Press Release

Alverno’s New Strategic Plan Aligns Strengths and Priorities with Milwaukee Region’s Emerging Workforce Needs

Alverno College

Alverno College announces its strategic plan, after a comprehensive year-long planning process that was built around invited input from the College community, alumnae, and key business and civic leaders in Milwaukee and around the country.

The new strategic plan, the first led at the College by President Andrea Lee, IHM, aligns Alverno’s strengths and priorities with the Milwaukee region’s emerging workforce needs. Preparing students for careers in education, nursing and mental health are the top areas of focus. The plan also demonstrates the College’s continued commitment to academic excellence and developing strong women leaders. As part of the plan, Alverno introduced five new programs this year.

“Our pledge to the Alverno community and the region as a whole is to continue to strengthen and grow a mission-driven, market-focused college that benefits students, faculty, staff, trustees and alumnae,” Lee said. “The direction and priorities of our new strategic plan position us and our students well for the future by building upon the College’s legacy and strengths.”

“We believe meeting student needs is more important than ever given that there are so many choices today in higher education,” added Kate Lundeen, vice president for Enrollment Services. “Though Alverno is nationally known as a leader and innovator in higher education, we must remain nimble and flexible by growing and reimagining existing academic programs and adding new ones that students and leaders in our region have requested. Our goal is to prepare highly skilled, critical-thinking, mission-centered graduates ready to fill the region’s employment and leadership needs.”

New Education Programs Prepare Teachers for Urban and High-Need Schools

To better prepare teachers for urban and high-need schools, Alverno redesigned its undergraduate curriculum to place greater emphasis on multicultural classrooms and meeting the needs of diverse learners, which will result in four new Education programs. A paraprofessional to teacher degree completion program launched in fall 2017. Planned for the future are a Montessori teacher licensure partnership; graduate licensures for pupil services and special education administrators; and certificates and digital badges for trauma-informed education. Alverno will increase the number of hours students spend in the classroom before graduation – triple what was previously expected – and include a full senior year internship that will make Alverno graduates more desirable to school districts while providing more assistance to area schools.

The College also will place a priority on ensuring that more teachers of color are working and serving in Milwaukee classrooms.

Health Care Priorities Focus on Leadership Development, Technology and Non-Nursing Opportunities

Alverno’s critically acclaimed JoAnn McGrath School of Nursing and Health Care Professions will add advanced leadership-focused programs, incorporate technology-rich elements into existing programs and offer alternatives for students who wish to work in health care in non-nursing roles. New initiatives include a master of science degree program in gerontology for primary care nurse practitioners; a 12-month fully online bachelor’s degree completion program for RNs; and the expansion of programs in pre-physical therapy, health education and health informatics.

New Behavioral Health Programs Address Shortage in Providers

Alverno plans to meet the critical need for more mental health providers by building upon the College’s established undergraduate programs in psychology, music therapy and art therapy and master’s programs for licensed professional counselors and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners. Alverno will launch a bachelor’s degree in social work, pending accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education, and will expand its Music Therapy offerings with a graduate-level program in fall 2019. Additionally, a master’s degree in School Psychology will launch in fall 2018 to meet the increasing needs of behavioral health specialists prepared to serve students in schools throughout Wisconsin.

New Programs Expand Commitment to Academic Excellence and Women’s Leadership

Building on its long history of developing strong women leaders, Alverno will launch challenging new programs designed to help women achieve their highest academic aspirations.

Additionally, Alverno’s Center for Academic Excellence will provide new opportunities for students to partner with faculty on research projects. The Austin Doherty Scholars program, which targets students seeking to stretch their academic engagement, is being expanded. Two other existing programs are also growing: the Executive in Residence program, which brings executives to campus for a full day of group discussions focused on their career; and the Women in the C-Suite program, which partners small groups of students with female executives who share insights about their career, as well as challenges they face and the opportunities they’ve taken.

The College plans to add 500 students in five years, bringing overall enrollment to 2,500 by 2022.