UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
UW-River Falls officials plan to close the UW-River Falls Hudson Center at 2501 Hanley Road, Hudson, by year’s end.
September 11, 2020 – The University of Wisconsin-River Falls is revising its approach to innovative initiatives and how it is meeting the needs of the St. Croix Valley and the state. As a result, it has decided to not renew its lease of the UW-River Falls Hudson Center as of December 31.
Established in fall 2010 to serve primarily adult learners, the UW-River Falls Hudson Center became known for providing conveniently located evening and weekend classroom space for the UW-River Falls Adult Degree Completion Program, the Masters in Business Administration, and the Masters in Computer Science programs, all offered through the College of Business and Economics, as well as key educational programs offered through the College of Education and Professional Studies. The sudden shift to online learning this past spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic caused the institution to rethink its delivery of these courses, just as adult learners changed their demands to favor more flexible at-home convenience over a bricks-and-mortar location.
“We see this decision as the latest forward-thinking innovation in our delivery of these programs,” said College of Business and Economics Interim Dean Marina Onken, responsible for oversight of the Hudson Center. “We are constantly adapting to better meet the needs of our students and the state of Wisconsin. Our adult learners have indicated that convenience and flexibility are important factors when choosing to advance their careers. We have trained our faculty through AACSB, our accreditation body, to gain the cutting-edge skills and technologies to teach in an online environment.”
Building upon the university’s historic areas of strength, several new interdisciplinary tracks in the MBA program were recently introduced including business analytics, strategic leadership, and innovation and entrepreneurship.
“Moving to an online environment will allow the MBA program to be accessible to the many potential students who express interest and are looking for both quality and convenience,” explained CBE Director of Graduate Programs Leanne Van Allen. “One of the unique distinguishing features about our move to online programming is the flexible synchronous delivery of our courses. This synchronous delivery will allow us to continue to provide strong engagement and networking opportunities to our students while they collaborate in this innovative environment.”
UWRF Provost David Travis said this change makes sense now.
“UW-River Falls faculty have been successful at leveraging the different instructional technology platforms at their disposal and maintaining their high standards of individualized attention to students, at the same time as the needs of our adult students changed, many of whom are looking to find balance between education and their professional and family lives,” Travis said.
While UW-River Falls will no longer have this visible physical presence in Hudson, it plans to continue to strengthen its position as the “university of the St. Croix Valley.” UW-River Falls is already working in close partnership with the Hudson K-12 School District on delivering dual credit enrollment courses at the high school level. University representatives also serve on the Hudson Chamber of Commerce, the St. Croix Valley Business Innovation Center and the St. Croix Economic Development Corporation boards.
"UW-River Falls continues to implement new models driven by technology, just like business and industry," said William Rubin, executive director of St. Croix Economic Development Corporation. "The Hudson Center proved successful and served the region well, but the rollout of a flexible online option speaks volumes for UWRF's innovative spirit.”
UW-River Falls enrolls hundreds of Hudson area degree-seeking students each year, maintains connections to the nearly 2,000 alumni who live in the Hudson area, and collaborates successfully with the many business and employer partners in the region.
“UW-River Falls remains a strong partner in the continued economic growth of our region,” said Mary Claire Olson Potter, president of Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau. “I see their shifting the programs they offered at the Hudson Center to online delivery can only reinforce that partnership.”
For more information, email Onken at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-425-4492.