UW-Madison Essential Learning Outcomes

UW-Madison adopted the Association of American Colleges and Universities Essential Learning Outcomes (ELOs) as a set of shared learning outcomes for assessment planning across campus. Complemented by the Wisconsin Experience, these broad categories encompass many of the goals and purposes shared by UW-Madison’s academic degree programs and co-curricular experiences.

1. Knowledge of Human Cultures and the Physical and Natural World

Focused by engagement with big questions, both contemporary and enduring.

  • Through study in the sciences and mathematics, social sciences, humanities, histories, languages and the arts

2. Intellectual and Practical Skills

Teamwork and problem solving. Practiced extensively across the curriculum in the context of progressively more challenging problems, projects and standards for performance.

  • Inquiry and analysis
  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Written and oral communication
  • Quantitative literacy
  • Information, media and technology literacy

3. Personal and Social Responsibility

Anchored through active involvement with diverse communities and real world challenges.

  • Civic knowledge and engagement-local and global
  • Intercultural knowledge and competence
  • Ethical reasoning and action
  • Foundations and skills for lifelong learning

4. Integrative Learning

Demonstrated through the application of knowledge, skills, and responsibilities to new settings and complex problem.

  • Synthesis and advanced accomplishment across general and specialized studies

These ELOs were developed through an extensive project conducted by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) responding to the question: “What qualities and skills do you want in college graduates?” The ELOs represent the responses from employers, business leaders, faculty, staff and alumni.