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UWO’s Access Campus futures

Dear University community,

Yesterday was a historically hard day at UWO. Today, it is my duty to report more change ahead.

Demographic trends, declining enrollments and the rising costs of providing an education continue to challenge us. And it is with that familiar context that I received a letter from Universities of Wisconsin President Jay Rothman this week. He is directing me to undertake new actions at UW Oshkosh’s Access Campuses. I need to take a moment today to share both campuses’ paths forward with you.

As I personally informed UWO Fond du Lac faculty, staff and students this morning, President Rothman has directed me to begin the work to discontinue teaching and learning at that campus and transition in-person education based there by June 30, 2024. This means we will work with our UWO Fond du Lac students, employees and county partners to exit the county-owned campus next summer yet remain responsive to the ongoing educational needs of the greater Fond du Lac community and region. We continue to explore new and specialized programs at the campus in partnership with Fond du Lac County.

At UWO Fox Cities, in-person education should continue with the support and input of our county partners and stakeholders, President Rothman directed. We will work with Outagamie and Winnebago County leaders to renegotiate our memorandum of understanding and engage in renewed discussion about that campus’s regional educational needs and use.

I realize that these developments raise immediate questions for students and faculty and staff at each location. Having just received President Rothman’s directive, we need time to consult with our many stakeholders, including shared governance leaders. We will together develop an approach to accomplish the actions I outlined by spring and summer deadlines. What is immediately clear is that our focus on supporting UWO Fond du Lac students, their journeys and their success will only intensify. Our commitment is to honor students’ plans and investments as they stand today. Their educational home may change; their tuition will not.

We all were very deliberate in our efforts to join three campuses into one university five years ago. We were not perfect, but there was an unmistakable oneness in our work. I ask us to remember that spirit and resolve as we support learners and colleagues through this next transition at UWO. You can expect consistent updates from me as we move forward.

Please stay connected to your shared governance representatives and continue to take care of one another.

Chancellor Andy Leavitt