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UW announces Baldwin endowment grant winners

May 27, 2014 By Bill Graf

Eight faculty and staff public engagement projects, including such diverse efforts as teaching digital literacy skills to tribal teens, incorporating archaeology into tourism, and supporting young homeless children, have received grants for 2014-17 from UW–Madison’s Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment.

Photo: Ineva Reilly and Ira Baldwin

Ineva Reilly Baldwin and Ira Baldwin

The endowment was created by a gift from Ira Baldwin, a long-time UW student, teacher, researcher and administrator who served as dean of the Graduate School and the College Of Agriculture and as vice president for academic affairs, and Ineva Reilly Baldwin, a UW graduate whose career also involved teaching and serving in the university administration as assistant dean of women and associate dean of the College of Letters & Science. The Baldwin endowment is one of the largest gifts ever received by UW–Madison.

A total of 104 pre-proposals were submitted before eight were selected through a competitive process. The funded projects, as described in their submissions, are:

The Bubbler: Making Justice with Court-Involved Teens: The UW–Madison Center for Law, Society and Justice, the School of Library and Information Studies and the Department of Curriculum and Instruction will develop a makerspace program for court-involved teens in collaboration with the Madison Public Library, the Dane County Juvenile Court Program, the Neighborhood Intervention Program and Community Partnerships, Inc. The Bubbler — named for Wisconsin’s iconic drinking fountain — is a mobile program that taps community resources to encourage hands-on, peer-supported learning and digital literacy.

Community Health and Well Being through Design and Microenterprise: This project will launch an interdisciplinary outreach program that will connect students with artisans who have requested assistance with microenterprise development. The program leverages the relationships that UW–Madison has built over many years at global health field course sites in Ecuador, Mexico and Kenya to create a product design and marketplace system to support the economic well-being of local artisans. Best practices for global microenterprise will be developed to impact an even larger number of sites. The project expects to be self-sustaining by the end of the three-year grant period.

Empowering Consumers with Financial and Health Insurance Literacy: This project will bring together the distinct yet complementary resources of Covering Kids & Families-Wisconsin (CKF) and the Center for Financial Security (CFS), both at UW–Madison, to educate consumers on effective selection and use of health insurance. Project staff will work directly with select Head Start, Catholic Charities, and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance programs to incorporate health insurance literacy into existing financial counseling services. In addition to providing training on these concepts to staff operating the programs, the project will develop consumer budgeting tools, worksheets and education modules adopting and adapting existing national resources to fit the specifics of Wisconsin’s health insurance environment. Once materials have been deemed to meet program objectives, they also will be disseminated more widely through CKF and CFS statewide networks.

Oganawaabandan gikinoo ‘amaadiiwin (OGA), or “Visual Learning”: OGA is a collaborative community-based, three-year media project with the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Ojibwe designed to address health disparities through multimedia learning and content generation. The objectives are to teach digital storytelling and technology skills to tribal teens and to use new participant skills and community resources to develop innovative technologies for the instruction and delivery of content that promotes nutrition, healthy lifestyles and traditional food systems.

The Trempealeau Archaeology Project: Unearthing Wisconsin’s First Town: In 2010-13, archaeologists discovered a remarkable 1,000-year-old religious mission site in the Village of Trempealeau in western Wisconsin. Colonists, called Mississippian peoples by archaeologists, arrived by dugout canoes nearly 530 miles up the Mississippi River and brought with them ceremonial pots, exotic stone to make tools, a distinct architecture, and a religion exemplified in a temple mound complex aligned to the cycles of the sun. This discovery is writing a new chapter in American archaeology. Working alongside archaeologists, residents will uncover the archaeological story that exists within their own backyard. Information gathered from this project will enable the Village of Trempealeau to incorporate archaeology as a salient feature in a burgeoning heritage tourism industry.

Putting Writing to Work: Employment Writing Workshops Across Madison: To help address the serious problem of unemployment, the Madison Writing Assistance (MWA) program will offer a two-year series of employment writing workshops at six libraries and community centers across Madison. The workshops will be a sustained, thoughtfully sequenced and high-quality series that brings together employment resources and expertise from the Job Mob of South Madison, Joining Forces for Families, the Urban League, UW Continuing Studies Outreach programming and the Dane County Job Center. MWA’s long-standing library and community center partners will provide key support, particularly staff at Goodman South Madison Branch Library, as project leaders work to assist participants with strengthening their computer skills, their rhetorical abilities, and their overall self-confidence as they work to secure employment.

Response to Act 31: Disseminating Resources on American Indians in Wisconsin to Pre-Service and In-Service Teachers in the State: State legislation passed in 1989 known as Act 31 requires that both pre-service and in-service teachers have an understanding of the history, culture and tribal sovereignty of the 11 federally recognized American Indian tribes of Wisconsin, and that they be provide with accurate, culturally authentic teaching tools. Unfunded at the time of passage, Act 31 has never been widely implemented and teachers today still lack appropriate resources. The American Indian Curriculum Services unit in the School of Education will lead an effort to disseminate teaching tools and resources focusing on Wisconsin’s American Indian tribes and bands to public and private teacher education programs in the state and to practicing teachers in Wisconsin’s 424 school districts, working with the Department of Public Instruction’s American Indian Studies Consultant and several other organizations and individuals.

The BASES (Building Academic, Social, and Emotional Supports) Project: Enhancing School-Based Supports for Young Homeless Children: At present, there are 1,234 homeless students attending schools in the Madison Metropolitan School District. Of these, 341 are enrolled in PreK and 1st grade. The overall goals of the BASES Project are to increase school-based and other educational supports for young homeless children and build the capacity of schools, teachers and families to better meet the needs of these students. Through a new partnership between the Madison district, Dane County Parent Council and UW–Madison, successful completion of the proposed activities will facilitate the development of an integrated continuum of care for homeless children ages 0-7 years in Madison.