Posts Tagged ‘Wisconsin Public Radio
The Wheeler Report posted an interview with Chancellor Ray Cross and shared that with paid subscribers Dec. 16, 2013. The news agency granted permission for News and Ideas to post the content here.
What do UW Colleges and UW-Extension do? What is your mission?
UW Colleges provides mostly the first two years of the University of Wisconsin education in the liberal arts with an emphasis in the sciences, humanities, and social sciences. They are meant to be the access institutions throughout the state. Their tuition is lower. They are in the neighborhoods of small or medium-sized communities around the state. They give everyone access to the University.
UW-Extension has four divisions: Cooperative Extension, Public Broadcasting, Continuing Education and Entrepreneurship and Economic Development. The idea of Extension is not just to bring the resources of the University to the communities in the people of Wisconsin, but to bring the problems, challenges and issues of the local communities back to the University. That is why we are embedded in all 72 counties. We are distributed all around the state, not just to bring the resources to the communities, but to bring the problems of that community back to the University. That is the real Wisconsin Idea.
Cooperative Extension: includes components related to agriculture, natural resources, family living, nutrition and community development. It also includes 4-H Youth Development , the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, and Leadership Wisconsin.
Public Broadcasting Division: includes Wisconsin Public Television, Wisconsin Public Radio, and the educational technology support unit.
Continuing Education Division: provides the whole support system for Continuing Education throughout the state. Most of this is noncredit for every institution. It is also the home of the UW Flexible Option. It also supports the UW Help program and handles all of the applications that come in.
Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Division: supports the small business development centers (SBDCs) and all the entrepreneurial work going on within the University, particularly as it relates to the development and growth of small business.
What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about UW Colleges and UW Extension?
We often hear that UW Colleges is equivalent to a community college. That really is not accurate. This program is really the University of Wisconsin in your community. That distinction may not sound like much, but our faculty are held to the same professional standards as the faculty at the campuses throughout the state. They are credentialed in the same fashion. What you get at a UW Colleges campus is the same as the University. That is a good thing I think.
One of the misconceptions about UW-Extension is that it is a service-oriented entity only. More education and interaction occurs within Extension than people realize. We are the third largest recipient of federal grants within the system. UW Colleges and UW-Extension make up the third largest institution within the System. We could become the second-largest over the decade to come. It is hard for people to realize how big we are and how important we are to the people of Wisconsin.
What is the Flex Option?
The UW Flexible Option is a competency-based, self-paced version of existing programs within the University. Competency-based means that if you know something, and/or you can do something that you require as a part of the course, and you can prove that at the mastery level, we will give you UW credit for that. Within this model there are no courses, there are only a list of competencies. The competencies are quite extensive. On an assessment process it measures your mastery of those competencies. As you prepare for those you can take instructional materials online from iTunes, from a MOOC and other free sources. You can even use the library to prepare for it. You really only have to pay for the assessment and the support processes that go into preparing you for that competencies assessment. There are pretests as well to help you understand whether or not you were close. It is not a new degree. It is taking an existing degree from one of the institutions within the University, formatting it within a competency-based and self-paced model in order to serve the adult learner more effectively. There are upwards of 700,000 to 750,000 adults in Wisconsin who have some college but do not have a degree. We need to provide a quality way for those students to complete their degrees.
What does the future hold for UW Colleges and UW-Extension?
Within the Colleges, the whole two-year degree will be available through the UW Flexible Option as well as through our traditional model. Secondly the bachelor’s degree that we will be offering has already started. We will be growing that bachelor’s degree throughout the Colleges over the coming couple of years. That is an applied liberal arts bachelor’s degree. We are working on methodologies to make that a 2+2 with the technical colleges.
On the Extension side we are exploring a number of areas. We are exploring how to expand and improve our efforts to serve the urban community, an urban Extension model. Cooperative Extension in particular has had such a huge impact on rural communities in the state. Today in Milwaukee African-American males have an unemployment rate of upwards of 50%. The achievement gap in fourth- and eighth-graders between African-Americans and their white student counterparts is the greatest in the nation. Extension can play a major role in partnering with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, with K-12 systems, with other organizations in making a difference in that community. I think that is a serious problem in the state, and one of Extension’s roles is to bring that problem to the University through listening and partnering with that community. It is a long-term process. You don’t solve these problems quickly, but we need to start at some time. I think this is an important role that the University is going to have to play in the next few years.
All of the things that we are working on are challenging right now because of the budget reductions. This last budget was the largest base budget reduction we have ever gotten. We were able to adjust for the first year of the biennium with our program balances, but next year beginning July 1 we need to make some serious cuts to our base. We are working on that right now.
Obviously the budget is first and foremost, but we will get through this. It will be a challenge for us and obviously there will be some changes made that are harmful, but these are things that all institutions face and we will work our way through it.
We believe the University’s ability to have an impact on the human condition, the economic condition, and the future of the state is phenomenal. If you can’t get excited about that, you probably shouldn’t be in the System. It is a tremendous opportunity. I am excited for our future even though this is a dark period at the moment.
UW-Extension’s Malcolm Brett, a member of the PBS Board of Directors since 2008, was elected to an additional leadership position on the board in November. He was named to his first term as professional vice chair of the board at the group’s Nov. 7, 2013, meeting in Arlington, Va.
Brett is director of UW-Extension’s Broadcasting and Media Innovations Division, which includes Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television and Instructional Communications Systems.
The news release includes additional biographical information and details about the board election.
Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, chair of the Senate Universities and Technical Colleges Committee, and Rep. Pat Strachota continued a conversation about the UW Flexible Option with Chancellor Ray Cross, UW-Extension Interim Provost Aaron Brower and Regent Regina Millner after a legislative briefing Nov. 6, 2013, at the State Capitol.
Details about the presentation are provided in the news release.
News coverage included a story by Wisconsin Public Radio.
Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) will offer some new programs and other changes to its weekday and weekend schedules beginning July 1, 2013, to better serve listeners and respond to program changes made by NPR.
“When NPR announced the end of ‘Talk of the Nation’ this spring, we saw an opportunity to review the entire schedule and strengthen programming overall,” said Sheryl Gasser, director of the Ideas Network of WPR, part of UW-Extension’s public broadcasting division.
Changes include the addition of four new shows: WPR’s own “Central Time,” hosted by Veronica Rueckert and Rob Ferrett on weekday afternoons and three nationally syndicated shows, “America’s Test Kitchen Radio,” “TED Radio Hour” and ”Snap Judgment.” The schedule features new times for several popular shows, including ”The Kathleen Dunn Show,” “On Point” and ”To the Best of Our Knowledge.”
The only shows that will no longer be available to listeners are WPR’s “At Issue” and NPR’s “Talk of the Nation.”
You can find a complete release along with the new schedule here on the WPR website.
Our friends delivered on the “Capitol Connections 2013” theme of the Wisconsin Associated County Extension Committees (WACEC) Inc. State Conference April 8 to 10 in Madison. About 300 county board members, UW-Extension educators and program participants scheduled visits to their state legislators’ offices to reinforce the vital role UW-Extension plays in strengthening Wisconsin families and communities.
They included three Washington County 4-H members accompanied by UW-Extension’s Paul Roback and Alan Linnebur, Washington County Supervisor Raymond Heidtke and a 4-H adult volunteer. They visited Rep. Pat Strachota’s office and also spoke with Rep. Dan Knodl (center in photo by the Capitol photographer) to request continued support of UW-Extension. The most powerful voices were those of the three youth, whose composure and confidence underscored their messages about 4-H leadership development opportunities.
Program participants from Dane County were among those visiting Sen. Mark Miller’s office. They praised UW-Extension’s Lytonia Floyd for her hands-on approach to nutrition education. “It just brings it home,” one woman said. Dane County Board Supervisor Matt Veldran stressed the impact of UW-Extension’s Financial Education Center, such as more tax refunds for low-income residents served by a free tax preparation site in South Madison. “A lot of that money goes right back into the county,” he said.
Sen. Miller also noted UW-Extension contributions through Wisconsin Public Television and Wisconsin Public Radio (Lisa Johnson chimed in that she would talk about gardening on Larry Meiller’s show Friday, April 12) and through the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey’s consistent participation during the legislature’s groundwater meetings.
“You know you’ve got a friend in me,” he said.
Another Dane County contingent of 4-H members was among groups invited into the Assembly session to be recognized with applause and a standing ovation from their legislator — Rep. Gary Hebl — and other legislators.
The visits were part of the annual conference, which included other events detailed in the agenda. An auction of items donated by Cooperative Extension department heads, colleagues and WACEC members raised $3,600 to offset costs of WACEC members who will join UW-Extension representatives for the Public Issues Leadership Development Conference. The April 21 to 24 conference in Alexandria, Va., provides advocacy training and culminates with Congresssional and federal agency visits.
UW-Extension will hire 13 college students, recruited from underrepresented groups, for paid internships through the 2013 Summer Affirmative Action Internship Program (SAAIP). If you know a student who may qualify for an internship listed below, please contact Cathy Debevec at the UW Colleges and UW-Extension Office of Inclusion for details.
Like the 15 UW-Extension 2012 summer interns, the students and their supervisors will be invited to Madison for an employment seminar and luncheon (pictured here) presented by the Office of State Employment Relations for all SAAIP participants from state agencies.
The Office of Inclusion is pleased to announce the UW-Extension employing agencies that will participate in the summer of 2013:
Clark County Cooperative Extension – Ag/4-H Summer Intern
Community, Natural Resource and Economic Development (Walworth County)– Community Economic Development Intern
Continuing Education, Outreach, and E-Learning – Design Assistant
Racine County Cooperative Extension – Summer 4-H Intern
Instructional Communications Systems – Digital Asset Specialist
La Crosse County Cooperative Extension – At-Risk Youth Intern
Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve – Estuary Education Internship
Lincoln County Cooperative Extension – Summer Horticulture Intern Educator
Milwaukee County Youth Development – Youth Worker Project Coordinator
Walworth County Cooperative Extension – Family Living Intern
Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey – Archivist/Librarian
Wisconsin Public Radio – Talk Radio Intern
Wisconsin Public Television – Web Development & Design Intern
The SAAIP is an internship program designed to recruit college students from underrepresented groups for paid summer employment that will expose them to new experiences and potential career paths within UW-Extension.
UW-Extension is an equal opportunity employer, and no qualified applicant will be eliminated from consideration. However, active recruitment of students for this program will focus on groups of students who are underrepresented in the department or division that is sponsoring the internship, according to goals outlined in UW-Extension’s Affirmative Action Plan. Depending on the position and the department, these groups may include racial/ethnic minorities, women in traditionally male-dominated areas of study, and students with disabilities.
Watch Wisconsin Public Television’s broadcast of the State of the State address at 7 tonight, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, to hear what Gov. Scott Walker has to say about the University of Wisconsin Flexible Option, www.flex.wisconsin.edu.
The governor’s office has invited Ray Cross, chancellor of UW Colleges and UW-Extension, and UW System President Kevin Reilly to attend the address in the Assembly chambers in the State Capitol, where he plans to recognize both.
Wisconsin Public Radio also will carry the address live at 7 p.m. on both the Ideas Network and the News & Classical Network stations. Another option is to listen via one of Wisconsin Public Radio’s free mobile apps.