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
  • Dairy
  • K-12 Education
  • Environment
  • Industry
  • Incarceration
  • Native Nations of Wisconsin
  • Tourism
  • UW System
  • Water
Adija Greer-Smith, owner of Confectionately Yours, shares the origin story of her successful bakery located in the Sherman Phoenix, a vibrant hub for entrepreneurs of color located in Milwaukee’s Sherman Park neighborhood. (Photo by Catherine Reiland / UW-Madison)
John Slipek, the agriculture teacher at Abbotsford Schools, gives a tour of the green house where he and his students cultivate vegetables, flowers, and other plants. (Photo by Catherine Reiland / UW-Madison)
Thick morning fog obscures Lake Mendota at Picnic Point as Bill Quackenbush, the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Ho-Chunk Nation, shares Ho-Chunk stories of life at the water’s edge of Four Lakes, the area that is now known as Madison. Quackenbush led the Wisconsin Idea Seminar’s second annual Ho-Chunk Cultural Landscapes walking tour. (Photo by Catherine Reiland / UW-Madison)