2007 Baldwin Funded Projects

Biology Outreach Club: Today’s Outreach, Tomorrow’s Outreachers

Project Leader: Catherine Vrenta, Graduate Fellow, Bacteriology
Project Duration: 2007–2009

This project is run entirely by UW–Madison graduate students in the Biology Outreach Club, a group that connects young learners across the state with UW–Madison research labs. During the next three years, the Baldwin grant will allow this team to design new outreach materials on a range of biology topics and make the materials available to teachers statewide. The group also plans to conduct 20 outreach events per year with the expanded funding.

Building a Wisconsin Information Commons

Project Leader: Lewis A. Friedland, Professor, Journalism and Mass Communication
Project Duration:2007–2009

Across the U.S., local journalism is in great turmoil. Newspapers are cutting back on local community coverage, while the need for communication to frame and solve neighborhood, community, and broader public problems grows unabated. The Internet, while contributing a flow of global information, does not fill this local gap, because most online news discussion grows from reporting. A citizen journalism movement is growing online, but this is also uneven, consisting of much opinion and little fact. The Wisconsin Commons Project proposes to fill this gap through the continued development of robust, local, community reporting on a commons model taken statewide. The Commons model allows us to pool news resources to do a form of open-source journalism, in which the contributions of many individuals, groups, and media institutions makes each one better. This type of community-media collaboration does not exist elsewhere in the U.S. and draws from extant trends in media convergence, but reframes them as public and civic goods held in common.

We have piloted collaborative, community-based journalism in Madison in 2005–06. The Madison Commons model is based on extensive community partnerships. We have trained more than 50 citizen journalists in fact-based journalism, through training workshops in partnership with Neighborhood Planning Councils. We have also partnered with Madison daily newspapers, Channel 3000, and WISC-TV, as well as the City of Madison’s Department of Planning.

We have been recognized as a national model by J-Lab, funded by the Knight Foundation, winning one of ten national seed grants in 2005–06. We are currently seeking further funding from Knight. We have been recognized as a national model at the 2006 annual meeting Associated Press Managing Editors.

Further, the Commons has been integrated into the teaching of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Undergraduates serve neighborhoods as reporters for an entire semester, giving them a deeper understanding of the communities they will serve as professionals. UW Journalism grad students act as graduate editors and community trainers. Baldwin funding will enable us to further develop the model in Madison in 2007–08 before expanding to two other communities in 2008–10.

Putting the Public in Wisconsin Public Opinion: Listening to Wisconsinites’ Concerns to Generate Badger Poll Content

Project Leader: Katherine Cramer Walsh, Associate Professor, Political Science/Letters and Science
Project Duration:2007–2008

This project seeks to increase the prominence of Wisconsinites’ concerns in discussions of public policy among journalists and public officials. Opinion poll content, both what questions are asked as well as how they are asked, plays a powerful role in setting the news media agenda and therefore what issues public officials must address and what they can ignore. The statewide poll conducted through the University of Wisconsin Survey Center, the Badger Poll, has the potential to raise journalists’, public officials’, and the general publics’ awareness of the concerns of the people of the state by using these concerns to generate the content of the Poll. This project will do so in the run-up to the 2008 elections by conducting listening investigations in 23 communities across the state from summer 2007 to summer 2008. These listening investigations will be conducted by seeking out a wide variety of groups of people who are already meeting of their own accord in neighborhood gathering places and listening to the challenges they face in their daily lives that public policy might address. The communities have been chosen to represent all regions of the state and vary in population density, local industry, density of agriculture, and partisan leaning. Each community will be visited a minimum of four times during the grant period. The funding request of $48,000 is for summer salary to complement a UW-funded semester sabbatical, which would enable the principal investigator to use an entire 15 month period to conduct the listening investigations and four Badger Polls. The request also includes mileage and lodging expenses to cover trips throughout the state.

Finding a Port in the Storm: Guidance for Wisconsin Families Navigating the Health Care System

Project Leaders: Martha E. Gaines, Director, Center for Patient Partnerships and Mary Michaud, Director, Evaluation and Policy, Center for Patient Partnerships
Project Duration: 2007–2008

This project will expand on the efforts of the UW–Madison Center for Patient Partnerships in the Law School. It recognizes that good guidance, information and assistance can make or break a family’s ability to respond to serious health challenges and navigate through the complicated health care process. In this project, the center will partner with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to develop a case-based curriculum that will give EAP staff practical, plain-English tools to support their own employees going through difficult medical issues.

Green Affordable Housing in Indian Country

Project Leader: Susan Thering, Landscape Architecture
Project Duration: 2007–2009

In this project, the UW–Madison Department of Landscape Architecture will work with Native-American communities to demonstrate best practices in community planning, conservation design and “green” housing construction. This project will lead to demonstration houses on reservations as well as teams of trained trades people able to integrate the affordable housing strategies. Final products will include a variety of teaching tools and a documentary video supporting green housing.

Improving Nutrition in Uganda

Project Leaders: Kenneth Shapiro, Professor/Associate Dean, Agricultural and Applied Economics/CALS International and Susan Nitzke, Professor, Nutritional Sciences
Project Duration: 2007–2009

The project will bring nutritional health support to 165 villages in Uganda, a country with extreme malnutrition rates. Statistics show that a third of people are undernourished and one in seven Ugandan children die before their fifth birthday. This project will help guide the country’s efforts to build a nationwide nutrition education program.

Masters of Story Time

Project Leaders:Susan B. Santner, Outreach Program Manager CES and Anna Palmer, Outreach Specialist CES
Project Duration: 2007

Graduate students from the School of Library and Information Studies will steer a one-year project to produce a DVD called “Masters of Story Time,” which will showcase professional librarians who demonstrate creative early literacy techniques to which children respond, including puppetry, finger plays, poetry and music. This effort will address the lack of early literacy training for teachers and highlight the importance of developing basic literacy skills in preschool children.

Native Invasive: Forest Art Wisconsin

Project Leader:Laurie Beth Clark, Professor, Art
Project Duration: 2007

This project will create dance and spoken word performances by faculty, staff and students that deal with women’s survival strategies in a world scarred by war and environmental damage. Four UW–Madison students will also be selected to be part of a touring company that will perform in a variety of high school locations around the state in fall 2006. The activities will represent the experiences of Asian Pacific American, African American, Caucasian, Latin American and Native American cultures.

Tribal Youth Science Media Camp

Project Leaders:Patty Loew, Associate Professor, Life Sciences Communication and Don Stanley, Faculty Associate, Life Sciences Communication
Project Duration: 2007–2008

In collaboration with Lac Courte Oreilles Community College, staff in the Department of Life Sciences Communication will bring a weeklong science media camp to 48 middle and high school tribal students. There has traditionally been a disconnect between tribal communities and pursuit of science careers, and this camp “will offer science education within a cultural context.” Working in teams, the students will create eight scientifically themed media projects that may be broadcast as part of a national initiative by the Public Broadcasting Service.