To create, integrate, transfer, and apply knowledge through innovative programs of research, teaching, and public service.
There is a subtext to our mission statement: a principle first articulated in 1904—and admired ever since: The Wisconsin Idea. The Wisconsin Idea permeates all that we do at this university. It’s simple in theory, but powerful in execution. As we learn and explore and discover in classrooms or laboratories or natural areas or libraries and more, we take an important step: we share knowledge with the citizens of Wisconsin and beyond. And then we take another important step: we become a resource to others, encouraging a give and take of ideas and opinions.
Guided by the Wisconsin Idea, we can boldly augment our mission by addressing the future. In doing so, we create our vision: The University of Wisconsin–Madison will be a model public university in the 21st century, serving as a resource to the public and working to enhance the quality of life in the state, the nation, and the whole world.