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USP_200The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s new University Studies Program—set to launch with the upcoming fall 2013 semester— already is garnering attention as a national model for general education reform.

Earlier this month, the Association of American Colleges and Universities touted UW Oshkosh’s innovative program as the lead case study in its new publication “Ensuring Quality and Taking High-Impact Practices to Scale.”

UW Oshkosh is highlighted in the publication as one of five campuses across the nation that is “providing high-impact practices more pervasively and systematically.”

“Many universities around the country are working to revise general education requirements in light of the changing nature of our society and the global economy, but few have done so as comprehensively and thoughtfully as UW Oshkosh,” said  Debra Humphreys, AAC&CU’s  vice president for policy and public engagement.

The publication features the relationship between high-impact practices and first- and second-year retention rates as well as graduation rates. It also offers advice about how to ensure that all students experience multiple high-impact practices.

These practices, such as study abroad, undergraduate research, cornerstone projects, community service and learning communities, are not new to the student experience at UWO. They had been incorporated into courses on a small-scale for decades.

“There were lots of pockets of excellence, but no collaboration around best-practice teaching,” USP Director Lori Carrell said.

What’s different with USP is that UW Oshkosh’s curriculum for first- and second-year students will be “rich in high-impact practices for all students,” she explained.

The USP is a one-of-a-kind general education program that ignites intellectual curiosity, introduces students to the opportunities of university life and is the gateway to a 21st century college education.

“We at AAC&U and others around the country will continue to watch with interest how this program develops because of how thoughtfully it was launched and the leadership team that created it,” Humphreys said.

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