I have a deepened understanding of the relationship between the University and the state, and of the importance of the relationship to us all. I understand now that our institution reaches far beyond Madison, and that we must take seriously the implications of that reach. I look forward to continuing exploring the state and its diverse communities, in my work and as a proud resident of Wisconsin.
– WIS’16 alum

While I’m a native of Wisconsin and have a general understanding of the state, the seminar allowed me to see working companies, businesses, agriculture, institutions, that I’d never have been able to visit on my own. Not only did we see them, we were provided context and background to make it a true learning experience.
– Maj Fischer, WIS’16, International Division

The seminar took me to places that I wouldn’t see in my own travels. It helped me to understand the experience of others from Wisconsin who experience the state very differently.
– WIS’16 alum

The Seminar provided many good examples of how researchers can partner with communities and organizations. It was inspiring to see and something I hope to emulate in my future work.
– WIS’16 alum

It validated my passion about the importance of outreach and public service whether in my professional capacity or community stewardship.
– WIS’16 alum

The seminar dramatically deepened my appreciation for the Wisconsin Idea.  I returned with a new sense of purpose and dedication to the citizens of this wonderful state.  I felt honored and humbled by the graciousness every one of our hosts showed us.
–  Bret A. Payseur, WIS’15, School of Medicine and Public Health, Medical Genetics

The Wisconsin Idea Seminar identified faces and places in Wisconsin that represent the diversity of our population and professions as well as the remarkable work being done and the daunting challenges we face.  It helped me to feel like a citizen of the state of Wisconsin rather than just a member of the city in which I live.
– Laura C. Smythe, WIS’15, Law School, Pro Bono Program, UW Law School Economic Justice Institute

I met some excellent colleagues on the Wisconsin Idea tour who I may not have met otherwise, but who I hope to continue discussions with for years to come.  Viewing the state through the lens of this shared experience was a great opportunity.
– Brigitte N. Fielder, WIS’15, College of Letters and Science, Comparative Literature and Folklore Studies

I was able to see embodied results of Wisconsin Idea rather than an abstract mission statement.
– Emily W. Arthur, WIS’15, School of Education, Art Department

The trip made me feel part of Wisconsin. Outreach and public service bring theories to applications in the community to improve the health and development of the state.
– Yajuan Si, WIS’15, School of Medicine and Public Health, Department of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics, Department of Population Health Sciences

I left the seminar with a much greater sense of attachment to the UW System and to Wisconsin. I left with a strong desire to get involved in public service and outreach in some significant way.
 – Lesley D. Bartlett, WIS’15, School of Education, Education Policy Studies

Because of the tremendous thoughtfulness put into the itinerary, and connection with key individuals living in and leading their communities, we were able to dive quickly into key issues facing diverse communities in Wisconsin.
– Deborah B. Ehrenthal, WIS’15, School of Medicine and Public Health, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Population Health Sciences

The trip really helped me gain better insight to the University’s influence around the State–and to gain a better understanding of some of the enduring problems in the state.
– Karl S. Rosengren, WIS’15, College of Letters and Science, Psychology


The Wisconsin Idea Seminar offered many opportunities for participants to develop deep bonds with each other, connections that transcend disciplines, academic research interests, and roles at the university. Over a meal at Grasse’s Grill in Sister Bay, Dereck Barr-Pulliam (middle), an assistant professor of accounting at the Wisconsin School of Business, reviews the day’s activities with James Li, assistant professor of psychology and Sierra Beckles Young, associate university legal counsel from the Office of Legal Affairs. (Photo by Catherine Reiland / UW-Madison)