A. The Institution
1. What is the institution’s historical context?
The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is part of the University of Wisconsin System, located in Whitewater, Wisconsin. It became Wisconsin’s second public normal school on April 21st, 1868 when it opened its doors to thirty-nine students taught by nine faculty members. Located in the southeastern corner of the state, its initial purpose was to train worthy teachers steeped in the normal school philosophy of public education as a moral obligation popularized by Horace Mann in the mid 1800’s. The first seventeen years of Whitewater Normal School brought the first permanent building, Old Main, and small enrollments that encouraged close relationships between faculty and students. When Albert Salisbury became the school’s fourth president in 1885 he began an era of depth and breadth in all curriculum areas. Salisbury cared deeply about Wisconsin public education and wrote extensively about rural education, pedagogical theory, school psychology, and school management. He made a state contribution in special education when he cooperated with the Wisconsin Teachers’ Associate in its campaign for the proper provision, care and training of the “feeble minded.”
During Salisbury’s twenty-six year reign he clearly outlined, academically and otherwise, the singular goal of the school’s declaration book, signed by every entering student: “We do hereby declare our purpose in entering the State Normal School is to fit ourselves for the profession of teaching, and that it is our intention to engage in teaching in the schools of the state.” The declaration was no mere formality with the president, for penciled beside every name for which information was available was a plus or minus sign, indicating faithfulness to the pledge. Future teachers who stepped out of line were disqualified or got a dishonorable discharge (Astin, 1998). Initially, there were three courses of study at Whitewater State Normal: an institute course of one term, an elementary course of two years, and an advanced course of three years. The elementary and advanced courses provided drill in the branches, accompanied with instruction in the best methods of teaching them. Diplomas were awarded at graduation, but a “first grade state certificate” was only given after a year of successful teaching, when the diploma was countersigned by the State Superintendent. Whitewater also had a training school on its campus from the beginning. Organized as both a school of observation and practice, it came to be viewed as the core of normal school life. The campus school, which eventually became known as College High, was populated by local children. The last graduation class was held in 1960. UW-Whitewater continues to maintain the Children’s Center on the same site that provides year round, full and part-time care for children from the age of two through eleven. In addition to training teachers to work in rural schools, Whitewater Normal began a Business Education program in 1913 that has remained to the present day. It was initially created as a one-year program designed to give a certificate to teach bookkeeping, shorthand and typewriting in any Wisconsin high school. Business Education began to thrive in 1917 with the help of Paul A. Carlson, whose efforts in accounting became nationally recognized. The name Whitewater became identified not only for its excellence in preparing quality business teachers, but in producing the nation’s first standardized test in bookkeeping.
UW-Whitewater has had five different names since its inception. The addition of a four-year curriculum in 1926 preceded the change of all state normal schools to state teacher colleges in 1927 and Whitewater Normal School became Whitewater State Teacher’s College. In 1951, with the addition of liberal arts courses, the name changed to Wisconsin State College-Whitewater. When graduate courses were added in 1964 the name became Wisconsin State University-Whitewater. Our present name came with the merger of the state universities and the University of Wisconsin to form the University of Wisconsin-System in the fall of 1971 (Curti & Carstensen, 1949).
2. What is the institution’s mission?
The mission of the University of Wisconsin System, of which UW-Whitewater is a part, is to develop human resources, to discover and disseminate knowledge, to extend knowledge and its application beyond the boundaries of its campuses and to serve and stimulate society by developing in students heighten intellectual, cultural and humane sensitivities, scientific, professional and technological expertise and a sense of purpose. Inherent in this broad mission are methods of instruction, research, extended training and public service designed to educate people and improve the human condition. Basic to every purpose of the system is the search for truth.
As an institution in the University of Wisconsin Cluster (comprehensive, non-doctoral granting schools) UW-Whitewater also shares in the following core mission:
- Offer associate and baccalaureate degree level and selected graduate programs within the context of its approved mission statement.
- Offer an environment that emphasizes teaching excellence and meets the educational and personal needs of students through effective teaching, academic advising, counseling and through university-sponsored cultural, recreational and extra-curricular programs.
- Offer a core of liberal studies that supports university degrees in the arts, letters and sciences, as well as specialized professional/technical degrees at the associate and baccalaureate level.
- Offer a program of pre-professional curricular offerings consistent with the university's mission.
- Expect scholarly activity, including research, scholarship and creative endeavor, that supports its programs at the associate and baccalaureate degree level, its selected graduate programs and its approved mission statement.
- Promote the integration of the extension function, assist the University of Wisconsin-Extension in meeting its responsibility for statewide coordination, and encourage faculty and staff participation in outreach activity.
- Participate in inter-institutional relationships in order to maximize educational opportunity for the people of the state effectively and efficiently through the sharing of resources.
- Serve the needs of women, minority, disadvantaged, disabled and non-traditional students and seek racial and ethnic diversification of the student body and the professional faculty and staff.
- Support activities designed to promote the economic development of the state.
In 2005, UW-Whitewater approved a new set of core values and mission statement:
Values: The following values lie at the heart of UW-Whitewater:
- Commitment to the pursuit of knowledge and understanding
- Development of the individual
- Personal and professional integrity
- Commitment to serve
- Commitment to develop a sense of community, respect for diversity, and global perspectives
Mission: The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is committed to the development of the individual, the growth of personal and professional integrity and respect for diversity and global perspectives. These are met by providing academic and co-curricular programs that emphasize the pursuit of knowledge and understanding and a commitment to service within a safe and secure environment.
- To provide a range of undergraduate programs and degrees, including interdisciplinary programs, in letters, sciences, and the arts as well as programs and degrees leading to professional specialization.
- To offer graduate education built clearly upon its undergraduate emphases and strengths with particular emphasis in the fields of business, education, communication, and human services.
- To engage in scholarly activity, including research, scholarship and creative endeavor, that supports its programs at the associate and baccalaureate degree level, its graduate programs, and its select mission.
- To create and maintain a positive and inviting environment for multicultural students, students with disabilities, and nontraditional students, and provide support services and programs for them.
- To serve as a regional cultural and economic resource center through its service initiatives.
- To provide continuing education and outreach programs as integrated institutional activities.
- To provide a variety of co-curricular activities to enhance out-of-class learning opportunities.
- To encourage and maintain a high level of personal and professional integrity in all University life and activities.
3. What are the institution’s characteristics [e.g.
control and type of institution such as private, land grant, or HBI; location
(e.g., urban, rural, or suburban area)]?
UW-Whitewater is a four-year, co-educational, residential university. It currently offers 46 undergraduate, 13 master’s and one educational specialist degree. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and has membership in the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools and currently enrolls over 10,500 students. The university employs 331 faculty and 381 academic staff with a student to faculty ration of 21 to 1 campus-wide. The chief administrative officer, recognized as chancellor, is Dr. Richard Telfer. Dr. Telfer was appointed interim chancellor by the Board of Regents in May of 2007 when Dr. Martha Saunders resigned to take a different position. A national search was undertaken during the 2007-08 academic year and Dr. Telfer was awarded the position in June of 2008. UW-Whitewater Facts page includes additional information about the university. The organizational chart conveys the structure of the institution.