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<p><span class="dateline">(Janesville, WI) By Frank Schultz, Gazette</span></p> <p>UW-Rock County plans to offer a new, four-year degree this fall, appealing especially to local adults who can't take time away from family or jobs to attend a four-year college.</p> <p>The new bachelor's degree program will offer credit for workplace experience and would benefit local workers who need a degree to advance in their careers, said Carmen Wilson, UW-Rock dean and campus executive officer.</p> <p>UW-Rock will be one of six two-year UW campuses to offer the new bachelor of applied arts and sciences degree-completion program.</p> <p>"We're very excited about it," Wilson said of the new program. "It's really a wonderful opportunity for place-bound students."</p> <p>Another advantage to older students is that the degree will offer credit for workplace or military experience.</p> <p>The BAAS degree, as officials call it, is a general-studies degree that emphasizes critical thinking, written and oral communication skills, and working in groups with people from diverse cultures and viewpoints.</p> <p>The degree will include requirements for learning through community service and local internships.</p> <p>"I have heard from employers that students need soft skills—how to be a good employee, professional experience, how to communicate well, work in team—and this degree focuses on those aspects," Wilson said.</p> <p>Several four-year degrees already are offered at the Janesville campus in cooperation with four-year universities, including the popular engineering degrees through UW-Platteville and a nursing degree through UW-Oshkosh and with the help of Blackhawk Technical College.</p> <p>The new program will include 30 credits offered by UW-Platteville, but the UW Colleges, which includes UW-Rock, will confer the degree, and that's a first for UW-Rock, Wilson said.</p> <p>The Higher Learning Commission, an independent accrediting agency, has approved the new program, UW-Rock announced Tuesday.</p> <p>Accreditation is intended to assure that colleges meet generally accepted standards.</p> <p>"The BAAS degree is very timely and relevant to today's adult students," Wilson said in a news release. "It meets the needs of local businesses and organizations for employees who are skilled in teamwork and communications, and it meets Wisconsin's need for a more educated workforce."</p> <hr />
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