Chancellor Ford presents to Board of Regents
When Chancellor Debbie Ford welcomed the UW System Board of Regents to the UW-Parkside campus Thursday, Oct. 10, she included the gathering in the continued celebration of the 45th academic year of the university. Ford recognized the founding chancellor, Irvin G. Wyllie, as well as others from the early days of the institution. This included introducing Mrs. Fran Jaeschke ('71), one of the only females on the "committee of 100" - the original advocacy group for the creation of a four-year university in southeastern Wisconsin, which opened in 1968.
Mrs. Jaeschke and her late husband, Ralph, have supported the university with student scholarships in each of the university's four colleges: the College of Arts and Humanities; the College of Business, Economics, and Computing; the College of Natural and Health Sciences; and the College of Social Sciences and Professional Studies. The UW-Parkside Solutions for Economic Growth Center, that brings together the talents of students and faculty to assist businesses and organizations with various operational challenges, is named in honor of Ralph Jaeschke.
To honor Mrs. Jaeschke's commitment to the university, Ford presented her with a commissioned sculpture, "Come About," by UW-Parkside art student Mallory Olesen Willing in collaboration with Art Professor Trenton Baylor.
In addition to Mrs. Jaeschke, someone Ford called a "UW-Parkside giant of education and learning," the Regents met students involved in internships and research projects through video presentations built upon the theme of "Enriching Minds and Changing Lives."
Five pre-med students spent two months in Madison this summer at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health as part of the RUSCH program (Rural and Urban Scholars in Community Health). A video told the story of their Madison experience and highlighted the UW-Parkside pre-med and pre-health programs that typically place 90 percent of graduates in medical and professional schools - more than double the national average.
For the past 25 years, the institution has maintained a strong working relationship with the Fireside Theatre in Fort Atkinson, Wis., building all the sets and scenery. The Fireside is one of the top entertainment and tourist attractions in the state, and one of the most successful professional theatres in the Midwest. A video told the Fireside story along with highlighting student partnerships at ESPN Deportes in Milwaukee.
Chancellor Ford provided the Regents with encouraging student enrollment, retention and graduation data. New student enrollment for fall 2013 is up, first-to-second year retention rose to 72 percent, and there are more students living on campus than at any time in the university's history.
The diversity of the student population continues to increase, Ford said. Students of color account of just over 28 percent of all students - the highest percentage of any university in the UW System.
The university is also dedicated to advancing its culture of planning. This aided in the successful reaffirmation of accreditation through 2022-23 by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and permission to pursue the HLC open pathway. Moreover, the recent establishment of the academic plan, "Making Excellence Inclusive" is vital source of strength to the institution. "The purpose of the academic plan," Ford said, "is the single goal of achieving academic excellence and distinction among our peers, while we provide rich learning experiences in our classrooms and beyond to support students across the finish line of graduation."
One of several strategic imperatives guiding the future of the university is the creation of more educational pathways and partnerships with other institutions. The Regents learned of increased academic agreements with Gateway Technical College. At a "Forward Together" signing ceremony in September, Chancellor Ford and Gateway President Bryan Albrecht recognized seven new agreements that enable Gateway students from specific programs to enter UW-Parkside with junior academic status. Close to 100 students are now dual-enrolled at Gateway and UW-Parkside as part of the 1+3 dual admission certificate program where students take up to 30 credits of general studies courses at Gateway while being provisionally admitted to UW-Parkside.
The most recent academic partnership is with Rosalind Franklin University in Lake County, Ill. Ford said this agreement enables up to nine UW-Parkside pre-health graduates to enter the Rosalind Franklin College of Pharmacy based solely on the strength of the UW-Parkside program.
Chancellor Ford recognized the completion of a recent strategic plan entitled "the Parkside Promise" and the efforts underway to shape the next strategic plan. The university is embracing "Pillars of Success" as the university remains committed to student success.
Ford did caution the Regents that the pace of change on the UW-Parkside campus is being challenged by declining funding and stagnant salaries. "Today we find that challenges might come a bit more rapidly," Ford said. "What is certain is that UW-Parkside and the state of Wisconsin will be better tomorrow because we are here today."