About the University of Wisconsin-Parkside

The University of Wisconsin has had a presence in southeastern Wisconsin since 1933 when it established two-year centers in Racine and Kenosha. In response to interest among residents in a four-year university, and the commitment to the Wisconsin Idea to extend the university’s impact to all parts of the state, in 1965 the Wisconsin Legislature passed a bill merging the two centers and creating the University of Wisconsin-Parkside that was officially founded on July 1, 1968.

The site for the campus was carefully selected close to the border between Kenosha and Racine to signal the intention to equally serve the educational needs of both communities. It has and continues to do so with significant and similar proportions of the overall UW-Parkside student body coming from Kenosha (31.6 percent) and Racine (26.1 percent) counties.

Comparatively, Kenosha and Racine are distinctive within the State of Wisconsin for their diverse nonwhite populations (Kenosha – 23.4 percent; Racine – 36.1 percent; Wisconsin – 15.7 percent), lower bachelor’s degree or higher attainment rates (Kenosha – 25.7 percent; Racine – 17.2 percent; Wisconsin – 30.8 percent, and higher poverty levels (Kenosha – 15.6 percent, Racine – 20.7 percent, Wisconsin – 11.0 percent). The proportion of high school graduates that go directly to college is also lower than elsewhere in Wisconsin and has fallen further during the pandemic.   

The preeminent aim of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside’s 2025 Strategic Framework is to increase the number of graduates annually by 50 percent by 2025. The Academic and Student Affairs Plan 2025 (ASAP 25) sets out strategies we must successfully implement to achieve this goal. As those historically underserved by higher education continue to make up a larger part of the southeastern Wisconsin region, achieving this goal requires that we serve more students of color and help them graduate at significantly higher rates.  As we continue to do this, we strive to achieve our vision that a higher education transform more and more lives in our region and beyond.

UW-Parkside serves approximately 4,300 undergraduate and graduate students and offers over 51 undergraduate majors, 87 minors / certificates, and 16 graduate degrees. The university is structured with four academic colleges: Arts and Humanities; Business, Economics, and Computing; Natural and Health Sciences; and Social Sciences and Professional Studies. The campus community comprises over 311 faculty/teaching staff and 168 university staff.  Since 1968, the University of Wisconsin-Parkside has been enriching minds and changing lives of those who attend. That rich legacy continues today.


The University of Wisconsin-Parkside is a dynamic learning community grounded in academic excellence and focused on student success, diversity, inclusion, and community engagement. The campus will be a premier comprehensive public institution and destination of choice, serving as a focal point of local, regional and global progress.


The University of Wisconsin-Parkside is committed to high-quality educational programs, creative and scholarly activities, and services responsive to its diverse student population, and its local, national and global communities. 

To fulfill this mission, the University of Wisconsin-Parkside will:

  • Offer high-quality academic programs rooted in the tradition of a liberal education in the arts, sciences, and professions, responsive to the occupational, civic and cultural needs of the region, and actively seek the continued input of all stakeholders.
  • Generate, disseminate, and apply knowledge through research, professional and creative activity that benefits communities throughout the region and the world.
  • Attract and retain a diverse and multicultural population of students, faculty, and staff.
  • Foster a teaching and learning community that provides opportunities for collaborative faculty, student, and staff interaction in support of excellence.
  • Utilize technology creatively and effectively in courses, programs, and services.
  • Prepare students to be successful in their professional, civic, and personal lives.
  • Provide programs that meet the intellectual and cultural needs of people throughout their lives.
  • Provide and share cultural and intellectual activities in partnership with our local and regional communities.


Small classes and one-on-one faculty attention have been the hallmark and continue to be part of an experience that brightens futures. Our student-centric approach means students are never taught by assistants, don't get lost in a crowd, and do get to work side-by-side with faculty dedicated to their success.

We also support students by designing custom-tailored degree programs that meet the needs of today’s demanding job market, as well as students' unique curiosities. Combining academic disciplines can energize new pursuits and discoveries, so we encourage students to create the interdisciplinary course program that suits their interests.

UW-Parkside provides an educational value to our students that's unparalleled. An affordable, high-quality education is an investment in one's future, and we believe the cost of an education should not prevent students from achieving their educational and professional goals.

Parkside students receive a strong return on their investment. We empower our graduates and certificate recipients with the knowledge and practical skills vital to achieving personal and professional success in the changing local and global communities in which they live and work. And our ever-growing academic reputation, regional status, and location along the Milwaukee-Chicago corridor provides students with access to the region’s top employers.

A part from academics, a sense of community and entertainment is central to student retention. UW-Parkside will sponsor 16 intercollegiate athletic programs in 2023-24, representing the University of Wisconsin System as the lone NCAA Division II university in the state. UW-Parkside is a member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC), a leading Division II conference with 11 members spanning four states (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin). Parkside Athletics has approximately 275 student-athletes representing more than 30 states and 10 countries.

Here, on our idyllic campus set on 700 acres of natural Wisconsin prairie and woodland, you’ll find energetic students making the most of their higher education experience. With open spaces like our on-campus disc golf course, a diverse variety of student organizations, and our position as a regional center for the performing arts, UW-Parkside is a community that's easy to call home.

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