Our Missions

Though we are driven by separate missions and seek to serve Wisconsin students and residents in different ways, UW Colleges and UW-Extension share a defining vision: to benefit everyone in this state by providing maximum access to statewide research and resources.

A Match in Mission

UW Colleges and UW-Extension: these two institutions are designed to embody the Wisconsin Idea and ensure resources reach the far corners of our state. It makes sense that our separate missions still work hand in hand to improve Wisconsin lives.

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UW Colleges

UW Colleges is committed to high-quality educational programs that prepare students for success and provide an education that’s accessible, affordable and meets local and individual needs.


  • To excel at delivering a liberal arts general education associate degree that prepares students for transfer to baccalaureate-granting institutions and professional programs.
  • To emphasize teaching excellence including the development, use and assessment of effective teaching methods.
  • To prepare students for lifelong learning, leadership, service and responsible citizenship.
  • To foster scholarly activity that supports the mission of the UW Colleges.
  • To serve the people of Wisconsin by promoting continuing education and outreach in Wisconsin communities.
  • To participate in collaborative relationships with other University of Wisconsin System institutions, the Wisconsin Technical College System, private colleges and K-12 public schools in order to maximize educational opportunities and resources for the people of Wisconsin.
  • To serve the needs of ethnically diverse students, students with disabilities and nontraditional students.
  • To make available as a service to business, industry and the general public, the unique professional expertise of the faculty and staff.
  • To provide opportunities for civic and cultural enrichment in the communities that support its campuses.


The UW-Extension extends the boundaries of the university to the boundaries of the state, helping the people of Wisconsin and beyond access university resources and engage in learning, wherever they live and work.


  • To support personal growth, professional success and organizational effectiveness through formal and informal learning.
  • To offer professionally focused, cross-disciplinary competency-based credit certificates, associate degrees and baccalaureate degrees in the area of business and management.
  • To address the changing needs of the state and society by conducting, applying and conveying relevant university research.
  • To utilize resources to build greater access to educational, cultural and civic resources using technologies.
  • To provide strong leadership for the university’s statewide public service mission.
  • To integrate a scholarly approach to outreach across many academic disciplines.
  • To address the specific educational needs of underserved, disadvantaged and nontraditional students.

See our statewide impact

Our institutions have helped hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites connect to new ideas, knowledgeable experts and their own neighbors. Explore our impact on this state’s people and communities in five key areas: