Press Release

Alverno College First in Wisconsin to be Named Hispanic-Serving Institution

November 9, 2017

Alverno College is the first college in Wisconsin designated a Hispanic Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education.

Alverno College met the enrollment criteria to be considered a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) by the U.S. Department of Education, a national designation that provides access to federal grants and scholarships to not-for-profit institutions of higher learning that serve a significant population of Hispanic students. Alverno is the first HSI-designated institution in Wisconsin, one of only 14 in the Midwest and one of only 276 in the United States.

To be designated an HSI member, which is part of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), 25 percent of an institution’s total undergraduate full-time equivalent enrollment must be Hispanic. Alverno’s fall 2017 total enrollment of Hispanic students was 27 percent.

“This federal designation validates all that we celebrate most about Alverno College – the richness of our diverse student body and the intentional way in which we seek to build and support our campus community so that it may authentically reflect the world in which we live,” said Dr. Andrea Lee, IHM, president of Alverno. “Alverno’s Latina students and other students of color are among the future leaders of Milwaukee, our region and beyond. As we recognize and embrace our designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, we celebrate in a special way the contributions of Latina students to our vibrant college and look forward to collaboration with other Hispanic-Serving Institutions to support the continued success and educational outcomes of all our students. Most important, we commit to remaining one of Wisconsin’s most ethnically diverse colleges.”

The designation aligns with Alverno’s mission of and commitment to educating an ethnically diverse population of undergraduate women, integral to the college’s success for 130 years. In fall 2013, the percentage of Alverno’s full-time, degree-seeking undergraduate Hispanic students was 19 percent. In fall 2011, it was 16 percent.

According to data from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, 10.2 percent of metropolitan Milwaukee’s population in 2014 was Latino, an increase of 213.3 percent from 3.6 percent of the population in 1990.

The designation not only allows the college to apply for new federal grants, but it benefits all Alverno students. A student does not need to be Latina/o to apply for a HACU scholarship. HACU scholarships are for all students attending a HACU institution. Federal agencies that provide grants and scholarships to students at HACU institutions include the departments of Agriculture, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Students can use these funds for scholarly opportunities like student travel, study abroad and internships.

“This designation greatly enhances our ability to carry out our mission of preparing women for personal and professional distinction and meaningful engagement with the world,” said Jennifer Flamboe, Ph.D., chair of Alverno’s World Languages department, director of the college’s Healthcare Interpretation Program and a nationally certified healthcare interpreter. “Knowing the Milwaukee Latino community well and having worked closely with Hispanic youth and adults for many years, I am proud to be affiliated with an institution that has such an inclusive infrastructure for supporting these and all of our students.”

Ruth Lopez de Arenas will serve as Alverno’s coordinator of Hispanic outreach and success. An Alverno alumna, she will work to strengthen partnerships with community organizations and prospective students and their families, as well as lead efforts to ensure the academic success of current students. Lopez de Arenas has served as an undergraduate admissions counselor for the college since 2016.

In addition to Alverno’s Hispanic student population, 14 percent identify as Black or African American, 5 percent identify as Asian and 4 percent identify as two or more races. Sixty-eight percent of undergraduate students who started at the college in the fall 2017 semester are first-generation college students.

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Categories: Press Release

Powerhouse Female Executives Address Women’s Leadership

October 24, 2017

Alverno is partnering with Milwaukee Women Inc. to host a Women in the C-Suite panel discussion.

Women continue to fall far behind men when it comes to representation in the board room. In fact, among the 50 largest public companies in Wisconsin, only 17.6% of the directors are women. Because of this, Alverno College hopes to connect college-aged women with female executives so they can learn about their career paths, obstacles they’ve had to overcome and successes they’ve had. The goal is to inspire young women set their sights higher when it comes to their careers.

As part of our efforts, Alverno is partnering with Milwaukee Women Inc. to host a Women in the C-Suite panel discussion. The panel features several women who have leadership roles in their fields, and will be moderated by Sandy Wysocki, Chief Development Officer of the United Performing Arts Fund and chair of Milwaukee Women Inc. Panelists include:

  • Marie O’Brien, Founder, President and CEO, Enterforce Inc.
  • Lori Craig, Senior Vice President and Market Executive, PNC Wealth Management
  • Mary Ellen Stanek, CFA, President, Baird Funds, and Chief Investment Officer, Baird Advisors
  • Susan Martin, Executive Vice President, Secretary and General Counsel, WEC Energy Group Inc.

 “Because women still fall far behind men when it comes to representation in the board room, it’s vitally important that we expose college-aged women to the possibilities that exist and connect them to women who have leadership positions,” said Patricia Luebke, dean of the Alverno College School of Professional Studies. “Alverno’s Women in the C-Suite program is designed to do just that.”

The event will take place on October 26 from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. at The Women’s Club of Wisconsin. For more information or to register, please visit

Categories: Press Release

Alverno College Student Receives CIC/UPS Scholarship

October 12, 2017

Laura Sierra

Alverno College student Laura Sierra, an Accounting major originally from Bogota, Columbia has been selected to receive a CIC/UPS Scholarship provided by the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (WAICU) and its national partner, the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) in Washington, DC.

Nationally, CIC and the UPS Foundation provided more than $1.5 million in student scholarships through state-based associations to make private colleges and universities more accessible to underserved students. This year, WAICU awarded $66,000 in CIC/UPS Scholarships to 24 low-income students at private institutions across Wisconsin.

“This scholarship gives me an opportunity to continue fulfilling my aspirations and to keep advancing into my professional’s goals,” said Sierra. “This recognition not only motivates me to be more committed to my community, but to broaden my horizons and keep giving the best of me in everything I do.”

“At a time when college graduates are more critical to Wisconsin’s economy than ever, we are especially grateful to CIC and UPS for their partnership in making students’ aspirations in higher education a reality,” said Dr. Rolf Wegenke, president of WAICU.

The Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (WAICU) is the official organization of Wisconsin’s 24 private, nonprofit colleges and universities. WAICU is dedicated to expanding educational opportunity for students and is nationally recognized for its innovative programming to control college costs and for its partnerships with employers to provide skilled graduates.

About the Council of Independent Colleges

The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) is an association of nonprofit independent colleges and universities, as well as state-based councils and other higher education affiliates, that works to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence, and enhance public understanding of independent higher education’s contributions to society. CIC is the major national organization that focuses on services to leaders of independent colleges and universities and state-based councils. CIC offers conferences, seminars, publications, and other programs and services that help institutions improve educational quality, administrative and financial performance, student outcomes, and institutional visibility. It conducts the largest annual conferences of college and university presidents and of chief academic officers. Founded in 1956, CIC is headquartered at One Dupont Circle in Washington, DC.

About The UPS Foundation

Established in 1951 and based in Atlanta, Georgia, the UPS Foundation identifies areas where its backing clearly impacts social issues. The UPS Foundation has identified the following focus areas for giving: volunteerism, diversity, community safety, and the environment. In 2016, UPS and its employees, active and retired, invested more than $116.6 million in charitable giving around the world. The UPS Foundation can be found on the web at

Categories: Press Release

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

September 26, 2017

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.

Jodi Eastberg Named Executive Director of Center for Academic Excellence

September 21, 2017

Jodi Eastberg

Jodi Eastberg, Ph.D., professor of history, has been named executive director of Alverno College’s Center for Academic Excellence. The appointment was effective August 1.

In this new role, Eastberg will provide leadership for Alverno’s Center for Academic Excellence (CAE) and partner with Alverno faculty and staff to provide opportunities for high-achieving students to get the most from their college education. Launched in fall 2015, the CAE offers student-faculty research fellowships, intensive courses, conference and study abroad experiences and fellowships, seminars, and the Doherty Scholars program. Data shows that students who engage in academically rigorous programs and co-curricular opportunities have significantly higher success reaching their educational goals. Alverno’s CAE provides multiple opportunities for this type of individualized and high-impact academic engagement.

Because of the Center’s strong focus on meaningful research opportunities, Eastberg will also oversee the Alverno College Research Center for Women and Girls. With a focus on providing research that supports the understanding and improvement of the lives of women and girls, the Research Center for Women and Girls will provide another platform for the substantial in-depth academic opportunities that will allow high-ability students and faculty researchers to engage directly with the community.

Eastberg began teaching at Alverno in 2005 and most recently served as chair of the history department. In 2014, she and a colleague developed and led an interdisciplinary course on coastal cities that studied Milwaukee – investigating the ways culture, economic development, political dynamics and the environment are affected by its location on the water. The semester culminated in a trip to coastal cities along the Baltic Sea: Gdansk, Poland; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Kalmar and Malmö, Sweden. Eastberg was promoted to professor in May 2017.