2020 Baldwin Funded Seed Project Grants

Bringing Gender Affirming Voice Training to an Underserved Community

Project Leaders: Colleen Conroy, Assistant Professor, Theatre & Drama, School of Education and Kevin Pasternak, Honorary Associate/Fellow, Surgery, School of Medicine and Public Health

Incongruence between vocal expression and gender identity negatively impacts quality of life for many transgender women. Most areas of Wisconsin do not have adequate access to services for improving voice-gender congruence. In partnership with Milwaukee LGBT Community Center, we will provide gender affirming voice training to 20 transfeminine participants in a three-workshop series. Through this project we propose an innovative, holistic approach that combines knowledge from traditionally siloed disciplines: speech-language pathology and theatre arts. By integrating approaches across the disciplines, this project aims to amplify outcomes in gender affirming voice training for an underserved community by focusing not just on the physiology of voice change but also the wholeness of authentic self-expression.

Cultivating More Than Good Food?

Project Leader: Michael Bell, Professor, Community and Environmental Sociology, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and Sarah Janes Ugoretz, Admin Specialist, Wisconsin Public Media, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

As the organic vegetable industry continues to expand and consumers embrace romantic calls to know their farmers, the roles and experiences of farm employees remain unacknowledged and underexplored. In order to create a more just and equitable food system, it is imperative that workers have a seat at the table. This multi-method qualitative study will ask farm employees how they perceive, experience, and create socio-economic sustainability on certified organic vegetable farms in the upper Midwest. Through interviews and focus groups, workers will speak to the joys, challenges, and motivations associated with their work and will actively participate in identifying best practices for strong socio-economic sustainability. In conjunction with data collected during an earlier phase of this project, we will use findings to create customizable tools and management resources, which we will distribute widely. A farm labor event, convened in collaboration with FairShare CSA Coalition and the School for Workers, will provide another means of highlighting findings, introducing outputs, and identifying opportunities for additional research and collaboration.

Dairy Supply Management Roundtables

Project Leader: Michelle Miller, Researcher, Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

Wisconsin’s farm crisis is hitting dairy farmers hard. This proposal addresses the need to convene a difficult conversation on milk oversupply and supply management. CIAS proposes to convene two roundtable conversations between farmers, milk processors, and academics to think through policy options that address restructuring dairy markets in a global context. We think this will catalyze creative and inclusive policy development, in anticipation of the 2022 Farm Bill. The roundtables will draw out the unique resources the University has to offer and provide a space for leadership to emerge from farmers and their organizations. It will also help UW faculty better understand the needs of Wisconsin farmers in this time of crisis. The seed funding will be used to leverage additional resources from multiple sources to host additional conversations within the dairy business sector. This proposal was developed through a series of conversations with faculty, farmers and their organizations and is a classic example of the Wisconsin Idea in action.

Developing Participatory Evaluation Tools with Centro Hispano of Dane County’s Youth Programs

Project Leaders: Vivien Ahrens, Project Assistant, Wisconsin Center for Education Research, School of Education, and Carolina Sarmiento, Assistant Professor, Civil Society and Community Studies Department, School of Human Ecology

Evaluation can be a vehicle for participation and self-advocacy. When groups ask questions that are relevant to them, gather their own information to formulate strategies for action, they can increase their influence in organizations and communities. In practice, because of limited time and resources, community-based organizations often mainly use evaluation tools to track activities and report to funders and partners. Standardized methods and technical language can make these processes irrelevant for communication across agency levels and the public. The potential of evaluation for internal reflection, capacity building and engagement is lost.

Centro Hispano of Dane County’s after-school programs support over 250 youth annually through mentoring, tutoring, and hands-on workshops around leadership, wellbeing, college-preparation, and career development. To strengthen youth voice in its programs, Centro started an innovative pilot project: The Centro Hispano Youth Evaluation Team. A group of 8 students learned and applied evaluation methods to explore students’ experiences in the Escalera Program. The group presented their findings to East High School staff and the Centro Hispano Board of Directors, providing unexpected insights.

Centro Hispano is now looking for ways to not only continue this initiative but to scale up youth-led evaluation across all programs. Therefore, organizational learning, staff capacity building, and the development of relevant tools and processes around participatory evaluation are needed. This project proposes the development of a series of four workshops, co-facilitated by a member of the youth evaluation team, to develop methods and strategies for youth-led evaluation at Centro Hispano with youth program staff.

Dual Vulnerability: Client as Immigrant and Patient

Project Leaders: Katalin Vinkler, Associate Admin Program Specialist, Department of Surgery, School of Medicine and Public Health, and Tatiana Shirasaki, Student Services Coordinator, Law School

Immigrants are increasingly facing tension between accessing health care services and maximizing their chances of being permitted to remain in the United States. This tension constitutes a distinctive problem in Wisconsin considering that half of the state residents suffer from at least one chronic disease and the state is home to a 277,000 strong immigrant population. Additionally, access to Badgercare is restricted for most immigrants during their first five years of residence based on the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act. Furthermore, tension arises from other rules and policies, such as the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act and, most recently, the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds final rule. Immigrants need accurate and reliable information to preserve their immigrant status while applying and accessing medical treatment for chronic conditions. A diagnosis of a serious medical condition might mean not only loss of work and income but hard-earned permanent resident status or eligibility to obtain one. As a consequence, immigration lawyers now need to know not just immigration law but also health care law. This project aims to assess the current awareness of these complexities among immigration lawyers during a full day continuing legal education event. This event will inform the development of educational tools for those who lack the training needed to protect the interests of their clients and their families, including U.S. citizen children.

Farm Stories: Farmers and Scientists as Co-authors of Narratives to Share Knowledge

Project Leaders: Michael Bell, Professor, Community and Environmental Sociology, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and Barbara Decre, Teaching Assistant, Academic Programs, Nelson Institute

Farmers use stories to share their knowledge and experiences with each other and as such they are natural storytellers. Scientists on the other hand rely on more impersonal communication methods to share their academic knowledge. As farm networks such as the Savanna Institute encourage farmers to share their stories with a larger audience, both communities would benefit from working together to improve the reach and efficiency of their communication methods. This project proposes to bring together farmers and researchers to co-author narrative pieces inspired by farmers’ stories which could be used to spread knowledge. The process of workshopping the stories has the potential to improve the way scientists share their agricultural knowledge, encourage farmers to critically think about their practices, and to provide the community with communication pieces specifically designed for their use.

Improving Communication Quality of Life for Individuals with Memory Loss

Project Leaders: Kimberly D. Mueller, Assistant Professor, Communication Sciences and Disorders, College of Letters & Science, and Cassandra Peters, Student Assistant, Communication Science & Disorders, College of Letters & Science

Communication problems have been shown to be directly correlated with challenging behaviors in Alzheimer’s disease dementia as well as increased caregiver burden, affecting the more than 16 million Americans that provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. Therefore, it is critical to identify communication difficulties early in the disease so that communication interventions can be implemented for both the patient and the caregivers. Language sampling provides us with robust information on the complex cognitive process involved in producing spontaneous speech, at a relatively little investment of patient time and effort. Most of the currently used neuropsychological assessments test isolated cognitive skills, which do not often reflect everyday activities. By obtaining a measure of everyday speech, we can begin to describe functional communication. Additionally, speech-language pathologists are not typically involved in the team for initial memory assessments, and by testing the feasibility of this approach, we may uncover a valuable resource that is not currently provided. The overarching goal of this project is two-pronged. First, we aim to determine the feasibility of the use of short speech samples as a sensitive and valuable tool to measure cognitive and functional change across varying stages of the Alzheimer’s disease continuum in the clinical setting. Second, we aim to translate evidence into practice: namely, to provide individuals with the tools and resources they need to effectively communicate with their loved ones throughout the Alzheimer’s disease continuum, a crucial aspect of quality of life for both individuals and their caregivers.

K-12 Drone-based Study of Wisconsin Coastal Change

Project Leader: Lucas Zoet, Assistant Professor, Geoscience, College of Letters & Science

Lake Michigan’s water level is approaching an all-time high and is expected to set a new record next summer. As a result of the rising lake level, the Wisconsin shoreline is undergoing extensive geomorphic and ecological changes. With this proposal we seek seed funding to purchase a set of small unmanned aircraft systems that can be used by K-12 educators and students in collaboration with the WI GLOBE program to monitor coastal change around the state. As part of this project we will develop new protocols that students can use to measure coastal change over time. These protocols will be presented to K-12 teachers at the GLOBE workshop that is to be held in Door County in August 2020. Each educator will be given one small inexpensive drone to bring back to their classroom, while one large research- grade drone will be shared among all the programs for use in collecting data that can be analyzed by each class. Zoet will work with GLOBE to develop the protocols, attend the GLOBE workshop to instruct the teachers on best use practices for the drones and research methods and follow up with schools throughout the fall.

‘Microbe Place Digital’ Engagement Exhibit

Project Leader: Melissa Christopherson, Associate Faculty Associate, Bacteriology, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

The purpose of this proposal is to construct an interactive exhibit for the Microbe Place museum that highlights the connections between scientists and projects in the Microbial Sciences Building with different towns/cities in Wisconsin. This exhibit will also be available online hosted on the Microbiology outreach webpage  for people who are not able to visit the Microbe Place museum in person.

Midwest Prescribed Fire Monitoring Network

Project Leaders: Christy Lowney, Research Specialist, Arboretum, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education, and Craig Maier, Outreach Specialist, Nelson Institute

Across the midwestern United States, prescribed fire (planned fires used in land management) is one important tool that people use to care for the land. While managing small areas with prescribed fire is a modern phenomenon, fire has been prominent in the Midwest since the time of the last glacial retreat. With European settlement came increased demand for infrastructure and agriculture, leaving the original landscape heavily fragmented. Fragmentation and fire suppression resulted in fewer naturally occurring fires on the landscape. Because of this, the remnants of original prairie and oak ecosystems that persist today suffer from lack of fire, except for a very small percentage of managed sites where prescribed fire frequency approaches the patterns that existed prior to European settlement.

In today’s fragmented landscape, preserving rare, fire-dependent ecosystems is more challenging and important than ever. However, surveys of land managers across the Midwest reveal they lack information about how to best use fire to meet management objectives. To address this gap, we propose establishing a prescribed fire monitoring network in cooperation with land managers across Southern Wisconsin. The goals of this network are to increase knowledge of fire science in the Midwest and preserve the rare habitats that make up the Southern WI landscape. We aim to accomplish these goals by: 1) involving managers in measuring fire behavior and monitoring prescribed fire effects, 2) supporting knowledge-sharing among a network of managers, and 3) comparing predicted vs. observed fire behavior in Midwest ecosystems.

Participatory Evaluation of Agricultural Education Program in Ghana

Project Leader: Julie Dawson, Associate Professor, Horticulture, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and Laura Livingston, Graduate Research Assistant, Nelson Institute

Transformative evaluation (TE) uses participatory methods of evaluation that take into account power, identity, and context. Different from conventional evaluation, clients of the programs being evaluated are centered when designing evaluation tools. This research project is a comparative case study which seeks to understand how TE works in agricultural education programs in different contexts. The Baldwin Seed grant would fund one of these case studies, a TE of an agricultural education program in Ghana. By partnering with an organization that serves rural Ghanaian farmers, MoringaConnect, Laura Livingston aims to co-create an evaluation tool that serves the needs of the farmers and program staff while paying attention to and highlighting power imbalances. Workshops will be held to engage participating farmers in defining the goals of the program and how to measure them. The goal of this TE is to create equitable change within the education program by generating an evaluation tool that is culturally relevant and representative of the farmer population. After the evaluation is concluded, focus groups or other culturally relevant forms of qualitative data generation will be used to understand the experience and impact of this process. Funding this second case study will allow for this TE method to be analyzed in a cross-cultural setting and compared to a similar case study with Wisconsin farmers. Findings from the case study will inform the participatory, multicultural evaluation field.

Partnering with Rural Wisconsinites to Develop Better Information Sources for Complex Medication

Project Leaders: Michelle Chui, Associate Professor, School of Pharmacy, and Ashley Morris, Research Assistant, School of Pharmacy

Specialty pharmacy patients are a niche population of patients that live with complex diseases, wherein their elaborate treatment regimen is expensive but frequently improves quality of life and longevity. Unlike a typical patient who has face-to-face access to a community pharmacist, there are far fewer specialty pharmacies for patients that take specialty medications. There are only 10 accredited specialty pharmacies in Wisconsin, most of which are located in Madison and Milwaukee leaving essentially the entire state of Wisconsin without specialty pharmacy access. Furthermore, there is a lack of research done to improve patient understanding of their medication product for patients with complex health conditions that require specialty medication treatment. This study hopes to address a critical and timely patient safety concern to improve medication use by collaborating with rural Wisconsin patients in a series of participatory design sessions to describe the medication information behavior in rural patients that take complicated medicines and engage them in the development and refinement of a patient package insert (information source inside the prescription medication package) that meets their needs as medication users. Engaging patients as collaborators in design of the medication package insert has enormous potential to improve the frequency of adverse events in a population of Wisconsinites that experience limited access to care.

Provision of Health Amenities to Pet Owners Experiencing Homelessness

Project Leaders: Ruthanne Chun, Clinical Professor, Medical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, and Levi Sable, Director of Outreach Operations, School of Veterinary Medicine

WisCARES continues to provide veterinary medical care to animals owned by homeless and housing insecure people. We also provide direct social services to our clientele such as housing advocacy and identification of a more compatible Primary Care Provider, as well as referral services including connection with case managers and other existing resources within Dane County. WisCARES fills a unique niche in Dane County, as homeless people with pets often do not seek out social services or healthcare for themselves because they do not want to leave their animal companion. Thus, WisCARES serves a segment of the population that is more ‘hidden’ than unaccompanied homeless people. Our program is also unique in that we have students and health professionals from multiple schools and colleges across campus including, but not limited to, veterinary medicine, social work, pharmacy, and medicine/public health. One Health is the concept that the health of people, animals and the environment in which they live is intertwined and interdependent. WisCARES is a One Health clinic.
The goal of this project is to expand our One Health framework by providing personal hygiene amenities to help homeless and low-income people lead healthier lives. To determine what types of products would be beneficial, WisCARES clients visiting the clinic during a four-week period were invited to complete an anonymous survey. The most commonly requested items included deodorant, dental care products, and menstrual products. This grant would help WisCARES purchase a shelving unit and a year’s worth of supplies.

Starting and Sustaining a High School Writing Center

Project Leaders: Michael Haen, Teaching Assistant, Department of English, College of Letters & Science, and Nancy Karls, Faculty Associate, Department of English, College of Letters & Science

Since fall 2018, UW-Madison’s Writing Center has hosted four Wisconsin high school English classes from Johnson Creek, Pius XI in Milwaukee, Wayland Academy in Beaver Dam, and Madison East High School for two-hour workshops on writing center pedagogy and training peer tutors. Motivated by the documented benefits of peer-to-peer collaboration and learning for tutors and writers, each school attended these half-day sessions to strengthen their school’s emerging centers. The project envisioned for this grant expands on that recent work and would invite high school instructors and students (who have considered starting their own centers) to UW-Madison’s campus in Fall 2019 for a full-day of direct instruction, breakout sessions, and panels about writing center teaching, administration (e.g., publicizing services), and tutor education, among other topics. The full-day would involve UW-Madison Writing Center staff leading sessions on a range of topics like (1) how to prioritize concerns to discuss in a tutorial, (2) how to motivate writers, (3) how to work successfully with a diverse student population (e.g., ESL writers), and (4) how to publicize a center’s services and “build a brand.” Instructors and students from previous partnerships, like Johnson Creek and Pius XI, will be invited to contribute as part of panels or breakouts that discuss successes and challenges they have experienced in sustaining their centers. Broadly, the goals of this full-day event are to (1) support the start of new high school writing centers and (2) establish a long-standing network of Wisconsin high school writing centers.

Strengthening Refugee Camp Education: The 5 STA-Z Board Game

Project Leaders: Nancy Kendall, Department Chair and Professor, Educational Policy Studies, School of Education, and Kate McCleary, Associate Director, Global Engagement Office, School of Education

Schools in refugee camps face multiple constraints to improving educational quality, including limited curricular control, teacher training, and a lack of reform efforts led by refugees themselves. In this project, UW-Madison faculty and staff with long-term expertise in educational reform will support Joel Baraka, a King-Morgridge scholar who went to school in the Kyangwali Refugee Camp (Uganda), in expanding his efforts to improve camp educational quality. In 2016, Baraka created and piloted an innovative game, 5 STA-Z, which provides students with direct access to curricular content and introduces active, peer-to-peer pedagogical approaches in the camp schools. Through this project, Baraka will work with two primary schools in the camp to: provide access to 5 STA-Z to all students during their lunch hour, work with teachers to expand the curricular content in the game and provide support to students while they play it, and provide direct training to teachers on active learning pedagogies that they can incorporate into their classroom activities. In so doing, Baraka aims to expand a homegrown educational reform that responds to the needs of refugee schools, students, and teachers, and strengthens educational quality for all.

Supporting Fathers and Families: Sharing Lessons Learned from Wisconsin Dads

Project Leader: Margaret Kerr, Assistant Professor, Human Development and Family Studies Department, School of Human Ecology

Although research has established the critical importance of fathers to children’s development, they are still largely absent in parenting programs and services. There is an emergent need to identify the barriers and challenges that Wisconsin fathers face in order to develop targeted programming that helps them engage with their children in positive ways. To address this need, we are currently implementing a statewide needs assessment to identify the specific needs of fathers across the state of Wisconsin, gaps in services from existing father-serving organizations, and recommended strategies to support fathers. The goals of this project are to 1) disseminate the results of statewide needs assessment to Extension colleagues, father-serving organizations, and fathers, 2) educate family-serving organizations about the challenges and barriers that Wisconsin fathers face, and 3) engage more colleagues in programming, advocacy, and partnerships that will improve outcomes for fathers and their families. We will achieve this goal by holding three regional workshops to share our findings on the needs of Wisconsin fathers.

Trade Winds Ensemble

Project Leaders: Midori Samson, Fellow, Mead Witter School of Music, College of Letters & Science, and Marc Vallon, Professor, Mead Witter School of Music, College of Letters & Science

Trade Winds Ensemble is a group of six teaching artists interested in the emergence of music education and social justice. I currently serve as Co-Founding Artistic Director of Trade Winds Ensemble. We have developed a two-week music composition curriculum for children who have never taken music classes before. Since our founding in 2013 we have implemented this curriculum in Kenya, Tanzania, Haiti, Chicago, and Detroit. Beginning in summer 2020, we will complete a program evaluation of our curriculum by implementing it again in Kenya, Tanzania, and Detroit. Receiving a Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Seed Project Grant would make this program evaluation possible. We anticipate that at the end of each two-week workshop, students will have composed and performed their own original pieces of music, they will have learned about teamwork, confidence, individuality, problem solving, and identity, and they will leave feeling like musicians. This curriculum, as well as observations about the implementation of it in three cities, will be published in my doctoral project paper in Spring 2021. The paper will introduce Trade Winds Ensemble’s curriculum as a new method of teaching music with a social justice lens. We will pull from social work literature and research to implement and evaluate our curriculum, which has been created in consideration of our student-community’s history of colonization and oppression.

UW-Madison Libraries Outreach to Area Arts Organizations

Project Leader: David Pavelich, Director of Special Collections and Archives, General Library

Madison is home to a vibrant and active arts community, which is supported by several non-profit arts organizations. These arts organizations offer the community a variety of educational programs, including youth camps, evening classes, and workshops. At the same time, the UW-Madison Libraries have staff, services, and collections that support the arts, primarily on campus. Our goal is to extend these library offerings beyond campus to the community in order to help these organizations meet their educational and programming goals. Our project is a collaborative outreach effort led by three campus libraries: Kohler Art Library, Mills Music Library, and the Department of Special Collections (rare books). Other library locations—such as UW-Madison Archives and Memorial Library—will also be involved. Together, these libraries have incredibly rich collections, from artists’ books to literary magazines, from Wisconsin folk music to LGBTQ archives, which we hope will see greater community use.