University of Wisconsin–Platteville (also known as UW–Platteville) is a public university located in Platteville, Wisconsin, United States. Part of the University of Wisconsin System, it offers both bachelor and master degrees. The university has three colleges that serve over 7,000 students on-campus and an additional 3,000 students through its five distance education programs.
The University grew from the 1959 merger of two schools: Wisconsin State College, Platteville and Wisconsin Institute of Technology. WSC-Platteville was founded in 1866 as Platteville Normal School, the first teacher preparation school in Wisconsin. It was renamed Platteville State Teachers College in 1926 and Wisconsin State College, Platteville in 1951. The Wisconsin Institute of Technology, founded in 1907 as the Wisconsin Mining Trade School, was founded to train technicians for the numerous mining operations around Platteville. It evolved into the first three-year program for mining engineers in the United States. It changed its name to the Wisconsin Institute of Technology in 1939. The schools combined became the Wisconsin State College and Institute of Technology. In 1966, along with Wisconsin's other state colleges, it was granted university status as Wisconsin State University-Platteville. It took its current name after the Wisconsin State University system merged with the University of Wisconsin in 1971.
Starting in the late 1960s, the University of Wisconsin–Platteville expanded its academic program and established new colleges, the largest being a business college. The mining college was transformed into an engineering college encompassing mining, electrical, mechanical, and eventually electronic engineering. In the late 1980s, the mining engineering degree was phased out because of falling enrollment. By that time it had been overshadowed by the other engineering degrees.
From 1984 to 2000, the Chicago Bears of the National Football League held pre-season training camp at UW–Platteville. They were considered a member of the "Cheese League" that in 1999 consisted of the Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs, with each team practicing at a different university in Wisconsin. In 2001, the Illinois State Legislature asked the Bears to move to an Illinois practice facility in order to raise funds for remodeling Soldier Field. Before the Bears left, they donated $250,000 to UW–Platteville for a new computer lab, which was named "The Bears Den.".
Engineering, agriculture, and criminal justice are the "mission programs", and the fastest growing programs at UW–P have been those in the business college, software engineering, and chemistry/criminalistics. As of 2004, the majority of students enroll in either business or engineering, with the numbers of graduates in each field being roughly equal.
In the 1980s, UWP made an effort to bring businesses to the Platteville area to take advantage of university resources. Rockwell Automation started this trend in the 1980s when it recruited two engineering professors at UW–P to start an engineering firm. Rockwell provided financing and awarded them major contracts. The resulting business was Insight Industries, which later changed to AVISTA Inc. (now a division of Esterline, Inc.).
UW–P's campus has no city streets that cut through the campus. During the 1960s, all city streets and parking lots within the campus were replaced with wide sidewalks and manicured lawns.
UW–P has eleven residence halls. Southwest Hall opened in the fall of 2006. To accommodate a rapidly growing student body Rountree Commons opened in August 2012 and Bridgeway Commons is scheduled for a fall of 2013 completion. According to the release, the new hall will have a "34,000-square-foot dining facility" and the five floors above will have more than 400 beds.
Ullsvik Hall, renovated and expanded between 2006 and 2008, houses administrative offices, academic facilities, visitor center, and other support departments. It also has banquet and catering facilities, including the Robert I. Velzy Commons, and the Nohr Art Gallery.
In 2002, a new student union, the Pioneer Student Center, was opened at the center of campus. The new location makes the student union the heart of the campus. The union also serves as a technology and activity hub with a large computer lab (the Bear's Den), an involvement center, and on-campus activities. The union houses one of two dining complexes, the Pioneer Crossing, which includes "Signature Line" and "Pioneer Haus." The center also includes a deli and coffee shop. The other location for food on campus is Glenview Commons, located in the residence hall section of campus. In 2011 the student center building was named the Markee Pioneer Student Center, after former Chancellor David Markee and his wife Lou Ann.
The university is part of the University of Wisconsin System, and has an administrative staff headed by a Chancellor. Its colleges are headed by deans and departments chairpersons who report to the deans. The university consists of three colleges that offer bachelor's and master's degrees:
Students and faculty
In 2004, UWP received approval from the UW system to increase its enrollment from 5,500 to 7,500 students. UWP started a program called the Tri-State Initiative, which aims to attract prospective students from Illinois and Iowa. The enrollment of UWP, as of Fall 2008, stood at 6,612 undergraduates and 900 graduate students. As of 2004, UWP was staffed by 336 faculty.
In 1978, the University introduced print-based courses to enable Wisconsin residents living in isolated areas to earn an undergraduate degree in business administration without having to travel to a university campus. In 1996, the residency requirement was amended and the distance program was extended to working adults living throughout the United States. In 1999, online graduate programs in criminal justice, engineering, and project management were introduced, allowing students throughout the world to earn an accredited degree at a distance from UW–P. In addition to accredited degree programs, UWP has also developed online leadership and management courses in association with the Wisconsin Department of Justice and on-site project management courses in association with a project management consulting company.[vague]
UW–Platteville has over 250 clubs and organizations.
UW–Platteville is a member of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in 14 sports, including football and basketball. The teams are nicknamed the Pioneers. Men's sports include basketball, football, indoor & outdoor track and field, cross country, wrestling, soccer, and baseball. Women's sports include basketball, soccer, indoor & outdoor track and field, volleyball, cross country, golf, softball, and cheerleading. All teams compete in NCAA Division III and Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. There are also a number of club sports teams such as hockey and lacrosse which are partially funded through the university.
The men's basketball team won NCAA Division III championships in 1991, 1995, 1998, and 1999. The Pioneers qualified for the Division III men's basketball tournament from 1991-1999 and returned 10 years later in 2009. Bo Ryan, the head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers, guided the Pioneers to a 353-76 record and the best winning percentage in NCAA Division III basketball. Ryan established one of the best home court advantages of all time as the Pioneers only lost 5 games at home in a decade. The team averaged 26 wins a season in the 1990s, when the Division III men's regular season schedule only allowed 25 games per year.
The student newspaper, The Exponent, is published weekly by a student staff.
UW–Platteville has several nationally affiliated and local Greek organizations:
The largest celebration by UW–P students is the twice-annual lighting of the Platte Mound M. The "M" is located on Platte Mound, a nearby large hill east of the city of Platteville. It is the largest white, single-letter, non-cursive, non-italic, man-made "M" in the world. It was created in 1936 by mining students, with the "M" standing for mining. Today, because mining engineering is no longer offered in the curriculum at UW–P, the "M" is now maintained by some UW–P faculty members and the local chapter of Theta Tau Professional Engineering Fraternity. Once a year, the "M" is whitewashed (not painted) to make it stand out. This used to be an all-engineering-students event, with the "M" being whitewashed using many buckets passed from student to student, followed by a cookout on the back patio of the engineering building. During the university's annual homecoming in the fall and after the "Miner's Ball" (also called "M-Ball") or after graduation in the spring, the "M" is lit by means of cans with a small amount of kerosene and a wick. The lit "M" can be seen for miles and is a popular event for local photographers. Also, once a year another group, Sigma Phi Epsilon, lights the "M" with the cans set up in a heart shape called the "Burning Heart."
The city has a large number of taverns, mainly on Second Street. Of the student body over 3,700 live in on campus residence halls, with a growing number of students staying on town during the weekends. Students that don't live on campus typically live in houses off campus that are rented by the year. At one time taverns would regularly have standing-room-only nights. The music scene, funded by the taverns was active, producing several bands a year. One band, All Envy Aside (formerly Envy), won the MTV Best Band on Campus contest in 2005.
The following have attended or held positions at University of Wisconsin–Platteville: