UW-Madison welcomes nontraditional students with web portal

Advance Your Career screenshot: a resource for nontraditional students

Not everyone can attend classes full-time on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. Busy professionals need convenient ways to continue their education and advance their careers.
In an effort to highlight UW-Madison’s growing menu of flexible and online degree and certificate programs, the campus is launching a new one-stop web portal, pdc.wisc.edu. The portal presents information about these offerings in one place, making it easier to learn about more than 40 online, hybrid, accelerated, and evening/weekend programs. It also connects nontraditional students to special career services available for adult learners and community members.

Sarah C. Mangelsdorf, UW-Madison’s Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, unveiled the website during her presentation to the UW System Board of Regents today. She explained that the programs highlighted by Professional Degrees & Certificates (formerly Advance Your Career) site are designed for people who need an advanced credential to further their career or move into a specialized field.
“Research shows that between 2010 and 2020, Wisconsin will have approximately 75,000 job openings that require post-baccalaureate credentials,” says Mangelsdorf. “UW-Madison’s flexible and online degrees and certificates will provide Wisconsin residents with the qualifications to fill these positions, and excel at them.”

Options for getting ahead

Programs like the Master of Business Administration, the Master of Engineering in Engine Systems, and dozens of others allow professionals to earn additional credentials without interrupting their careers. They can attend evening or weekend classes in Madison, take classes online from anywhere in the world, or choose a degree program that combines the best of face-to-face and distance learning. Each option provides the tools for getting ahead in a job, or for changing jobs entirely. As in a traditional UW-Madison degree program, students will benefit from the university’s innovative instructors, rigorous coursework, and extensive alumni network.
“I spent a lot of time looking for a graduate school that offered me flexibility with my family and my full-time work, and I found UW-Madison’s School of Social Work,” says Corin Tubridy. “Fellow students have been a great support system, and the staff of the part-time program really work with you to make it fit around your schedule.”
Jeffrey S. Russell, Dean of Continuing Studies and Vice Provost for Lifelong Learning, says UW-Madison has an obligation to respond to the changing needs of our state. “We’re a big institution, but we can also be a nimble institution, and we can do our part to strengthen the state’s workforce,” says Russell.
This effort aligns with a recommendation by the Governor’s Council on Workforce Investment that Wisconsin institutions of higher education improve access to degree programs that support opportunities in high-demand fields.
“We have well-established programs in business, engineering, and nursing, each with a proven record of helping graduates move up the ranks in competitive fields,” says Russell. “New programs such as Environmental Conservation, Resource and Energy Demand Analysis, and Computer Science Professional Program have been designed to address emerging workforce demands and employer needs. We’re excited about the prospect of expanding our menu of capstone certificates, degree programs, and non-credit professional development programs to achieve an even greater impact.”