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University Housing to launch Creative Arts and Design Community

November 4, 2011

The Arts Institute and University Housing at the University of Wisconsin–Madison next fall will launch a residential learning community for students interested in creative disciplines including art, dance, design, engineering, fashion, film, music, theatre and computer science.

The Creative Arts and Design Community, to be housed in the campus’s Sellery Hall, will welcome students from a broad array of creative disciplines, recognizing that the arts, innovation and creativity are vital and necessary skill sets to successfully enter the workforce in a range of careers and fields.

“As we think about life in the 21st century, we know technology will continue to be a major part of our day to day lives — thanks to the many discoveries and advances made at this university,” says Patrick J. Sims, associate professor of theatre and drama and faculty director for the CAD community. “What I hope this community of creative minds will teach us, and each other, is to remember the things that are so fundamental to who we are as human beings — our abilities to love, laugh, cry and, most importantly, inspire.”

Specialized programming in the CAD community will include seminars, speakers, performances, trips and outreach opportunities designed to build creative skills for students in a wide variety of art and design fields.

Renovated facilities in Sellery Hall will provide access for residents to share collaborative space, music practice rooms, small work studios, a computer lab with specialized software, and other facilities and equipment.

Sellery Hall will also continue to house the Women in Science and Engineering residential program and the Entrepreneurial Residential Learning Community.

Cultivating future generations of world leaders through innovation and collaboration is significant, Sims says.

“Even more significant is the fact that our students will have these experiences in a community that embodies all facets of the creative process,” Sims says. “To my knowledge, there are few spaces at the undergraduate level that foster the kind of collaboration and invention that we know will emerge when these amazing minds come together focused on a common goal.”

The CAD community will become the eighth residential learning community currently available in University Housing. The Madison Initiative for Undergraduates (MIU) is providing funding for a dedicated faculty director and a part-time program coordinator for each learning community and is supporting the expansion of learning community offerings in the next few years.

After receiving MIU support last year, University Housing invited academic departments and other campus offices to submit proposals for new learning communities. The request from the Arts Institute received broad support, in part because of the institute’s existing infrastructure. Additional proposals for new living-learning communities within University Housing are still in development with the Institute for Biology Education and the Department of Gender and Women Studies.

For more information about the program, visit

  • Gillian Losh, 608-890-2167,