Dear UWM Colleagues and Students,
At my plenary address earlier this fall, I spoke about the heart of our mission – student success. It’s what makes everything else possible, from innovation and research to our community engagement and service. When our students succeed, we all succeed.
As part of that, we constantly evaluate how to better educate and support our students. We’ve added courses and programs, like our master’s degree in data science and the expanded offerings in the Zilber College of Public Health. We’ve also invested in supports that help our students succeed, like the Milwaukee Tuition Promise, which will help an estimated 1,500 students afford to attend college when it might otherwise be out of reach.
But as we build new pathways for students, we must also let go of others that are no longer sustainable. Today, I share news of one such choice we must make.
Following a directive from the Universities of Wisconsin, UWM will close the UWM at Washington County campus, with a goal of completing the process by June 30, 2024. The UWM at Waukesha campus will remain open to serve students seeking an associate degree or one of its new bachelor’s degree offerings. We will continue to work with Waukesha County Technical College and other partners in the region to strengthen options for students and meet the region’s demands. UWM will stop accepting new student applications for Washington County, and new students are encouraged to apply to the main campus, UWM at Waukesha or one of UWM’s top-ranked online programs.
We also will work with current UWM at Washington County students to help them complete their degree or transfer to the school of their choice.
We will integrate the College of General Studies into the College of Letters & Science and other colleges. These changes will undoubtedly impact employees in the College of General Studies. UWM will work closely with employees throughout this transition as the university determines what supports are needed to continue operating a robust Waukesha campus, online programs, and other essential supports that will be integrated into UWM more broadly.
UWM remains committed to student success in Washington County, which is why we are aligned with and in ongoing discussions with Moraine Park Technical College (MPTC) to collaborate on a model for higher education in the county. Our shared goal is maximizing opportunities for students to begin their undergraduate degree close to home at an affordable price, subject to demand and interest. To be clear, we are not merging our Washington County campus with MPTC, but developing a sustainable model of partnership based on the community’s needs. This decision comes after nearly a year of study by two separate groups, including Washington County’s Task Force on Higher Education and UWM’s separate Washington County Work Group. Both groups examined higher education in the county and the demands of current and prospective students and spoke with many stakeholders. You can read a copy of the Washington County Work Group’s report.
I’m grateful to both groups for their work and for the guidance of countless community members and leaders. Ultimately, the steady decline in enrollment at Washington County and significant ongoing infrastructure costs, coupled with increasing pressures on UWM’s overall budget from a 10-year tuition freeze and more recent cuts in state funding, played an outsized role in leading us to this decision. It is our responsibility as an institution to make wise financial choices that support the long-term sustainability of UWM so that we can continue to help as many students learn, graduate and succeed as possible.
We are exploring the creation of a common UWM admissions process and course catalog to improve options for all our students. This will streamline course selection, offer greater flexibility and improve the student experience.
I know you will have questions about how this will impact employees, students and the communities that we serve. We will be working as quickly as possible to identify impacted students and employees and provide more information specific to their situations.
Starting today, information about the changes ahead is available on this webpage. We will be adding answers to common questions, meeting dates and other information.
I am committed to leading UWM through this transition and working with our campus communities to provide answers as more information is available.
Mark A. Mone, PhD