Lakeland launching new approach to bachelor's degree this fall
This fall, Lakeland University students will "earn while they learn" at the upper Midwest's only non-engineering co-operative education university.
Lakeland's new approach to earning a bachelor's degree will offer significant savings to students. It also takes advantage of a number of regional and national market conditions and addresses the region's employment needs.
Lakeland will partner with local companies to create paid co-op work experiences in positions that fit their academic major, providing money to offset tuition costs.
"The new program is specifically designed to give students real-world work experiences and, at the same time, offset their tuition costs," said Scott Niederjohn, dean of Lakeland's School of Business and Entrepreneurship. "Unlike internships, which are often short-term, temporary assignments, the co-op program will have students working in regular, full-time positions that may last as long as six months."
Lakeland estimates students in the program can earn up to $100,000 in wages and scholarships over their four years, significantly minimizing their student debt after graduation.
For local employers, the move creates a new talent pool at a time when several local companies are struggling to fill positions.
Lakeland will enroll hospitality management majors in its co-op program this fall. Students will work in on-campus jobs as freshmen, and by their sophomore year begin working in the hospitality industry, possibly at one of Lakeland's three partners – The Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake, The American Club in Kohler or Blue Harbor Resort in Sheboygan.
Lakeland will quickly form additional partnerships in other majors within its School of Business and Entrepreneurship, including accounting, business administration, marketing, management information systems and sport management and leadership. Lakeland University President David Black said full implementation will happen within three years.
Traditional-age students attending Lakeland full time at its main campus and part-time students attending Lakeland at one of its seven centers or through online courses will be eligible for participation in the program, depending on their major.
Black said the rising cost of higher education and the decline in the traditional college-age demographic are challenging the business model of a traditional residential campus, especially for private institutions.
"Lakeland and many other institutions are seeing fewer students entering as freshmen and transfers," Black said. "Additionally, more who have enrolled are dropping out, and the overwhelming reason for the decline is financial.
"Students are having a difficult time finding a compelling reason to pursue degrees at private university rates when the value of those degrees is not appreciably different from public college degrees."
Black said the co-op education model is an innovative solution that combines classroom-based studies with practical work experience. Lakeland's partners will pay students for work related to their academic major, and students will select from one of several plans to determine how much of their earning will be applied to their tuition.
"Students will gain two big benefits," Black said. "By the time they're ready to graduate, students will have earned enough money working to significantly minimize student debt. They will also have worked in a variety of entry-level positions which have them positioned for jobs requiring high-level skills in their first job out of college."
Lakeland's board of trustees at its March meeting approved the co-op education concept, which received a strong endorsement from trustee Tryg Jacobson, president of the creative community Jake's Café in Sheboygan. Jacobson's daughter graduated from a co-op education institution, Northeastern University in Boston.
"It works because it provides an opportunity for students to learn on the job for extended periods of time and then use their experiences as a meaningful frame of reference as they learn in the classroom," Jacobson said.
"They also get exposed to corporate cultures they could never experience in a traditional classroom setting. They learn that happiness in whatever profession they choose has a lot to do with the corporate culture that aligns with their personal beliefs. Finally, they earn while they learn. This helps fund their education, and this is huge given the high cost of education today."
Jacobson said the mix of companies in Sheboygan County make co-op education an ideal approach.
"We probably have more world-class companies per capita than you'll find anywhere," Jacobson said. "Lakeland students will get an opportunity to learn while working in some of the finest companies in the world. It will be great for area companies, because it will provide the perfect venue for companies to get to know our students and build trusting relationships with them. And, if we're fortunate enough, convince these students to stay and become contributing members of our communities.
"It will also provide Lakeland University with a unique and meaningful point of difference as we continue to expand our brand's vision. It will help us attract and educate a different kind of student. One that, by virtue of their choice to come to Lakeland, shows a genuine commitment to becoming a better person. These are the kind of people we need in this world."
Lakeland Theatre presents 'Nunsense'
Charlie Krebs grew up Catholic in Corning, N.Y., and attended St. Mary's parochial school from kindergarten through 8th grade.
No wonder Lakeland University's associate professor of theatre and speech is getting such a kick out of rehearsals for this year's spring musical, "Nunsense."
"Oh, this show is so much fun!" Krebs said with a laugh. "It brings back so many great and funny memories. I tell stories during every rehearsal, like, 'When I was in 5th grade, this happened to me, and when I was in 6th grade, I did this.'"
"Nunsense," a comedy, is Lakeland's adaptation of the second-longest-running off-Broadway musical in history. Opening night, at the on-campus Bradley Theatre, is Thursday, March 30, at 7:30. Visit the event website https://lakeland.edu/nunsense - to order tickets and learn more.
The "Nunsense" storyline is built around the accidental poisoning deaths of 52 nuns in Hoboken, N.J., and the surviving nuns' comical fundraising efforts to pay for the deceased's funerals.
"We've been doing these big musicals in recent years, and we thought a small ensemble piece, a more intimate production, would be a nice change of pace," Krebs said.
The "Nunsense" cast is comprised of seven nuns and one priest. The lead role, Mother Mary Regina (Mother Superior), will be played by Lakeland senior Mayce Bacon, a veteran of LU's theatre and choral programs.
"I've never been a lead before, so while this has been very challenging, it's been a wonderful experience," said Bacon. "The family atmosphere that's been created while working together on this show is something I'll always look back fondly on. I can't wait for opening night!"
Krebs said Lakeland's spring musical will feature more than a dozen songs, and the band will be dressed as monks and other characters while playing on the stage rather than in the orchestra pit.
"This production is a loving spoof of nuns, joyfully portrayed in a musical comedy," Krebs said. "It's going to be a great, enjoyable show."
Bradley exhibition spotlights work of three LU seniors
Lakeland University will spotlight the work of three seniors during the Lakeland Senior Art Student Portfolio Exhibition, which opens on Friday, March 17.
Brandon Franke, Callah Kraus and Aspen Thrapp will discuss their work during an opening reception beginning at 4:30 p.m. in the Bradley Gallery, located in the Bradley Fine Arts Building on Lakeland's campus.
The exhibit, which will feature work created by these students during their time at Lakeland, will run through April 13. The Bradley Gallery is open from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Friday, when Lakeland is in session. Attendance at the reception and admittance to the Bradley Gallery are both free and open to the public.
The senior art show is a requirement for all Lakeland art majors. Students gain the experience of having their own exhibit, and are responsible for planning the show, putting the public relations together, displaying their work and any other details.
Franke in on track to graduate in May with a bachelor's degree in art with a graphic design emphasis. He has worked on a number of freelance projects during his time at Lakeland, including logo and shirt designs.
"I take inspiration from movies, music, fellow artists and whatever other experiences I have, then wad it up like a ball of color and design and throw it upon this blank surface," Franke said. "I create organically, yet I'm organized. I surprise myself at times. Most of all, I create what I want to create."
Kraus in on track to graduate in May with a bachelor's degree in art with both a graphic design and studio arts emphasis. She is currently working a pair of graphic design internships, one at Lakeland for the marketing department and one at Sun Graphics Media in Plymouth, Wis. She is also working as website and social media manager for Wisconsin Business IT Solutions in Cedarburg, Wis., and she is the website manager for Kraus Custom Forage Harvesting, LLP, in Elkhart Lake, Wis.
She previously served a graphic design internship with Dynamic Digital Advertising Agency in Sheboygan, Wis., and worked as a designer for Delta Publications in Kiel, Wis.
"I want to create work that is exciting and vibrant, but also timeless and identifiable," Kraus said. "My work is a collection I hope will still be relevant years from now. I am most inspired by simple and clean designs, as I believe that these designs have stood the test of time and can still look fresh and transparent."
Thrapp is also on track to graduate in May with a bachelor's degree in art with both a graphic design and studio arts emphasis. She worked two years as an assistant in Lakeland's art department, and her work has been in the student art show for the past three years. At Lakeland, Thrapp said she's found a love in oil paintings and photography.
"I've embraced the nerd and geek aspects of my life and created an interest in character design and development, as well as honing my creative writing skills," she said. "Now I am entering a new part of my life where I know I can go far, and explore all I have to offer to the world. I wish to join a company where I can give them all of my creativity."
Lakeland partners with LTC to address state teacher shortage
Lakeland University and Lakeshore Technical College are partnering to address one of Wisconsin's most significant education challenges – the shortage of technology education teachers – in a move that Lakeland plans to take statewide.
Lakeland has added a technology education (tech ed) bachelor's degree program in an effort to provide more applicants for a marketplace that has more demand than supply.
Lakeland becomes one of four state colleges and universities to offer a technology education teaching degree, and the only institution in northeastern Wisconsin.
"We are well aware of the shortage of tech ed teachers in Wisconsin, and the struggles school districts are having filling these important roles," said Lakeland President David Black. "Our goal is to partner with our friends in higher education to leverage our strengths and address this concern."
This spring, Black will meet with additional technical college leaders and present plans to expand the program across the state.
Degree-seeking students will enroll at Lakeland, where they will take the majority of their classes, including Lakeland's early childhood through adolescence (K-12) professional sequences courses. Students will also take 30 core technology credits at LTC, learning on state-of-the-art equipment.
Students will select one of eight emphasis areas: engineering, information and communication technology, electronics, architecture and construction, transportation, power and energy, biotechnology and environmental technologies.
Enrollment in the program, which has been approved by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, is underway.
"The new technology education degree program expands on the great partnership LTC has with Lakeland," said LTC President Michael Lanser. "By leveraging the unique strengths of both institutions, we can provide a pipeline of quality tech ed instructors to our K-12 partners, as well as support a new career opportunity for students in northeastern Wisconsin."
For students interested in becoming teachers, tech ed jobs will be a growth area for several years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of career and technical education teachers is projected to grow 9 percent through 2022.
Retirements and low enrollments in education programs that prepare STEM teachers are the main contributors to the problem.
Howards Grove School District Superintendent Chris Peterson said his district's recent tech ed teacher search was difficult, as it netted few candidates after a lengthy search. He said districts around the state will welcome a program that produces more qualified applicants.
"The biggest need in tech ed is teachers who can meet the needs of local employers," Peterson said. "Manufacturing is such an important part of the local economy, and who better to partner to prepare tech ed teachers than LTC and Lakeland?
"The key is finding skilled teachers who will stay for five or 10 years and help us build a program. We need forward-thinking teachers who can design curriculum that will meet emerging needs, including jobs that haven't been created yet. We need teachers who will get young people excited about careers in tech ed."
Not only will graduates of Lakeland's program be licensed technology education teachers; they'll also be able to teach dual credit technology courses offered at the high school level.
"Increasingly, Wisconsin high schools are offering courses that allow students to earn high school and college credit simultaneously," Black said. "Parents and students are seeking out these options as ways to cut down on the cost of higher education and get ahead before graduating from high school. It's also a great way for high school students to test career paths."
There are several pathways students can take to enter into this program:
- Recent high school graduates who want to become teachers and understand there is a strong chance they'll be employed quickly after graduating
- Current teachers looking for something different in their teaching career
- Professionals working in a technical industry who are interested in a new career
To learn more about the program, visit Lakeland.edu/teched.
Four LU faculty members get promoted
Four Lakeland University faculty members have been promoted, three of whom have been granted tenure.
The Board of Trustees approved the following requests for tenure and promotion:
- Brett Killion, promotion to associate professor
- Joshua Kutney, promotion to associate professor
- Anthony Liguori, promotion to professor
In addition, Lakeland President David Black approved the faculty's recommendation that Katie Fronczak be promoted to assistant professor. She serves in in non-tenure track position.
Killion, a CPA who joined the Lakeland faculty in 2012, oversees the accounting curriculum and serves as the site coordinator for Lakeland's Voluntary Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA). He is also heavily involved in building relationships with area employers and establishing internship opportunities for Lakeland students at many of the area's world-class companies. The winner of Economics Wisconsin's Excellence in Teaching Economics and Financial Literacy Award in 2009, Killion recently developed all of the lecture-replacement videos for Pearson Higher Education's two introductory accounting textbooks.
Liguori, who joined Lakeland's faculty in 2013, has taken on many leadership roles including chair of the Program Development Committee, assessment planning for the psychology department and moderating and planning ThinkHaus presentations. Liguori established the Psi Chi chapter (International Honor Society in Psychology) at Lakeland and serves as the faculty advisor. Liguori also teaches courses within Lakeland's EWO program and he has acted in several of Lakeland's theatrical productions.
Kutney joined Lakeland in 2005 and teaches courses in writing, reading and critical thinking. He also directs the university's interdisciplinary studies program. He has presented and published on a range of topics related to the teaching and learning of writing. He has been a key writer for recent accreditation reports and an integral part of the Finals Countdown program, which helps students prepare for final exams. Kutney has also traveled to Malawi, Africa, to work with Lakeland students who are creating educational programs in that country.
Fronczak, who joined Lakeland's faculty in 2002, has taught numerous courses on Spanish language and culture and has taught Core I. The recipient of the 2014 Underkofler Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award, Fronczak is instrumental in orchestrating and guiding Lakeland educational excursions to Spanish-speaking countries. She has partnered with faculty in the hospitality management program to support student study in Mexico and has developed online options for language learning at Lakeland.
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