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  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • June 2017
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Lifelong learning at any age — UW Colleges’ Continuing Education offers something for everyone

It’s June, and as the famous lyrics say,

“School’s out for summer!”

But does education ever really end? The process of learning never stops …

There is limitless subject matter on the spectrum — after all, it is simply adding something new to our knowledge base, something we’ve not encountered before that constitutes learning. Sometimes we’re genuinely interested in topics, such as gardening or cooking from scratch. And then there are the issues that present themselves that we must study, sometimes suddenly, like learning how to use a smartphone or exploring financial planning in retirement.

Chances are that there is an academic course available for anything worth learning, and you can conveniently find them at accredited and accessible locations.

It’s Suzanne Lawrence’s purpose as Regional Director of Continuing Education for UW-Fond du Lac, UW-Fox Valley and UW-Manitowoc to bring a variety of programs to the area — practical or solely for enjoyment; credit or non-credit — for students of all ages.

“Continuing Education is diverse, both in terms of content and the age of the learner,” she explains. “We look at the individual as someone who wants to continue their education throughout their entire life. We work with students as young as kindergarten all the way up to senior citizens.”

“Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.” —Chinese proverb

The University of Wisconsin Colleges system is comprised of 13 two-year colleges with UW-Fond du Lac, UW-Fox Valley and UW-Manitowoc making up the Northeast Region. Within each campus is a Continuing Education office whose primary goal is to bring the University’s resources to the community beyond those people who are degree-seeking students.

The UW system is known for its quality education and environment on its freshman and sophomore campuses, contributing to its students’ prominent level of achievement.

“The University of Wisconsin Colleges is a multi-campus institution whose focus is preparing students for success… by providing an accessible and affordable first two years of a liberal arts general education,” Dr. Martin Rudd, Regional Executive Officer and Dean for the Northeast Region of UW Colleges, explains.

“Recognizing that many of our students are bound by work, place, commitments and finance, we offer bachelor degrees that can be completed on our UW Colleges campuses with a variety of in person, online and distance education coursework,” he adds. “In particular, our small class sizes enable our faculty to deliver dynamic, impactful activities such as service learning, undergraduate research and internships, integrating skills in applied learning, reflection, and ‘learning with doing.’”

And although the completion of a traditional university education is a significant component in a student’s life, the area of Continuing Education expands the boundaries of the University, offering classes to individuals of all ages in a variety of topics.

Continuing Education is the umbrella over a variety of areas including Personal Enrichment, Professional Development, Travel Opportunities and Customized Training.

“Personal Enrichment generally includes topics in the arts, poetry, crafts, health and fitness, money or personal finance,” Suzanne explains. “Learning skills like gardening, photography, painting, even ballroom dancing are new skills that will bring joy and satisfaction to the participant. While Professional Development is designed for people who are looking to advance their skills or change careers.

“Customized Training is another area within Continuing Education where local businesses can reach out to community colleges for help with organizational challenges. Improving leadership, foreign language skills, written communication skills and science-related classes are just a few of the topics we’ve helped area businesses improve upon.”

“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” —Miriam Beard

The Northeast Region Continuing Education office offers a variety of travel opportunities for all ages that encompass both learning and entertainment, and boast past international trips to Ireland and Spain and closer-to-home excursions to Milwaukee, Chicago and New York City.

Led by Susan Rabideau, UW-Fox Valley Associate Professor of Theatre and Communications and Bill Stachour, trip navigator, the New York City Theater Tour is one of the most popular choices.

“In five adventure-filled days, travelers to New York will experience three Broadway performances and spend four nights at a hotel conveniently located on Times Square.” Suzanne says. “This summer they’re seeing ‘Waitress,’ ‘Miss Saigon’ and ‘Hello, Dolly’ with Bette Midler. It’s a sell out trip every year!”

One-day food tasting tours of Milwaukee and Chicago are always popular and are quickly filled each semester. These tours expose participants to great food, history and culture.

Stay tuned! Suzanne is adding to the list of potential destinations all the time and is considering such locations as Washington D.C., the Pacific Coast and New Orleans as future trips available to the public.

“You don’t have to be affiliated or enrolled in college to participate. Anyone, any age, can go on these trips,” she says. “I think loyal travelers who have gone on every trip continue to join us because of their experience with the University. They find our trips well organized and a great value for the price.

“People don’t realize the gem they have in two-year colleges within our communities — we have so much to offer!” 

“People don’t realize the gem they have in two-year colleges within our communities — we have so much to offer!”

—Suzanne Lawrence, Regional Director of Continuing Education, Northeast Region

Destination: Florida Keys

Snorkel in the mangrove trees along the coastline

Explore a variety of species in the sea grasses

Swim with parrotfish, jellyfish and more in the coral reef!

Dr. Richard Hein (pictured to the right), an oceanographer and Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at UW-Manitowoc, is a firm believer in hands-on learning, and travels to Key Largo each year as a part of the Biology of the Florida Keys course to expose students to its benefits.

Stationed at the educational facility Marine Lab, whose mission is scientific research and education, students are immersed in labs and field work centering around ecology, marine ecosystems and discussions focusing on mangroves, sea grasses and coral reef. They even spend time at the local Turtle Hospital helping stranded sea turtles!

“The great thing is that it’s right on Key Largo and has access to the upper coral reefs and Florida Bay. The whole thing is based on the concept of, ‘Let’s talk about it in the classroom, but then immediately go see it,’” Dr. Hein explains. “It really resonates with people. It’s a great experience.”

LEAPS and College for Kids!

“Designed to provide fun, hands-on and active learning opportunities for highly motivated and talented students.”

Summer school takes on a whole new meaning and is elevated in UW Colleges Continuing Education’s “College for Kids” and “LEAPS” programs on the UW-Fond du Lac campus. The fun and educational programs are specifically designed to:

  • Increase interest and motivation in academics
  • Experience stimulating and challenging activities
  • Develop team-building skills through collaboration
  • And much more!

College for Kids (July 17-20)

For students entering grades 5-8, College for Kids offers a two-course a day option that includes classes centering on printmaking, drawing, archaeology and chemistry. The one all-day course choice is all about game making and writing computer code!

LEAPS (July 24-27)

Developed for younger students, LEAPS is geared toward students entering grades 2-4. Kids’ chemistry, paper sculpting, “cooking the continents,” sign language and the French language are among the class subjects combining education with hands-on learning fun.

“We have great faculty and it’s a wonderful opportunity for the kids to experience a college setting,” Suzanne says. “Summer programming is particularly important as statistics show that during the summer months, kids tend to lose knowledge and skills if they are not actively engaged in academic programming. University programs like these help mitigate the learning loss.”

Register by July 8 for College for Kids and Leaps! For more information and requirements, visit a href="/" target="_blank">, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 920-929-1155.

UW Colleges Northeast Region Continuing Education offices:

UW-Fond du Lac

400 University Drive

Fond du Lac, 54935


UW-Fox Valley

1478 Midway Road

Menasha, 54952



705 Viebahn Street

Manitowoc, 54220


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