Baldwin Wisconsin Idea grant winners announced

May 10, 2016 By Käri Knutson
Owners Clarence (right) and Kelly wait with their dogs Ike (left) and Tina to see the vet at a Wisconsin Companion Animal Resources, Education and Social Services (WisCARES) clinic in Madison. WisCARES is one of the winners of this year's Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment grants.

Owners Clarence (right) and Kelly wait with their dogs Ike (left) and Tina to see the vet at a Wisconsin Companion Animal Resources, Education and Social Services (WisCARES) clinic in Madison. WisCARES is one of the winners of this year’s Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment grants. Photo: Bryce Richter

Projects both large and small will help the university contribute knowledge and resources across the state, thanks to grants from the Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment.

The competitive grant program is open to UW–Madison faculty, staff and students.

Ira Baldwin, a longtime UW teacher, researcher and administrator, served as dean of the Graduate School and the College of Agriculture and as vice president for academic affairs. Ineva Reilly Baldwin taught and served in the university administration as assistant dean of women and associate dean of the College of Letters & Science. Their endowment is one of the largest gifts ever received by UW–Madison.

This year, nine grants of up to $120,000 were awarded as well as 11 mini-grants of up to $4,000 to encourage innovation and experimentation in small-scale projects.

The nine grants are:

Committee Connect: Connecting State Legislators and University of Wisconsin–Madison Researchers to Build Better Public Policy
Project leaders: Hilary Shager, associate director, La Follette School of Public Affairs, and Karen Bogenschneider, professor, School of Human Ecology

Committee Connect will build on the successful methodology of the award-winning Wisconsin Family Impact Seminars to connect state legislators and UW–Madison researchers at an earlier stage in the policy making process, as ideas are being debated and bills are being developed. Project staff will meet with state legislative leadership to identify research needs, identify relevant UW experts, provide training to researchers on how to respond to requests using the program’s confidential, nonpartisan approach and facilitate interactions between legislators and trained researchers.

Odyssey Junior
Project leader: Emily Auerbach, professor of English

The UW–Madison Odyssey Project will expand its Odyssey Junior program to improve literacy programs for children and offer workshops for Odyssey parents on topics including supporting children’s academic success and supporting social and emotional needs. Field trips and guest artists will be part of the expanded offerings.

WisCARES Social Service Provision and Field Experience Expansion
Project leaders: William Gilles, director, WisCARES Program, Medical Sciences/School of Veterinary Medicine, and Ruthanne Chun, associate dean, clinical affairs, School of Veterinary Medicine

Wisconsin Companion Animal Resources, Education, and Social Services (WisCARES) will receive two years of funding for a fulltime social worker to provide direct educational support to social welfare, BSW and MSW students while expanding services offered to clientele. This individual will work closely with WisCARES leadership to perform ongoing benchmarking and needs assessments for the program, and will help facilitate stronger interprofessional educational experiences for existing and future collaborators. WisCARES is the only social service organization providing direct assistance to homeless individuals with pets in Dane County. Many programs within WisCARES are unduplicated in Dane County and provide a variety of services in support of the human-animal bond, including veterinary medical clinics, boarding for animals and client/patient advocacy.

Developing a Mobile Tool to Foster Citizen Engagement with Wisconsin’s Flora
Project leaders: Catherine Woodward, faculty associate, botany, and David Gagnon, program manager, Wisconsin Institute for Discovery

A new mobile app for the identification of Wisconsin’s native plant species that engages citizens in monitoring the flora in their own backyards and natural areas will be developed. The project will build upon the “Key to Woody Plants of Wisconsin Forests” app, the Nomen Project, and the Wisconsin State Herbarium’s WISFLORA database to create a mobile application that allows users to identify any plant in Wisconsin and submit data, including images, location, date and phenology (e.g., flowering, fruiting) to an online database. The app will help users identify plants, and the data collected will fill important knowledge gaps on the distribution, population status and impacts of climate change on plant species. It will be built on an open platform that can be freely repurposed by others worldwide.

From Coverage to Care: Health Insurance Literacy Skills for Wisconsin’s Most Vulnerable Residents
Project leaders: Donna Friedsam, director and principal investigator, Covering Wisconsin, and Allison Espeseth, development and operations manager, Covering Wisconsin

Covering Wisconsin (formerly Covering Kids & Families-Wisconsin) will work to improve the ability of Wisconsin residents with the lowest health and financial literacy skills to use health insurance, access care, and appropriately engage with the health care system. In collaboration with the Center for Patient Partnerships, Rural Health Initiative and Wisconsin Health Literacy, it will engage with consumers and the community organizations that serve them to identify, develop, assess and field educational methods and modes that will be most effective to reach high-need residents with resources that are consumer-tested and literacy-accessible.

Facilitating Entrepreneurship for Wisconsin’s Native American Communities
Project Leaders: Richard Monette, professor of law, director, Great Lakes Indigenous Law Center, and Anne Smith, clinical professor, director, Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic

The Law School’s Great Lakes Indigenous Law Center collaborates with the Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic and, for some projects, with the Nelson Institute, to provide support and assistance to tribal entrepreneurs in starting culturally relevant and appropriate businesses. The project will offer assistance to tribal governments in developing tribal legislation that would facilitate the creation of businesses. Additional assistance on business plans can come from UW-Extension’s Small Business Development Centers.

The Observatory: Fact-Checking and Explanatory Reporting in Wisconsin
Project leaders: Michael W. Wagner, associate professor, and Lucas Graves, assistant professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication

A new fact-checking and explanatory journalism website will cover the 2016 elections (presidential, congressional and Wisconsin races), housed in an innovative new undergraduate course in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and tied into the wider scholarly community at the UW. The goal of the project is to harness the efforts of UW journalism students, the expertise of UW scholars, and the local, regional and national media platforms of the project’s professional partners to connect voters in Wisconsin and across the country to information vital to the public practice of democracy.

Uncovering Ancient Life at Aztalan: New Explorations at One of Wisconsin’s Most Important Prehistoric Native American Communities
Project leaders: Sissel Schroeder, professor, anthropology, and Kelly Tyrrell, science writer, University Communications

Enhance learning opportunities for schoolchildren studying Aztalan State Park in Lake Mills by engaging them in collaborative learning and study of the people who preceded them, helping promote scientific literacy by exhibiting the ongoing and evolving nature of archaeology, especially through the creation of a public-facing, interactive website people can visit often to see how knowledge of the site is progressing, and creating educational materials for K-12 children in Jefferson County, including the Lake Mills and Fort Atkinson school districts. Yield new information that will enhance public interpretation and help correct longstanding myths about the site, and improve understanding of a case of Native American migration and multi-ethnic community formation around 900 years ago through expanded investigation of the site using modern field methods.

Building a Comprehensive Network of Fruit Growers to Improve Sustainable Production of Fruit Crops in Wisconsin
Project leaders: Christelle Guédot, assistant professor, entomology, and Amaya Atucha, assistant professor, horticulture

Fruit production in Wisconsin contributes over $400 million to the state economy and encompasses large-scale commercial growers, small-scale (including Community Supported Agriculture) growers, as well as homeowners. Underserved communities, such as Hmong, Amish and Latino, are important contributors to fruit production in the state; however, they are seldom served by the UW-Extension Fruit Team. The goal of the project is to develop new avenues for effectively delivering time-sensitive information on environmentally sound pest management practices and sustainable fruit crop production to all fruit growers, with special attention to underserved communities in the state of Wisconsin.

2016 Funded Mini-Grants