Final Paper: UW-Whitewater Admissions and Housing

Posted on December 18th, 2013 in Uncategorized by Kevin Cunningham

 

As a student of UW-Whitewater, one of the more common complaints that are heard around campus buildings and inside classrooms is the overcrowding of residence halls. UW-Whitewater has 12 residence halls on campus and its newest addition was Starin Hall, which was built in 2010. Up until that point, a residence hall had not been built in over 40 years. UW-Whitewater’s student enrollment is also growing at a steady rate. While it is not increasing at an alarming pace, UW-Whitewater is known for being a suitcase college and if the school wants to change its reputation, a better living situation made available to students may become necessary if the school is becoming more populated.

            UW-Whitewater Admissions

While UW-Whitewater’s student enrollment number is increasing yearly, with currently over 10,750 undergraduates, the room for students to live on campus is starting to become constricted. The current acceptance rate at UW-Whitewater for incoming freshmen is 70 percent. According to Oncampuscollegeplanning.com, the national average acceptance rate is 67 percent. Smaller schools in the UW-system, such as UW-Stevens Point, UW-River Falls, UW-Eau Claire and UW-Whitewater are all around the 70 to 80 percent acceptance rate mark. This means the majority of smaller schools in the UW-system are looking to increase its overall student population at a steady rate.

Terri Crumley, who is currently the Dean of Admissions at Mount Mercy University, was the Dean of Admissions at UW-Stevens Point up until November 2013. Crumley said UW-Stevens Point was looking to push its total enrollment number up to 10,000, as its current number is at 9,296. Crumley said that with the school trying to boost its number, this did not necessarily mean that admission standards were dropping. She said that whether she accepts a student coming out of high school or not is based on many different factors. One of the factors that mean more for a student attempting to attend a school in the state of Wisconsin is the ACT test.

“In general, the 20-25 (ACT score) range is a solid student,” Crumley said. “Below that, it’s not that the student is bad, because I have admitted students that have scored 18’s and even 17’s. It’s just that some kids are poor test takers, so you have to weigh all of that out.”

She also said that fewer students appear to be college-ready coming out of high school. This means that the Deans of Admissions at all schools have to dig deeper and find out more about a student before they do accept them, even though acceptance rates are high across the country. Kathy Brady, a journalism professor at UW-Whitewater, talked about how the school was growing, but higher overall class sizes are something that she has not noticed in her classroom.

“Standards haven’t been lowered,” Brady said. “We simply aren’t cutting off enrollment as early as we used to. Due to budget cuts at the state level, it is important to at least maintain our new, higher enrollment level.”

UW-Whitewater is commonly known for its school of business and it’s one of the biggest reasons why students attend the university. Marketing professor Shannon Cummins said she hasn’t noticed a difference in terms of class sizes even though the campus is growing. The classes she teaches are capped to allow a maximum number of students so that classes don’t become overcrowded. Cummins said the school of business is looking to switch its schedule around because more existing classes are being offered. This entails that some classes that used to be scheduled as Tuesday and Thursday classes would switch to being classes that meet on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. She also said UW-Whitewater could consider raising its standards solely based on the college of business being as highly regarded as it is.

“If the college of business wanted to make [admissions] tougher, whether or not that would be a good thing, honestly, I don’t know,” Cummins said. “I think it’s important that if you do come to a school and want to change majors, you should be able to because I don’t think any 18-year-old should have to decide what they major in. I think there is a rationale for having the same admission requirements for all colleges and majors at a school.”

UW-Whitewater’s Director of Admissions, Jeffrey Blahnik, said the UW-system has a growth agenda, so every school in the system is looking to grow in some fashion. Blahnik also said that the admission deadline for freshmen was cut a month earlier this year, yet the number of freshmen applications increased by four percent.

“Thus far, our average ACT and GPA among students who have both applied and been admitted is the highest they have been in the past five years,” Blahnik said. “We do not plan to lower our admission standards assuming the strong interest continues.”

According to Collegeapps.about.com, UW-Whitewater’s incoming freshman averages between a 20 and 25 score on the ACT test. At UW-Stevens Point, the average is 21-25, UW-River Falls’ average is 20-24, UW-Platteville’s average is 20-25 and UW-Eau Claire’s average is 22-26. From a numbers standpoint, each smaller UW-system school is roughly around the same when it comes to what types of students academically they are allowing into their universities. UW-Madison tops the list of UW-system schools, with their incoming freshman averaging a 26-30 on the ACT. With each of the smaller UW-system schools allowing the same kinds of students into its universities from an academic standpoint, UW-Whitewater has to separate themselves from the other schools in the state in a variety of ways outside of academics in order to persuade incoming freshman to choose UW-Whitewater.

            Positives and Negatives of UW-Whitewater

One of the ways UW-Whitewater attracts students to its school is its geographic location. Whitewater, Wis. is not the biggest city in Wisconsin, or in the southern part of the state. What the campus prides itself on geographically is being far enough away from Milwaukee and Chicago that high school seniors who are from those areas can get away from home without being too far away to make the trip coming back home seem less daunting. Milwaukee is roughly an hour away, while Chicago is around two hours south of Whitewater. Incoming freshmen from in the state pay in-state tuition, which is around half the price of what out-of-state tuition is. According to Colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com, the in-state tuition for UW-Whitewater is $7,578.

One geographic disadvantage UW-Whitewater has in terms of tuition rates is that the school is not a part of the receiving end for the Midwest Student Exchange Program. As an example, an incoming freshman from Chicago, which is outside the state of Wisconsin, can go to UW-Stevens Point and pay a rate that is in-between the in-state tuition price and out-of-state tuition price. Blahnik said the school’s total number of incoming freshmen who are coming from Illinois is growing significantly, as 16 percent of the 2013-14 freshmen come from Illinois.

The goal of the Midwest Student Exchange Program is to help keep students in the Midwest that want to go to college out of the state they went to high school in. If UW-Whitewater becomes a part of this program, it would help lure students that are or would be facing financial troubles when attending college. Another advantage UW-Whitewater has over smaller schools in the UW-system when attracting incoming freshmen to boost its total enrollment is the school’s athletic success.

UW-Whitewater competes in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) with many of the smaller UW-system schools. Because UW-Whitewater competes in Division-III, the school is not allowed to give athletic scholarships. Students who do not want to go to a bigger school, or want to play a sport but are not good enough to receive a scholarship to play there, may try out for teams or be recruited  by UW-Whitewater to play for them. UW-Whitewater has over 20 teams, as well as recreational sports teams and its tradition in many sports is unmatched compared to the other schools that compete in the WIAC. The football team will have a chance to win its fourth national championship in five seasons on Dec. 20 when they face the University of Mount Union. Blahnik said that according to surveys, the number one reason a student chooses one college over another is academics, but he said that many students cite UW-Whitewater’s athletic success as a major positive to them when comparing them with other schools. One other advantage UW-Whitewater has over smaller UW-system schools is the campus’ easy accessibility for students with physical disabilities.

According to Colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com, New Mobility magazine ranked UW-Whitewater as one of the top 10 disability friendly public universities in the United States. Many of the buildings on campus are wheelchair accessible, such as the Young Auditorium. The Young Auditorium offers complimentary wheelchairs, wheelchair accessible seating and wheelchair accessible parking. It also offers easy foreign language interpretation with captioning devices as well as headsets and braille and other large print materials to help aid students with disabilities. The aforementioned reasons are part of the reason why, more so than ever, incoming freshmen want to and are applying to attend UW-Whitewater. With the boost in enrollment comes the question of whether or not there are enough housing options available to students who want to live on campus.

            Housing

Before UW-Whitewater built Starin Hall in 2010, the campus had not seen a new residence hall in over 40 years. The campus now has 12 residential buildings and Starin received immediate interest from students the semester it became available according to UW-Whitewater’s Dean of Residence Life, Frank Bartlett.

“In the fall of 2010 we did the reapplication process and we had 700 more bodies interested in [living there] than we had spaces for,” Bartlett said. “Since that point, it’s clearly more popular, but some students have gotten accustomed to the fact that they’re not going to get in, so I think some students have self-selected not to apply. At this point, we have around 100 students or so now that want to get into Starin but don’t [end up getting in].”

Starin has been recognized for its energy-saving features and when it was being built, Bartlett said they were shooting for the building to receive a LEED silver certification level, but it ended up surpassing the goal and captured the gold certification level. The LEED rating system offers four certification levels, which are Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Bartlett said he knew the residence halls on campus were old, so if they were going to build a new living area, it would have to impress students aesthetically and be an energy-efficient building. Also, some of the older buildings have already had renovations made to them and the renovations that will be made to the buildings that haven’t been remodeled will also go through renovations that are geared toward enhancing sustainability.

Some of Starin’s sustainable features include censored lights that only turn on when people activate them to turn on when they walk near them. Low-flow faucets for showers and sinks are used as well to help save water and the carpet used throughout the building is made from recycled content. Current buildings that will be getting renovated in the future to help enhance students’ living experiences on campus include Wellers Hall, Fischer Hall and the Arey/Fricker renovation. The Arey/Fricker renovation is planning on taking place throughout 2014-16. Outside of upgrading the buildings’ features from a sustainability standpoint, the two will become connected once the renovation is completed. In an article from Gazettextra.com, UW-Whitewater’s project manager, Mary Kaster, said that during this time period the projects will make student housing even more so crowded.

While the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years may leave residence halls as crowded as ever due to renovations of older buildings, plans for adding new residence halls have already been made. Bartlett said that if all goes well with what the master plan has in store for the campus, the newest residence hall will be built by 2017. The second will come in 2019 and the other two that they plan on for sure building will be in place by 2031-32. Three of the possible six new halls will take place of where the Wells towers currently are because a facilities assessment was done to Wells and the rooms and hallways were noted as being too small. Some of the updates they wanted to make to the Wells towers would have made the rooms even smaller, so the plan is to completely knock them down and replace them with the newer halls once they are built.

“Wells is a dinosaur, but realistically you can’t tear it down until other buildings are in place to replace it,” Bartlett said.

While each of the renovations to the current residence halls will add more beds (25 to Fricker and 15 to Arey), if UW-Whitewater keeps growing at the rate it is, these renovations alone will likely not be able to house more people than the campus already houses on campus. According to Colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com, 40 percent of students attending UW-Whitewater live on campus, while 60 percent live off campus. Bartlett said those numbers are about where he wants UW-Whitewater to be. The perception that UW-Whitewater is a suitcase college may be true, but the reality is that while the school is looking to grow, the university may only want to house a certain number of students for the time being. This may be the reason why renovations to older residence halls are taking a forefront to building new residence halls.

“We would be hard-pressed to house a greater percentage than that,” Bartlett said. “We have a freshman and sophomore housing requirement currently in place and we’ve been releasing a lot of sophomores from that requirement just because we don’t have the space.”

Bartlett talked about the current living situations for students living in the residence halls as the way they are now and how an incoming freshman may be coming from a home where they have their own room and a bigger space than what a dormitory might provide for them. He said students can come to UW-Whitewater and be thrown into a different situation than they’re used to, but with so many students living on the same floor; a positive experience can come from that. In addition to a smaller space in general, students living in dormitories typically live in rooms that are doubles, where they are living with another student. According to Reslife.uww.edu, doubles cost $1800 per semester. The suites in Starin Hall cost $2,680. Bartlett said the rates will continue to increase over the years, but they currently rank as the ninth-cheapest option out of 13 schools in the UW-system in terms of pricing costs of living on campus.

From an academic standpoint, UW-Whitewater’s standards are at around the same level as the other smaller schools in the UW-system, which are all trying to grow its overall student population. The standards are not lowering, yet more students are being allowed into UW-Whitewater schools compared to other schools across the country. With this boost in total number of students, the housing situations have been looked in to, and renovations are set to take place to older residential halls and building new residential living areas are a part of the school’s master plan, which is set to the school year of 2031-32. UW-Whitewater appears to have its plan for the future set and if everything goes accordingly, the next 20 years for the school can be seen as a growing community with new and improved housing options for students of the future.

Jefferson County Board Meeting: 11/12/13

Posted on November 19th, 2013 in Common Council Meetings by Kevin Cunningham

 

At the Jefferson County Courthouse on Tuesday, Nov. 12, a county board meeting took place regarding the county budget and the construction of a new highway department shop, among other amendments attempting to be passed.

The first amendment of the night regarding the overall county budget was approved. The amendment called for Highway Facilities projects, which will cost roughly $16-17 million.

The budget for 2014 has a levy of around $25 million and a tax rate of 4.2655 mills. A home owner owning a home assessed at $100,000 will pay $426.55 in county property taxes next year.

The county’s mill rate can be found here – http://bit.ly/18lYei0

Other amendments attempted to be passed during the meeting, but were shot down by the majority of board members. The second amendment of the night was trying to add $3,000,000 to complete a bike trail between Waterloo and Oconomowoc.

Of the 27 board members, 19 voted no, while eight voted yes.

The third amendment was to allow $55,000 to be used toward purchasing Sheriff Capital items. This was voted against by 18 members, while nine voted for it.

The fourth, fifth and sixth amendments sought after cutting money from recreational equipment, a disc golf course and Farmland Preservation expenditures. Gregory Torres was the supervisor behind each of these, and the seventh amendment.

The fourth, fifth and sixth amendments each did not go through, as more than 20 board members for each amendment voted no.

In the seventh and final amendment, Torres wanted $13,000 eliminated from the Parks Department budget for installing a well at Garman’s Nature Preserve. Torres insisted that the money could be saved if people brought their own water.

After around 10 minutes of discussion, mostly going against Torres’ action, he decided to offer his opinion on the matter, saying that he would vote against his own amendment. Even though the man behind the amendment voted against his own idea, two people voted yes, while the other 25 board members voted no.

The general consensus around board members appeared to be that of all the money Torres was trying to save by cutting multiple things from the budget, they were not worth it. Members brought up the fact that it was the little things they were trying to do to get people into Jefferson County from outside the area that would help the community grow economically, such as building a disc golf course.

Another topic of importance was regarding around the county levy limit. The limit is a state law that restricts any county tax increase.

The whole “use it or lose it” idea is brought up because if the county does not take the money offered to them, even if they do not need it necessarily right away, the state can take that money away for good.

Outside of the amendments and the county’s levy limit, chairman of the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors, John Molinaro, spoke on the new highway shop that is planning on being built.

“The new highway shop will be between 85 and 100,000 square feet,” Molinaro said. “The facility will include a welding shop and a mechanic bay [as well as office space].”

There will also be a large, heated storage unit in the shop for the county’s snow vehicles to be stored in overnight. Molinaro said that 60 percent of these vehicles could stay in the shop, while the other 40 percent would have to be stored elsewhere, but for those vehicles, they will primarily be used during the warmer seasons.

 

Women’s Soccer: UW-Whitewater wins WIAC title, will host in NCAA Tournament

Posted on November 12th, 2013 in Sports by Kevin Cunningham

           

WSoccer Photo

The Warhawks won the WIAC Tournament final on Saturday, finishing the regular season with an unbeaten record of 16-0-4 and are hosting the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.

            By defeating the UW-Oshkosh Titans 1-0 on Saturday night, the UW-Whitewater women’s soccer team accomplished multiple season goals, including an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.

            “It’s always a goal of ours to win the WIAC Conference, both the regular season and the tournament,” head coach Ryan Quamme said. “I’m very proud of the group. We’ve worked extremely hard, and it’s a great accomplishment for our program having the right to host [in the NCAA Tournament].”

            The one-goal victory clinched the WIAC title for the Warhawks, which marks the second consecutive WIAC championship won by the

’Hawks. By earning the automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament, this will be the third consecutive tournament appearance for the team.

WIAC Tournament Recap

  •             Entering the WIAC Tournament, the ’Hawks were the No. 1 seed hosted the tournament. In the semi-final round, the 14-0-4 ’Hawks beat the UW-Eau Claire Blugolds, 3-0.
  •             Freshman forward Carina Krausert headed the ball into the net in the 12th minute and the team never gave up its lead.
  •             In Saturday’s final against UW-Oshkosh, the lone goal was scored in the first minute of the game as freshman forward Brianna Reid slid one past the Titans goalkeeper off an assist by Carly Pottle. The goal marked Reid’s team-leading 12th of the season.
  •             In the two WIAC Tournament games, junior goalkeeper Jordan Myers recorded two shutouts, increasing her season total to eight.

            “Compared to other years here, I haven’t had to make nearly as many saves just because I haven’t been shot at as much,” Myers said. “Our whole team has been performing really well and keeping the ball away from my end.”

NCAA Tournament Preview

            The ’Hawks enter the NCAA Tournament with a 16-0-4 record and are hosting the first two rounds of the tournament, which take place on Saturday and Sunday at Fiskum Field. The St. Scholastica Saints will be the ’Hawks first-round opponent.

            “To go through a year with zero losses is pretty remarkable,” Quamme said. “There are 435 teams in Division-III, and I believe one of our women told me there were three or four teams left with no losses in the column. It’s a hard thing to do with the schedule we’ve played.”

            The Saints enter with an overall record of 18-2-1 and are riding an 18-game winning streak. During the streak, the Saints have won every game except one by two or more goals.

            In the 18 games, the team from Duluth, Minn., has outscored its opponents by a combined score of 94-2.

            The team hasn’t played the Saints this season but got the opportunity to see them in a preseason tournament last year.

            “Even though we didn’t play them, we know their coaching staff pretty well,” Quamme said. “One of the things that will help us is that we’re a little more battle-tested competition-wise. I think if we stick to our game plan and play well, we’ll be satisfied with the result, win or lose.”

             Looking ahead in the ’Hawks’ region, the other two teams in the group of four are the University of Chicago Maroons (11-4-3), who are ranked No. 25 in the latest D3soccer.com rankings and the Capital University Crusaders (16-4-1), who enter the tournament unranked.

            The winner of the game between the Maroons and Crusaders will take on the winner of the Warhawks and Saints game.

            Within the ’Hawks’ section of eight teams, the undefeated WIAC champions are the highest-ranked team, coming in at No. 14. The next highest-ranked team is Hanover College (17-1-2), who fall just outside the top-25, receiving 31 votes.

            In the same section of 16 teams as the ’Hawks in the bracket, the No. 2-ranked Washington-University of Saint Louis Bears are the top-ranked team, entering the tournament with a 17-1-0 overall record.

            In 2012, the ’Hawks were eliminated in the second round, while in 2011, the team got knocked out in the Sweet Sixteen. Both losses came at the hands of Wheaton College.

            Despite only being a freshman and going through an undefeated season to this point, Reid is aware of the task at hand.

            “I was nervous about [Saturday’s] game, but I’m definitely more excited than nervous now because it’s going to be my first time being in the NCAA Tournament,” Reid said. “Having an undefeated season has helped our confidence. I feel like we can get to the finals if we keep playing the way we’ve been playing.”

            Having an undefeated regular season helps team morale, but often times when looking back on a season, teams wish they had suffered a loss to keep the team’s mindset right. For Myers, she said losing a game along the way wasn’t necessary.

            “Even though we haven’t lost yet, the fact that we’ve battled back in multiple games and won, that’s what’s prepared us mentally more than having a loss on our record,” Myers said.  

            More information on the NCAA Tournament bracket can be found at www.ncaa.com.

Whitewater smoke testing under way

Posted on September 24th, 2013 in Common Council Meetings by Kevin Cunningham

A Whitewater Common Council meeting was held on Tuesday, Sept. 17 regarding smoke testing, an agreement with H2O score, and the alcohol licensing renewal for the Downstairs Sports bar as well as other issues taking place in the city of Whitewater.

Smoke testing has begun taking place as of Sept. 23. In regards to smoke testing, the city is trying to find clear water connections as well as testing the sewer system. When testing the sewer system, the city tries to find breaks.

Residents of Whitewater are advised to call the city if at any point during testing; a smoke line breaks on their property. Residents that do have a smoke line break are in no way charged, as this is a city matter regarding smoke lines.

A one-year agreement with H2O score went through during Tuesday’s meeting. H2O score is trying to help conserve water. Whitewater is the first city to reach an agreement with H2O score.

H2O score helps keep track of home’s usages on water. A mobile app as well as their website is made available to homeowners who want to track how much water is being used, where the most amount of water is being used from, as well as being able to track how much money homeowners are paying for their water.

“The price is right,” James Winship of Aldermanic District 3, said.

H2O score only requires an account number to begin tracking water usage, whether it is for a home or a business. More information can be found at https://www.h2oscore.com/.

City Manager Cameron Clapper went over the budget for the year of 2014 for the city of Whitewater and number remained about the same as they were for 2013. Whitewater is receiving less state funding year after year like most cities in Wisconsin.

The Downstairs Sports Bar received their alcohol license during Tuesday’s meeting. Parking restrictions were also mentioned, but there were no formal changes made.

The library for the city of Whitewater launched a mobile app which allows people to check which books they have checked out, when they’re due by, as well as any out-standing fees. The app is named “Whitewater Public Library” and can be found on most Android and iPhone devices.

Brown Cab, a service that is in Whitewater that can be called during most hours of the day brought up the notion of extending their hours on Mondays. Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Currently, Brown Cab is available for any resident in Whitewater to call up until 7 p.m. during those days, but Brown Cab is looking to extend the time to reach 9 p.m.

The Council agreed that this extension would be wise, and a comment was made saying that night classes offered at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the Spring of 2014 would go from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Currently, night classes are offered from 6:15 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. The Brown Cab representative was not aware of the changes, and is currently thinking about trying to extend available hours to 9:30 p.m.

A new telephone and internet service will likely be made available in the future for residents of Whitewater, as the new service will prove an increase in bandwidth for the city while keeping the cost the same price, or potentially becoming less expensive than the current service.

The Discover Whitewater Series Race was held on Sunday, Sept. 22 in Whitewater. There were 479 runners and the city is hoping to make this event occur annually.

The next Common Council meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 24 at the Municipal building in Whitewater.

Hello world!

Posted on September 10th, 2013 in Uncategorized by Kevin Cunningham

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