From thenorthwestern.com: “University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh among partners for new engineering degrees” — The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh will soon be one of two four-year UW institutions to offer a new collaborative degree program aimed at meeting the demands of local employers.

Members of the Northeast Wisconsin Educational Resource Alliance announced Wednesday the creation of Bachelor of Science programs in electrical, mechanical and environmental engineering technology developed by faculty members at the alliance’s 13 institutions and colleges and regional manufacturers.

The program aims to make the training more accessible to students in northeast Wisconsin and to fulfill a growing need in the region for “well-prepared engineering graduates.”

UWO, along with UW-Green Bay, will serve as the four-year institutions where students can finish the program and earn their degrees, although students can begin their academic studies at any of the 13 NEW ERA institutions and colleges, said UWO Chancellor Richard Wells, who also serves as founding chairman of the alliance.

“That’s what makes it especially exciting and innovative and very accessible both for people who already have, say, an associate degree and extensive work experience as well students coming in right out of our high schools in the state of Wisconsin,” Wells said.

A consortium of executives from the region’s four technical colleges, five UW two-year colleges, two comprehensive universities, the College of the Menominee Nation and the UW Extension, NEW ERA serves as a vehicle for collaboration among higher learning institutions, economic and workforce development agencies and business.

The new degree programs will teach students the skills necessary to become engineering technologists in a variety of industries including manufacturing, construction, operational engineering, water and waste-water management, agribusiness, biotechnology and engineering service firms.

Through the use of existing laboratory facilities, such as UWO’s Environmental Research and Innovation Center, technical college instructors and university professors alike will be able to build on existing associate degree programs in hopes of supporting employees and employers in manufacturing and other industry sectors, said Mark Weber, dean of trades and engineering technologies at Green Bay-based Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.

Although many manufacturers in northeast Wisconsin already employ such graduates, they often lack a connection to the region and in some cases, the state, Weber said.

“Unfortunately, they were coming from universities outside of our region,” he said. “Additionally, several employers have indicated that they are encouraging many of their existing employees to return to school to complete these new programs.”

The effort serves as an example of the positive work higher education institutions can accomplish when they collaborate toward a common goal, said John Short, CEO and dean of UW-Fond du Lac.

“We were able to work together to meet the needs of our area,” Short said, noting leaders will continue to work with employers and others in the region to adapt to their changing needs. “This program is truly unique. It breaks down barriers, it brings together partners and it really meets the economic development needs of this area of the state.”

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From wiscnews.com: “LBD class focuses on education” — In October, Leadership Beaver Dam class of 2013-2014 had its Education Day. They toured the Beaver Dam Middle School, High School and Moraine Park Technical College.

Presenters for the day included Superintendent Steve Vessey. He shared with LBD the importance of testing at the schools to determine students’ progress in order to maximize their opportunities to learn during the school year. He also told the group that evaluation of teachers and setting goals are important components for the school system learning process. In addition he shared the school’s concern for helping students achieve to their potential through advanced placement classes which students can take in order to receive college credits.

Later that morning Leadership Beaver Dam visited the Beaver Dam Middle School where they observed students responding to questions in a multi-media classroom with the use of a remote. LBD also visited the Read 180 lab, which works on reading development and comprehension. In the lab students meet in a small group, do independent reading and work with computers. One student commented that she enjoyed reading 180, because it had helped her increase her scores on reading tests.

LBD’s last stop at the middle school was in the library where we heard from Jenny Vinz the library media specialist and Beth Plier the reading specialist, who talked about how the school is using Barnes and Nobles’ digital reading device “The Nook” to help students with reading skills. Their work has been so successful, they will be presenting at a national education conference in Minnesota in November.

After the middle school tour, LBD went to the high school where they visited Trends class which teaches students about writing, filming, editing and directing videos that tell a story. They also looked in on an engineering class and an honors chemistry class. This year’s LBD class is impressed with the quality of education and the technology being used Beaver Dam’s public schools.

During lunch LBD heard from the principal of St. Stephen’s Elementary and Middle School, Roger Fenner. He told the group that St. Stephen’s School was established in 1886 and currently has nine teachers who work with their 144 students.

LBD finished the day at Moraine Park Technical College, where they toured the welding, Mercury Marine and nursing classrooms. Campus coordinator Karen Coley and Matt Hurtienne, dean of the Beaver Dam Campus, shared with the group that Moraine Park continues to revise their classes based on the needs of employers.

Before finishing the tour the LBD’s class also saw GED classrooms as well as a live time video conferencing room. MPTC’s instructor Mary Vogel-Rauscher shared her passion for preparing students at MPTC to enter the workforce.

Instructor for Leadership Beaver Dam, Kay Stellpfulg, finished off the afternoon by helping the group further process projects that the group will need to develop and carry out in the coming year.

 

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