Institution Profile


Nearly eight decades ago, University of Wisconsin President Charles Van Hise and Governor Robert LaFollette defined a third mission to be added to the teaching and research functions of the state university. The Wisconsin Idea – extending the university’s boundaries to the corners of the state - was intended to extend the university’s educational programs to address the relevant social, economic, environmental, and cultural issues of its citizens. This extension function of the University of Wisconsin was well established long before the creation of the University of Wisconsin-Extension as an institution; Wisconsin was one of the first states to institutionalize extension education.

In fulfillment of the Wisconsin Idea, the University of Wisconsin-Extension works in partnership with 26 UW System campuses, 72 Wisconsin counties, three tribal governments, and other public and private organizations to provide educational services to the citizens of the state.


UW-Extension is made up of four divisions:

  1. Cooperative Extension works with individuals, families, farms, business, and communities by applying university knowledge and research to address issues in rural, suburban and urban settings. Locally-based Cooperative Extension staff collaborates with University of Wisconsin campus specialists to provide educational programming throughout Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey and Leadership Wisconsin are part of this division.
  2. Continuing Education, Outreach and E-Learning provides continuing education services through all 26 UW System campuses, including these leading edge new online degrees: bachelor of science degree in health and wellness, bachelor of science degree in health information management and technology, and bachelor of science degree in sustainable management.
  3. Entrepreneurship and Economic Development supports the Broadband & E-Commerce Education Center, Center for Technology Commercialization, and the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center, with locations at the University of Wisconsin System four-year institutions.
  4. Broadcasting and Media Innovations is responsible for Wisconsin Public Radio and Wisconsin Public Television as well as distance learning and conferencing technology services.

Ongoing support for UW-Extension comes from state, county, tribal, and federal government sources. Fees, gifts, grants, and contracts from the public and private sectors provide additional revenue. UW-Extension allocates 42% of its expenditures to the 26 UW campuses. Supporting the UW System’s public service mission, these funds are used for business and management education and continuing education courses, as well as research in agriculture, nutrition, economics, natural resources, human development, and other areas.

2019-21 Capital Budget Projects

There were no major projects requested for this institution in the 2019-21 Capital Budget request.