Convenience and flexibility – two outcomes we’ve come to expect in our daily lives, thanks to our reliance on technology. The same ingredients loom large for many working adults considering how to complete their college degrees. While technology provides avenues like online classes, this approach has the potential to leave students without a support system necessary to succeed. The UW Flexible Option is working to improve the academic experience with a support system designed for personalization, success, and satisfaction.
“Our approach provides students with support from our first contact with them,” says Jan Ford, UW Flexible Option Director of Student Success. “From that moment, we begin to focus on the individual needs of our students.”
With the UW Flexible Option, students are immediately connected with a support team of experts. Enrollment Advisers begin the process by providing general and next-step information. Students then work with an admission adviser who takes the student through the application and admission process. Once admitted, students are introduced to their personal success coach, who serves as a unique blend of academic adviser, mentor, coach, key navigator, and all-around “go-to” person.
The UW Flexible Option success coach is specifically assigned to a student based on his or her chosen academic program. Together with the student, the coach assists in crafting an Individualized Learning Plan that takes into account the student’s desired timeline, expectations, prior learning and readiness, and life circumstances. This process helps determine the appropriate workload for each student. The goal for this Flex Team approach is to provide a “wrap-around, 360-degree” support network for a seamless, positive, and personal student experience.
“We are coming to students to understand and meet their needs,” Ford says. “These are adult students who have desires for continuing their education, but who haven’t been well-served by existing and more traditional online or brick-and-mortar options. UW Flexible Option provides that avenue in a structure that is self-paced, affordable and, most importantly, flexible.”
Ford says another way the UW Flexible Option is positioned to create success is through the fostering of partnerships and practices already in place within the University of Wisconsin System.
“Strong collaboration exists between our campus partners and the University of Wisconsin-Extension, where much of the centralized support operation is administered,” Ford says. “Our emerging structure has afforded unique and exceptional opportunities to eliminate sometimes complicated processes in favor of a seamless, student friendly approach to application, enrollment, and advising.”
A key to the strength of the UW Flexible Option is that it draws from existing degree or certificate programs, so it has the quality associated with the brand of the UW System that is recognized nationally and internationally.
“These programs have the same UW academic rigor, and are accredited in the same way as their brick-and-mortar or traditional online UW counterparts,” Ford says. “They are designed by existing UW faculty and supported by UW System personnel.”
Ford notes that much of the personalization built into the UW Flexible Option begins with the first conversation students have with enrollment advisers. The information shared with the enrollment team allows success coaches to better understand the life events, learning styles, and preparation students bring with them as they consider the UW Flexible Option, and helps the coaches find the right path for success for each and every student.
“We want students to be successful, and that begins with understanding their needs and building a system around them that will play to their strengths,” Ford says. “Ultimately, we want students to have a positive experience that leads to graduation with their chosen degree.”
To find out more about the UW Flexible Option and whether this competency-based education option is a good fit for you, call a friendly enrollment adviser today at 1-877-895-3276.
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Download an introductory guide (PDF) to the self-paced, competency-based UW Flexible Option programs, including details about costs, admission requirements, and more.