By UW-Platteville Baraboo Sauk County
To further serve the needs of employees and employers in southwest Wisconsin, UW-Platteville and UW-Stout will partner to offer a new degree program.
Beginning in fall 2021, UW-Platteville Baraboo Sauk County will offer an associate degree in hospitality and tourism.
Students who want to continue toward a bachelor’s degree can transfer their credits to the hotel, restaurant and tourism management program at UW-Stout.
The Associate of Science in hospitality and tourism management will feature UW-Platteville Baraboo Sauk County courses in accounting, economics and required general education. At UW-Stout students will enroll in hospitality-focused operations, employee relations and business practices.
Associate degree students will also complete an internship with an industry employer.
“With Wisconsin Dells, one the Midwest’s largest hotel and tourism destinations less than 10 miles up the road, we’re eager to offer this new degree for students to expand their studies and their employment opportunities,” said Michael C. Compton, assistant provost for branch campus operations at UW-Platteville and acting dean of the Baraboo Sauk County branch campus.
Students who complete the associate degree will have guaranteed admission to UW-Stout’s program, either on campus or online, if they wish to continue, according to Compton.
“The associate degree gives an important foundation of skills and knowledge to take right into the workforce in one of the area’s largest business sectors, while also laying the groundwork for further education.”
According to the State Department of Tourism’s most recent economic impact study, consumer spending on tourism in Sauk County in 2019 was $1.14 billion, directly supporting more than 11,500 jobs.
The UW-Stout School of Hospitality Leadership dates to 1968. It has been ranked as one of the top programs on the world. UW-Stout has been offering an online bachelor’s degree since 2016.
Expanding access to UW-Platteville Baraboo Sauk County students will broaden the program’s reach even more, according to the school’s Chair Eric Brey.
“We look forward to working together with UW-Platteville to support our industry and expand opportunities in hospitality and tourism for students living and working in and near Sauk County – and bringing more students access to UW-Stout’s expertise, experience and dedicated faculty,” Brey said.
Reaching students living and working away from the campus in Menomonie is a priority for UW-Stout, said Maria Alm, interim dean of the UW-Stout College of Education, Hospitality, Health and Human Sciences.
“With this associate degree and partnership with UW-Platteville, focused in one of Wisconsin’s most important tourist destinations, students working or seeking work in hospitality and tourism will be able to draw on the strength of both universities to advance their careers,” Alm said.
Wayne Weber, dean of the UW-Platteville College of Business, Industry, Life Science and Agriculture, sees the launch of the associate degree as an exciting chance for UW-Platteville to expand its ability to serve the needs of the region.
“By centering this program at our Baraboo Sauk County campus, we can make even more of an impact with our own core strength of business education,” said Weber. “The leaders in the area made clear right away that they hoped for education opportunities focused on their existing needs and goals for further expansion, and I am excited by the chance to start this new degree program to help address that.”
The collaborative enthusiasm both universities have brought into the months of planning behind the new partnership has been very gratifying as well, according to Weber.
“UW-Stout has a tremendous program and working with them on development of this associate degree has been a great opportunity to integrate our strengths into something new that will offer real benefits to students and to the businesses they do, and will, work for,” Weber said.
The hospitality and tourism degree will be the fourth new Associate of Science degree launched at UW-Platteville since the Baraboo Sauk County and Richland Center campuses became branch campuses of UW-Platteville in 2018. Those degrees offer guaranteed admission to bachelor programs at UW-Platteville, while the hospitality and tourism degree is the first direct agreement to guarantee admission between a branch campus and anther university’s program in the UW System.
Leaders from UW-Platteville and UW-Stout will come together for an official announcement and signing ceremony for the joint agreement when gatherings can safely resume.