UW-Parkside Strategic Framework

UW-Parkside, founded by the community for the community, has had extraordinary impact on lifelong learners throughout southeastern Wisconsin. The university is in the center of the Chicago-Milwaukee mega-region, and an important part of the tremendous growth in the Kenosha-Racine corridor.  

Our region has always turned to UW-Parkside to help meet its toughest challenges. We are emerging from the global pandemic and from the civil unrest that erupted in our community and across the nation in the summer of 2020 more determined than ever to move forward on the path to social justice.

We will continue to prepare graduates with the knowledge, skills, and ethical responsibility to meet these needs both as citizens and as leaders in a competitive global economy.

The elements of the UW-Parkside 2025 Strategic Framework will provide us direction as well as agility. While celebrating “Bold Beginnings,” we are simultaneously “Future Focused” on the exciting opportunities ahead!

Debbie Ford, Chancellor


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.


The University of Wisconsin-Parkside transforms lives.

Strategic Pillars

  • Be a premier regional university that transforms lives
  • Advance economic growth and quality of life
  • Achieve sustainable growth

Talent Pipeline


The UW-Parkside 2025 Strategic Framework aligns with the priorities of both the University of Wisconsin System and the Strategic Pillars of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, and responds to the greatest needs of our state and our region.

The proportion of working adults in Wisconsin is declining, the number of high school graduates is decreasing, and there is a growing demand for more residents with college and university degrees. There are also intolerable gaps in the quality of life among people of color and White residents in the communities we serve. UW-Parkside will strengthen its pipeline connecting traditional-age and adult students to higher education – especially those who are historically underrepresented – and help them successfully persist through to graduation.

We need to reinvest in the Wisconsin Idea by building even stronger connections with our stakeholders to collaboratively address our region’s key opportunities and challenges.

UW-Parkside will continue to enhance the quality of the education we offer to create innovative, culturally fluent graduates to meet the global talent demands of the future.

pipeline icon

Bold Goal: Increase Graduates by 50 percent

big goal icon in white

The most powerful promise of the UW-Parkside 2025 Strategic Framework is a commitment to producing a significantly greater number of highly valued graduates. As those historically underserved by higher education continue to make up a larger part of the Southeastern Wisconsin region, achieving this goal requires much higher graduation rates especially among African American and Hispanic students.   

The knowledge, skills, and commitment of our faculty and staff to recruit, advise, teach, engage, support, and ultimately graduate students, forms the process we use to supply our region with citizens to move the economy and quality of life forward.

Four Guiding Priorities of the UW-Parkside 2025 Strategic Framework shape the development and implementation of strategies to help us achieve our Bold Goal.

  • Provide a transformative education
  • Continuously improve student success
  • Partner with our communities
  • Be a “Best Place to Work” in southeast Wisconsin

Provide a transformative education

transformative education icon
  • Percent of students experiencing at least two high-impact practices by graduation
  • Percent of underrepresented students experiencing two or more high-impact practices by graduation
  • Student engagement via the National Survey of Student Engagement
  • Graduate/professional school acceptances
  • Graduates’ satisfaction with experience
  • Completion of campus master plan projects

Student participation in high-impact practices (HIPs) is associated with a range of positive outcomes, including cultural awareness, awareness of social issues, interpersonal skills, and development of other key attributes employers seek.[1]

We will ensure that all students, and especially those who are historically underrepresented in postsecondary education, have at least two high-impact learning experiences by graduation in areas including the General Education curriculum, via learning communities, community-based projects, undergraduate research, internships and career congruent work experiences, study abroad, or capstone courses.

1(George Kuh, Ken O'Donnell & Carol Geary Schneider, (2017, HIPs at Ten, Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 49:5, 8-16, DOI: 10.1080/00091383.2017.1366805).  

The link between the needs of our economy and a university education is clearly illustrated by a statistic in the UW System 2020 FWD Strategic Framework indicating that 99 percent of jobs created in the recovery from the Great Recession went to workers with at least some postsecondary education.[2]

The UW-Parkside Mission balances two essential learning aims by offering high-quality academic programs rooted in the tradition of a liberal education in the arts, sciences and professions, while being responsive to the occupational, civic and cultural needs of the region. Since 2015, more than 40 new UW-Parkside academic programs or majors were created or revised. Innovation and delivery of market-responsive education, including at the master’s level, is a priority of the UW-Parkside 2025 Strategic Framework.

Across the U.S., enrollment in more traditional, on-campus undergraduate programs serving adult and part-time students is declining. UW-Parkside must expand its program array for adult learners and offer, as Complete College America describes: “A better deal for returning adults.” Adult students need “assurances that they can progress to their degree faster with accelerated courses, year-round enrollment, and schedules that work with their lives.”[3]

2 (2017-19 Biennial Operating Budget, The University of Wisconsin System, August, 2016, p. 5, https://www.wisconsin.edu/2020FWD/download/2017-19-Biennial-Operating-Budget-Request.pdf.) 

3 https://completecollege.org/strategy/adult-learners-strategy/#overview

Supporting and enhancing a competitive and robust intercollegiate Athletics Department is a significant opportunity for UW-Parkside and a priority of the UW-Parkside 2025 Strategic Framework.

UW-Parkside is the only institution in Wisconsin competing at the NCAA Division II level. The Rangers’ history includes competitive success at the conference, regional, and national levels. Ranger student-athletes perform well academically with retention and graduation rates above the campus average. Ranger Athletics will lead through student success initiatives, providing student engagement experiences, enhancing branding and visibility, attracting campus visitors, building community partnerships, and fostering campus and alumni pride.

Completing the construction and infrastructure renewal of Wyllie Hall for the 2021-2022 academic year will transform the student experience and preserve this historic building for generations to come. Strategic investments will also be made to continue the improvement of campus technology infrastructure, development of innovative learning environments including upgrading classrooms campus-wide for remote learning, and improvements in Athletics facilities.

An ongoing partnership between UW-Parkside and Kenosha County will continue to improve and protect external natural spaces, preserving them for faculty and student research and learning opportunities. Significant community development near campus will strengthen UW-Parkside’s appeal as a regional destination.

Continuously improve student success

student success icon
  • Number of graduates
  • Persistence rates for first-time, full-time students
  • Persistence rates for underrepresented students
  • Graduation rates (4-year, 6-year) for first-time, full-time students
  • Graduation rates (4-year, 6-year) for full-time transfer students
  • Graduation rates (4-year, 6-year) for underrepresented students
  • Scholarship funding

Improving student success is at the foundation of the UW-Parkside 2025 Strategic Framework. Integrated, equity-focused, best practices will be implemented at scale to reach all undergraduate students.

Extraordinary student learning at UW-Parkside across four colleges is evident from 90-percent acceptance rates into health science professional programs; student-developed, award-winning software applications adopted by regional organizations; compelling performances in theatre, music and art; and high levels of student engagement in our democratic process.

While student retention and graduation have improved over the past decade, almost 30 percent of UW-Parkside students discontinue their studies by their second year and less than 50 percent graduate within six years from UW-Parkside or another institution. Improving graduation rates and eliminating graduation-rate gaps for those who are historically underrepresented in postsecondary education will continue to be a key focus of the UW-Parkside 2025 Strategic Framework.  

Financial aid programs support access to higher education and successful achievement of a college or university degree. With affordability of great concern to students and their families, UW-Parkside will strengthen its scholarship and financial aid strategies by expanding scholarship programs; expanding the “Parkside Promise Plus” last-dollar scholarship; and implementing completion grants and financial aid approaches that optimize recruitment and retention of in-state, out-of-state, international, underrepresented, and adult learners.

Partner with our communities

hand shake
  • Number of alumni volunteering
  • Number of students utilizing alumni mentors/coaches
  • Number of alumni visiting faculty members
  • Student engagement rates
  • Faculty and staff engagement rates
  • Faculty and staff development programming, workload policies, and recognitions
  • Thought leadership
  • Placement rates of graduates by graduation; within six months
  • Corporate partnership programs (Athletics)
  • Number of visitors to campus

UW-Parkside has more than 25,000 alumni; close to 60 percent of whom live within a 90-mile radius of the campus. This is a valuable resource that will be engaged to help our students and faculty achieve priorities of the UW-Parkside 2025 Strategic Framework.

Alumni can be valuable to recruitment and admissions efforts; helping students as mentors or coaches providing career and graduate-school planning advice; opening doors within their companies and networks for support of UW-Parkside faculty research and teaching; and engaging via targeted continuing-education opportunities.

UW-Parkside lives the Wisconsin Idea as an authentic community partner and steward of place, and serves as a laboratory for students to learn through community engagement.

The Campus Compact Civic Action Statement signed in November 2015 recommitted UW-Parkside to strengthening community engagement. The Civic Action Plan, created through the efforts of faculty, staff, administrators, and community partners, has three goals: 1) Prepare graduates to be knowledgeable citizens committed to engagement with the campus, local and global communities; 2) Be an authentic partner to improve the economic, social, political and cultural life of our local, regional and global communities; and 3) Foster a diverse, inclusive campus and regional community.

Community engagement is a nationally recognized hallmark of distinction for UW-Parkside. The campus is building on its tradition of community-based learning by implementing a CBL-course designation and assessment process to promote quality high-impact learning and continuous improvement. There is an opportunity to extend this commitment to applied scholarship that addresses the most pressing challenges in our region. The nature, scope, and infrastructure to establish a flourishing Center for Research in Innovation and Smart Cities will be a focus of the UW-Parkside 2025 Strategic Framework.   

The burgeoning investments and the potential for economic development in the region, presents an historic opportunity for UW-Parkside faculty, staff, and students. As the public university in the Kenosha-Racine corridor, UW-Parkside will engage in and help shape these unprecedented innovation and smart cities developments to ensure their economic potential is realized and that they benefit all citizens in southeastern Wisconsin.

Given the size and scope of the Chicago-Milwaukee mega-region, the accelerating economic and technological development taking place in the Kenosha-Racine corridor, and the already serious shortage of well-educated workers threatening to constrain growth of regional employers, UW-Parkside must widen the talent bridge between employers and UW-Parkside students and graduates.

Along with efforts of institutional members throughout the M7 region, UW-Parkside will improve how employers connect with talent and campus resources by bolstering career-relevant advising and hiring activities and strengthening access to and the use of platforms for opportunities such as internships and career-congruent experiences, on-campus employment, and full-time positions. Early career exploration and academic planning will complement student success efforts, help students make informed choices of majors, and help clarify the purposes behind their higher education journeys.

Be a "best place to work" in southeast Wisconsin

number 1 ribbon icon
  • Comparative compensation levels
  • Campus Climate survey outcomes
  • Professional development and training
  • Satisfaction with process improvements
  • Campus and community performance recognitions

An inclusive and welcoming campus culture is foundational to student success. The UW-Parkside 2025 Strategic Framework emerges from a period of aggressive legislative initiatives, increasing expectations, reduced public funding, and more recently a global pandemic. In spite of these challenges, the UW-Parkside campus community has shown resilience. With heightened awareness of our duty to enhance social justice, our ongoing efforts to make our nation a more perfect union require that we devote whatever it takes to become a truly equitable, diverse, and inclusive campus.

UW System leadership noted: “As labor markets tighten, salaries rise, and inflation increases, reinvesting in UW faculty and staff with modest wage increases will ensure we are not falling behind and losing out on talent we need in Wisconsin. Attraction, retention, and recognition of high-quality faculty and staff are critical investment opportunities for future student success.”

Separate from UW System efforts, UW-Parkside will continue its focus on sound financial management and, when appropriate, supplement statewide compensation increases with campus-based adjustments.

Beyond compensation increases, the UW-Parkside 2025 Strategic Framework will focus on enhancing financial support for teaching, research, and creative activity.

UW-Parkside, aligned with the UW System, will continue to demonstrate a commitment to use resources responsibly. The university must also seek ways to operate more effectively and efficiently to support staff, faculty, and students. To demonstrate administrative excellence, UW-Parkside will actively collaborate with the UW System to drive down costs while seeking service excellence.

Scroll to top