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The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh will play a major role in creating a stronger future for northeastern Wisconsin by developing more human talent. As it moves to implement its role in the Wisconsin Growth Agenda, the campus has begun recruiting an additional 27 new faculty and academic teaching staff positions that were funded by the state as part of the 2007-2009 biennial budget approved in October 2007.

“We currently are conducting the first wave of recruitment for the 27 additional faculty and teaching academic staff members that are needed to accommodate the increased enrollment,” said Chancellor Richard H. Wells. “While recruitment is underway, more students are here and on the way. As the budget repair bill is finalized, we are counting on the promised funding to materialize.

“We do understand, given the state’s economic condition, that some of the funding may be delayed. We have moved forward with the Wisconsin Growth Agenda in good faith, and we hope the Governor and legislators recognize that as they work on the budget repair bill.”

The faculty recruitment is necessary as UW Oshkosh prepares to accommodate a recent increase of 1,000 students and a planned increase of another 480 students by 2010. The planned increase in enrollment may be met more than a year early. In 2007, the University welcomed 242 additional students; and approximately 200 more students are expected to enroll for fall 2008. The increase is roughly equivalent to adding a private college to the area, which would have an economic impact similar to a local business hiring hundreds of employees and generating tens of millions of dollars each year for the local economy.

According to this week’s year-to-date undergraduate admissions report for 2008, first-time freshmen applications have increased 5 percent from 5,556 in 2007 to 5,832. Meanwhile, transfer applications are up 17 percent, from 1,386 in 2007 to 1,625. Applications by students of color have increased 15.7 percent, from 267 in 2007 to 309. Net $100 registration deposits, which are often the best indication of expected fall enrollment for first-time freshmen, have increased 5 percent while such deposits are up 9 percent for transfer students. The academic readiness of incoming freshmen has improved slightly, which continues a multiyear trend at UW Oshkosh.

“Currently, we are anticipating all-time-high enrollment levels for fall 2008 – approaching 13,000 students,” said Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Petra Roter. “Northeastern Wisconsin’s New North needs an investment in higher education for its economic and student success. Meanwhile, students are recognizing the demand for a baccalaureate degree. The state’s investment in the Wisconsin Growth Agenda is imperative for the successful growth of the region’s economy and quality of life.”

Continuing its goal of providing affordable, accessible, quality education to the residents of northeastern Wisconsin, UW Oshkosh will work over the next three years to increase the number of graduates in high-demand programs, increase collaborations and develop new programs that will address the needs of UW Colleges and Wisconsin Technical College System graduates. High-demand fields that will be expanded include biology/microbiology, medical technology, psychology, nursing, teacher education and business.

“For the New North to grow and increase its economic viability, the state needs to both attract and retain individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary for our increasingly global economy,” said Chancellor Wells. “Only 18.8 percent of northeastern Wisconsin residents hold a bachelor’s degree, which is significantly lower than the national average of 27 percent. The region must have talented graduates who fit the needs of the community, whether they are business entrepreneurs, healthcare providers or teachers. UW Oshkosh is poised to fill that need for northeastern Wisconsin thanks to the funding support the Governor and the Legislature provided for the Wisconsin Growth Agenda.”

Added Provost Lane Earns, “UW Oshkosh’s role in the Wisconsin Growth Agenda allows us to meet the growing needs of our students. In today’s global economy, liberally educated and technically skilled people are paramount for a vibrant future and enhanced quality of life. We are pleased to report that this year’s graduating class will be the largest in the University’s history, following three years of record classes of students who are better prepared for their futures. By increasing the number of students prepared for the new global century, UW Oshkosh will impact significantly the region’s growth and success.”