Projects to Watch

5 Projects To Keep an Eye on that Advance the Wisconsin Idea

by Elise Romas and Renee Shields

Every year, the Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment, based in the Office of the Provost, awards endowment funds to projects that embody and advance the Wisconsin Idea. Last year, a total of $687,000 was awarded to eight projects that last for 1-3 years. Listed below are five of these projects that will continue over the coming years, advancing the idea that UW’s work extends the boundaries of campus:


Community Health and Wellbeing through Design and Microenterprise

This project, lead by two professors from the School of Human Ecology (SoHE), will establish an outreach program that connects students with artisans who want assistance with small businesses in developing countries. This outreach program will use and further the relationships that UW has already built over the years in places like Ecuador, Mexico and Kenya, while also stimulating those economies. The project will take place over a span of three years.



BASES stands for ‘Building Academic, Social and Emotional Supports.’ The project hopes to help young homeless children in the Madison area through its efforts to enhance the educational community by partnering with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Dane County Parent Council and Madison Metropolitan School District. According to the Provost website the project is running off of three objecttives:  “1) Develop, enhance and evaluate school-based supports for young homeless children in grades PreK-1st; 2) Develop and evaluate an on-going professional development system for current and pre-service teachers of young homeless children; and 3) Develop and evaluate community-based learn and play groups for homeless children ages 0-3 years and their families.”


Oganawaabandan gikinoo ‘amaadiiwin

Oganawaabandan gikinoo ‘amaadiiwin (OGA) stands for visual learning. The project, led by two College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) faculty members, will focus on using media to address digital divides and health disparities in the Bad River Band Community of Lake Superior Ojibwe. The title of visual learning stems from the premise that tribal teens in the community will learn to use digital storytelling skills, and then be able to use those skills to teach their communities how to promote healthy lifestyles. The OGA project will last for three years.


The Bubbler: Making justice with court-involved teens

Over the span of two years, faculty from the UW-Madison Center for Law, Society and Justice, the School of Library and Information Studies, and the Dept. of Curriculum and Instruction will collaborate for “The Bubbler” project. This project aims to team up with several entities across Madison, including the Madison Public Library, to create a program for court-involved teens that utilizes community resources to promote hands-on learning and digital literacy.


Empowering Consumers with Financial and Health Insurance Literacy

A similar project to this one took place about four years ago when the Consumers Union, the University of Maryland and American Institutes for Research teamed up to help people understand the details behind health insurance. In the same way, this project brings together two UW-Madison programs, Covering Kids and Families-Wisconsin and the Center for Financial Security. These groups will train people to understand the language and financial aspects health insurance in Wisconsin in addition to providing other useful and knowledgeable tools.


Main source of information: Office of Provost and Wisconsin Idea Endowment pages all accessible by


More details and descriptions about these projects and many others can be found at