Last fall, the Board of Regents approved the university’s request to offer a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in the organizational leadership major.
“The Bachelor of Applied Science is specifically aimed at adults who have already earned an applied associate degree from a technical college and who want to return to school and earn a bachelor’s degree,” said Ken Menningen, chairman of the academic affairs committee.
The degree will allow students to transfer 60 to 72 credits and work toward the 120-credit requirement of a four-year bachelor’s degree.
“Once the new degree type is approved by shared governance, it must also win approval by the Higher Learning Commission, which is the agency that accredits the university,” Menningen said. “Once all approvals are obtained, a small pool of interested students will be identified and advised to begin their journey to earn a B.A.S. in organizational leadership.”
Menningen said the committee is hopeful the obstacles these students face will help the university better shape the curriculum prior to admitting a larger number of students into the program.
“Targeted students will not be those on campus currently, but likely non-traditional students at locations like Rhinelander, where place-bound students are located,” said Todd Huspeni, interim associate vice chancellor for teaching, learning and academic programs. “The idea is for us to offer the courses at these locations, not on campus here at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.”
UWSP currently offers a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Music and an associate’s degree.
“To maintain enrollment and health of our university, we must broaden our appeal and attract both out-of-state and non-traditional students,” Menningen said. “While these students will need to complete the majority of the General Education Program, the goal of the degree is to count as much of their technical college coursework as possible toward the organizational leadership major, which is the only major at UWSP that currently admits a B.A.S. degree type.”
Menningen said similar programs are offered by UW-Eau Claire, UW-Green Bay and UW-Oshkosh. However, most of these courses are taught primarily online. UWSP hopes to provide a face-to-face instructional program for these students.
It is still undecided which department will house the organizational leadership major. Menningen said for now the program will receive oversight from Continuing Education, but expects roadblocks in terms of advising and support.
“I agree fully with the intent to help returning adults earn a bachelor’s degree at UWSP, and I think that faculty, staff and administration must work proactively and creatively to change the current UWSP culture,” Menningen said. “Our ability to maintain current enrollment levels will in part depend on our success at attracting and retaining non-traditional students.”