University of Wisconsin–Madison

Wisconsin Experience

The notion of the Wisconsin Experience – an experience that encompasses the academic and co-curricular undergraduate experience, and is grounded in the Wisconsin Idea – has been around for a number of years. The original articulation referred to the indescribable “something” that is unique to UW-Madison. However, many on campus remain unclear about what exactly “that something” is, while others have taken it upon themselves to tailor the definition to apply to various local contexts. During the spring semester of 2016, faculty, staff and students helped bring clarity to the overall concept — creating expectations of students and a road map for achieving them.


Wisconsin Experience Core Concepts and Expectations for Undergraduate Students

Core Concept:
Empathy and Humility

  • Develop and demonstrate a cultural understanding of self and others
  • Engage locally, nationally and globally in a respectful and civil manner
  • Appreciate and celebrate one another’s abilities, views, and accomplishments

Core Concept:
Relentless Curiosity

  • Actively learn with expert teachers, scholars, and peers
  • Engage in creative inquiry, scholarship, and research
  • Develop resilience and foster courage in life and learning

Core Concept:
Intellectual Confidence

  • Develop expertise and depth in a field of study
  • Integrate ideas and synthesize knowledge across multiple contexts
  • Exercise critical thinking and effective communication

Core Concept:
Purposeful Action

  • Apply knowledge and skills to solve problems
  • Engage in public service, partner with others, and contribute to community
  • Lead for positive change