The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh is a power source — a knowledge and economic power source – serving as a catalyst in the New North region’s communities, a national leader in sustainability and a pioneer in the transformation of general education.
Those are the pillars of distinction upon which the University and UW Oshkosh Chancellor Richard Wells will unveil the 2011-2012 Strategic Plan Update and Annual Report to the UW System Board of Regents on Thursday, Feb. 7.
The newly published report, released Feb. 6, is also available online at http://www.uwosh.edu/strategicplan.
Viewers can watch Chancellor Wells’ Strategic Plan Update and Annual Report presentation to the Board of Regents from approximately 11 a.m. to Noon on Thursday, Feb. 7 at: http://www.uwex.edu/ics/stream/regents/meetings/. Chancellor Wells will also lead a UW Oshkosh open campus forum on the new strategic plan update and annual report, including an update on Gov. Scott Walker’s Feb. 20 state budget address and budget proposal, the week of Feb. 25. That forum’s date, time and location will be shared with the campus community when details are finalized.
Wells’ Feb. 7 presentation will closely examine “Big Challenges and Big Changes” UW Oshkosh is recognizing and addressing in its groundbreaking efforts to increase student success rates and close student achievement gaps, improve the affordability of college and provide competitive compensation and support for the development of faculty and staff – the designers of a new, high-quality and distinctive general education for all students at the state’s third-largest university.
“This campus community’s teaching, learning and research mission, and the 13,500 students, 1,700 staff and the more-than 80,000 alumni united in it, are the embodiment of an educational, socio-cultural and economic engine,” Wells states in his opening Strategic Plan Update and Annual Report message. “Together, we serve as a catalyst in community collaborations with public and private partners that not only improve the city, region and state but also annually supply it with thousands of well-prepared, career-ready graduates who have started giving back even before they have earned their degrees.”
On Feb. 7, UW Oshkosh leaders will also present to the Board of Regent’s Research, Economic Development and Innovation (REDI) Committee. The presentation will highlight the University’s, the UW Oshkosh Foundation’s and public and private partners’ efforts to seed the city of Oshkosh and surrounding region with collaborative, catalytic projects helping invigorate the economy, create jobs and give students the next generation of high-impact, hands-on educational opportunities. Those projects range from the more-than $15 million Foundation, city of Oshkosh and private-partner investment in downtown Oshkosh’s riverfront hotel and convention center (just two blocks from the UW Oshkosh campus) to three waste-to-energy biodigester projects on campus and at large and small dairy operations in the New North. The group will also outline developing plans for a new aviation business accelerator in Oshkosh, an initiative combining the expertise and investment of local governments, economic development agencies, aviation-industry leaders and the University and its Foundation.
The Strategic Plan Update and Annual Report features program updates, action initiatives and activities of the major units of UW Oshkosh. Among the standout accomplishments and highlights:
- UW Oshkosh is a national leader in sustainability. “With every day, the UW Oshkosh campus community finds new and deeper ways to plug into renewable energy and improve operational efficiency, driving the institution further toward carbon neutrality and the ultimate educational effectiveness and value,” Wells said. “While the University makes greater strides toward sustainability, the knowledge gained is shared with our neighbors, be they city halls or Wisconsin family farms.”
- UW Oshkosh has taken a pioneering position in the transformation of general education. The University Studies Program, a new future for general education, prescribes small learning communities, student-on-student peer mentoring, alumni mentoring and an array of high-impact courses that dovetail with the signature questions a 21st Century student must explore. Grade-point average is but one measure of students’ success. This new program is built upon better teaching, better learning and the expectation that students demonstrate and document their mastery and application of essential learning outcomes in “ePortfolios.” They will question, explore and connect. They will chronicle how they have applied their general education to think analytically and strategically, to examine, dissect and confront the issues of the day and to solve problems.
- Cities thrive when community partners identify problems, band together and find solutions. There may be no better example of it than in the teamwork demonstrated by the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation, UW Oshkosh Foundation, two regional hoteliers and the Oshkosh Common Council and its city taxpayers, who got behind the shared effort and investment to resurrect their downtown’s struggling riverfront hotel.
Additional UW Oshkosh highlights and data are available for review at the University’s comprehensive Strategic Plan Update and Annual Report for 2011–2012.
“UW Oshkosh and the UW System institutions, without a doubt, in so many ways, are knowledge-power sources like no other,” Wells said.