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As another biennial budget proposal for higher education in Wisconsin is unveiled by the University of Wisconsin System, so to is a report that shows the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh – third largest in the state –spent $20 million less on administration than the national average for universities and colleges.

Meanwhile, while managing historic reductions in state revenues, the number of transfer students choosing UW Oshkosh continued to increase in the 2010-11 academic year, surging to more than 1,400. So did the number of community-based learning opportunities for those and the rest of the University’s more than 13,500 students. More than 1,300 companies, nonprofits and other organizations hosted students in 2010-11 in career-launching fields from business to teaching to nursing to the sciences, according to the report.

Those are just a few of the strides revealed in the updated 2011-12 “Investing in Wisconsin’s Future: Growth Agenda Accountability Report” for UW Oshkosh. The report’s release Monday coincided with the UW System’s release of the 2013-15 biennial budget proposal.

“Our UW Oshkosh faculty, staff and students understand that resources will continue to be scarce and budgets tight in Wisconsin,” UW Oshkosh Chancellor Richard Wells said. “However the new Accountability Report shows, once again, that an investment in our institution, its people and its programs brings tremendous return to the state, its economy and taxpayers.”

The Accountability Report is the newest edition of the UW System’s annual, campus-by-campus strategic plan update. It transparently demonstrates how UW System universities, colleges and UW Extension are carrying out seven “core strategies” under the broader system Growth Agenda. They focus on better preparing students, producing more graduates, increasing well-paying jobs, building stronger communities, growing and diversifying university resources, advancing operational excellence and furthering collaborations between campuses and state partners.

“Collaborations add to the quality of our educational experience,” said UW Oshkosh Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Lane Earns. “Many of our biggest strides in the new Accountability Report center on the work our campus community is doing to strengthen community collaborations with regional businesses and organizations to enhance student learning, to open doors wider to transfer students and to continue to welcome non-traditional students to UW Oshkosh.”

The new report highlights several points of progress at UW Oshkosh:

  • New transfer students reached 1,468 in 2010-11, up from 1,436 the year previous and 1,179 (24.5 percent) five years earlier.
  • The number of businesses or organizations hosting clinical, legal or social work student placements in collaboration with UW Oshkosh’s colleges increased to more than 1,323 in 2010-11, up from 1,144 (15.6 percent) in the previous academic year.
  • The number of collaborations between the College of Education and Human Services and Wisconsin K-12 school districts, in particular, continues to surge, with clinical placements increasing to 637 in 2010-11, up from 386 in the previous report.
  • Center for New Learning (CNL) enrollments continue to increase, demonstrating the institutional commitment to non-traditional students. In 2010-11, CNL enrollments reached 4,141, up from 1,542 five years earlier.
  • Approximately 94 percent of the at-risk students involved in Student Support Services programs – programs designed to increase college retention and graduation rates – were in good academic standing in 2010-11, up from 89 percent the year previous. It is just one data point to demonstrate ongoing success in the program.
  • The number and diversity of business development opportunities benefiting both the institution and students continues to flourish. In 2010-11, for example, UW Oshkosh’s Business Success Center “generated more than $643,950 for the University community through consulting, training, surveys and internships,” according to the report, most involving student or faculty learning and development. The UW Oshkosh College of Business Small Business Development Center “provided assistance to over 37 Wisconsin family businesses and provided 721 hours of business development assistance to 157 other businesses in 2010-11,” according to the report.

“These steps forward are encouraging given the challenging conditions our state and the University faculty, staff and students who help sustain our institution are facing,” Wells said. “We look forward to continuing to work with the UW System President Kevin Reilly, his staff, the UW System Board of Regents and all our institution’s stakeholders as we examine our Growth Agenda targets and advance a 2013-15 biennial budget for UW Oshkosh that helps us reach further toward our academic, economic and community goals.”

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