At its meeting Thursday, the Board of Regents debated allowing other University of Wisconsin System schools to offer doctoral degrees as well as educational doctoral degree programs.

Currently, only UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee offer doctoral degree programs.. Although some of the comprehensive UW System universities currently offer doctoral degrees, they do so in conjunction with either UW-Madison or UW-Milwaukee.

The regents discussed the benefits and cost-analysis of adding doctoral programs to the universities.

According to UW-Eau Claire Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich, offering professional doctorates at comprehensive universities would help with institutional sustainability.

“Professional doctoral programs can help keep up strong enrollment numbers at our universities and possibly help serve students who already have bachelor’s degrees,” Levin-Stankevich said. “They can also help increase university revenue and enhance the experience of undergraduate students.”

The idea of professional doctorate programs in education and nursing are most popular among comprehensive universities. Currently, no UW institution offers an educational doctorate degree, forcing many students to travel out-of-state in order to meet growing professional demands, according to Levin-Stankevich.

Offering doctorates could also help increase the knowledge of university staff, according to UW-Oshkosh Chancellor Richard Wells.

“We can educate students who can then stay at the university and help further educate our students, increasing faculty strength,” Wells said.

Before decisions can be made regarding the addition of doctorate degree programs at UW comprehensive universities, regents also have to consider how the offerings would affect masters and undergraduate programs as well as the true demand of the program, according to Rebecca Martin, senior vice president for UW System Academic Affairs .

“This is something the UW System needs, something the state of Wisconsin needs,” UW-Stevens Point Provost Mark Nook said.

The regents did not vote on any proposals or reach any decisions regarding the doctorate degree programs. Instead, the presentation and debate were designed solely to educate the members in case the other UW System campuses begin making requests to implement these types of degrees at their schools.

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