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Dennis Shields (copy)

UW-Platteville Chancellor Dennis Shields delivers his annual State of the University address at UW-Baraboo in January. The Baraboo campus is in the process of merging with the larger four-year campus as part of the restructuring of UW Colleges.

The University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County will go by a different name, offer several new degrees and waive application fees following its integration with the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

While officials have yet to announce the new institutional name and logo, several examples in documents detailing the merger include UW-Platteville-Baraboo Sauk County Campus; UW-Platteville, Baraboo/Sauk County; and UW-Platteville at Baraboo Sauk County. Leaders of the merger plan to keep the location prominent in the new logo “to retain local identity.”

The University of Wisconsin System’s plan to merge UW-Baraboo and the UW-Richland with UW-Platteville received approval from its accreditation agency June 28. UW-Baraboo’s degree offerings, faculty and staff, governance groups and reporting structures formally transferred to UW-Platteville July 1.

UW-Platteville officials have hired administrators who will serve as administrators of its new branch campuses. Ed Janairo, formally UW-Baraboo’s campus administrator, has been named dean of the Baraboo college.

Despite the changes, officials said many major transitions won’t take place until fall 2019. Tuition, financial aid processes, academic programming and athletics won’t be affected for the coming school year.

“This next year is still going to be a lot of transition and a lot of adapting to things that are going to pop up that we probably haven’t even thought about yet,” said UW-Platteville Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Joanne Wilson. “Every day is something new that comes up on our radar that we have to figure out how to deal with.”

The restructuring is the result of UW System President Ray Cross’ plan to merge the state’s 13 two-year UW Colleges with seven of its 13 four-year institutions. Cross described his proposal as a way to address declining enrollment and projections of little to no growth in college-age state residents in the coming decades.

UW-Baraboo enrollment has decreased 30 percent since 2010, dropping from 466 to 327 full-time students, according to statistics from the UW System. Throughout the 13 UW Colleges campuses, enrollment has dropped 32 percent over the same time period.

To bolster declining enrollment, UW-Platteville administrators plan to waive application fees for the coming school year at the Baraboo and Richland Center campuses. They also hope to offer new associate’s degrees next year in business and agriculture, and work with the University of Wisconsin-Stout to provide tourism and hospitality degrees at Baraboo.

“We can keep the liberal arts curriculum in place, but also find ways to work with business and industry to provide opportunities that support the business and industry in the area,” said UW-Platteville Chancellor Dennis Shields. “The opportunity is really to expand how people view the campus and its programs.”

Since Cross announced his restructuring plan in October 2017, more than 250 people from the three campuses have worked collaboratively on the integration, said UW-Platteville Communications Director Paul Erickson. Shields said one of the greatest challenges throughout the process has been earning the trust of Sauk County and Baraboo, which he will continue to work toward through regular collaborative meetings with community and campus leaders.

“We have to build trust and belief in the local area that we’re going to work to make that institution thrive,” he said. “I think it has gone pretty well, and we just have to continue working together and demonstrate by performance that this sort of collaboration will continue to work for the benefit of all three institutions that are part of this integration.”

Follow Jake Prinsen on Twitter @PrinsenJake or contact him at 608-963-2441.

Baraboo News Republic Reporter