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In 1988, the UW System was the first university system to adopt a long-range plan to diversify Wisconsin’s 26 public colleges and universities. That plan, Design for Diversity, was based on the belief that a public university must serve all the people of the state and must lead the way in increasing educational opportunity for targeted racial/ethnic groups: African Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, American Indians, and Asian Americans–particularly Southeast Asians. In 1998, Design for Diversity continued under the new ten-year plan, Plan 2008: Educational Quality Through Racial and Ethnic Diversity.

Plan 2008: Educational Quality Through Racial and Ethnic Diversity, built upon the experience gained in the previous decade, contains seven goals designed to transition the UW System into the 21st century:

  • Goal 1 Increase the number of Wisconsin high school graduates of color who apply, are accepted, and enroll at UW System institutions.
  • Goal 2 Encourage partnerships that build the educational pipeline by reaching children and their parents at an earlier age.
  • Goal 3 Close the gap in educational achievement by bringing retention and graduation rates for students of color in line with those of the student body as a whole.
  • Goal 4 Increase the amount of financial aid available to needy students and reduce their reliance on loans.
  • Goal 5 Increase the number of faculty, academic staff, classified staff and administrators of color, so that they are represented in the UW System workforce in proportion to their current availability in relevant job pools. In addition, work to increase their future availability as potential employees.
  • Goal 6 Foster institutional environments and course development that enhance learning and a respect for racial and ethnic diversity.
  • Goal 7 Improve accountability of the UW System and its institutions.

With Plan 2008, UW institutions were asked to divide the ten-year planning horizon into two five-year phases. Phase I encompassed years 1999-2003 and Phase II encompassed years 2004-2008. UW System institutions submitted their Plan 2008 Phase II Plans on December 15, 2004. Each plan contains goals and initiatives that continue or build upon goals and initiatives developed under Phase I.