Commonly-Asked Questions

To help answer your questions about the changes to the Farm & Industry Short Course program, we’ve created a list of common questions.

Addressing the Rumors

+Rumor: The FISC Program has ended or been discontinued.

No. We would not be at trade shows or have a website talking about the future if the program was ended. We have been working very hard to talk with stakeholders and partners about what the future should look like for FISC to make it relevant and meets the needs of the agriculture industry.

We understand that it’s hard to let go of the past and that people have very strong emotional attachments to the program that they experienced. Just because it’s changing doesn’t mean it’s ended. For the program to continue in the future, it needs to evolve and change with the industry.

The program is taking a planning year in 2022-2023 to allow for discussions with stakeholders and important strategic planning. At the end of November 2022, we will start publicizing what we plan to offer starting Fall 2023.


+Rumor: FISC is going to be only online.

No. The FISC Program will not be only offering online classes. For many topics we intend to teach, learning only online does not work. We intend to continue to offer in-person programs to maximize hands-on learning and to bring learners to campus to connect with our faculty and staff.

We understand there is a concern about learners in rural areas not having high-speed internet access and a fear in the community that online is somehow “less than” in-person. Since 2020, FISC has started offering online options (Spanish for Dairy Industry) in addition to its in-person programs to reach a wider audience of learners. We will continue to offer some online classes in order to accommodate those who cannot physically come to the UW-Madison campus.

We utilize interactive and engaging online learning activities and content in our online classes to ensure a fun and strong learning experience for students. While it doesn’t replace in-person, online learning can be just as effective and, in many cases, better meet students’ needs.

+Rumor: FISC is going to be taken over by the tech colleges in Wisconsin.

No. The FISC Program will continue to be a UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences program. We do intend to work more collaboratively with the tech colleges in Wisconsin, where it is appropriate to do so.  Being more collaborative does not mean FISC will become a tech college program.

FAQs About FISC Planning

+Why is FISC taking a planning year?

Feedback received during the FISC listening session and stakeholder meeting – and in other conversations with industry partners – clearly indicated that time and industry input was needed when considering the future of FISC. It is our goal to create a stronger and more sustainable FISC program, and to do so, we need to take a considered approach, involving those who are directly involved in the agriculture industry to provide important input on the direction the new FISC should take. Involving stakeholders help guide us to ensuring FISC meets student and industry needs, while not overlapping or competing with educational opportunities already available.

+Who will be involved in the planning for FISC?

CALS is reaching out to individuals and organizations who support agriculture to be involved in new groups to help guide program planning. As those contacts and invitations are being finalized, we will post a list of group members to this website.

+When will the planning take place?

We expect to start convening the groups in June 2022. The goal is to wrap up planning by December 2022 in order to start marketing the plan for the new FISC at that time or shortly after.

FAQs About the Recent Change to FISC

+What is changing?

FISC programming will transition away from a 16 week residential program to allow more flexible course and learning opportunities.  To allow this flexibility, FISC offerings will return to non-credit offerings, to include in-person at UW-Madison, online, or blended delivery throughout the year, rather than being limited to the academic calendar.  The college’s commitment to offering practical, hands-on education to Wisconsin farms and agribusinesses and bringing the latest research discoveries to Wisconsin farmers remains unchanged.

+Why non-credit courses and learning experiences?

Non-credit experiences allow more flexibility for instructors to meet student needs, including in timing, type of offering, and ability to respond to needs rapidly.  Non-credit offerings continue to provide high-quality experiences for students and can lead to different options of certificates or digital badging to document learning. Prior to 2016, all FISC residential programs were non-credit. 

+Will students still come to UW-Madison for FISC?

Yes.  FISC is well known for its hands-on, experiential learning experiences and these will remain available to students in Madison, taught by CALS faculty and staff experts doing innovative research.  Some new programs will offer online learning where appropriate, to allow students to learn on their own schedule without needing to come to Madison.

+Will cost of attendance for FISC experiences change?

With the change of learning experiences to non-credit options, the cost of attendance will no longer be linked to UW-Madison undergraduate tuition rates (nor will it include on-campus student fees).  Fees for programming will be set dependent on cost to provide the learning experiences. Shorter on-campus experiences also will lead to decreased lodging costs.

+Will scholarships continue to be available for students to participate in FISC?

Scholarships for students are established through donor wishes.  FISC alumni and stakeholders have been very generous and are passionate about helping make FISC experiences accessible to everyone. Financial support for FISC participants who demonstrate financial need will continue in the new FISC programing.

+When will new courses and learning experiences be available for me to take? - UPDATED


In order to build a strong set of programs to effectively meet the needs of students and the agriculture industry, FISC will be focused in the near-term on engaging with stakeholders to plan for future offerings. Full rollout of the new FISC opportunities will be for Fall 2023.

During Fall 2022 and Spring 2023, only some online courses will be offered. Please keep checking our Offerings page as we update it with our online options.  

+How do I apply for the new FISC opportunities?

There will no longer be a formal application process for admissions. Students will be able to enroll in FISC offerings through an open registration process. Information about how to register will be included with the information about the new program/s.

+How do I find more information about the future FISC offerings?

The FISC website will continue to be updated with new opportunities. Visit our Offerings page for the latest list of what we are offering. You can also sign up to receive future emails as new information is available.