How students will benefit from UWM school and college realignment

UWM students should benefit from more access to advisors, more flexibility in course selection and a wider range of learning and research opportunities as a result of a realignment of some schools and colleges at the university.

While the new lineup of schools and colleges doesn’t become official until July 1, 2023, faculty, staff and administrators are in the midst of exhaustive work to prepare for the changes next summer.

It’s all tied to the 2030 plan to guide UWM into the next decade and beyond, and the initiative’s overarching goal to foster a more student-centric university.

“This is primarily a series of administrative shifts to better align our organizational structure with our mission,  but will not directly affect any majors or academic programs,” said Scott Gronert, UWM’s interim provost.

“However, we believe this new structure will create more opportunities for students and really enhance the learning experience at UWM,” Gronert said.

Work on the 2030 initiative started a couple years ago. While the plan is comprehensive and touches nearly every facet of the university, one of the biggest and most time-consuming tasks has been realignment.

Under the plan approved by the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents, eight current schools and colleges will be realigned into four new colleges.

  • College of the Arts and Architecture: To be comprised of the School of Architecture and Urban Planning and the Peck School of the Arts.
  • College of Community Engagement and Professions: To be comprised of the School of Education, Helen Bader School of Social Welfare and School of Information Studies.

Programs from UWM’s three current health-related colleges or schools will be realigned into two colleges.

  • Joseph J. Zilber College of Public Health: Programs in the new college focus on population health. To be comprised of the Zilber School of Public Health and the following College of Health Sciences departments or programs: kinesiology department and nutrition program; and health informatics faculty and associate programs.
  • College of Health Professions and Sciences: Programs in the new college will focus on health care. To be comprised of the School of Nursing, School of Biomedical Sciences and Health Care Administration, and School of Rehabilitation Sciences and Technology. The latter two schools would be formed out of departments currently in the College of Health Sciences.

Majors will not change, and faculty will continue teaching classes in their existing academic programs, Gronert said. Academic and student support services also will remain unchanged.

Also, degrees will continue to be granted by the school within the larger college administrative structure. So, for instance, a student enrolled in the nursing program would earn a degree from the School of Nursing instead of the College of Health Professions and Sciences.

Among benefits highlighted by the 2030 team:

  • More access to advisors: Students will receive guidance from advisors who may be cross trained in related areas, and/or students will be welcome to seek guidance from advisors in other schools within the new college.
  • More flexibility in courses: Students may have more options to select courses to fill prerequisites or electives.
  • More access to facilities: Many of UWM’s schools have innovative spaces used for hands-on learning, performances and/or social networking.

Because of realignment, students, faculty and staff in a new college may have access to spaces traditionally used only in a limited number of programs. For example, within the new College of the Arts and Architecture, a student in the School of Architecture and Urban Planning will have more natural access to the Peck School of the Arts’ 3D animation lab.

Relatedly, realignment could also open more options for learning and research in related disciplines outside of a student’s major, or outside the classroom. This, in turn, could encourage students to take a more holistic approach in trying to solve problems, Gronert said.

“Interprofessional education has become so important when it comes to helping students succeed,” he said. “These learning opportunities can help UWM students see how different professions work together.”

The following schools and colleges are not affected by realignment:

  • College of Engineering & Applied Science
  • School of Freshwater Sciences
  • College of General Studies
  • College of Letters & Science
  • Lubar College of Business

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