BILSA Meet And Eat With Dean Wayne Weber

On Oct. 9, the College of Business, Industry, Life Science and Agriculture (BILSA) hosted a Meet and Eat via Zoom to discuss updates on a wide array of subjects, from enrollment to additional majors to BILSA.

The meeting was led by Dr. Wayne Weber, who has been the college’s dean for nine years. Several other faculty members were in attendance including Assistant Dean of Student Services Dr. Jodi McDermott and Assistant Student Services Coordinator Katherine Roth. After introductions, Dr. Weber congratulated the winners of the Outstanding Alumni Award.

The meeting then shifted into how Platteville is handling COVID-19 and their approach to teaching during the pandemic.

“We [the University] have taken significant steps to what we call ‘Blended Learning.’ With 20% of classes being face-to-face, 40% being Hybrid, mix of online and face-to-face, and 40% being online,” said Dr. Weber.

He went on to say that things have gone quite well this semester and that the “29 active cases…that is very manageable. The positive tests are not associated with the face-to-face sessions.”

The next topic was enrollment in BILSA. Overall, the enrollment rate is “down by 18% on the main campus since 2014,” said Dr. Weber.

“It has to do with the demographics of where we are.” The decline in enrollment also matches the two other colleges at UW-Platteville. “It not only has to do with demographics, but economic position,” stated Weber.

BILSA’s rentention rate was the next topic on the board, and Weber showed that, “we are above the national average at 78%…we are not quite where we want to be. We want to get to 80% and see if we can go further.” He then went on to state that BILSA “is the retention college, we award 42% of all degrees in the University.”

The final topics of the event were the new renovations around campus and the new majors for the college. Russell Hall has a new industrial system in the works, with the addition of a new robotics lab that is set to be fully functional this Spring.

BILSA is also participating in the Dairy Innovation Hub, a statewide collaboration, with two new scientists hired to help with the engagement between three institutes. Some majors that are available in BILSA are Associate Degrees of Science in Food plus Agriculture, Business Administration, Hospitality plus Tourism Management and a Physician Assistant Program.

The mission of the college and the University. of Wisconsin-Platteville is and has been, as Weber said, “to empower each student to become broader in perspective,
intellectually more astute, and ethically more responsible.”