The University of Wisconsin Colleges is a single institution comprised of fourteen campuses located throughout the state of Wisconsin, including the virtual UW Colleges Online campus. The nearly century-old history of the UW Colleges is one of collaboration with local communities and other academic institutions, especially within the University of Wisconsin System. UW Colleges has a rich tradition of providing high-quality associates degrees, an applied baccalaureate degree completion program, and preparation for successful completion of baccalaureate degrees for traditional-age college students and adult learners. The student-centered, high-quality foundation of a liberal arts education offered by UW Colleges makes transfer easy to a range of programs. Students can transfer to UW System campuses and other public universities, as well as to private colleges and universities, often as part of guaranteed transfer programs or articulation agreements. Students can also receive baccalaureate degrees in collaborative programs offered on UW Colleges campuses.
The UW Colleges Associate of Arts and Science Degree provides the foundation for most majors in the University of Wisconsin System. It is accepted by University of Wisconsin institutions as fulfilling university-wide, college, school and general education breadth requirements, and can be earned by students at any UW Colleges campus, including UW Colleges Online. The UW Colleges' outstanding faculty and staff are strongly committed to student success, creating a welcoming environment for all students. UW Colleges faculty members are credentialed for baccalaureate education (eighty-three percent of the faculty hold the Ph.D. or other terminal degree) and have a professional presence in teaching- and research-oriented associations within Wisconsin, nationally, and internationally. Organized in 17 statewide departments, and two interdisciplinary academic programs, the UW Colleges faculty offer a focused curriculum in 40 disciplines with an average class size of 23 students.
Beginning in June 2011, the UW Colleges was authorized by the Wisconsin Board of Regents to offer a dynamic, innovative Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree completion program, which was accredited by the Higher Learning Commission in March 2013. In May 2015, the UW Colleges congratulated the first graduates to receive a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences.
A wide array of co-curricular activities are available on the fourteen campuses of the UW Colleges, including drama and musical ensembles, student government, intramural athletics, student publications such as newspapers and literary magazines, and many other activities, such as campus ambassadors and discipline-based clubs. Community-based curricular opportunities include service-learning, K-12 teaching, and internships.
The UW Colleges is firmly committed to Inclusive Excellence, a UW System program dedicated to fostering greater diversity, equity, inclusion, and accountability at every level of university life. The central premise of Inclusive Excellence holds that UW System colleges and universities need to intentionally integrate their diversity efforts into the core aspects of their institutions—such as their academic priorities, leadership, quality improvement initiatives, decision-making, recruitment of faculty, staff, administrators, and students, day-to-day operations, and organizational cultures—in order to enhance the educational environment and maximize their success.