Chancellor Says Creativity and Partnership Are Essential to Reinvent Higher Education Ecosystem
Green Bay, Wis. — With the UW System’s restructuring proposal receiving approval by the Higher Learning Commission today, UW-Green Bay is welcoming three new campuses and communities — UW-Marinette, UW-Manitowoc and UW-Sheboygan — and preparing for the next critical steps in the restructuring process.
On July 1, UW-Green Bay, UW-Marinette, UW-Manitowoc and UW-Sheboygan will join together as one university with one mission. The new UW-Green Bay will be a four-campus university with a 16-county footprint, 700 ongoing employees and a projected enrollment about 7,700 students. Students can still apply for free to the Manitowoc, Marinette and Sheboygan campuses for fall 2018.
The footprint of the new UW-Green Bay includes nearly one half of Wisconsin’s coastline on the world’s largest freshwater ecosystem and some of the most pristine natural areas and tourist spots in the country. The regional ecosystem also includes a large and growing manufacturing and health care sector and a solid foundation of business and nonprofit enterprises. All four campuses support vibrant art and music programs and are considered hubs of community activity.
“When the Board of Regents approved this consolidation last November, I expressed the view that we have been presented an extraordinary opportunity,” UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary L. Miller noted. “The work we have done together since that time has helped us begin to shape a vision for how the new unified university in Northeastern Wisconsin will work. In the coming transition year, we will clarify our vision and take our first steps forward together.”
Initiating a community conversation later this summer about the challenges and opportunities facing higher education in the region, including the significant enrollment and financial hurdles saddling each campus, is a priority, Miller shared. “We will undertake a region-wide assessment of higher education needs, economic drivers and partnership opportunities on the way to the development of a strategic framework for the new UW-Green Bay.”
“Chancellor Miller has briefed the Trustees extensively on this opportunity,” said UW-Green Bay Board of Trustees Chairman Lou LeCalsey. “As a group, we have many connections in the three communities. We are ready to work with everyone in the region to build on the transformation and momentum we have at UW-Green Bay to make this one of the best and most innovative universities in the country.”
Manitowoc resident and UW-Green Bay Executive Director of Continuing Education and Community Engagement, Joy Ruzek, says she has heard very positive comments throughout the community about the restructuring effort. “Individuals and organizations feel they can capitalize on the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay brand in an effort to attract and retain homegrown and outside talent,” she said. “By aligning our mission with local economies, we can develop and expand popular programs that engage students and professionals in creating significant, positive economic impact.”
Miller says the restructuring is literally a change to the educational ecosystem in Wisconsin overall and in Northeast Wisconsin, specifically. “We know we need to continue to identify and reduce barriers to transferring credits, making it seamless for two-year college students to continue on to a four-year degree. We also need to create a unified university where all students can explore all programs regardless of where they enter.”
“Ecosystems can endure a lot more change than we give them credit for and they are incredibly adaptive. I think about this reorganization in the same way. It will be challenging and complex. There are multiple moving parts. We will certainly make missteps along the way. But it is certainly not impossible to transform and create something even better.”
About the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is a comprehensive public institution offering undergraduate and graduate programs to 7,158 students. The University transforms lives and communities through exceptional and award-winning teaching and research, innovative learning opportunities and a problem-solving approach to education. For more information, visit www.uwgb.edu.