Last October, a UW-La Crosse program that trains undergraduates for careers as Army officers got put on death watch. Now, the program that has been part of campus for four decades has new life, thanks in part to graduates’ higher-than-normal tendency to study math and science.

The U.S. Army told university officials recently that the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) will be funded and active through next June, when it will be re-evaluated. It came as welcome news after last year’s confusion over the program’s fate.

First came notice from the Army to chancellor Joe Gow saying the program would be considered for closure as part of Army downsizing. A month later Gow learned ROTC would be put on probation with a decision about its future to be made based on certain performance measures.

The program survived another year in large part because its graduates, who earn a scholarship in college and become commissioned Army officers after college, outperformed peers at other colleges.

A study found that UW-La Crosse sends an average of 15.3 ROTC graduates into the Army as officers yearly. That’s slightly better than the national average of 15. Much more of them — nearly 23 percent — earned degrees in math, science or engineering, commonly known as STEM fields. Nationally, it’s 16 percent.

New online degree at UW-Madison

UW-Madison is accepting applications for a new online masters degree in environmental engineering, set to go live next fall.

“This degree program provides environmental engineers with the competencies needed to solve environmental challenges effectively across technical, organizational and social boundaries,” program director Lee DeBaillie said in a statement.

For more information, visit environment.engr.wisc.edu or contact DeBaillie at 262-2329 or debaillie@wisc.edu.

UW System budget talks on Thursday

The UW System Board of Regents will meet Thursday and Friday in Oshkosh. At the top of the agenda will be the System’s initial budget request for the next two-year cycle, from 2015 to 2017. It’s due to the Department of Administration by Sept. 15.

New president Ray Cross’ budget presentation can be viewed live online at uwex.edu/ics/stream/regents/meetings. Thursday’s coverage goes from 1:15 to 4 p.m.

Reporter, Wisconsin State Journal

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