History

The roots of the UW Colleges lie in the establishment of off-campus classes and the beginning of the university extension services in 1907. Early UW Colleges campuses were originally part of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Three other UW Colleges campuses were later created out of institutions of the former Wisconsin State University System. In 1946, the UW Board of Regents developed a policy for local communities to provide buildings for exclusive use by the UW Colleges. With the merger in 1972 of the University of Wisconsin and the State University of Wisconsin to create the University of Wisconsin System, UW Colleges campuses were united under the name "University of Wisconsin Center System." In 1983, the name of the institution became the "University of Wisconsin Centers." The institution's name was changed to the "University of Wisconsin Colleges" in 1997. Beginning in 1999, collaborative bachelor's degree programs in areas like Business, Engineering, Nursing, Information Technology and American Studies were negotiated with UW System baccalaureate-granting campuses. Articulation agreements with many different public and private colleges and universities permit students to complete other specialized programs on UW Colleges campuses. The UW Colleges began offering an online Associate of Arts and Science degree in 2001, and in 2017 the University of Wisconsin Colleges Online was established as a virtual, fourteenth campus. In 2013, UW Colleges was accredited to offer the Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree. The UW Colleges is proud to trace its rich history back to the early part of the twentieth century and looks forward with equal pride to continued pre-eminence in fulfilling its mission, vision, and goals in the 21st century.