Work has started across UWM on implementing a comprehensive set of recommendations that campus leaders hope will shape the future of the university and help to weather a period of uncertainty in higher education overall.
Recommendations from the 2030 Implementation Team touch nearly every aspect of campus life and operations, including becoming a more student-centric university, revising the curriculum, and increasing inclusion and diversity.
The implementation team followed up on the work of the 2030+ Think Tank task force, which was charged by Chancellor Mark Mone to imagine what UWM should look like in a decade.
“The blueprint presented by Think Tank 2030 is an absolutely essential road map for our future,” Mone said during a virtual town hall Tuesday.
The implementation team grouped recommendations into four themes:
- A focus on being a “radically welcoming institution”
- Revising the undergraduate experience
- School, college and program realignment
- Research excellence
With the responsibilities of the implementation team complete, campus leaders and a new 2030 steering committee will begin meeting with governance groups and individual schools and colleges later this month. Mone said he welcomed all on campus to join the conversations, and said leaders would provide regular updates.
Many of the recommendations will take time to study. For instance, one calls for reducing the number of General Education courses, which help to comprise UWM’s core curriculum, to 150. Currently, there are about 850 courses designated general education at the main campus, with another 350 or so in the College of General Studies at the Waukesha and Washington County campuses.
Another recommendation calls for updating UWM’s budget model, which will be another time-intensive task.
The 2030 project is being undertaken against the backdrop of challenges facing higher education even before the COVID-19 pandemic plunged colleges and universities into crisis. Among issues cited in the 2030 Implementation Team report were a projected decline in student enrollment caused by shifting demographics and a steady decline in state revenue.
“Social and political upheavals have brought more urgent calls for diversity and equity,” the report says. “And these challenges come during a time when some voices in society question the value of a college degree.
“These forces align to make the present time one in which we must acknowledge the need for change,” the report adds.
Mone said UWM plans to launch its next fundraising campaign next year, and that he’s using the 2030 plan as the blueprint for the university’s future when speaking with donors, business leaders and elected officials.
The full report can be found on the UWM 2030 Planning website.