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New UWRF facility to benefit non-traditional students

April 22, 2010

UW-River Falls will be establishing a new facility in Hudson to better meet the educational needs of the St. Croix Valley, Blake Fry, special assistant to the chancellor, said.

“One primary audience (for the center) will be adults interested in returning to college to complete their degree or pursue a graduate degree,” Fry said.

In an interview with WRFW reporter Jamie Babb, Chancellor Dean Van Galen elaborated on the focus of the center.

“The major focus of this center will be to serve adult, non-traditional students; people, for example, who have had some college or maybe an associate’s degree and want to complete a Baccalaureate degree,” Van Galen said.

Fry explained that over 30 percent of adults in a five-mile radius around Hudson have attended college, but have not earned a bachelor’s degree.

“Innovative efforts such as the Hudson Center will be a necessity if the University of Wisconsin System is to achieve its goal of adding an additional 80,000 graduates over the next 15 years,” Fry said.

This new center will be located in Hudson somewhere with easy access on and off of Interstate-94.

“When you think about the location, we think that would be very convenient and attractive to people not only from Hudson, but western Wisconsin as well as the East Metro in the Twin Cities,” Van Galen said.

A specific location has not yet been finalized.

“We have identified potential locations, but the Wisconsin Department of Administration will oversee the negotiations and processes involved with final site selection,” Fry said.

This new center will have class meeting times that meet the needs of the non-traditional students which will attend, explained Fry. It also offers a convenient and professional location with different amenities that include plentiful parking and on-site student services.

UW System President Kevin Reilly has made a commitment to provide funding for the start-up and marketing of the center, explained Fry.

The cost for the center “depends in part on the space leased for the center as well as the center’s array of courses,” Fry said.

UWRF has discussed a partnership with the Hudson School District that would include offering courses during the day that will meet the educational needs of the district’s students.

“As the only four-year university in the St. Croix Valley, we value our partnerships with area two-year and technical colleges,” Fry said. “Collaborations with these institutions will be explored as well.”

The courses offered at the Hudson Center will be basically the same ones at UWRF, explained Van Galen.

“Another focus that we’ll have is some select graduate programs,” Van Galen said. “For example, we have an excellent MBA program that we currently offer on campus and we are certainly thinking of bringing that to Hudson.”

In a statement that ran last month in the Falcon Daily, it said that the College of Business and Economics billboard was recently installed in Hudson along westbound I-94. This billboard reads, “Master Your Success,” and it includes a link to more information about the Master of Business Administration program.

Director of University Communications Kevin Harter explained that there are plans in place to market this new center.

Marketing plans include, “Outreach, word of mouth, traditional and new media, and ultimately the first integrated marketing communications plan in the University’s history,” Harter said.

Many local newspapers and also the Eau Claire television stations have broadcast the news about the center since Chancellor Dean Van Galen announced it during his inauguration two weeks ago.

“As we move forward, University Communications will release more information, which will also be available on the new UWRF Web site, and we expect updated media coverage,” Harter said.

Chancellor Van Galen and Provost Fernando Delgado have, and continue to meet with St. Croix Valley businesses, civic and educational leaders, who have enthusiastically endorsed the new center, Harter explained.

“The earned, free media coverage, along with community outreach, has and continues to generate interest and enthusiasm,” Harter said.

He continued to explain that the integrated marketing communications campaign will include print, social media, radio and outdoor advertising.

“In conjunction with this public awareness campaign,” Harter said, “University Communications will continue to collaborate with CBE and University officials on promotion of the Hudson Center and its benefits to students and the regional and state economy.”