Getting bigger, more sensitive, maybe smarter

Wisconsin State Roundups

Published March 1, 2008  | March 2008 issue

The University of Wisconsin System has been witness to a lot of growth and change of late. This past fall, enrollment rose by 2.1 percent over 2006, hitting a record 173,000 among the UW's 26 campuses.

Women are also taking over, at least in terms of degrees. In 2007, 57 percent of undergraduate degrees were awarded to women; four of the five 4-year campuses in the Ninth District had even higher rates.

System regents have also experimented with admissions policies; last year, they approved a change allowing admissions counselors to take applicant backgrounds—including race—into consideration, rather than just test scores and class rank.

And students will be able to shop the UW System for their education. Late last year, the system agreed to participate in a nationwide voluntary testing system that will allow students and parents to gauge quality and compare individual campuses and their programs. The system will not be operational for several years. Once it is, available information will include baseline data on students and their families, student learning outcomes, and students' perceptions and experiences at college.

Ronald A. Wirtz