The University of Wisconsin–Madison is the original University of Wisconsin, created at the same time Wisconsin achieved statehood in 1848. It received Wisconsin’s land grant and became the state’s land-grant university after Congress adopted the Morrill Act in 1862. It continues to be Wisconsin’s comprehensive teaching and research university with a statewide, national and international mission, offering programs at the undergraduate, graduate and professional levels in a wide range of fields, while engaging in extensive scholarly research, continuing adult education and public service.
The primary purpose of the University of Wisconsin–Madison is to provide a learning environment in which faculty, staff and students can discover, examine critically, preserve and transmit the knowledge, wisdom and values that will help ensure the survival of this and future generations and improve the quality of life for all. The university seeks to help students to develop an understanding and appreciation for the complex cultural and physical worlds in which they live and to realize their highest potential of intellectual, physical and human development.
It also seeks to attract and serve students from diverse social, economic and ethnic backgrounds and to be sensitive and responsive to those groups which have been underserved by higher education. To fulfill its mission, the university must:
- Offer broad and balanced academic programs that are mutually reinforcing and emphasize high quality and creative instruction at the undergraduate, graduate, professional and postgraduate levels.
- Generate new knowledge through a broad array of scholarly, research and creative endeavors, which provide a foundation for dealing with the immediate and long-range needs of society.
- Achieve leadership in each discipline, strengthen interdisciplinary studies, and pioneer new fields of learning.
- Serve society through coordinated statewide outreach programs that meet continuing educational needs in accordance with the university’s designated land-grant status.
- Participate extensively in statewide, national and international programs and encourage others in the University of Wisconsin System, at other educational institutions and in state, national and international organizations to seek benefit from the university’s unique educational resources, such as faculty and staff expertise, libraries, archives, museums and research facilities.
- Strengthen cultural understanding through opportunities to study languages, cultures, the arts and the implications of social, political, economic and technological change and through encouragement of study, research and service off campus and abroad.
- Maintain a level of excellence and standards in all programs that will give them statewide, national and international significance.
- Embody, through its policies and programs, respect for, and commitment to, the ideals of a pluralistic, multiracial, open and democratic society.
Revised statement, adopted June 10, 1988, UW System Board of Regents