MADISON, Wis. - Universities of Wisconsin President Jay Rothman announced on Tuesday, Oct. 17 his decision to end in-person instruction at two additional branch campuses and to close one branch campus. Rothman also directed chancellors overseeing the remaining two-year campuses to work with local officials to determine the best uses for facilities to meet student and community needs.
The two campuses at which in-person instruction will end are UW-Milwaukee at Washington County and UW Oshkosh, Fond du Lac campus; the goal date is June 2024. UW-Platteville Richland will be closed. The decision follows Rothman’s earlier directive to chancellors to explore the long-term viability of the branch campuses.
"It’s hard. I’m lucky enough I’m going to get out alright," said Ben Kannenberg, a student outside UW-Milwaukee at Washington County.
"I like the in-person classes because I like being able to come to class, talk to people, see everyone and learn," said Jaidan Miller, student.
Rothman recently informed chancellors of his decision.
The actions would leave 10 remaining branch campuses located in Barron County, Baraboo, Manitowoc, Marinette, Marshfield, Menasha (Fox Cities), Rock County, Sheboygan, Waukesha, and Wausau.
Rothman charged the chancellors overseeing the 10 campuses to discuss future options with local county governments that own the buildings in which classes are offered.
"The purpose of these actions is to realign our two-year branch campuses to current market realities and prepare for the future," Rothman said.
Rothman added that the student experience is waning on some branch campuses because of the decline in enrollment.
"Is really driven ultimately by student experience and we want our students to have a full university experience. And as campuses get smaller, it becomes harder to do that," Rothman said.
Existing students attending the campuses where in-person learning will be no longer available will be offered enrollment options at other universities.
UWM said it is working on options to meet th eneeds of students an employers.
State. Sen. Duey Stroebel (R–Cedarburg)
"Low and declining enrollment isn’t a new phenomenon. It’s not surprising several two-year UW campuses will be closing their doors this year. Demographic trends and lower student enrollment over the past decade have raised significant doubts about the long-term sustainability of two-year college campuses. Some two-year campuses have seen enrollment fall by nearly 70%. That’s why I support local officials trying to find a compromise that would be beneficial to all parties involved in the consolidation efforts of UWM-Washington County."