HLC approves collaborative integration

Chancellor Shields speaking at UW-Platteville Richland.

On June 29, the Higher Learning Commission approved the collaborative integration of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville with two-year campuses UW-Baraboo/Sauk County and UW-Richland.

UW System President Ray Cross announced the plan in October 2017, and the Board of Regents approved the proposal on Nov. 9, 2017. The 13 system two-year campuses are integrating with seven receiving four-year campuses. Under the terms approved by the HLC, UW-Baraboo/Sauk County and UW-Richland will become branch campuses of UW-Platteville.

These three institutions were paired not just because of proximity, but also because there are many foundational similarities that drive them: teaching-centered philosophies, hands-on learning opportunities in small class sizes, academic excellence, affordability, and a commitment to giving back to enrich the community.

“Every once in a while, opportunities present themselves,” UW-Platteville Chancellor Dennis J. Shields said. “Joining UW-Richland and UW-Baraboo/Sauk County with the University of Wisconsin-Platteville is one of those opportunities. Each of these institutions has contributed to the quality of life for years. Now, as times change, we have the opportunity to continue to contribute in significant ways.”

More than 250 people from the three campuses have worked on the steering and subcommittee meetings to ensure things such as Higher Learning Commission accreditation, branch campus faculty integration into the UW-Platteville structure, student success programs, shared governance, and more.

The chancellor noted how this collaboration will benefit both traditional-age college students and non-traditional students, as well as offer more partnerships with business and industry. Additional programs that are being studied include Associate of Science degrees in agriculture, accounting, biology, business, building construction management and hotel management/tourism.

“We are extraordinarily excited to be part of a process that will reinvigorate the quality of education in this region of the state,” he said.