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The Wisconsin Experience represents every student’s journey to becoming a more active, thoughtful, well-rounded citizen of the world while at UW–Madison. Every Badger is different. Every Wisconsin Experience is different. But our mission to be better people—and to create a better future—is the same.

Defining the Wisconsin Experience

UW–Madison’s vision for the total student experience combines learning in and out of the classroom. Tied to the Wisconsin Idea and steeped in long-standing institutional values—the commitment to the truth, shared participation in decision-making, and service to local and global communities—the Wisconsin Experience describes how students develop and integrate these core values across their educational experience.

UW–Madison encourages students to mindfully engage in four core concepts throughout their time on campus. Learn how you can get involved and enhance each part of your Wisconsin Experience:

Empathy & humility  Relentless curiosity  Intellectual confidence  Purposeful action

Measuring the Wisconsin Experience

The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) evaluates student involvement and compares the results across U.S. universities. NSSE surveys both college freshmen and seniors; in the future, this will allow UW–Madison to compare an incoming class’s responses when it arrives at the UW and when it leaves and to directly measure its development while on campus.

Overall, the most recent survey (conducted in 2017) found that UW–Madison scores highly among peer institutions for student engagement. More than 60 percent of UW students reported that their experience at the UW contributed quite a bit or very much to their development as informed and active citizens, compared to 49 percent of students at peer institutions.

Read the full report. (PDF)

The Wisconsin Experiences stories, photos and videos have been sourced from writers and communications staffs around the university. Unattributed photos and videos are sourced from the University Communications multimedia staff.

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