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Confronting campus history: UW–Madison actions

April 19, 2018

Proposal #1: A public history project to recover the voices of campus community members, in the era of the Klan and since, who struggled and endured in a climate of hostility and sought to change it.

What UW–Madison is doing:

  • Based on this recommendation, UW–Madison will be committing significant university resources to a public history project that will reclaim and celebrate the voices of those who endured, fought and overcame prejudice on campus, not just in the early 1900s but throughout the history of the university. Study group co-chair Stephen Kantrowitz, Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of History, and member Christy Clark-Pujara, an associate professor of history in the Department of Afro-American Studies, have agreed to convene a group this summer to design a process for the implementation of this project and to recommend ways to make the resulting information publicly available and visible. This will be a multi-year effort, likely involving archival research and oral history, culminating with a museum-quality public display. (Estimated cost about $1 million) 

Proposal #2: Renewed commitment to the Department of Afro-American Studies and the programs in American Indian studies, Chican@/Latin@ studies, and Asian American studies.

 What UW–Madison is doing:

  • We will be funding a proposal from the four ethnic studies divisions to hire four new faculty members, each of whom will be jointly appointed with other departments, over the next year. (Estimated cost $360,000)
  • This follows the addition of a second budgeted faculty member in the Chican@/Latin@ Studies Program this academic year and a commitment to expand sections of high-demand ethnic studies courses.

Proposal #3: Increased investment in the high-impact recruitment programs housed in the Office of the Vice Provost for Diversity & Climate, and more generally the commitment of resources to the improved retention of undergraduates, graduate students and faculty of color and from first-generation, economically disadvantaged and otherwise underrepresented groups.

What UW–Madison is doing: 


  • We will be allocating new resources to the recruitment of top scholars from underrepresented groups in the coming year. Details of this initiative are still in development and will be announced publicly in fall 2018. It is clear that an investment in the future inclusivity of campus must include a commitment to creating expanded diversity among our faculty.
  • As noted above, we will be making new ethnic studies joint hires.


  • This proposal needs to go beyond the activities of the Division of Diversity, Equity and Educational Achievement to include Admissions and Financial Aid. We are in the midst of launching two previously announced programs, Badger Promise and Bucky’s Tuition Promise, that we expect to significantly increase affordability and access for low- and moderate-income students from Wisconsin. We expect this to increase our applications among students from first-generation and underrepresented groups in Wisconsin.
  • In recent years, we have been reviewing and refining targeted scholarship programs (such as Powers-Knapp and Chancellor’s Scholars) to be more effective at recruiting and retaining students. Based on a major external evaluation, we have also revised our PEOPLE pre-college pipeline program, which operates primarily in the Madison and Milwaukee schools, to make it more effective at preparing students for higher education.
  • We have closed the retention gap that once existed among historically underrepresented students and all students. Graduation rates are increasing for all students and are growing more rapidly among underrepresented students, which means we’ve made substantial progress on the graduation gap as well.

Proposal #4: Increased investment in the Advanced Opportunity Fellowships (AOF) program, which benefits graduate students from traditionally underrepresented groups. 

What UW–Madison is doing: 

  • Over the past decade, our commitment to AOF has been vigorous. We are spending $5 million on AOF this year, up from $3.75 million in 2010.
  • The AOF program provides more than just money. We continue to strengthen the Graduate Research Scholars communities that all AOF recipients participate in. These communities provide academic, research, social and professional development opportunities.
  • Funding support of underrepresented minority PhD students has increased in recent years, from 79 percent receiving funding in fall 2012 to 84 percent last fall.