Tag: interdisciplinary studies

Taking credit: For UW-Green Bay adult and distance learners, options abound

top-story-adpAs soon as Jennifer Randall finished her associate degree, she knew she wanted more.

Randall, 33, had delayed going back to school while her children were young, working as a Certified Nursing Assistant to support them in the hopes she’d someday return to the classroom. When the time came, Randall earned a paralegal degree from Northeast Wisconsin Technical College — then set her sights on her bachelor’s.

“I contacted UWGB’s Adult Degree Program and was amazed at how helpful the staff was and how easy the transition was from NWTC to UWGB,” Randall said. “A total of 60 credits earned at NWTC transferred to UWGB and that put me at junior status when I started. It was a wonderful feeling to know that in just two years I would have a bachelor’s degree.”

More wonderful, still, was Saturday, Dec. 14, when Randall crossed the Weidner Center commencement stage as one of UW-Green Bay’s newest alumni. The transfer program that helped her finish so quickly is one of numerous options officials say can expedite the time — and mitigate the cost — associated with obtaining one’s degree. And yet many prospective students remain unaware that such opportunities exist.

“There is a great deal of buzz in the media recently about ‘new’ options for completing a bachelor’s degree in ways that involve online options and Credit for Prior Learning,” said Steve VandenAvond, UW-Green Bay Associate Provost for Outreach and Adult Access. “UW-Green Bay has been offering these and other similar options for adult and distance learners for more than 10 years.”

Degrees that transfer; learning that works

The Bachelor of Applied Studies (BAS) degree, which Randall completed, allows students to complete their bachelor’s degree entirely online, with face-to-face options available in the evenings, during the day or on weekends. In addition, full-time UW-Green Bay recruiters and academic advisers are located in Appleton, Wausau, Milwaukee and Waukesha to better serve students. The BAS degree allows students to transfer a minimum of 60 credits from an associate degree education to UW-Green Bay, and, like any other UW-Green Bay junior, leaves them with only 60 credits to complete. So technical college transfer students can use the BAS program to finish quickly, and with less cost.

“The Bachelor of Applied Studies degree is a practical, no-nonsense approach to earning a bachelor’s degree that respects the valuable applied learning taking place in Wisconsin’s technical colleges,” VandenAvond said, “and provides graduates with the critical thinking, problem-solving and communication skills that employers are requiring.”

BAS degree holders complete a major in Interdisciplinary Studies, which is UW-Green Bay’s second most popular major. In 2012-13, 149 students graduated with an Interdisciplinary Studies degree, ahead of Psychology (140 grads), Human Biology (128) and Human Development (122), according to the UW-Green Bay Office of Institutional Research and Assessment. For the past two academic years, only Business Administration has had more graduates.

photo-in-story-adpFor December 2013 grads Cassie Dufek and Melanie Lovato, the Interdisciplinary Studies major was a perfect fit.

“It was very flexible, and the Adult Degree Program staff worked with us so well,” Dufek said of herself and Lovato, who became friends during technical college. “We both had a full-time job and with family and jobs — we just couldn’t pass it up. …I’ve become a more well-rounded person. The learning was just unbelievable.”

Initially hesitant about returning to school, Lovato said she’s thrilled with what she’s accomplished — and how it will help her in her career.

“The learning was practical,” Lovato said. “It was, for me, very commonsense courses — it’s stuff that I can use with my career and throughout my life. Whereas with some of the other programs (I considered), it just didn’t interest me as much because it didn’t have that commonsense, practicality of putting it in your everyday life.”

Credit where credit is due

UW-Green Bay’s options for online learning also appealed to current student Joy Hart, who found another way to expedite her time to degree — the University’s Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) offerings. From competency exams to military training, a portfolio option and retroactive credit, students like Hart are finding what they know can help them get to where they want to be.

“I was saying, ‘how can I finish as quickly as possible?’ ” said Hart, 36. “I found the CPL program and it was an advantage to me because I didn’t have to take another class.”

Hart parlayed her municipal clerk certificate into credits for prior learning by writing a paper detailing how she uses it in her current job as a city clerk. She had put her bachelor’s degree on hold to pursue the certificate, and was finally ready to go back to school about two years ago. With experiences like an internship having added to the experience of pursuing her degree, Hart is excited to graduate in May — though she jokingly admits she’s not sure how she’ll fill her time without classes and homework.

“Credit for Prior Learning is an invaluable option for adult learners and others,” VandenAvond said. “Credit is awarded not just for experience, but for demonstrated learning — students must clearly show what they learned, not just what they did. Numerous options exist, and staff members are willing and eager to help students discover if CPL will work for them.” Additional information about Credit for Prior Learning is available online.

For students like Randall and Hart, options for adult and distance learners have made all the difference. They’re finishing more quickly, with less cost — but with every bit of satisfaction for what they’ve achieved.

“UW-Green Bay accepted 60 credits from my associate degree,” Hart said. “They also transferred in 24 credits of additional coursework from other schools I attended, and for that I am grateful. …It’s helped me reach my goal of obtaining my bachelor’s degree. I’ve got my eye on the prize.”

More information about UW-Green Bay’s Adult Degree Program is available online and on Facebook .

From beer truck to company president: Eggen thankful for college experience

The New North B2B publication has a great story in its January issue about UW-Green Bay Adult Degree and Masters of Management alum Ken Eggen, who recently was promoted to president of Dean Distributing. Eggen dropped out of college the first time around, but felt it was important to return — and he did, earning his bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies some two decades later. Three years after that, Eggen earned his UW-Green Bay Masters in Management degree, and now he’s helping others pursue their educational dreams, as well. “We want our people to grow personally and professionally,” said Eggen, an Alumni Association Board member. “And the adult degree program — at UWGB anyway — is aligned with that.” Dean offers tuition reimbursement and other incentives for employees to return to the classroom, part of a broad company philosophy on education. The B2B story quotes our own Eric Craver and Christina Trombley, and offers some great additional info on adult degree. (Michael Bina, a longtime public relations practitioner and now an instructor in the Adult Degree Program, is the author.)

Adult Degree grad gains confidence to explore the world

Balancing home life and two jobs while working toward her bachelor’s degree, Fay Lau went from trepidation about her academic ability to having a world of confidence.

Lau completed high school years ago but delayed her dream of a bachelor’s degree. Instead, she pursued two associate degrees, at Lakeshore Technical College and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.

“I simply didn’t have the confidence to pursue a four-year degree,” says Lau, who is now a special education aide with the Denmark School District. “It was my students at Denmark whose questions about where I went to college made me feel that it was time that I took my own advice. So when my son was a junior in high school, I applied to UW-Green Bay’s Adult Degree Program.”

Why UW-Green Bay?

“I just think that UWGB had everything I needed to complete my degree,” she said. “I knew that I wanted a University of Wisconsin degree. And as a busy wife and mom working full time, I needed to access classes online, but I lived close enough to the University that I could take classes on campus, as well, and also take advantage of everything that UW-Green Bay has to offer. Finally, UWGB transferred in my technical college credits and I started at the University as a junior, saving me time and money.”

Lau has also worked for many years with the Educational Resource Development Trust (ERDT) SHARE program, a non-profit organization which coordinates international exchange programs for high school students. Fay’s position with SHARE focuses on recruiting families to host international students. And true to her desire to “put her money where her mouth is,” Lau and her family began hosting international students when her son was in the fifth grade.

Lau’s passion for helping students and her love of learning about cultures, people and places around the world did not stop with her exchange students. Lau’s interest in education and international studies culminated into several experiences at UW-Green Bay that have shaped her life.

In a pivotal moment in her college career, she requested to do an Independent Study that took her to Budenheim, Germany to study the differences between German and American approaches to secondary education.

“I used this course to satisfy my World Culture requirement at UW-Green Bay and had the experience of a lifetime!”

She continued to broaden her understanding of international issues by completing a summer internship in UWGB’s Office of International Education.

As Lau prepares to proudly cross the stage for the Saturday, December 14, 2013 commencement, she can’t help but think about all the places she has gone and how far she has come. She will graduate summa cum laude this weekend with her Bachelor of Applied Studies degree, majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies, with a Human Development emphasis.

“My time with UW-Green Bay and the Adult Degree Program has helped me to move outside of my comfort zone,” she says. “My UWGB education made me try things that I may not have tried otherwise.”

The question of “what next” remains for this woman of new-found confidence.

“I plan to continue to travel, adding a summer 2014 trip to Brazil to a passport that already reflects trips to Germany, France, Italy and Belgium.

“The possibilities are endless now,” she says brightly. “I am even considering graduate school!”

“Ultimately, my long-term goal is to work with at-risk students. No matter how troubled a student is, I always try to see the good in each one of them. If I can make a difference in just a few kids’ lives, then my own life has had purpose.”

Story by Eric Craver, director of Marketing and Recruitment, UW-Green Bay’s Office of Outreach and Adult Education

‘Digital Commons’ becomes meeting place for ‘new’ Humanities

Relevance. It’s a word that takes on new meaning daily, or even quicker in the digital age. So what does it mean for the Humanities — a study that evokes traditional images of students studying the Classics, delving into prose and patterns, with deep and meaningful discourse between students and faculty? What does it mean for multi-tasking college students who have shorter attention spans and higher expectations for graphic stimulation?
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For Kupsky family, a commencement tripleheader

Kupsky family
A longtime truck driver for Brillion Iron Works, Wes Kupsky has retooled for an IT career with a bachelor’s in Interdisciplinary Studies. His twin daughters, Jennifer and Sarah, were History and Human Development majors, respectively.

They met up Saturday, May 12, at the Kress Events Center, for a rare graduation tripleheader. Classmates at UW-Green Bay, the father and two daughters crossed the stage within a few minutes of each other to receive diplomas at May 2012 commencement.

Twins Jennifer and Sarah, now 23, enrolled right out of Chilton High School and roomed together on campus their first few years. Jennifer is the History major with minors in Business Administration and Humanistic Studies. Sarah majored in Human Development. Wes, 56, is the tech guy, completing 60 credits online through the Adult Degree Program.

Wes and his wife, Carol, have five daughters, and the single ceremony made it convenient for the extended clan. “It was never a plan,” says Wes, “and then one day we compared notes and realized, ‘Hey, we’ll all be graduating in May!”

UW-Green Bay, NTC partnership brings students ‘One Degree Closer’ to bachelor’s

A newly reinvigorated partnership between the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Adult Degree Program and Wausau-based Northcentral Technical College is bringing NTC grads “One Degree Closer” to earning their bachelor’s degree, thanks to a guaranteed credit transfer agreement between the two institutions.

The innovative “One Degree Closer” initiative allows students who have earned an associate degree at NTC to transfer at least 60 credits to UW-Green Bay in pursuit of a Bachelor of Applied Studies degree. It doesn’t matter what NTC associate degree a student earned, or when — the credits are guaranteed to count, said Eric Craver, director of External Relations for Outreach and Adult Access at UW-Green Bay. Many students will have more than the minimum 60 credits that transfer — bringing them even closer to earning their bachelor’s degree, no matter what their timeframe or motivation for doing so.

“If you’re looking at a career change, if you’re looking at taking those credits and finishing your bachelor’s degree, there’s never been a better time to do this,” Craver said. “You can do it completely online; you can do it on your own time — you don’t have to come to Green Bay at all. Even your academic adviser is on site in Wausau, allowing for flexible, convenient learning that helps you achieve that next educational goal.”

Students who choose the “One Degree Closer” program will apply credits toward a Bachelor of Applied Studies degree, selecting one of six areas of emphasis within its broad-based Interdisciplinary Studies major. In addition to NTC’s main campus in Wausau, UW-Green Bay is working closely with the college’s regional campuses in Antigo, Phillips, Medford, Spencer and Wittenberg. It’s a natural partnership with numerous benefits for students, said Suzi Mathias, director of Transfer and Placement for NTC.

“Northcentral Technical College is proud to partner with UW-Green Bay to provide opportunities for our students and alumni,” Mathias said. “Those continuing on to get a bachelor’s degree appreciate receiving in-person assistance from a UW-Green Bay adviser on our campus, while still having the flexibility to complete classes online.”

The “One Degree Closer” partnership launched a year ago, and officials from both schools say they’ve embraced reinvigorating the program to emphasize its potential for degree-holders in Northcentral Wisconsin. The program not only benefits current and prospective students, but also the region’s businesses and economy as a whole, Craver said.

“ ‘One Degree Closer’ is focusing attention on economic development and job growth, essentially taking the worker pool in that market and providing opportunities for increased education and credentials,” Craver said. “This is a tremendous opportunity for Wausau-area businesses that are looking to grow their talent from within — promoting from within and cutting down on turnover and expenses for job searches and training.”

For more information on the “One Degree Closer” initiative, visit www.uwgb.edu/adultdegrees, call 800-621-2313 or 715-803-1410, or email adultdegrees@uwgb.edu. More information about Northcentral Technical College is available online at www.ntc.edu/transfer.


UW-Green Bay students to showcase research at March 7 state Capitol event

Seven University of Wisconsin-Green Bay seniors will present undergraduate research projects as part of the ninth annual UW System “Posters in the Rotunda” event on Wednesday, March 7 at the state Capitol in Madison.

The students are among more than 200 UW System undergraduates, along with their faculty advisers, who will fill the Capitol Rotunda to share their original research with legislators and other state leaders. The event runs from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., with a brief formal program beginning at 11 a.m. State leaders and others will have the opportunity to view poster presentations of the research projects, speak with students and learn more about how their work has enriched their college experience.

“Out of every 100 resident students who earn a University of Wisconsin degree, 81 will put their college degree to work right here in Wisconsin,” said UW System President Kevin P. Reilly.

“We know that academic research on UW campuses has a major impact on Wisconsin’s economy, and also that it plays a significant role in helping students stay in school, graduate at higher rates, and prepare themselves for the workforce of the 21st century,” Reilly said. “I want to especially thank the faculty advisers for their extra efforts to make this a tremendous real-world, hands-on learning experience for their undergraduate students.”

The UW-Green Bay students who will display their research at Posters in the Rotunda are as follows:

Jake Eggert, New Franken, Interdisciplinary Studies/Environmental Economics, will present “Environmental Management and Business Institute (EMBI) — Aurora BayCare Project,” the results of a partnership between UW-Green Bay’s innovative EMBI and one of Northeastern Wisconsin’s major medical centers. His faculty adviser is Prof. John Stoll.

Michelle Bartoletti, Suamico, Public Administration and Environmental Policy, will present “Packers ‘Green Team’ Movement,” the results of a partnership between the Green Bay Packers and EMBI that seeks to increase rates of recycling among fans and food vendors on game day. Her faculty adviser is Prof. John Stoll.

David Lawrence, Brussels, Field Biology and Environmental Science, will present “Fish Assemblages of the Wequiock Creek Estuary in Lower Green Bay,” a project that explores a largely unstudied area estuary that’s been overrun by the common reed (Phragmites australis). His faculty adviser is Prof. Bob Howe.

Marcy Jivery, Lake Tomahawk, Social Work, will present “Gender-Specific Treatment: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Substance Use,” an independent study and undergraduate research focusing on the analysis of peer-reviewed scholarly literature. Research sought evidence-based treatment and intervention for post-traumatic stress disorder and substance use, along with gender-specific knowledge about the prevalence of co-occurring disorders. Her faculty adviser is Associate Prof. Jolanda Sallmann.

Craig Van Pay, Green Bay, Psychology, will present “The Influence of Language on Memory: Differences in Recollection of Regular English Plural Nouns with Varying Phonological Properties,” which explores children’s plural pronunciation as it relates to memory. His faculty adviser is Assistant Prof. Jennifer Zapf.

Alicia Engstrom, De Pere, Humanistic Studies with an Ancient Medieval Emphasis, will present “Ancient Fiber Crop Cultivation on a 21st Century College Campus,” a project that involved the labor-intensive process of processing flax to linen through numerous steps, including cultivation, harvesting, rippling, retting, breaking, scotching, hackling, spinning and weaving. Her faculty adviser is Assistant Prof. Heidi Sherman.

Morgan Gantz, Green Bay, Environmental Studies, will present “Shawano County Highway Right-of-way Invasive Species Assessment,” a summary of her research identifying and creating maps for a distribution of 33 different invasive species along 138 miles of right-of-ways in Shawano County. Her faculty adviser is Prof. John Stoll.

More information on the Posters in the Rotunda event, including a list of all participating students and their research projects, is available at www.wisconsin.edu/posters.


Alumna elected to Ho-Chunk legislative post

UW-Green Bay alumna Heather Cloud, ’10, recently was elected to the Legislature of the Ho-Chunk Nation. She was sworn in Wednesday (Nov. 9) at the Ho-Chunk Nation Executive Office Building in Black River Falls after winning a runoff election in October against Myrna Thompson of Wisconsin Raids. “My interests are the welfare of our Nation, our sovereignty and our future generations,” said Cloud, who earned her degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a business emphasis. “We need to remember what our elders wanted for us and that we can honor the amazing legacy they left in our hands.”

At 73, he’s talking ‘start-up,’ not finishing

Peter J. Hauserman

Peter J. Hauserman

One of the more interesting stories at May 2011 commencement at UW-Green Bay belonged to Peter J. Hauserman.

Hauserman received his bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies through the Adult Degree program, completing a mix of online and in-person classes. He’s proud of the accomplishment, too.

“I started college in 1956 at Northern Michigan University,” he says, “and for various reasons — family and business — I never completed my studies.

“Well, I have always been the sort that if I start something, I’m going to complete it. I’m 73 years old now, and I am finally earning my bachelor’s degree.”

A native “Yooper,” Hauserman said he moved south to Green Bay in 1968. He had a long career in marketing and the dental-supply business, and has always enjoyed learning. A busy work life and other interests allowed him to take courses at UW-Green Bay only on an occasional basis, starting in the 1970s. It was only in the last few years he got serious about connecting the dots, filling any gaps and pursuing his final credits through the Adult Degree program.

“I have made so many wonderful friends at this University, and I have been fortunate to meet so many interesting people through this whole process,” he says. “That’s both faculty and other students.”

Future plans? Not retirement. The most senior member of the UW-Green Bay Class of 2011 says he’s looking at launching his own business, an internet startup.