Academic Affairs

Diversity in Admissions

Diversity in Admissions

Overview | Who | Why | What | How | Resources | Contact

Who: The UW System

Diversity in the UW System

The University of Wisconsin System is committed to providing educational opportunities for all individuals. It has made a strong, public commitment to diversity, recognizing the educational and social benefits of a diversified student body and university community.

UW Admissions Advisory Group

UW System Definition of Diversity

The UW System defines diversity broadly, to include and acknowledge differing personal characteristics and talents as well as social and cultural differences due to gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, age, nationality, religion, physical ability, and sexual orientation. As educators, we value a breadth of perspectives as essential to the sifting and winnowing of the search for truth. The educational benefits of enhanced diversity will

  • enrich the educational experience and promote student learning;
  • foster cross-cultural understanding and a respect for differences;
  • enhance access and opportunity for all; and
  • prepare citizens and leaders for the global community.

Race and Ethnic Diversity

The UW System has long had a special commitment to improving educational access for certain underrepresented groups including African Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, Asian Americans (particularly Southeast Asian Americans), and American Indians. This commitment is stated in Wisconsin Statutes, Regent Policy Documents, Design for Diversity, and most recently in Plan 2008: Educational Quality Through Racial and Ethnic Diversity.

UW institutions use certain race-conscious efforts in recruiting, admitting, and retaining underrepresented students of color. These efforts must be undertaken in combination to achieve our diversity goals. Recent Supreme Court decisions have reaffirmed the constitutionality of using race-conscious admissions policies designed to promote diversity in higher education when race is used appropriately. These cases provide colleges and universities with guidance on how admissions policies and practices should be structured to ensure the constitutionality of race-conscious efforts.