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Annual report coverAnother year, another series of tremendous strides and advancements in sustainability, general education’s transformation, responsive and collaborative academic programs and economic initiatives that are catalyzing new jobs and growth in the region.

And yet one more milestone in student enrollment – a record surpassed, despite the odds.

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and Chancellor Richard Wells proudly unveiled the 2012-2013 Strategic Plan Update and Annual Report on Feb. 3. The newly published report is now available online. Printed copies will be available in mid-February.

Among the report’s many highlights is another student enrollment record. UW Oshkosh surpassed 13,900 students in fall 2013, an almost 400-student, 3 percent increase over 2012 and a 19 percent increase since fall 2000, when the University community deeply committed itself to strategic planning in alignment with its mission, essential student learning outcomes and workforce needs.

The 2013 record enrollment is, in large part, due to an encouraging rebound and growth in the number of graduate students furthering their educations at the institution, solid increases in transfer students and continued surges in Wisconsin high school students taking advantage of high-quality, pre-college credit courses through the innovative Cooperative Academic Partnership Program (CAPP). Strong gains in these areas are helping UW Oshkosh as it and other UW System institutions weather long-projected declines in the population of Wisconsin high school graduates.

“Economic conditions have posed historic obstacles. Demographic and economic downturns are depriving us and our sister institutions of the infusions of high school graduates and state funding we have enjoyed in the past. Yet the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh continues to beat the odds, this academic year posting a new, record enrollment of 13,902 students,” University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Chancellor Richard Wells states in opening the new report.

 

Released today, and available at www.uwosh.edu/strategicplan, the report features updates, action initiatives and activities of the major units of UW Oshkosh. It also highlights the institution’s points of national distinctiveness, including:

  • UW Oshkosh’s national reputation for sustainable practices and education.

An estimated 1,200 homes — the population of so many of Wisconsin’s legacy farming communities— could be powered by the renewable energy plant that is Rosendale Dairy’s biodigester. The facility, brought online late last year at the state’s largest dairy farm, is one more nationally recognized demonstration of UW Oshkosh’s pursuit of innovation in renewable energy and sustainability.

On Dec. 11, 2013, UW Oshkosh, the UW Oshkosh Foundation, Rosendale Dairy’s owners Milk Source, state renewable energy collaborators and executives from project partner and global-efficiency giant Viessmann Group gathered to dedicate the institution’s latest biodigester project.

The facility is also an unmatched scientific instrument and vehicle for student and faculty biogas research. It helps the University strengthen its national reputation as a beacon for renewable energy, biogas and water testing advancements. Meanwhile, sustainability at UW Oshkosh has entered classrooms like never before, serving as a pillar of the new University Studies Program (USP) — the transformation of general education for all students at the institution, led by faculty members.

  • The University’s pioneering of a high-quality, responsive education through collaboration.

The demands for engineering technologists, more nurses and highly-skilled insurance professionals are driving new, collaborative educational offerings at UW Oshkosh. And they are also strengthening the institution’s emerging reputation as a national leader in the development of high-quality, collaborative programs that close skills gaps.

In fall 2013, the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents’ Research, Economic Development, and Innovation (REDI) Committee approved $1.9 million for three new engineering technology degrees developed in partnership with UW-Green Bay, faculty at 13 other Northeast Wisconsin Educational Resource Alliance colleges and institutions and regional manufacturers. UW Oshkosh was also among four UW System institutions earning a combined $3.2 million to fuel efforts to address the state nursing shortage.

Meanwhile, our Center for Risk Management’s Northeast Wisconsin (NEW) Insurance Program addresses regional industry executives’ call for a new generation of knowledgeable, high-skilled risk managers. Additionally, a UW Oshkosh Foundation partnership with the owner-operators of downtown Oshkosh’s renovated hotel and convention center launched in 2013, already creating hundreds of new jobs while helping further drive the central city’s revitalization.

  • An emerging, national distinction as a change agent in general education.

The University Studies Program is off, running and succeeding. And the nation is watching.

UW Oshkosh’s transformation of general education is the focus of one more emergent, national distinction for the state’s third largest institution.

After several years in development, UW Oshkosh launched the USP in fall 2013. This transformation of general education prescribes small learning communities, student-on-student peer mentoring, a corps of alumni mentors and an array of high-impact courses that dovetail with the signature questions a 21st Century student must explore. Students examine the ways to create a more sustainable world, appreciate cultural difference and begin to take part in the collaborative work necessary to lead a life of civic engagement.

Through community experiences set to begin in 2014, students will connect their classroom learning to service-learning projects and initiatives. They may embed in after school programs, food banks, shelter providers and other agencies, learning while they apply the wisdom necessary to help organizations and initiatives sustaining our communities thrive.

Additional UW Oshkosh highlights, stories, videos and institutional data are available for review at the University’s comprehensive Strategic Plan Update and Annual Report for 2012–2013: uwosh.edu/strategicplan.

“As we once again report to you, our many stakeholders, we affirm our belief that knowledge is the tool, not the target,” Wells said. “Knowledge alone is insufficient. Our ultimate objective for students is the attainment of wisdom, or “knowledge applied” – the ability to live sensibly, sensitively and successfully. We clearly need more graduates exercising sound judgment, while developing creative, clever and resourceful solutions for the current and future challenges facing our communities, our state, our nation and our times.”

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