The University of Wisconsin–Madison is one of the premier public universities and research institutions in the United States. Created at the same time Wisconsin achieved statehood in 1848, the university became the state’s land grant university. It continues to be Wisconsin’s flagship teaching and research university with a statewide, national, and international mission, offering programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and professional levels in a wide range of fields, while engaging in extensive scholarly research, continuing adult education, and public service.
With a $3.4 billion budget, UW–Madison educates more than 47,000 students and employs some 24,000 faculty and staff. Composed of 13 schools and colleges, the university offers 292 undergraduate majors and certificates, as well as more than 250 master’s, doctoral, and professional programs.
UW–Madison’s research enterprise is one of the most robust in the nation, ranking among the top 10 universities in expenditures.
UW–Madison is guided by the Wisconsin Idea, a century-old principle and public-service charge that the university should improve people’s lives beyond the classroom.
The university is a member of the Big Ten Conference, and the Wisconsin Badgers brand is recognized internationally with 23 NCAA Division 1 teams. In 2021, Washington Monthly named UW–Madison the top national public university, citing research excellence, social mobility, and community service.
UW–Madison’s 2020–25 strategic framework charts the institution’s path forward, building on the success of its past priorities and taking bold steps toward its vision of being a model public university in the 21st century. It preserves the institution’s core legacy of research, teaching, and public service and promotes a campus environment where full potential can be met.
UW–Madison’s strategic framework contains the following pillars:
- Excellence in teaching and educational achievement
- Excellence in research and scholarship
- Living the Wisconsin Idea
- A vibrant campus community
- A high-performing organization
Indigenous Significance and History of Campus Lands
The Ho-Chunk have called Teejop (pronounced Day-JOPE), meaning “Four Lakes” and identifying the shores of Waaksikhomikra (Where the Man Lies), home since time immemorial. The Ho-Chunk, along with the Menominee, are Indigenous nations whose Creation Stories are rooted in what is now known as Wisconsin.
The contemporary campus is considered to be among the most archaeologically rich campuses in the United States today, in part due to Teejop being located in a cultural center of the mound building peoples who created massive monumental art burial sites that circumscribed each of the Four Lakes.
In Dane County, conical mound (hemispherical) and linear mound (wall-like) burial sites were first created some 2,500 years ago, with effigy mound burial sites (representation figures) first created some 1,500 years ago. There were more than 1,200 burial sites known as conical, linear, and effigy mounds in Teejop, and there were more than 20,000 conical, linear, and effigy mounds located in what now comprises 41 of the 72 counties in Wisconsin. Today, there are 34 extant mound sites on campus.
UW–Madison acknowledges the First Nations People of Wisconsin, who are the original inhabitants of the state, and respect their inherent sovereignty. The land that UW–Madison lies upon is ancestral Ho-Chunk homelands, and UW–Madison acknowledges the Ho-Chunk as the stewards of the land for thousands of years. UW–Madison respects the sacredness of these lands and is thankful to be able to provide educational opportunities in such prominent, historic, and meaningful landscapes.
#1 Peace Corps volunteers (2020)
#1 Best Hospitals in Wisconsin (U.S. News & World Report, 2020)
#5 Most doctorates granted among U.S. universities (2019)
#7 Patents among U.S. universities (2020)
#8 Total research expenditures among U.S. universities (2020)
#11 Kiplinger’s Best College Values among public universities (2019)
#14 America’s Best Colleges among public universities (U.S. News & World Report, 2021)