With declining enrollment and fewer state dollars to work with, University of Wisconsin System interim President Tommy Thompson says it’s time to think about consolidating some two-year UW campuses with nearby technical colleges. Thompson first mentioned the idea of consolidating UW System and Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) campuses during a Jan. 26 webinar hosted by the nonpartisan Wisconsin Policy Forum. He said a number of communities around the state have two-year UW branch campuses and technical colleges, and that taxpayers would wonder why they have both.
In an interview with WPR, UW-Green Bay Chancellor Michael Alexander said he has been appointed to a UW System committee of chancellors and provosts to study the WTCS expansion proposal and look at opportunities for collaboration.
Alexander stressed the committee has only had one meeting and that discussions are in the very early stages. He also said UW-Green Bay and its campuses have been building relationships with area technical colleges in the 16 counties it serves.
“We’re already doing the work to make sure that, for students, there’s a seamless ability to transfer and that we value our technical college partners and everything that they do and in every way that we work with them,” said Alexander.
In a letter to campus, Alexander said the term “consolidation” has a broad meaning.
“Since I have been here and before, we have been working to consolidate pathways for students between all of our campuses and our technical college partners,” said Alexander. “We must see the holistic way that students view higher education and work to make sure that we are creating clear pathways for students to reach their educational goals. If that is what is meant by consolidation, I am all for it.”