Response to Governor Walker’s Budget Proposal
Based on Governor Scott Walker's budget presentation Wednesday evening, University of Wisconsin-Parkside Chancellor Debbie Ford views many of the proposed investment initiatives in the University of Wisconsin System as key to growing opportunities for Wisconsin residents; especially in creating increased access to higher education.
Each of the governor's proposals adds to an important goal of public higher education in Wisconsin: Create a well-educated, well-prepared workforce that is viewed as an asset by current and future employers. "We support the proposed investments in higher education," Ford said, "and I look forward to our upcoming work with the governor and the state legislature.
"UW-Parkside and University of Wisconsin System institutions play a vital role in the continued social and economic development of the state. An increasingly diverse set of skills is and will be required for economic growth and the resulting opportunities for jobs and careers. I believe the governor's budget proposal begins to address these challenges."
Ford said she appreciates that both the governor and the state legislature recognize a need for flexibility throughout the state's highly regarded system of public education. "It is important that the university be positioned to address the current and future needs of the communities we serve," Ford said. "Many of the jobs and careers that will employ our future generations do not exist today; we must be in a position to quickly respond as opportunities appear."
While the governor did not specifically mention each of the initiatives in his recent proposal to invest more than $180 million in education, skills training, and workforce development, much of that investment would positively impact the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and partner institutions in the UW System.
UW Flexible Option and Partnerships with Two-Year Colleges
"The university is in the midst of an important, collaborative effort with campus faculty and staff to develop programs that best fit the needs of our students and the new UW Flexible Option degree program," Ford said.
Additional support could help more than 50,000 persons in Kenosha and Racine counties who have some college credit attain a University of Wisconsin-Parkside degree.
For the past few years, UW-Parkside has advanced innovative partnerships within southeastern Wisconsin resulting in articulation agreements with Gateway Technical College, Milwaukee Area Technical College, Moraine Park Technical College, Waukesha County Technical College, and the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha.
"Transfer students make up a highly successful portion of the overall UW-Parkside student body," Ford said. "Today's students need flexibility in their educational endeavors. They also need clear and efficient pathways."
Incentive Grant Program
UW-Parkside has developed hundreds of community connections through its Ralph Jaeschke Solutions for Economic Growth (SEG) Center, the Small Business Development Center, the Center for Community Partnerships, and other areas of campus. "Additional support will allow us to expand these partnerships," Ford said, "and create more opportunities for our students and our region."
Partnerships with UW Madison School of Medicine and Public Health
This past fall, UW-Parkside launched a partnership with the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health RUSCH Program (Rural & Urban Scholars in Community Health). RUSCH is designed to help more undergraduate pre-medical students serve rural, urban, and underserved populations an important area of growing need. UW-Parkside will be a part of UW-Madison's efforts including the WARM and TRIUMPH programs for UW medical students.
"We are proud to host a tremendously successful program in pre-health and natural sciences," Ford said, referring to the fact that more than 90 percent of UW-Parkside pre-health graduates who apply to medical school are accepted. "This is a source of great pride and even greater opportunity for our region when one considers that the national average for medical school acceptance is less than 40 percent."
Dr. Deborah (Debbie) Ford is the sixth chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. She was selected by the Regents of the University of Wisconsin System and was inaugurated Friday, November 6, 2009. Since her arrival on campus, Dr. Ford has stressed the importance of strategic planning and setting a clear path for the future of the institution.The University of Wisconsin-Parkside, located in the town of Somers in the southeast corner of the state, is one of 13 four-year campuses in the University of Wisconsin System, granting bachelor's and master's degrees in more than 30 academic disciplines.