University of Wisconsin Extended Campus is now Wisconsin Online Collaboratives! This name reflects the partnerships of the 13 universities within the Universities of Wisconsin–our state's premier system of public higher education. Through these partnerships we will continue to support online degrees, certificates and courses–along with support services to you.

Illustration of people working together

UW Online Collaboratives Diversity Statement

At the Universities of Wisconsin Online Collaboratives, our goal is to expand access to higher education to the people of Wisconsin and beyond. As individuals and as an organization, we prioritize equity, diversity, and inclusion to embody the spirit of the Wisconsin Idea and the mission of lifelong learning.

The suppression of diverse and marginalized populations continues to be a systemic issue in the United States as well as in higher education. Inequitable practices, systemic suppression, and ignored bigotry have created a society built upon the marginalization of those who are deemed to be “different.” At UW Online Collaboratives, we continue to reflect on ourselves, the programs we offer, and the people we serve through the lens of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

The Universities of Wisconsin Online Collaboratives pledge to be active participants in the implementation of positive and continual change. We embrace and celebrate the intersectional identities of ourselves and the people we serve to enhance the quality of our learning, interactions, and perspectives. Therefore, we commit to creating spaces where learners, faculty, and staff can thrive.

UW Online Collaboratives, are commited to:

Enhancing Organizational Culture

  • Recruiting, hiring, retaining, and sustaining a diverse community of employees to create and support an inclusive working environment.
  • Regularly assessing institutional policies and organizational climate as they relate to diversity, equity, and inclusion across all departments.
  • Actively providing opportunities to increase cultural competency within the workplace in order to foster personal and professional development.
  • Empowering the ongoing work of the our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee by supporting its initiatives and encouraging participation by all new and current employees.

Increasing Access for Learners

  • Providing broad access to education by recruiting, admitting, supporting, and retaining a diverse community of learners.
  • Engaging in our local and statewide communities to identify areas of opportunity for service and expand access to education.
  • Developing, designing, and offering courses, programs, and support services that reflect our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Providing virtual learning spaces where students feel represented and comfortable to participate authentically.
  • Offering a range of flexible modalities for educational attainment that account for individual learners’ personal and professional abilities, responsibilities, and commitments.

Definitions of Important Terms


Includes all the ways in which people differ, encompassing the different characteristics that make one individual or group different from another, including identity markers such as race, ethnicity, gender identity, disability, sexual identity, religion, age, socioeconomic status, digital literacy, and more.


Creating access, opportunity, and advancement for all people, while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups.

A large dog looking out a window and a cat unable to see out the window because the tables are the same height.
A large dog and cat looking out the window at a person waving. The table the cat sits on is taller and allows it to see.


The act of creating environments in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate. An inclusive and welcoming climate embraces differences and offers respect in words and actions for all people.


Intersectional theory asserts that a person can be disadvantaged by multiple sources of oppression: their race, socioeconomic class, gender identity, sexual identity, religion, and other identity markers.

Intersectionality or a cell phone showing a series of intersections

Unconscious/Implicit Bias

Social stereotypes about certain groups of people that individuals form outside their own conscious awareness and can be in direct contradiction to a person’s espoused beliefs and values. What is so dangerous about implicit bias is that it automatically seeps into a person’s behavior and is outside of the full awareness of that person.


Micro-aggressions are defined as the everyday, subtle, intentional—and oftentimes unintentional— interactions or behaviors that communicate some sort of bias toward historically marginalized groups.

  • Verbal A comment or question that is hurtful or stigmatizing to a certain group of people: e.g. referring to a person of color as articulate.
  • Behavioral Someone behaves in a way that is hurtful or discriminatory towards a certain group of people: e.g. there is a professional women’s group that meets at work and the trans woman is not invited.
  • Environmental Subtle discrimination that occurs within society: e.g. a college campus that only has buildings named after White people.