UW-Platteville adds two associate degrees at branch campuses

To offer students more educational opportunities and to help meet the region’s workforce demands, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville is offering new associate degrees at its branch campuses, UW-Platteville Baraboo Sauk County and UW-Platteville Richland.

Beginning in fall 2019, students can work towards two-year Associate of Science in Food and Agriculture or Associate of Science in Business Administration, either of which would also fulfill the general education requirements for a four-year degree from any UW institution. 

“These are very dynamic times in higher education, and we are pleased to move forward on innovative ideas such as the new degree programs. These will serve our branch campus students well and connect them with business and industry in the Baraboo Sauk County and Richland areas as well as provide them with a successful path to a four-year degree should they seek it,” UW-Platteville Chancellor Dennis J. Shields said. “As stewards of place, it is our responsibility to be mindful of the needs of our region and offer solutions that are mutually beneficial.”

Ed Janairo, the interim dean of UW-Platteville Baraboo Sauk County, said this investment in coursework and more associate degrees is an example of what the relationship with UW-Platteville is bringing to the Baraboo Sauk County and Richland campuses. 

“The expertise and experience of UW-Platteville is helping deepen the branch campuses as exciting places to learn, and expanding the possibilities for all our students,” he said. 

According to UW-Platteville Richland Interim Dean Brandon Fetterly, the branch campuses will be offering agriculture classes for the first time, which he hopes will help the many farms and other agriculture related businesses in the area and their employees. 

“For the first time, the Richland campus will have agriculture courses,” he said.  “By bringing these programs in agriculture and business onto the Richland campus, we can offer career-advancing education opportunities that employers want and students need, right here in the area.”

Associate of Science in Food and Agriculture

Agriculture is a $88.3 billion industry in Wisconsin, according to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, and UW Extension estimates agriculture generates $865 million of economic activity in Sauk County and $858 million in Richland County. Overall, 45 percent of all jobs in Richland County are directly related to agriculture.

The new degrees will let branch campus students take advantage of the faculty and facilities closer to them as well as be part of the UW-Platteville agriculture program, which produces almost 700 four-year graduates annually, and has been providing agriculture education in Southwest Wisconsin for over 100 years.

Students will take fundamental courses in agriculture including agribusiness, animal science, crop science, soils, marketing and sales, as well as studying communication skills and critical thinking. In addition, an early internship program will allow for agribusiness professional development.

Associate of Science in Business Administration

The demand for graduates with experience in accounting or business administration will increase by 7 percent over the next decade, according to Dr. Wayne Weber, dean of the UW-Platteville College of Business, Industry, Life Science and Agriculture. The new business administration two-year degree at the branch campuses will help meet these increased needs, he added.

The associate program is a blend of in-high-demand interpersonal skills, such as teamwork, communication, and problem-solving as well as critical technical knowledge, including microeconomics, marketing, management and more.

Both degrees will help students be immediately available to regional employers as well as meet the general education requirements of UW-Platteville and the entire UW System, should students decide to pursue a four-year degree.  Students may apply for admission using the general application of the UW System at apply.wisconsin.edu.

“We’re very excited to be launching these programs,” Weber said. “By leveraging, and adding to, the talented faculty, staff and resources on all three campuses, including the Smart Farm facility in Richland Center, we will have a major impact on these institutions, the local industry and the region.”

In November 2017, the UW System Board of Regents announced the merger of the 13 two-year UW Colleges and UW Extension campuses with seven comprehensive institutions. UW-Platteville began its collaborative integration with the former UW-Baraboo/Sauk County and UW-Richland on July 1, 2018, now named UW-Platteville Baraboo Sauk County and UW-Platteville Richland, respectively.

Since his first visits to Baraboo and Richland Center, Chancellor Shields has pledged to grow the branch campuses. During the 2018-19 academic year, campus deans, assistant deans and administrators have been hired to be responsive on their respective campuses. In addition, branch campus faculty and staff have been integrated into governance groups, committee memberships and the university’s strategic planning process. Student integration programs include curriculum, scheduling, course catalog, registration, website assistance and a unified application process for the 2019-20 academic year.