University Partnerships Expand Blackhawk’s Offerings to Include Bachelor’s Degrees

August 30, 2023


Left to right: Dr. Beth Borgen, President of Lakeland University; Dr. Tracy Pierner, President of Blackhawk; Dr. Erik Ankerberg, President of Concordia University; Dr. Corey King, Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

In a strategic move to enhance pathways to bachelor’s degrees, Blackhawk Technical College announced groundbreaking partnerships on Wednesday with three Wisconsin universities, ushering in a new era of academic possibilities for Blackhawk students.

Concordia University, Lakeland University and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater at Rock County will now offer a comprehensive array of bachelor's degree programs that grant Blackhawk students access to a four-year education while fostering a seamless transition from associate to bachelor's level studies.

These partnerships are the cornerstone of Blackhawk's visionary initiative, the University Center. Housed within the heart of the college's Central Campus, the center is a hub where students can access transfer information, receive guidance from advisors and engage in activities related to their educational goals.

"These transformative alliances signify an extraordinary step forward for Blackhawk," said Dr. Tracy Pierner, President of Blackhawk. "Our collaborations with Concordia, Lakeland and UW-Whitewater at Rock County stand as a testament to our commitment to fostering accessible, high-quality higher education for our community. The University Center is poised to redefine the trajectory of our students' academic journeys, granting them an avenue to seamlessly pursue their bachelor's degrees without having to leave home.”

The presidents from Concordia and Lakeland, as well as the chancellor from UW-Whitewater, joined Dr. Pierner and other Blackhawk staff, faculty and students for a grand opening celebration of the University Center on Wednesday. State Rep. Jenna Jacobson, State Sen. Mark Spreitzer, Mark Holzman, Superintendent of the Janesville School District and Blackhawk District Board member, and Rachel Andres, Executive Vice President of Prent and Blackhawk District Board member, also were in attendance.

“We look forward to collaborating to see how this partnership impacts not only the communities locally but across the state, and as Concordia University and Blackhawk Technical College work together and work with the surrounding communities, we’re excited to see how this impacts the wider world,” said Dr. Erik Ankerberg, President of Concordia.

Dr. Beth Borgen, President of Lakeland, said she was excited to see private and public institutions working together.

“We’re excited to help students achieve their educational goals while aligning regional workforce development needs, especially in the areas of computer science, accounting and education,” she said.

And Dr. Corey King, Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, said the partnership with Blackhawk and the subsequent collaboration with Concordia and Lakeland is an “application of the Wisconsin idea” to solve problems and critically think about how to help communities.

“It’s important that we understand that the partnership is about students. At the end of the day, those students are going to be benefitted with an education that will allow them to go into the community and solve and serve,” he said.

After a comprehensive application process, the three university partners were chosen for their academic excellence, range of disciplines and dedication to providing Blackhawk students with a seamless transition from their associate degree. Also, each partner university brings unique strengths and attributes that align with Blackhawk’s commitment to accessibility and diversity.

Concordia University will offer bachelor’s degrees in Nursing, Business Management, Criminal Justice and Social Work. Lakeland University will offer bachelor’s degrees in Accounting, Education and Computer Science. And the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater at Rock County will offer a Bachelor’s of Applied Arts and Sciences, with emphases available in Criminology, Digital Marketing, Human Services, Leadership, Occupational Safety and Professional Selling. 
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