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UW–Madison offers dozens of learning communities designed for incoming students. A First-Year Interest Group (FIG) enrolls students in a cluster of classes connected by a common theme with a small cohort of peers. The program allows students to explore a specialized academic interest and helps to ease their social transition to college.
The Student Success Through Applied Research (SSTAR) Lab is researching innovative, sustainable ways to provide better financial aid to students. Early efforts include Bucky’s Tuition Promise, which fully covers four years of tuition for in-state undergraduates who meet income-level criteria. Partnering with the Office of Student Financial Aid, SSTAR is the only lab of its type at a university.
SuccessWorks is an industry-leading career center for students in the College of Letters & Science. Services include career-development courses and workshops, mock interviews, résumé review, coaching on job offers and salary negotiations, and alumni and employer networking events.
The Transfer Engagement Center is a dedicated space for transfer students to help their transition to the UW. The center offers study spaces, community-building events, advising, and other support services. It also oversees BadgerCETE, a student-led weekly discussion section designed to connect new transfer students and provide leadership training.
The UW South Madison Partnership (UWSMP) connects the university to the South Madison community. Located in Villager Mall, the space welcomes more than 1,000 people each month. Programming includes health and legal services and the UW Odyssey Project, which offers a free college course to adults facing economic barriers. The UWSMP is moving into an expanded space to increase its educational capacity.
Established in 2018, Bucky’s Tuition Promise is a commitment to Wisconsin’s students. The program covers four years of tuition and segregated fees for incoming freshmen (and two years for transfer students) whose family’s household income is $60,000 or less. Bucky’s Tuition Promise has provided tuition relief to more than 1,600 Wisconsin students in its first two years.
The UW is committed to enhancing and scaling online learning, which will increase flexibility for traditional students and expand opportunities for nontraditional students. The centralized Online Learning Initiative is offering support to instructors developing online courses, while the Department of Continuing Studies is expanding its professional programs and offering hundreds of classes for adult learners. In addition, the university is preparing to offer its first fully online undergraduate degree program.
The Division of Diversity, Equity, & Educational Achievement administers many of the institution’s scholarship and service diversity programs. The UW’s Posse Program, the largest affiliate in the nation, enrolls a cohort of scholars who demonstrate strong potential for leadership and academic success. PEOPLE, a precollege pipeline, helps underserved students prepare for higher education. The Center for Educational Opportunity provides personalized services for first-generation students. First Wave recruits a cohort of students with talents in hip-hop and urban arts. CS-PK identifies students who actively embody the core principles of scholarly achievement, leadership, and service.
The UW has created the School of Computer, Data and Information Sciences in the College of Letters & Science to strengthen research and education on campus, prepare graduates to fill new kinds of jobs, and support the state’s entrepreneurs. The university is investing heavily in these fields to meet growing student demand and to stay ahead of emerging technologies.
New master’s degree programs at the UW are addressing training needs and certification requirements in high-growth job fields across the US and at home in Wisconsin, such as school psychology. A program in clinical nutrition is offered fully online, allowing students to earn a master’s degree while working full time and living in other parts of the state.
The UW’s Center for the Humanities is an international leader in the public humanities, engaging the community on academic inquiries and serving as a hub for cross-disciplinary initiatives. The center offers fellowships, public lectures with visiting scholars, and research workshops. Its Great World Texts initiative connects UW faculty with high school teachers through the shared reading of a classic novel.
UW students are taking less time to complete their degrees, setting a record on a key measure of student success. The average time-to-degree for 2018–19 bachelor’s degree recipients was 3.96 elapsed calendar years, the lowest since the university began actively tracking the measure in the 1980s and the first time the number has dropped below four years.
A two-semester program, Madison Teaching and Learning Excellence improves student learning at the UW by training early career faculty on how to become effective instructors. Small cohorts of faculty members meet weekly with facilitators to learn evidence-based practices, and then apply and evaluate them in the classroom.
The UW’s Target of Opportunity Program (TOP) is providing departments new tools and financial support to recruit faculty members from underrepresented groups in their respective fields. A target of opportunity is defined as a prospective faculty member who will greatly enhance the quality and diversity of an academic department.
The Redesigning for Active Learning in High-Enrollment Courses (REACH) program partners with faculty members to transform high-enrollment, lecture-based courses into more active, inclusive learning environments. Participating courses have reported significant increases in lecture attendance and student engagement.
The Collaborative for Advancing Learning and Teaching is a cross-campus faculty initiative that provides professional development opportunities for instructors; research-mentorship training; program and course assessments; and coordination of student academic advising and classroom technologies.