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I am an assistant professor in my first year at UW-Madison. Am I eligible to participate in the Wisconsin Idea Seminar?

Yes! Assistant professors are indeed eligible. The Seminar is a great opportunity for new faculty members to develop lasting connections with colleagues from across campus while learning about the state of Wisconsin.

I am a tenured faculty member and have been on campus for over 10 years. Am I eligible to participate in the Wisconsin Idea Seminar?

Yes! Tenured faculty members are eligible. Priority is given to newly-tenured faculty, but we consider nominations from faculty members at a variety of career stages. We understand that the rigors of early careers might not afford time and space for the Seminar experience, so we do consider nominations from more seasoned faculty.

I have an academic staff position. Am I eligible to participate in the Wisconsin Idea Seminar?

Yes! A quarter of a typical Seminar cohort is comprised of academic staff. Priority is given to academic staff in leadership roles or who engage in statewide or international outreach.

I have a university staff position. Am I eligible to participate in the Wisconsin Idea Seminar?

To be eligible, a university staff member’s core job responsibilities must include community engagement, student services, or other kinds of outreach responsibilities.

May I go for just a portion of the Seminar?

No. We require that participants commit to the full five-day experience to help ensure optimal learning for everyone.

Can I attend concurrent meetings via Zoom during the Seminar?

We understand that faculty and staff are busy people with many demands on their schedules. The rigors and rhythm of the Seminar schedule– including the kinds of activities– would not be conducive to dropping out for a few hours to attend a Zoom meeting.

What are meals like during the Seminar?

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included in the Seminar experience. Often meals are served buffet or family-style. These meals are enjoyed together as a group. Often hosts and other collaborators will join us for a meal so that Seminar participants can continue to ask questions and learn from our hosts and other invited guests.

I have a number of dietary restrictions. How are those handled?

Participants fill out a survey in advance of the tour to indicate dietary restrictions. Seminar staff work closely with all food vendors and restaurants to help ensure that menus will accommodate dietary restrictions.

Do I have to share a hotel room with another Seminar participant?

No. Participants are assigned individual rooms with private baths. Lodging is covered by the registration fee paid by your division, school, or college. The Seminar staff secure lodging at the state rate.

What do past participants say about their experiences?

Since its inception in 1985, more than 1225 faculty and staff have participated in the Wisconsin Idea Seminar.  Seminar alumni gain a better understanding of the University’s partnership with the state and develop a deeper commitment to public service. Many return to campus inspired by the community-based collaborations and partnerships and see the potential for leveraging their own expertise and talents to better the lives of Wisconsinites through mutually beneficial collaborations. Read Seminar alumni testimonials.

What are the dates for future Wisconsin Idea Seminars?

The Wisconsin Idea Seminar starts the first Monday immediately following UW-Madison’s Spring commencement. For a look ahead at Spring commencement dates, check out the university’s academic calendar.