U.W.-Green Bay chancellor discusses campus merger in Manitowoc

(WBAY photo)
(WBAY photo)(WBAY)
Published: Aug. 20, 2018 at 9:37 PM CDT
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As of July 1, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is now considered a four-campus university, sharing campuses with UW-Marinette, UW-Sheboygan and UW-Manitowoc.

It was in Manitowoc where UW-Green Bay officials spent the evening Monday, hoping to connect with the community.

"Everyone has been really welcoming, so nice," Rachele Bakic said.

Six days into her new job as CEO of the UW-Manitowoc campus, Bakic says she already loves the community. "I am learning so much already."

Bakic is taking on a whole new role at what is soon to be called the "University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Manitowoc Campus."

"We are now affiliated with Green Bay. We are a branch campus, so we will still be here, a presence in the Manitowoc community," she said.

It's all part of a restructuring effort within the U.W. System as enrollment numbers decline, impacting budgets.

"This is a statewide restructuring, so there are 13 two-year colleges merging with 13 four-year schools. So we are not different than anyone else in the system, we are just fortunate we are a four-campus university," Bakic said.

"They just joined with a university that offers four-year degrees, masters degree and a doctorate degree," UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary Miller said.

"They are part of us now, so we need to figure out which of those degrees we roll out first and other things we have to do to become a real partner in this community," Miller added.

That was exactly the goal of the meet-and-greet Monday night, to learn and talk to the people in the community to see what programs they would like to see through this.

We really want to know what people think about the future. We want to know school districts more, the businesses more. We want to find out specific talent needs are and see if we can't deliver some things specifically for this community," Miller said.

Athletics will remain the same. "We are still going to remain the Blue Devils," Bakic said.

And tuition will be consistent for associate degrees. "If they are taking a degree offered here now, they pay the same. Once they enter our programs they pay our tuition, but we expect the tuition differential to be retained for a while, which we think is good," the chancellor said.

But Miller says the programs and classes offered will change for the better.

"Hopefully by next year we will have a route for every student to access every one of our degrees in one way or another," Miller said.

The University of Wisconsin System plans to ask regents this week to request an additional $107 million in the next state budget.

System officials say about $82.5 million would go toward meeting performance-based goals in four areas: student success, student progress toward graduation, workforce contributions and improving efficiency.
The remaining $25 million would go toward providing greater access to courses and programs in high-demand science, engineering, health care and business fields.
The request doesn't call for raising tuition or student fees across the system. Gov. Scott Walker has called for extending the tuition freeze for another four years.
The regents are set to vote on the request Thursday during a meeting at UW-Madison. Approval would send the request to Walker's office for consideration as he crafts his executive budget.

-- Associated Press