Panther Academic Welcome

Panther Academic Welcome (PAW) is your next step in becoming a member of the UWM community! PAW will help to prepare you for a successful first semester of college by focusing on your skills surrounding relationships, self-advocacy, and well-being—three building blocks of academic success. To facilitate the safest and most responsible program, PAW 2021 will consist of two portions: a required online PAW Canvas Course and optional small group experiences.

UWM at Waukesha Information: Click Here

UWM at Washington County Information: Click Here

PAW 2021

Required: PAW Canvas Course

You will complete a Canvas Course that shares information on three building blocks of college success: relationships, self-advocacy, and well-being. You will get an email to your UWM account granting access to the course in early August, and it should take around 90 minutes to complete. NOTE: The PAW Canvas course is separate from the Orientation Canvas course that you may have already completed.

A PAW hold will be placed on your PAWS account, then removed once you’ve completed the program. Holds will be released daily starting the day after you can add yourself to the course.

Optional: PAW Small Groups

Students every year develop new and long-lasting friendships during PAW. We plan to continue that tradition in a safe, socially distanced way by offering optional in-person and online small group experiences. Join a group of 10 of your peers, facilitated by an Orientation Leader, to start building new relationships! 

In-person small group experiences will last about 90 minutes and consist of getting to know your peers, hearing about your Orientation Leader’s experience at UWM, and getting comfortable with campus. These small groups will take place on 9/1/21.

Online small group experiences will last about 90 minutes and consist of getting to know your peers, hearing about your Orientation Leader’s experience at UWM, and addressing your questions, concerns, and ideas on how to get involved. These small groups will take place on 8/31/21.

Sign-Ups for both in-person and online small groups will go to your UWM email in early August.  

Campus Traditions: Coin Toss and Class Photo

Join for the iconic Class Photo and Coin Toss traditions on September 1, 2021!

This year, we’ll be taking three photos–you are assigned a time slot by the first letter of your last name. At your assigned time, come to the Engelmann parking lot to get your class shirt and coin, then we’ll head onto the field to form one of the letters in UWM! Your assigned time based on last name: 

  • A-G should arrive to the Engelmann parking lot at 3:30p 
  • H-O should arrive to the Engelmann parking lot at 4:30p 
  • P-Z should arrive to the Engelmann parking lot at 5:30p 

 Important notes: 

  • Given the crowd size, we ask that you wear a mask to mitigate spread of COVID-19; we will prompt you to remove your mask when we take the photo. 
  • Do not wear spiked shoes, chew gum, or bring any food onto Engelmann Field. 

After the photo is taken, you will be guided across campus towards the UWM fountain where you will participate in another campus tradition: the Coin Toss! 

The Coin Toss is an opportunity for you to take a moment and reflect on all the hard work you’ve done to make it to this point in your academic career and to look forward to what’s to come. We want to honor your efforts and for you to know that there are people here at UWM that will help you meet your goals. Think about those goals as you toss your coin into the Fountain–manifest your success!

At graduation, you we will return your coin to you as a memento of your resilience and a reminder of how much you’ve learned and grown during your time at UWM.

Safety Precautions

Your health is the top priority during your transition to UWM. A number of mitigation efforts will be undertaken to ensure that you’re as safe as possible during Panther Academic Welcome:

  • All in-person experiences are purely optional and virtual experiences are offered for those not able or comfortable interacting face to face
  • Per recent CDC recommendations, UWM is requiring all individuals to wear a face covering while indoors, regardless of vaccination status. You are allowed to remove your face covering while outdoors and physical distancing while outdoors is encouraged.
  • We urge that you get vaccinated if you are able–information here on accessing your vaccine
  • More campus-wide efforts can be found and reviewed on UWM’s Coronavirus announcements website

Why participate in PAW? 

Why do we require Panther Academic Welcome? Students that have participated in PAW perform better in their first semester than their peers. Students who were able to attend PAW in 2020 earned higher Fall semester GPAs, were more likely to finish the semester in good academic standing, and were more likely to return for the Spring semester. PAW makes a difference. Join us this Fall online and in-person. 

As a reminder, PAW is required for all new freshmen. Your guest housing privileges in housing will be revoked unless you complete the Canvas course. All students may lose the ability to amend course enrollments in PAWS if the course is not completed.