UW-Parkside Work-Based Learning Program Highlighted at December Board of Regents Meeting

Published: December 14, 2023

Alejandro Solis, President Jay Rothman, Kaila Bingen, Dr. Theresa CastorSomers, Wis.- On Dec. 7, the Universities of Wisconsin Board of Regents Education Committee had the opportunity to hear from three different UW campuses championing innovative programs that increase student retention. UW-Parkside Provost Rob Ducoffe, along with Vice Provost Theresa Castor and criminal justice student Alejandro Solis (’24), were selected for this opportunity and highlighted the work-based learning program.

Provost Ducoffe provided a brief introduction and was a strong advocate for bringing work-based learning to UW-Parkside. He played an integral role in the development of the program from its inception and still now. “We believe that recognizing work-based learning as a legitimate form for which we award credit, and offering this to students earlier in their academic careers when they are seeking purpose and are more likely to discontinue their studies, will be a powerful equity and retention-building strategy,” Ducoffe stated.

In her presentation, Dr. Castor iterated the importance of this equity-driven initiative for students, many of whom work while attending school and may not be able to participate in an internship. Dr. Castor shared the background and development of the course UWP 294: Work-Based Learning.

The course allows students who work any job at least six hours per week to earn three general education credits. In the course, students reflect on their current work experience and enhance transferable skills they can apply to their future careers.

Alejandro Solis took the course in Spring 2023 with instructors Dr. Castor and Kaila Bingen. At the time, Solis was working both as a community service officer at the University Police Department as well as a server at Phoenix Family Restaurant in Kenosha. Solis stated, “As a first-generation college student, this course transformed my professional skills from a college student to a young professional… It was a great opportunity to step out of my comfort zone, which has prepared me to be here with you all today.”

Since completing the course, Solis became the president of Habitat for Humanity at UW-Parkside and also serves on the board of directors of Habitat for Humanity of Kenosha. He was also hired as the Student Ambassador for the Office of Community and Business Engagement at UW-Parkside where he writes student success stories and promotes Learning in Action opportunities.

Reflecting on this experience, Solis shared, “It was meaningful and significant to me because I was one of three students in the entire UW representing the other 162,000 students in this system. I was able to network with members of the Board of Regents and other officials from across the state while promoting a class that has prepared me to become a professional.”

To learn more about the work based learning program, please visit: https://www.uwp.edu/connect/communityengagement/communityandbusinessengagement/creditforwork.cfm

The University of Wisconsin-Parkside is committed to high-quality educational programs, creative and scholarly activities, and services responsive to its diverse student population, and its local, national, and global communities. We are a dynamic learning community grounded in academic excellence and focused on student success, diversity, inclusion, and community engagement. The campus serves as a premier comprehensive public institution and a destination of choice, serving as a focal point of local, regional, and global progress.  

Media contact: 

Derek Fye 
Communications Manager 
University of Wisconsin-Parkside 
Fye@uwp.edu | (262) 771-5419 

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