Regents approve new degree programs

Published: April 8, 2016

At its April meeting, the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents approved three additional bachelor of science degrees in education and an online master of science in health and wellness management at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside

Three Education Majors Approved

The UW System Board of Regents today approved three additional bachelor of science degrees in education at UW-Parkside: secondary education; early childhood education; and special education.

Two years ago, the Regents approved a UW-Parkside elementary education major, the first education major in the history of the university. Currently, more than 200 students are pursuing educator preparation courses at UW-Parkside.

Dr. Annie Grugel, an assistant professor of education with the Institute of Professional Education Development at UW-Parkside, said the rapid growth in educator development is the driving force behind the new majors. "Students coming to us for elementary education were indicating interest in the other areas as well," Grugel said. "Given the large number of retirements hitting schools in southeastern Wisconsin, we know the demand for educators will continue."

Parkside's Institute of Professional Education Development debuted in fall 2013 and is driven by three key goals: career-long educator development; meeting the needs of the school districts in the region; and responding to the changing demands of professional educators. "These goals define our mission and vision," Grugel said. "Our job is to develop knowledgeable, responsive educators."

Secondary Education

The bachelor of science in secondary education grows out of existing licensure courses offered since 2013. The degree program provides graduates with a credential that will make them stronger candidates in the education labor market. The nature of secondary education is that it focuses on both mastering specialized subject matter and the acquisition of critical teaching skills. While high schools hire the largest percentage of secondary education degree holders nationally, many Wisconsin school districts, especially in southeastern Wisconsin, prefer to hire middle school teachers with a secondary education license.

Early Childhood Education

The new bachelor of science in early childhood education is a collaborative, degree-completion effort between UW-Parkside, Gateway Technical College, and other institutions within the Wisconsin Technical College System. Regional, state, and national demand for early childhood teachers is projected to increase over the next decade. One of the central factors shaping this demand is the anticipated increase in the populations of preschoolers and school-aged youth. According to the Wisconsin Department of Administration Demographic Services Center, there will be nearly 79,000 more students to educate at these levels by the year 2035, reaching an all-time peak of preschoolers and school-aged children in the state overall.

Special Education

The bachelor of science in special education prepares students to teach at both the elementary and secondary levels. The new major supports regional and statewide market demand. In addition, this major strengthens an existing commitment to prepare teachers who can effectively educate students with a wide diversity of needs. In terms of workforce demand, certified special-education teachers are in short supply. Districts have been forced to hire teachers with emergency credentials, many of whom are not adequately prepared to work with special-education students.

A Diverse Region

Sensitivity to ethnically diverse and economically disadvantaged populations is emphasized in all UW-Parkside education majors. According to the State of Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, the proportion of economically disadvantaged children and those from underserved racial and ethnic groups in the major school districts served by UW-Parkside education majors is far higher than in the state as a whole.

In 2014-15, 10 percent of students in Wisconsin were African American, 11 percent were Hispanic and 42 percent economically disadvantaged. In the Kenosha Unified School District, 15 percent of students are African American, 26 percent are Hispanic and 52 percent are economically disadvantaged. In the Racine Unified School District, 26 percent of students are African American, 25 percent are Hispanic and 65 percent are economically disadvantaged.

The curriculum of the UW-Parkside Institute of Professional Educator Development emphasizes high-impact practices such as intense clinical co-teaching experiences, and the development of cultural competencies designed to create an understanding of and sensitivity to the diversity of southeastern Wisconsin.


Online Master of Health and Wellness Management Approved


 New graduate program addresses increasing demand in health and wellness industry

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents today approved an online master of science degree in health and wellness management offered by the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in collaboration with five other UW System institutions.

The graduate program partnership with UW-Extension, UW-Green Bay, UW-River Falls, UW-Stevens Point, and UW-Superior addresses a need in the increasingly competitive field of health and wellness management.

"In Wisconsin and across the country, most employers recognize that healthy employees are more productive and more engaged," said David Schejbal, dean of UW-Extension Division of Continuing Education, Outreach and E-Learning. "We are excited to offer an online degree program that will educate highly qualified health and wellness professionals."

Designed with input from industry leaders, the UW master of science in health and wellness management will offer a rigorous, multidisciplinary curriculum grounded in strategic planning, program budgeting, change management, and systems thinking.

"We are elated that UW-Parkside is serving as a lead campus offering this highly collaborative and interdisciplinary program," said Penny Lyter, academic director of the health and wellness management master's program at UW-Parkside and an associate professor of health, exercise science and sport management. "There is a growing need in our region and throughout the Midwest for professionals with advanced training in health and wellness management."

The online format is designed to fit the busy lifestyle of today's adult learner. "All course content will be provided by distinguished University of Wisconsin faculty. Their expertise, combined with excellent student support services and award-winning instructional and media design, will ensure a rich, flexible, and engaging educational experience for students." Schejbal said. "Our goal is to prepare students for success in health and wellness management careers."

The affordable tuition compares favorably to competing graduate programs from other institutions. Like other collaborative online UW programs, students will pay the same tuition whether they live in Wisconsin or out of state.

"Developing a graduate program that complements our bachelor of science in health and wellness management and fulfills the skills gap inherent in the marketplace is a complex undertaking," said Theresa Islo, UW Health and Wellness Management program manager. "Our goal was to create a rigorous, multidisciplinary experience that will ensure our graduates are highly sought after in the job market."

Recognizing an increasingly competitive job market

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected job growth for the health and wellness industry from 2014 to 2024 is 13 percent, a faster rate of growth than most other fields. In Wisconsin, the projected annual growth is 10 percent. In 2014, the Education Advisory Board performed a market demand study. The Custom Research Brief indicated that the demand for graduates with a master's degree in health and wellness management in the upper Midwest outpaced national demand.  Specifically, the number of job postings in industries that require or prefer a graduate degree increased 40 percent.

Opportunities abound for qualified health and wellness management professionals in virtually every sector of the workforce: service industries, manufacturing, community agencies, the insurance industry, health-care systems, educational institutions, and more.

Program builds on current bachelor's degree offering

The master of science in health and wellness management is intended for students with a bachelor's degree in areas such as community health, health education, kinesiology, exercise science, nutrition, health promotion, recreation management, human resources, or social work; and who have limited education and training in the management field. The program builds on the current bachelor of science in health and wellness management. Admission will require a bachelor's degree, but tests such as the GMAT and GRE will not be required.

Courses are scheduled to start in September pending approval from the Higher Learning Commission, one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States.

For more information about the planned UW Master of Science in Health and Wellness Management

The UW master of science in health and wellness management joins a growing list of degree and certificate programs offered by UW-Parkside in collaboration with UW-Extension and UW System campus partners. Current programs include sustainable management (certificate, bachelor's and master's); health information management and technology (bachelor's); global skills, sales, and project management (certificates through self-pace UW Flexible Option).

Prospective students seeking more information about the planned UW health and wellness management program are encouraged to visit, call 1-877-895-3276, or email

UW-Parkside is one of 13 four-year campuses in the University of Wisconsin System. Founded in 1968 to better serve the needs of a growing population in southeastern Wisconsin and northeastern Illinois, UW-Parkside offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs and serves as an academic and cultural resource. The campus is located at 900 Wood Rd. in Somers.

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