UW-Platteville addresses restructuring concerns

UW-Platteville addresses restructuring concerns

It has been less than a week since the UW Board of Regents voted to merge two-year campuses with four-year universities. Now University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s chancellor is contacting the campuses that will now join the university.

Students and faculty from UW-Baraboo/Sauk County are wondering how their campus will be affected by the UW restructuring, which will make the system’s 13 two-year schools regional branches of its seven four-year schools.

Chancellor Dennis Shields addressed concerns over enrollment numbers, changes to administrative roles, resources and funding, and the students’ ability to transfer to four-year colleges. Shields admits he doesn’t have all the answers.

“I think the biggest mistake I could make is to come in here and say, yeah I got this figured out and I’m going to tell you exactly how we are going to do those things. I don’t think that works. I think by the time July 1 comes around, we need to have a pretty good idea of the major directions we need to go,” Shields said.

Those major directions include forming a plan to increase enrollment at the two-year college, merge curriculum and to be proactive in not losing any students during the restructuring process. Shields does not expect any major policy changes to be put in place by the July 1 merger.

Chris Ingles, vice president of student government, said students’ main concern is how curriculum will be affected.

“I know some of the concerns of the other students is whether or not there is going to be a guaranteed transfer to the other four-year schools and how it’s going to impact the curriculum they are already taking here,” he said.

Ingles says he is hopeful students will be put first.

“There’s a lot of changes that are going to be made. I think, overall, this change is going to be positive. I think, if we find a way to utilize Platteville’s resources on this campus and merge the campuses together, I think there is going to be a lot of opportunity for learning,” Ingles said.

Shields said both sides will have to able to adjust to change and admits it will be a process.

“We can start down one path and it can work for two or three years but maybe four years from now it will have to be a little different. We will have to be vigilant and respond to those challenges,” Shields said.

On Tuesday the first of two public hearings was held. Shields will hold a meeting at UW-Richland on Wednesday. The campus will also be included in the UW-Platteville restructuring.