Nancy Nelson

Nancy Nelson
(414) 227-3123
Provost’s Deputy for Continuing Education

Knowledge is power, and education at the SCE is empowerment.

“I believe the overall purpose of education should impact and change all aspects of one's life experiences. Continuing education tries to accomplish lifelong learning throughout the developmental stages of life in response to crises, for the innate joy of learning, and for specific task purposes.

The purpose of lifelong learning at the School of Continuing Education is for the cultivation of intellect, self-actualization and personal and social improvement. It benefits the young or old, well-educated or under-educated, rich or poor.

The SCE and our programs fill a vital role in the state of Wisconsin and beyond. The connections between our school and our community could not be more important. The SCE provides a process for people to improve themselves or society by increasing skill and knowledge.

It is important – especially in an era of social change – that the SCE’s general purposes be continuously tested against the changing of society. Social and economic advantages associated with education include better mental and physical health, higher satisfaction with jobs and relationships, and a greater involvement in social and political activities. Knowledge is power and education at the SCE is empowerment.

Our participants are engaged in learning in familial, interpersonal, community, recreation and occupational settings. The school’s programs range from College for Kids and Teens, to professional development for adults and Osher – a program for adults 50 and over who understand that quality of life is enhanced through learning.

The primary and immediate mission of every instructor is to help individuals satisfy their needs and achieve their goals. The school’s instructors help individuals develop the attitude of lifelong learning.

Every instructor considers the situation to be changed or improved, educational needs of the target population, learning experiences and the design for determining the accomplishments of the program and assessing its strengths and weaknesses. Individuals have their own values, needs, beliefs, attitudes, self-concept and past experiences. The SCE’s instructors assist our learners in clarifying their needs and values and help them set realistic goals. A careful assessment determines where the learner is and what he or she deems important.”


Dr. Nancy Nelson joined the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Continuing Education on July 1, 2017, after having served as a clinical associate professor in the university’s Occupational Science & Technology Department since 1998. In addition to her teaching and outreach interests and activities, Dr. Nelson has extensive prior service in the College of Health Sciences and the community.

Dr. Nelson’s interest in leadership for continuing education are rooted in her own studies of Adult Education and Administrative Leadership. Upon joining UWM, Dr. Nelson became the academic fieldwork coordinator for occupational therapy students. In 2009, she was named assistant dean for the College of Health Sciences Outreach Office, leading its continuing education programs.

Dr. Nelson’s many awards include UWM’s Academic Staff Outstanding Performance & Service Award (2016) and the College of Health Sciences Dean’s Award for Outstanding Service (2012).