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​New programs launched through UW-Stevens Point

UW-Stevens Point will offer a new science education degree and doctoral program as well as expand another to the Wausau campus this fall. A new credited micro-certificate is also available within the MBA program.

  • The Natural Science education major will be launched beginning in fall, one of the first within the University of Wisconsin System. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) approved this collaborative bachelor's degree program. The new major Natural Science, science teaching certification is a collaboration among the School of Education, Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy, Geography and Geology and the College of Natural Resources.

"Of critical importance, this program better prepares students to effectively teach to the interdisciplinary nature of science and addresses the need for qualified science teachers in school districts across the state," said Krista Slemmons, associate professor of biology and coordinator of the new program coordinator.

The most recent DPI report on school staffing cited chronic staffing shortages across many disciplines, including science. Teacher shortages were most pronounced in northern Wisconsin school districts and in science, technology, math (STEM) fields. Fifty percent of school districts described their teacher shortage as "extreme."

Students in the Natural Science major will take core science courses and select a minor in one of those disciplines and a certificate in an additional field of science.  This broad array of science coursework provides ample knowledge to teach any science discipline in grades 4-12 and allows students to focus on an area of emphasis.

"We're one of the first institutions in the UW System to offer this program, and it will help fill the void of much-needed science educators in our state," said Jason D'Acchioli, assistant dean, School of Biology, Chemistry, and Biochemistry. For more information, see the Science Education website.

  • The Doctor of Physical Therapy program began accepting applications this month for the initial May 2022 program. It is the third doctoral program at UW-Stevens Point and the only physical therapy doctorate in the northern two-thirds of Wisconsin.

  • The program will address regional and rural needs in the state:

  • Northcentral Wisconsin's population is older than the Southern Wisconsin population, with a greater incidence of heart, pain-related and cerebrovascular diseases.

  • Northcentral Wisconsin has 72 licensed physical therapists per 100,000 residents compared to 131 per 100,000 in Southern Wisconsin.

  • "The physical therapy program is being developed in partnership with local health care providers and has the specific intent of graduating physical therapists ready to collaborate and serve the evolving and diverse needs of rural communities," said Kathryn Zalewski, physical therapist, and physical therapy doctoral program director.

    Students interested in this career path could major in health science, health promotion and wellness or biology for their undergraduate degree. The UW-Stevens Point degree in health science pre-physical therapy option already prepares students for successful admission to DPT programs nationwide.

    The UW-Stevens Point program is designed to recruit, support and prepare students interested in serving rural communities as a highly qualified primary care providers. "The DPT program has developed a model that is sustainable, innovative and engaged with our local communities," said Kathryn Zalewski, DPT, program coordinator. An advisory board of local and regional employers, educators and practitioners informs the program curricula.

    For more information, see the DPT website.

  • The UW-Stevens Point sociology major will be available at UW-Stevens Point at Wausau this fall, offering regional students an additional degree option. The sociology major prepares students for careers in social and human services, criminal justice, public service, teaching, general business and management. Sociology is also used as a liberal arts foundation for other specialties such as advertising, business, counseling, engineering, journalism, medicine, planning and public affairs.  It will also be available to students who want to double major in social work and sociology at the Wausau campus.

    "Sociology is a solid academic discipline that appeals to a variety of students and can be used in a lot of ways," said Professor Amy Zlimen Ticho, chair of UW-Stevens Point's Department of Sociology and Social Work. "There is also an increased demand for four-year degrees for positions in the criminal justice system," she said, "with sociology filling a need for training in issues of social justice, inclusivity and social diversity."

    Courses will be taught in Wausau by faculty and academic staff from both the Stevens Point and Wausau campuses, with some online and virtual offerings.    

  • For more information, see the Department of Sociology and Social Work website,

  • A Thriving Cultures Micro-Certificate is now offered through the MBA program at UW-Stevens Point and CREATE Portage County. This Executive Education Series includes courses that can be taken separately or together for the full certificate. Each class is one credit and is taken in four weeks with course materials such as podcasts, readings and notes that are used in the workplace. All credits earned may be applied as graduate elective credit in the MBA program.

    Classes include:
    • Seeing What Work Can Be, June 28-Aug. 20 (last day to register is July 26)
      Explore shifts in the digital economy and new ways of doing business.

    • Fostering a Creative Culture, Sept. 2-Oct. 22 (last day to register is Sept. 30)
      Learn the tools and techniques that increase innovation and creativity.

    • Organizing for Empowerment, Oct. 25-Dec. 10 (last day to register is Nov. 22)
      Create new pathways to success through equity, diversity and inclusion.

Learn more at the Thriving Cultures website.

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