About Continuing Studies

21 N. Park, UW-Madison campusThe Division of Continuing Studies supports the mission of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the spirit of the Wisconsin Idea by providing access to educational resources to nontraditional students, lifelong learners, and the community.

The division's primary role comprises leadership, administrative oversight, and marketing responsibility for UW-Madison's noncredit offerings, credit outreach and summer session. The division also advises and admits adults seeking to enroll as University Special or Guest Students.

Each year more than 17,000 lifelong learners from around the community, across the state and throughout the nation attend one or more of the 500 noncredit classes, workshops and conferences sponsored by Continuing Studies in the areas of professional development, personal enrichment, career transitions and educational advising.

The Division of Continuing Studies also provides funding, support, and infrastructure to UW-Madison schools and colleges seeking to identify and serve nontraditional audiences.

Continuing Studies is led by Jeffrey Russell, who as vice provost and dean provides campus-wide leadership for the outreach mission and directs a 100-member faculty and staff team.


Jeffrey Russell, Dean of Continuing StudiesJeffrey S. Russell, PhD, PE, F NSPE, Dist. M.ASCE is the Vice Provost for Lifelong Learning and Dean of the Division of Continuing Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Previously, he was professor and chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and a co-founder of the Construction Engineering and Management program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has a BS degree in civil engineering from the University of Cincinnati, with MS and PhD degrees from Purdue University, and is a registered professional engineer in Wisconsin.

Dr. Russell grew up in a construction family where his father ran the field operations for a small regional contractor in northeast Ohio. He spent his youth working in construction where he learned the value of hard work, integrity, and organization. He has always respected the important role labor plays in achieving project success. Strongly influenced by his sister, who has Down syndrome, Dr. Russell values the importance of family, the joys of life, and the appreciation of differences and diversity.

Our Mission

The mission of Continuing Studies is to advocate for and to engage lifelong learners through high-quality and innovative programs and services.

Download 2011 Annual Report.


Departments and Units of the Division

Liberal Studies and the Arts
The Department of Liberal Studies and the Arts (LSA) serves lifelong learners through classes and conferences in languages, music, writing, art, history, and more. Classes are taught by Continuing Studies instructors and professionals in their fields.

Professional Development and Applied Studies
Through classes, noncredit certificate programs, workshops, and conferences, the Department of Professional Development and Applied Studies (PDAS) helps professionals hone their skills, earn professional credits, and stay current on the latest research and best practices in their field.

Adult Career and Special Student Services
Information about programs and services for nontraditional and nondegree University Special students is available through Continuing Studies’ Adult Career and Special Student Services (ACSSS). ACSSS also helps local adults considering a career change or engaged in a job search. ACSSS provides guidance through student application and enrollment processes, educational workshops, individual appointments, assessments, and career workshops.

Continuing and degree programs for nontraditional audiences
Continuing Studies provides funding and academic planning resources for schools and colleges as they work to offer credit programs designed to reach nontraditional audiences. Some of the mechanisms available to support credit programs for nontraditional students include: