Two leading institutions, one shared commitment: helping Wisconsin grow.

The University of Wisconsin Colleges and University of Wisconsin-Extension may be led by a single chancellor and administration, but we are united by more than our infrastructure. We share a vision of vibrant Wisconsin communities, made stronger by the pioneering spirit of their people—and access to the support, information, resources and expertise of the entire University of Wisconsin.

Inspired by the Wisconsin Idea, UW Colleges and UW-Extension are determined to positively impact every corner of our state:

  • By helping Wisconsin’s people achieve their goals, by bringing world-class educators, respected degree programs and cutting-edge classroom experiences closer to home.
  • By contributing to Wisconsin’s economic growth with shared expertise and programs that support economic development, innovation, entrepreneurship and a skilled workforce.
  • By supporting Wisconsin communities as they grow through public- and private-sector partnerships and initiatives that connect our businesses, institutions and 5.7 million residents to helpful research and resources.

Our Institutions

Whether we’re providing expertise in the field or outstanding learning experiences in our communities, the complementary programs and services of UW Colleges and UW-Extension are making a measurable difference

For more than 25,000 Wisconsinites each year, UW Colleges makes getting a highly respected education possible. Thirteen freshman/sophomore campuses and UW Colleges Online serve more first-generation college students, more part-time students and more adult undergrads than any other institution in the UW System.

You can find UW-Extension services almost everywhere in Wisconsin too. (Just ask Wisconsin’s farmers, students, homeowners, families, 4-H kids, employers and fans of Wisconsin Public Radio and Television for a start.) With offices in three tribal nations and all 72 counties, every Wisconsin citizen has access to UW-Extension’s impressive array of continuing education, small business development and cooperative programs.


Our Institutions

Our History

The University of Wisconsin’s commitment to reach beyond the borders of our campuses and improve the lives of our neighbors, their communities and enterprises stretches back more than 100 years.



The UW College of Agriculture is granted $5,000 to establish Farmers’ Institutes to support the dairy and farming industry.


Just three years after espousing the Wisconsin Idea, UW President Van Hise establishes the University Extension Division.

UW Colleges

New two-year extension centers, including eight community colleges, spring up around the state to serve returning service men and women.


Several UW-Madison extension and outreach units are combined into one: University Extension, headed by a chancellor.

UW Colleges

University of Wisconsin and Wisconsin State University merge, forming the UW System.

UW Colleges

The system’s community college campuses adopt a new name, UW Colleges.

UW Colleges

Leadership of UW-Extension and UW Colleges is consolidated under one chancellor and a centralized administrative staff.

UW Colleges

The 13 campuses that compose UW Colleges are organized into four regions.

UW Colleges and Extension logos


Our Impact

Nearly 200,000 Wisconsinites tap into UW Colleges and UW-Extension resources every single day. Each one of those resources—our people, campuses and extension offices—is a vital part of the community it serves, there to help leaders and learners put their own great ideas into practice.

Our statewide impact can be measured in five key areas:

  • Enhancing Quality of Life
  • Educational Access and Innovation
  • Leadership and Civic Engagement
  • Supporting Families and Communities
  • Economic Development


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