UW-Fox Valley and UW-Fond du Lac become campuses of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh after the UW System restructure plan was approved June 29 by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
“It is a historic day for our new university. With today’s approval from the Higher Learning Commission, UW-Fond du Lac and UW-Fox Valley have officially become campuses of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh—three campuses, one university,” Chancellor Andrew Leavitt said.
“Our primary concern is ensuring the UW System is in a position to provide greater access, affordability, and opportunity for our students and the state of Wisconsin,” UW System President Ray Cross said. “To help meet Wisconsin’s growing needs, it is imperative we take action now and be increasingly bold in our efforts to get more students into and through the educational pipeline. We appreciate the collaborative efforts and support from local governments in this restructure.”
UW-Fox Valley, UW-Fond du Lac and UW Oshkosh have long shared a rich history in partnership and collaboration—through academic articulation agreements, continuing education programming, resource sharing and more. With the joining, students at the three campuses of UW Oshkosh, will have access to programs across the educational continuum—certificate programs through associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Throughout the region, more than 12,500 students are enrolled at the three campuses.
UW-Fox Valley and UW-Fond du Lac will remain access campuses that offer affordable tuition and reduce barriers to transferring credits within the UW System. Two-year campuses are considered access points for students, particularly those at greater risk of not being able to afford college: first-generation, low-income and underserved communities.
Accreditation, administrative oversight and reporting structures formally transfer on July 1.
“Each step of the way has been in the spirit of openness and collaboration,” Leavitt said of the UW Oshkosh joining.
Since late last year, more than 45 work groups with representation from throughout the three campuses of UW Oshkosh have been working on restructuring initiatives. Work groups are addressing the transition under the umbrella of eight major areas—Academics, Administration, Student Affairs, Information and Technology, Governance, Culture and Identity, Marketing and Branding, and External Affairs. Groups have been working on different timelines depending on the requirements of each area and work will continue well after the July 1 launch date.
From UW System: The UW System Board of Regents unanimously approved the proposed restructuring late last year. UW System formally submitted its application to restructure to the Higher Learning Commission on Jan. 16, 2018. The HLC approved the application on June 29, 2018.
The UW System has been working closely with UW Colleges, UW-Extension, and the four-year UW receiving institutions to ensure a smooth transition for students and employees. Restructuring is expected to take place in two phases over the next two years. During Phase 1 (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019), the two-year campuses will continue to function largely as they do now, while preparing to internally integrate administrative functions. Student support services, such as admissions and financial aid processing, will continue to be administered by the two-year campuses. During Phase 2 (July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020), the four-year receiving institutions will undertake operational planning and services will be integrated into the two-year campuses.
The official letter from the Higher Learning Commission stated:
“The Board approved the extension of accreditation related to the application wherein University of Wisconsin Colleges’ branch campuses are distributed among seven institutions within the University of Wisconsin System, with University of Wisconsin Colleges ceasing to operate as an independently accredited institution and its former branch campuses becoming branch campuses of University of Wisconsin universities….and wherein the University of Wisconsin–Extension, a non-accredited entity within the University of Wisconsin System, is dissolved as a separate operational unit, with certain other University of Wisconsin universities adding components of the dissolved unit’s operations within their respective operations.”