SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL: Creative thinking goes to college

Milwaukee higher-education expand opportunities
SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL: Creative thinking goes to college
Renderings of the new building for Marquette’s Physician Assistant Studies program.

SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL: Creative thinking goes to collegeAlverno College

This year, Alverno College is all about educational partnerships, says Scott Zeman, vice president for academic affairs at the south side institution of higher learning. And, he notes, these partnerships with other institutions are opening career doors for Alverno students.

Here are four new partnerships:

— Alverno is working with Teach For America, the national program to recruit new teachers who will work in high-need schools for several years. “As of this summer, we are now going to be the sole provider of Teach For America certification for Milwaukee,” Zemen says. Approximately 125 TFA teachers already work in Milwaukee schools. Going forward, the college and TFA have worked out a two-year training program that incorporates students’ experiences leading classrooms toward teaching certification  – and can lead to a master’s degree.

— A partnership with the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee is training teachers in the renowned creative, child-centered system of education. The undergraduate program will provide students with an Alverno bachelor’s degree in education as well as training to teach using the Montessori method. Zeman notes that Montessori education has long been popular in the Milwaukee area. “It is a highly innovative method of teaching and learning that is student self-directed and hands-on,” he says. According to a recent press release from Alverno, “Milwaukee has the largest number of public Montessori schools in the country, and demand for Montessori-trained teachers continues to grow at an accelerated pace.”

— In addition, Alverno has two new “articulation agreements” with other teaching institutions to offer advanced programs to its students. One is a partnership in environmental science with University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Freshwater Sciences. The first three years of classes are held at Alverno with another two at UWM. The program leads to a bachelor’s degree from Alverno and a master’s degree in freshwater science from UWM.

— Students who want to become pharmacists can enter a six-year program involving Alverno and the Medical College of Wisconsin that ends with a doctoral degree. The first three years involve pre-pharmacy classes and general coursework at Alverno and the next three are at MCW.

All these partnerships, says Zeman, “expand the opportunities for Alverno students in areas we don’t have but partner institutions do. It’s a great service to our students.”

Marquette University

Across town at Marquette University, the emphasis is on expanding graduate programs, with a rough goal of adding 30 to 40 percent to the graduate student body. The number of graduate and professional students is now about 3,400.

“We’re really trying to aggressively grow graduate education over the next five to seven years,” says Doug Woods, dean of Marquette’s Graduate School. “Everyone knows that, on average, if you go to college you have more earning potential than if you don’t go to college. But more recently, the growth in that difference has flattened out at the undergraduate level. Where wage growth is really continuing to grow over careers that do not require college is at the graduate level.”

Among the new graduate programs, says Woods, is a boost in the use of so-called “big data” and data science. The Grad School is offering a 15-credit certificate program in data science. It allows students to combine these courses with health care-related courses to create a new master’s program in health care data science. In addition to health care, several other fields are being explored to determine how that data science core can be used to develop specialized analytics programs in those important areas.

Marquette has also expanded in other programs related to health care, including dramatic growth in its master’s in nursing program, which now has sites in Milwaukee, Pleasant Prairie and Indianapolis.

“In fall 2018, we’re also enrolling our first class for a master’s program in applied behavior analysis,” Woods says, “which is a subset of psychology that focuses on treating kids with developmental disabilities and autism. We’re also building a new physician assistants’ building on campus to expand that program, and we expect to expand our master’s program in clinical mental health counseling by adding a specialization in rehabilitation counseling.”

In addition, Marquette is now offering an interdisciplinary doctoral program in neuroscience, which blends various fields such as biomedical sciences, biology, psychology, philosophy, computational sciences, rehabilitation science and biomedical engineering.

“We’re really trying to pay attention to both the needs of the community and local industry,” Woods says. “For example, when we went into the health care analytics program, we invited local and regional health-care companies and insurance companies to tell us what they needed and how we could help them.” But he adds that he doesn’t want it to sound as if businesses are driving all this growth. “At Marquette, our commitment is to ‘Be the Difference,’ so we know that there are other needs in the community,” Woods says. “There’s a need for leaders in the nonprofit world, so we have a program called the Trinity Fellows program, which helps train nonprofit leaders and gives them experience with local nonprofits in Milwaukee. We’ve grown that program too, with support from the Burke Foundation.” —