Wisconsin's Public Liberal Arts College

Liberal Arts High-Impact Practices

About UW-Superior

Liberal Arts High-Impact Practices

Components, Timelines and Accomplishments

What does "Liberal Arts" mean? The term "liberal arts" is described in Encyclopedia Britannica as a "college or university curriculum aimed at imparting general knowledge and developing intellectual capacities, in contrast to a professional, vocational, or technical curriculum."

The UW-Superior Mission Statement:

"The University of Wisconsin-Superior fosters intellectual growth and career preparation within a liberal arts tradition that emphasizes individual attention and embodies respect for diverse cultures and multiple voices."


Over the past decade, UW-Superior has moved to embrace an identity as a public liberal arts college.  In 1998, the UW Board of Regents designated UW-Superior as "Wisconsin's Public Liberal Arts College."  Three years later, UW-Superior gained entrance to the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC).

In 2003, as part of UW-Superior's regular accreditation process, the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Universities (NCA) Site Team specifically recommended that UW-Superior implement "generally accepted features" of a liberal arts-based educational experience and that core features consistent with that experience be integrated across the curriculum. 

In response, the campus has developed a detailed initiative to provide UW-Superior students with a distinctive set of experiences rooted in the liberal arts tradition and consistent with our status as a public university.  Full implementation of this initiative will give concrete form to UW-Superior's mission as Wisconsin's Public Liberal Arts College and will provide students with a holistic set of experiences from admission to graduation. 

Components of this initiative fall into five broad categories:

UW System support of the Liberal Arts Initiative:

  • $200,000 in jump-start funding in 2006-2007
  • $200,000 in jump-start funding in 2007-2008
  • $849,800 in base budget funds for implementation of the Liberal Arts Initiative

Institutional Support

To achieve the full recruitment and retention benefits of the previously described activities, the campus must make investments in admissions, advisement, and institutional research.


  • Hired three part-time admissions counselors
  • Began Institutional Research activities


  • Open Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, appoint Director
  • Initiate search for Institutional Research Director


  • Recruit staff for Admissions Advising
  • Institutional Research and Planning Office established adding Policy and Planning Analyst and Office Operations Associate to Enrollment Research Coordinator


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