Strategic Plan Initiatives: 2017-2018

  • University Innovation Fellows - University Innovation Fellows program empowers students to become agents of change at their schools. Participants acquire knowledge of tools, frameworks and program models to help college students develop an entrepreneurial mindset and creative confidence. Fellows create new learning opportunities for their peers and inspire them to seize opportunities, define problems and address global challenges. The program is run by the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter), which is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell.  (workshop in June). Funds from WiSys or professional development grants may be forthcoming to pay for travel expenses for participants.
  • Analysis of factors influencing first time, first year student retention at UW-River Falls - In pursuit of "Distinctive Academic Excellence" UWRF has set a goal to attract an increasing number of first time, first year students while simultaneously increasing the academic profile of the entering class.  A key component of this recruitment challenge is persuading prospective students that UWRF is the "right fit" for their educational aspirations. Yet for the past 5 years, on average 27% of students admitted as first year/first time students fail to return to UWRF for their 2nd year of college.
  • Revitalizing a Culture of Sustainability through Research-based Civic Engagement - The initiative creates a service learning opportunity and stipend for any student seeking to research an issue of Sustainability and Civic Engagement. It establishes a faculty mentor who will help students to identify a research question addressing the intersections of Sustainability (ecology/economy/society), and to explore the question through service learning placements that can be a component of existing courses, or part of a new 379 Sustainability Service Learning Internship course to be offered each Spring. The faculty mentor will make site visits to build community partnerships for service learning, gathering materials in prep for matching specific students' research and service goals with the needs of community partners, and writing grants to support student researchers.
  • Diversity across the curriculum - Strengthen UWRF's commitment to the "appreciation of individual differences and rich cultural diversity" through a strategic initiative to incorporate diversity courses into programs through UWRF. Although there have been college-level initiatives to improve diversity curricula, there is a lack of diversity in the curricula on a University-wide scale. Our strategic initiative will provide pedagogical training to help faculty develop or redesign a course that addresses diversity in their field of study.
  • Montessori Doctoral Program - Develop a Montessori Doctoral Program which will address a documented worldwide need for additional Montessori research and an expansion of the Montessori terminal degree from a Master's to a Doctorate.  This initiative builds upon the successful Montessori Master's degree program at the UWRF launched with Strategic Initiative funding in 2012, a program which is now self-funding.
  • Evaluating the Need for an Autism Transition Program at UWRF - 1/68 children are born into the autism spectrum. Many children are high-functioning academically, but lack the daily living and social skills to consider attending college. Few post-secondary schools in our area recruit and retain these otherwise qualified students because of the non-academic challenges the students face; therefore, UWRF can be a pioneer in creating a transition program for students on the spectrum that will help them attend and complete college. This initiative asked that a committee be convened to explore the feasibility of creating a program at UWRF.