Photo of Catherine Reiland

Catherine Reiland, Director
creiland@wisc.edu / 608-262-0380

Catherine Reiland designs and implements the annual Wisconsin Idea Seminar, a long-standing faculty and staff development program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Wisconsin Idea has informed, inspired and mobilized much of her work on campus, and for over a decade she has directed programming that celebrates and forwards the valuable contributions the University of Wisconsin makes to local communities and the world. She is attentive to the deep legacy of the Wisconsin Idea and continually seeks out collaborative ways to facilitate the exchange of ideas between people on and off campus.

Catherine is a UW-Madison alumna with a master’s degree from New York University. Her academic interests include tourist productions, visual cultures, photography, performance studies, museum studies, and memory. Read a short 2016 interview with Catherine.


The Wisconsin Idea Seminar is a 5-day immersive tour of Wisconsin for UW-Madison faculty and academic staff to engage with Wisconsinites, build relationships, learn from each other, and network across disciplines, differences and commonalities.

The Seminar is a space where participants:

  • Gain a deeper knowledge of the cultural, educational, industrial, social, and political realities of Wisconsin
  • Learn firsthand about the social and cultural contexts that shape the lives of many of our Wisconsin students
  • See and experience the University’s connections to the state
  • Understand the public service mission of the University
  • Nurture an increased mutual understanding between the University and the people of Wisconsin


The Wisconsin Idea Seminar is about exploring the rich stories and complex realities of Wisconsin. The Seminar’s themes help provide structure to the learning experience and also represent the many arenas where fruitful and meaningful collaborations exist between the University of Wisconsin and the state it serves.

  • Agriculture
  • Corrections
  • Dairy
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Industry
  • Native Nations of Wisconsin
  • Tourism
  • UW System
  • Water


The Wisconsin Idea Seminar itself is the Wisconsin Idea in action. We thank our collaborators from across the State of Wisconsin who share their time, talents, expertise, and good humor to help our Seminar participants learn firsthand about the educational, industrial, social, and political realities of Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Idea Seminar is made possible with the support of many UW-Madison Schools and Colleges and the Evjue Foundation, the charitable arm of the Capital Times and long-time underwriter of the Seminar since 1985.