Editor’s note: Wausau Pilot & Review gladly publishes commentary from readers, residents and candidates for local offices. The views of readers and columnists are independent of this newspaper and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wausau Pilot & Review. To submit, email editor@wausaupilotandreview.com or mail to 500 N. Third St., Suite 208-8, Wausau, Wis. 54403.

By Ann Herda-Rapp

The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point at Wausau has always been deeply embedded in the community. The university-wide strategic plan calls on us to serve our community through partnerships and connections – but that has always been central to who we are. The UW-Stevens Point at Wausau campus has hosted a number of community organizations and outside university programs as long-term residents, all in service of Wausau.  The breadth of those partnerships may be less widely known:

  • UW-Madison’s physician assistant program (WisPACT)
  • Medical College of Wisconsin’s Advocates in Medicine (AMP) program 
  • Northern Vermont University’s master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling
  • UW-Stout’s Manufacturing Outreach Center
  • Wausau School District’s SSTeP program
  • North Central Area Health Education Centers
  • Monk Botanical Gardens
  • Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR)
  • Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service (WIPPS)
  • Kids Voting USA
  • The Women’s Community

We are excited that the number is expanding, part of a deliberate effort to provide more resources and opportunities to residents across north central Wisconsin, particularly in-person learning opportunities to earn university degrees. Two new partnerships are available to Wausau to support local employers: our associate of science degree in pre-engineering that slots into UW engineering programs and a master’s degree in social work with UW-Green Bay.

There are two key benefits of the new engineering degree: 1) courses transfer into ABET-accredited engineering programs across the University of Wisconsin System as directly equivalent, so students transfer in as juniors at the same stage in their program as their peers; and 2) our associate degree fulfills all general education requirements at the transfer institution. Students save time and money, and they don’t miss a beat getting to their career. 

This new degree will also be a platform for bachelor’s degrees in engineering as we finalize articulations with UW-Platteville’s electrical engineering and mechanical engineering programs, allowing students to complete bachelor’s degrees while living and working in our region. We also are finalizing articulations with UW-Stout’s manufacturing engineering and mechanical engineering programs. Each of these is possible because our professors teach high-quality courses. This value is, and has always been, at the heart of our campus. 

The same career acceleration in the heart of Wausau is true for social work. We now offer a UW-Stevens Point bachelor’s degree in social work entirely at the Wausau campus and are happy to report strong enrollments.  Starting in the fall, in a collaboration with UW-Green Bay, the Wausau campus will be the host campus for a UWGB master’s degree in social work (an MSW), serving practicing social workers in the entire region. 

Rest assured, we won’t stop there. We are absolutely committed to advancing opportunity in the region and to being the hub for universities and organizations. We value partnerships with other universities and organizations that help our region. As a resource supported by both the county (which owns our buildings) and the state, we feel intense gratitude for and commitment to serve those who support us. 

To learn more about these opportunities or offer ideas for other partnerships, call me at 715-261-6269. Together, we can increase the number of degree holders and support economic growth in our region.

Ann Herda-Rapp
Campus Executive
UW-Stevens Point at Wausau