Frequently Asked Questions

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How did the designation come about?

The UW System Board of Regents in March 2007 supported a proposal to designate UW-Stout as Wisconsin’s polytechnic university. The designation also was supported by the UW-Stout Faculty Senate, the Senate of Academic Staff and the Stout Student Association.

Does this mean the university has a new name?

The name of UW-Stout has not changed.

Then what has changed?

UW-Stout now has the blessing of the Board of Regents to call itself a polytechnic university.

What is a polytechnic university?

There is no universal definition, but most of the polytechnic universities in the United States today share characteristics. They are comprehensive universities that offer professional, career-focused programs in the arts, social and related sciences, engineering, education, natural sciences and technology. Polytechnic universities also engage students in active, applied learning, theory and research.

How do these characteristics apply here at UW-Stout?

This is how we see the concept of a polytechnic university as it applies on our campus: UW-Stout is a comprehensive, career-focused polytechnic university where students, faculty and staff use applied learning, scientific theory and research to solve real-world problems, grow the state’s economy and serve society.

Will the designation change UW-Stout's focus or mission?

The action by the Board of Regents did not change the university’s mission. Chancellor Sorensen told the regents that the designation essentially is an acknowledgement that UW-Stout already is a polytechnic university in most respects.    

Does this designation mean that UW-Stout is closer to becoming a technical school?

Nothing could be further from the truth. Polytechnic universities, such as California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif., or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, are our models. We have a new set of peer institutions, and they all are comprehensive polytechnic universities offering four-year degrees and graduate programs.

What will be the benefits of UW-Stout as a polytechnic university?

Because of increasing competition in the higher education field, UW-Stout needed to find a way to stand out. We believe that the polytechnic designation will attract more resources, through donations and research dollars, as well as raise the profile of the university in the region and state.

UW-Stout has a new way to tell prospective students, parents, faculty and staff, and the public about all the programs offered here through a marketing and branding campaign. We also now have a guide for administrators, faculty and staff to use in making future decisions about the direction of the university.

How will the polytechnic designation affect the programs and majors offered at UW-Stout?

Programs are reviewed constantly at UW-Stout for their relevance and their need. Instead of eliminating programs, though, Chancellor Sorensen has said he believes that UW-Stout needs to add to its program array, and the polytechnic designation will be used in determining what programs should be added.

What if I still have questions?

UW-Stout Director of Communications Doug Mell will take your questions and try to find answers. Contact him at (715) 232-1198 or