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UW-Superior's newly updated Academic Plan is in the news following its presentation Oct. 16 to the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents.
An article about the presentation to the Board of Regents appeared in the Superior Telegram. That article appears below:
By Kevin Murphy For the Superior Telegram (Published Oct. 21, 2009)
MADISON - The University of Wisconsin-Superior is unique in many respects and is planning its future as an institution of higher education with some of those unique characteristics in mind, the UW Regents were told last week.
With an enrollment of approximately 2,900, UWS is the smallest four-year campus in the UW System, but last year ranked behind only UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee in amount of federally funded research dollars it leveraged. UW-Stevens Point edged out UWS for third place this year despite a more than three-fold increase in federal dollars.
In fiscal year 2008, more than $1.4 million in federal research funding was received. The total jumped to $4.7 million this year, said Jan Hanson, a UWS vice chancellor.
Most of the funding is issued to the Lake Superior Research Institute and the Transportation and Logistics Center, which have long enjoyed federal support; and since 2004, the Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute, a joint venture with the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
UWS has used its location on the world's largest freshwater lake to study invasive species, and the effectiveness of ballast water treatment options, said UWS Provost Christopher Markwood.
The university has been talking with the city of Superior about plans for a state-of-the art waterfront facility for the Lake Superior Research Institute, with lab and conference space and pier for the institute's 58-foot research vessel.
The Transportation and Logistics Research Center conducts studies that challenge students now and provide significant experience that will be beneficial to their future, he said.
"The center has recently obtained an Army research grant that faculty, staff and students are using to develop a more effective jet fuel," said Markwood.
After an accreditation agency said the university had too many courses given its size and amount of resources, UW-Superior faculty reviewed curriculum last year and developed the academic plan that Markwood presented to the Regents this week. What resulted was a consolidation of programs from 79 to 56 that deepen the university's liberal arts mission in ways that serve students in the 21st century.
"We're looking at new minors, not a lot of majors because we want to grow smart and have the faculty and student support services for the new offerings we start," said Markwood.
Among the new offerings is a Sustainable Management major taught in collaboration with three other UW campuses.
"This is a business management approach from an environmentally sustainable perspective. Accounting, management and finance students will have all aspects of how to incorporate sustainability in key decisions they'll be making," he said.
A forensic chemistry concentration has been added to the chemistry department. It will be connected to criminal justice in application but taught in an interdisciplinary approach, said Markwood.
Majors in criminal justice and Spanish and a minor in social work are under consideration on campus in response to increase career interest in those fields.
"We're not looking to become 'CSI: UWS,' but certainly in that line there's a growing discipline of science to forensic chemistry we'll offer," he said.
UWS has traditionally enrolled a higher percentage of transfer students than other UW campuses. This year, one-half of new undergraduates have begun college somewhere else and the university will continue to reach out to these students and nontraditional students who are returning to school first in order to return to the workforce.
"Our advisors get quite a work out and we rely heavily on the faculty to advising students who restart or continue their education here, but we're the right size to address it," he said.
Vice Chancellor Faith Hensrud echoed Markwood's remarks about UWS being unique and a good fit for students.
"Some look at our small size as a disadvantage, but it's an opportunity to provide more connections for our undergraduate and graduate students as they work through their academic programs. Less students per faculty member is an advantage as more one-on-one interaction between faculty and student or researcher is possible," she said.
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