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Reprinted from: The Business News

May 28, 2007

Businesses to benefit from new degree program

Commentary by Eric Craver, Program Manager
Office of Adult Degree Programs, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

Business in Northeast Wisconsin just got a big boost from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay as the UW System Board of Regents voted unanimously on May 11 to approve a brand new degree through UW-Green Bay's Adult Degree Program the Bachelor of Applied Studies.

This new approach to a four-year college degree takes effect immediately and is enrolling students now for the fall semester.

The Bachelor of Applied Studies degree is specifically tailored for working adults with applied associate degrees from a Wisconsin Technical College campus who are looking to increase their credentials, skills, and potential to advance in their respective industries.

Administrators from both UW-Green Bay and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College say the region and its economy will benefit greatly by this new degree.

"By continuing to work with partners in the public and private sectors, we will make substantial progress in growing our economy and tax base and enriching the quality of life in our region and state," says UW-Green Bay Chancellor Bruce Shepard.

NWTC President Dr. Jeff Rafn agrees that this new degree reflects a partnership that will benefit business and industry. "This is a new approach that hasn't been tried here in this area. It's a new way of thinking," he said.

This new degree is especially suited for those adult learners who have been in the workplace for a number of years and want to advance their careers and enrich their lives. It is specifically designed for Wisconsin Technical College graduates. However, applied associate degrees from out-of-state regionally-accredited colleges and universities may be eligible.

This approach is especially valuable right now as Northeast Wisconsin's economic landscape is changing. The region is lagging in percentage of four-year college graduates. The 62,000 Wisconsin residents holding associate degrees but lacking a baccalaureate education now have a new opportunity to build on their technical education with a University of Wisconsin bachelor's degree. Many of those residents are employed in Wisconsin business and industry, and business leaders have indicated that this program will be an invaluable tool for helping their employees to increase their skills while making them eligible for advancement and promotion.

The Bachelor of Applied Studies degree features a flexible major in Interdisciplinary Studies that allows students to shape the degree that fits their needs and those of their employer. Students attend classes on weekends one Saturday per month with classes meeting only three or four times throughout the course of the semester. The program also offers a full slate of online courses augmented with in-class meetings, as well as fully online courses offered via the Internet.

Beginning this fall, students in the Fox Valley will be able to take courses offered in the Bordini Center on the campus of Fox Valley Technical College. Students entering the program will transfer in a block of 60 credits toward the degree. They will then finish all remaining credits at UW-Green Bay, completing General Education requirements and identifying an Area of Emphasis.

Students in this degree program can complete their emphasis is many different areas, but the degree is especially valuable for those working in Northeast Wisconsin's rich tradition of business and industry. Graduates of this program can earn an emphasis in areas such as organizational communication, along with "self-directed" areas of emphasis such as business administration, accounting, management, marketing, human resources, and many others.

UW-Green Bay's associate provost for Outreach and Adult Access and the director of UW-Green Bay's Adult Degree Program, Jan Thornton, predicts the degree will provide ladders for success for graduates, make a difference in their lives and our society, and improve our economy.

The new degree is part of UWGB's Adult Degree Program first established in 1978. The "Extended Degree Program," as it was called at the time, provided adults in Northeast Wisconsin with a path toward a bachelor's degree and harkens back to the University's most basic founding principle of serving as a resource to adult learners for the local Bay Area, the Fox Valley, the Lakeshore, and regions north.

UW-Green Bay's Adult Degree Program has served the business community in Northeast Wisconsin for almost three decades, and the program's more than 500 graduates serve as living, working examples of the program's value in the marketplace.

Those interested in learning more about the Bachelor of Applied Studies degree can call 800.621.2313 or can go online to

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