News Release

Published on Friday, August 22, 2008

The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents today gave the final approval necessary for a collaborative associate of science degree between Western Technical College and the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

The transfer agreement gives Western students who earn a two-year associate of science degree eligibility to transfer to UW-L, or any other four-year UW campus, with junior standing.

“The faculty and staff at both institutions have been intimately involved in developing the curriculum for this degree,” said UW-L Chancellor Joe Gow. “The result is a transfer option that maximizes the higher educational resources in the western Wisconsin region. UW-La Crosse is honored to be a part of this initiative.”

“We are grateful for the support we have received from the Wisconsin Technical College Board and the UW Board of Regents,” said Lee Rasch, Western president. “It shows a commitment from the state to expand access to education and increase the number of four-year degree holders in Wisconsin.”

According to the Committee on Baccalaureate Expansion (COBE), Wisconsin lags the nation in the number of adults with four-year degrees. However, Wisconsin is above average for the number of adults with associate degrees.

Rasch said many students recognize the need to consider future transfer opportunities as part of their career path. “Approximately 12 percent of the current student population at Western indicates a desire to transfer to a university at some time in the future. The associate of science will significantly increase options to serve these students.”

The degree will be phased in over several years beginning in spring of 2009 with a limit of 30 students. Considerable effort will be placed on academic advising with the goal of student success upon transfer.

Students will enroll in the degree program through Western Technical College and will complete about two-thirds of the courses at Western and one-third of the courses at UW-L. UW-L will provide courses in the arts, humanities, history, diversity, and modern languages where there is existing capacity for new students. Students completing the associate degree at Western will need to meet the transfer admission requirements that are in effect at the university at the time of application.

“The associate of science will be a strong supplemental component of Western’s technical college mission,” added Rasch. “As part of the Academic Master Plan, the college intends to expand occupational programs in the next five years. General studies coursework included in the associate of science may be used as support courses for technical programs, thus enhancing flexibility for students who may transfer at some time in the future.”