor beach water quality to research water contamination. The Engineering Technology majors designed by faculty from the COLS represent significant engagement with the manufacturing and business communities as well as with educational partners in northeastern Wisconsin. The College of Nursing graduate students conduct research related to health issues in several local and regional communities.

  • High Impact Practices

Both the University Studies Program and program majors across the Colleges emphasize the importance of high impact practices as an integral part of the undergraduate experience for all students. In the University Studies Program, learning communities, peer mentors and paired first year courses will provide first-year students with multiple high impact practices to ensure student success. Most of the professional programs require high impact practices as application experiences in the major. The College of Business reports a total of 433 internships during the last academic year among its students. The College of Nursing provides both local and international nursing clinical experiences for students as they transition to the profession. An increased number of students participated in study away programs, which increased to 16.5% of the undergraduate population during the last year. The College of Letters and Science provides access to university level instruction for over 2,300 students in courses taught in the high schools. The number of students participating in the University Honors Program continues to increase each year. The STEP program continues to provide opportunities for students to apply their knowledge and skills through authentic work and research experiences with faculty in various programs across campus.