degree program is huge
winner for New North region,
Springtime greetings from Green Bay’s University of Wisconsin!
I write this only a few days after returning from a memorable
fan experience in Hartford, Connecticut (photo, right), where our women’s
basketball team did us all so proud in the NCAA tournament. (More on this
topic, and another — which involves a potential opportunity for
Cyndie and me — later in this column.)
When I returned from Hartford, it was just in time to see
history also being made on the academic side of our University. On March
21, the Faculty Senate overwhelmingly approved the groundbreaking Bachelor
of Applied Studies (BAS) degree program.
This innovative program, which we hope to have in place
for the fall semester, will make a baccalaureate degree from UW-Green
Bay much more accessible for the thousands of Northeastern Wisconsin residents
with technical college degrees.
BAS students will be able to transfer associate degrees
from technical colleges into UW-Green Bay as blocks of 60 credits. They
then will complete 60 additional credits that satisfy UW-Green Bay general
education requirements. This type of degree often is referred to as an
“inverted” degree because it emphasizes the technical major
in the first two years and the broader liberal education in the second
We still need the approval of the UW System Board of Regents,
but I am confident this program is just the type of initiative the Regents
envision for increasing the number of Wisconsin citizens with bachelor’s
degrees and for growing the state’s economy. When the Regents visited
UW-Green Bay a year ago, a number of them participated in a news conference
to announce that UW-Green Bay and UW-Oshkosh would receive state funds
to help develop BAS degrees.
often have been accused of wearing my heart on my sleeve for the University
of Wisconsin-Green Bay, but until my recent trip to Hartford I had not yet
worn a Phoenix emblem on my face. Thanks to pep band member Jaimie Henschel,
I joined the crowd with just the right look for an NCAA tournament game.
(Photo by University Communication intern Matthew Becker.)
It’s hard to argue with the need for this new program.
Our region has more than 150,000 residents with some postsecondary education,
and the region’s four technical colleges have produced more than 10,000
associate degree graduates in the last five years alone. However, Northeastern
Wisconsin lags behind the state and nation in the percentage of four-year
college graduates. Many of you are familiar with the alarming fact that
if Northeastern Wisconsin were a state, it would rank 49th in the number
of citizens with bachelor’s degrees.
The greatest demand for the new degree program likely will
come from working adults who have been in the workforce for a number of
years. Many of these individuals have looked to us in the past hoping to
continue their education. Discouraged by our inability to give them credit
for previous coursework, many have instead turned to the region’s
private colleges to complete their degrees.