Wisconsin Idea Summit

Wisconsin Idea Conference

Monday, March 27 at Union South

Are we there yet? Actualizing the WI Idea through Community Engagement

The Wisconsin Idea Conference, hosted by the Morgridge Center for Public Service, strives to reinvigorate our collective understanding of and relationship to the Wisconsin Idea through the lens of community-university engagement. By bringing together community-engaged scholars, staff, and students from across campus, while also incorporating community voice, we can strengthen relationships, develop our understanding of our state and local community, and elevate the quality of community engagement at UW–Madison.

Who should attend: UW community-engaged faculty, staff, and students with an interest in university-community engagement. Community partners are welcome, although content is geared towards campus audiences for this iteration of the conference. Aspects of the event will also be streamed online.

Read more about the event: If you are a part of the UW–Madison campus community, odds are you have heard about the Wisconsin Idea.

Contact: If you would like to provide additional sponsorship support, please reach out to Haley Madden. For questions about the event, please reach out to Cory Sprinkel.

Location and Parking

The conference will be taking place in Union South, Varsity Hall III (2nd floor) | 1308 W. Dayton St.

Paid parking can be found on ramps around campus, check out this parking map for more information and track live availability of campus lots here.

There are also a select number of free, street parking spots on the blocks behind Union South (Dayton St side).

Missed registration? Join us via livestream.

Check out the zoom links located on the Breakout Session guide to access sessions virtually.

Event Schedule

8:15 – 9:00am: Doors open + Breakfast 

9:00 – 9:45am: Welcome Remarks 

9:45 – 10:30am: Keynote: Reverend Judge Everett Mitchell 

10:30 – 10:45am: Break

10:45 – noon: Breakout Session 1 

12:00 – 1:30pm: Lunch + Speaker Panel 

1:30 – 2:45pm: Breakout Session 2 

2:45 – 3:00pm: Break/Snack 

3:00 – 4:15pm: Breakout Session 3 

4:30 – 5:30pm: Socials + Networking

The Wisconsin Idea Conference Lineup

Keynote Speaker Reverend Mitchell

Judge Mitchell is a graduate of Morehouse College, Princeton Theological Seminary, and University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School and is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Currently, he is an adjunct professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School where he teaches courses on “Race, Racism and the Law” as well as the “Foundational Principles of the Juvenile Justice System.” He is also the former Director of Community Relations for UW.

Judge Mitchell has lectured or spoken at colleges and universities, national conferences, community events, corporate events, professional development workshops, and in front of many other diverse audiences.

Judge Mitchell’s social justice lens is steeped in his calling and commitment to justice and equity.

Read more in-depth about each breakout session. This includes the presenters of each session and a full description of what the session will be about. It will also include the Zoom link where you can tune in virtually.

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Opening Remarks

Travis Wright, Associate Professor in Counseling Psychology and Faculty Director of the Morgridge Center for Public Service

UW–Madison Chancellor Mnookin

Karl Martin, Dean of Extension

Breakout Session One

Varsity Hall
Extension Panel

Esperanza (hope) as a culture of health equity: an innovative community-university partnership for Spanish-speaking community-engaged psychology training

Lightning Talks

Collaborating for best practices in international community engagement

What is my Business Office Staff Thinking About?

The Student Organization Partnership Program: Student Leaders Fostering Community Engagement

Community Engagement Preparation for BIPOC students

Lunch Speaker Panel and Land Acknowledgement

Student Speaker: Kane Funmaker with a drum performance by Madtown Singers Drum Group

Tanika Apaloo serves as the assistant director for the UW South Madison Partnership office while working closely with the Director of Community Relations, Brenda Gonzalez.

Emily Auerbach has been a Professor of English at UW-Madison for four decades, winning awards for teaching, broadcasting, the arts, social justice, and embodying the Wisconsin Idea. She co-founded the life-changing UW Odyssey Project 20 years ago and is its Executive Director.

Brian Benford graduated from Odyssey in 2007 and went on to receive both his bachelor’s and MSW from UW. Brian has worked for numerous community-based organizations in Dane County for over 30 years and is completing his second term as an Alder for the City of Madison, speaking up against injustice and working to implement a truth and reconciliation process.

Char Braxton graduated from Odyssey in 2006 and is currently an ambassador and classroom assistant for this empowering and award-winning program.  Her first poetry entry earned the top prize from the UW-Writer’s Conference. She believes “we are all diamonds and it’s our choice to let our light shine.”

Breakout Session Two

Varsity Hall
Building BASES for Young Children Experiencing Homelessness: A Research Practice Partnership

Exploring belonging and reflexivity within pluralities of engagement

Student-generated music community engagement

Creating customized programming in Native American communities

Community engagement to improve safety on National Avenue

PLAing the Wisconsin IDEA: Activities of the Department of Planning and Landscape Architecture

The Best of Both Worlds: Establishing an authentic community-university partnership

Perspectives on “co-creation” with newly formed and established Community Advisory Boards

Breakout Session Three

Varsity Hall
Wisconsin Idea in action: How to work with communities through UniverCity Year

Indigenous Learning Lab: Actualizing the Wisconsin Idea through Decolonizing Systemic Transformation Research Partnerships

Wisconsin Idea in Action: Engaging Community to Co-Construct Culturally Relevant Leadership Programming

Recognizing Inaccessibility and Ableism on the journey toward inclusion in community-based programming

Centering reciprocity and mutuality: Best practices for interacting with researchers in a community-based context

A Community-Engaged Conversation: How Can We Nurture Mutual Learning and Growth in our Partnerships?

Rethinking Service Learning and Community-Academic Partnerships

In It to Win It with Community Health Workers

Social Networking

Network and socialize with other community-engaged professionals during the CPO-sponsored social after the WI Idea Conference in Union South. This event is open to any UW employee or community member interested in partnership. Individuals are not required to register for the WI Idea Conference to attend. We’ll meet in the Sett and have some refreshments available.

Attending the Conference

Faculty: At the conference, you’ll have the opportunity to 

  • Learn from and connect with current community-engaged scholars and practitioners about the diverse community-university partnerships on campus. 
  • Connect with faculty, staff, community partners, and students who share an interest in community-university engagement, and share your experience, challenges and insights with others doing similar work
  • Critically reflect on how academia can better respond to and address community interests 

Staff/community engagement practitioners: At the conference, you’ll have the opportunity to 

  • Connect with faculty, staff, community partners, and students who share an interest in community-university engagement.
  • Inspire others who are new to community engagement and share your perspective on how UW-Madison, as an institution and collection of scholars and practitioners, can most appropriately and fruitfully engage with community.
  • Critically examine community engagement and the university’s role in hindering and advancing equitable partnerships 

Graduate students: At the conference, you’ll have the opportunity to 

  • Explore how community engagement can add meaning to your work, and how to get started in community-engaged scholarship as a graduate student. 
  • Share your experience, challenges and insights with others doing similar work. 
  • Reflect on the purpose of higher education and the responsibilities scholars and institutions of higher learning have to their communities 

Undergraduate students: At the conference, you’ll have the opportunity to 

  • Explore what community engagement means and ways to get involved with community engagement as an undergraduate. 
  • Learn about the diverse community-university partnerships on campus.
  • Connect with students, staff, faculty, and community partners who are interested in community-university engagement. 
  1. Strengthen relationships among UW community-engaged scholars, practitioners, and students that enhance interdisciplinary collaboration, networking and the professionalization of excellent community engagement. 
  2. Develop UW affiliates’ understanding of community engagement best practices and guiding values. 
  3. Elevate and learn from community voices and highlight exceptional examples of community-university partnership. 
  4. Provide university participants with strategies, pathways, and resources to support their active pursuit, development and maintenance of high-quality community-engaged practices.

The Wisconsin Idea has long served as a visionary ideal for our institution and has had a major influence on how our university understands its relationship with and responsibility to local communities.

However, the Wisconsin Idea has not always been used for progressive means and has its own complicated history and opinions on the university’s commitment to the idea vary widely.

Through this conference, we hope attendees are able to reflect critically on the role of universities in communities and grapple with some of the tensions inherent within the Wisconsin Idea, a few of which we share here for you to explore.

> Public History Project’s Teaching Resources on Eugenics and UW–Madison

> Campus Members reflect on the WI Idea

> The Wisconsin Idea: How do we define the concept? (Gwen Drury)

> Land-Grab Universities

> Changing the Wisconsin Idea


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