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UW announces community partnership awards

June 22, 2018 By Käri Knutson

Sekani, Amira and Jabari Claire (left to right) receive the 2018 LaMarr Billups Community-University Engagement Award on behalf of their father Kaleem Claire, during an event at Olin House on June 27, 2018. Presenting the awards are UW–Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank and Leslie Orrantia, UW–Madison director of community relations. Photo: Bryce Richter

Strong community partnerships are an essential part of the Wisconsin Idea’s strength. In recognition of this teamwork, the university will honor seven collaborations with the 2018 Community-University Partnership Awards, held from 5 to 7 p.m. June 27 at Olin House.

The Community-University Partnership Awards were started under the leadership of LaMarr Billups, a respected community leader at UW–Madison who was committed to key civic institutions and social causes. He served as a special assistant to two UW–Madison chancellors and was the director of community relations from 1996 to 2007. These awards recognize the work of UW–Madison faculty, staff, and students and their community partners across the state of Wisconsin, as they address pressing public issues in Madison and the surrounding region.

“Throughout the history of UW–Madison, the Wisconsin Idea—a philosophy that holds that university research should be applied to solve problems and improve health, quality of life, the environment, and agriculture for all citizens of the state—has remained at our core,” says Leslie Orrantia, UW–Madison director of community relations. “As such, it remains a privilege for our institution to continue to recognize the impact made possible through dedicated collaborations between our students, faculty, staff, alumni, colleagues, and friends making change and improving lives across Wisconsin.”

Honorees include:

Oneida Nation – Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center Partnership

Partners: Sanjay Asthana, MD, Director, Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Division of Geriatrics, Department of Medicine; Dorothy Edwards, PhD Leader of the Minority Recruitment Satellite Program of the Wisconsin ADRC, Professor of Kinesiology, School of Education; Brieanna Harris, Program Manager; Sterling C. Johnson, PhD, Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Associate Director; Cynthia M. Carlsson, MD, Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute; Jody Krainer, Dementia Diagnostic Network Manager, Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute; Jane Mahoney, MD, Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute; Hector Salazar, Outreach Specialist, Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center

Partner Organization: Oneida Nation Commission on Aging (ONCOA) Oneida Community Advisory Board (CAB) and Oneida Elder Services

Although data describing the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) is sparse, recent analyses suggest the disease will disproportionally burden Native Americans. Unfortunately, misconceptions persist in both clinical and community settings. Members of the Oneida Nation Commission on Aging (ONCOA) have partnered with faculty and staff from the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute to expand their community, access to dementia diagnostic services, build awareness of ADRD, support caregivers, and promote participation in ADRD research. Key partners include the Dementia Care Specialist for the Oneida Nation, and Oneida Tribal Elder Services. These local efforts align with national priorities and an urgent need for effective prevention strategies to address the suffering and untenable costs associated with ADRD, especially critical for underserved populations disproportionally affected by the disease.

The Compost Project: A Systems Approach to Food Waste Composting for Urban Agriculture 

Partners: Tim Allen, UW–Madison Master’s graduate & project staff, Greg Lawless, Food System Program Manager, University of Wisconsin Extension, and Steve Ventura, Professor, Nelson Institute and Department of Soil Science

Partner Organization: Cream City Farms and Compost Crusaders are the two partners nominated. Other project partners include Blue Ribbon Compost, Purple Cow Organics, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, Milwaukee County Extension, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee-Cartography & GIS Center, Supply Chain Management, and Department of Biological Sciences.

“A Systems Approach to Food Waste Composting for Urban Agriculture” (the Compost Project) engages students and researchers at four universities, compost haulers and producers, public agency staff, and urban agriculture farmers and gardeners. Two community representatives were selected to represent this broad group of stakeholders:

David Johnson operates an urban farm in Milwaukee where we are conducting compost trials. He helps demonstrate the value of compost to replenish poor soils and divert food waste from landfills. Johnson grows three commercial crops, coordinates soil evaluations, and hosts demonstrations for stakeholders such as other urban farmers, gardeners, and compost entrepreneurs.

Melissa Tashjian represents food waste haulers and compost producers collaborating with UW–Madison, UW-Milwaukee and Extension to develop a decision framework. This will lead to scaling up food waste composting and increasing the supply of affordable compost in areas of food insecurity in Milwaukee.

CAMP Bayview: College Advancement Mentorship Program at the Bayview Foundation

Partners: Oona-Ifé Olaiya, Research Specialist, School of Human Ecology; Dr. Linda Park, Research Specialist, School of Medicine and Public Health; Reuben Sanon, Badger Volunteer Director, Morgridge Center for Public Service; Michelle Tong, undergraduate student, UW–Madison; Elizabeth Tryon, Assistant Director CES and staff mentor Wisconsin Idea Fellowship program of the Morgridge Center for Public Service; and Dr. Yang Sao Xiong, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work

Partner Organization:  Bayview Community Foundation

The College/Career Advancement Mentorship Program (CAMP) at the Bayview Foundation provides high school students from under-resourced backgrounds with tools to achieve academic and personal success. The program includes academic and wellness workshops, as well as college field trips and ACT tutoring from Galin Education. Two Wisconsin Idea Fellowship students, Michelle Tong and Oona-Ifé Olaiya, served as initial founders and facilitators for the project. Tong and Olaiya created this equity model partnership program in consultation with teens who were already using the after-school tutoring services at Bayview. CAMP has been so successful that it will continue indefinitely, using a combination of community support, volunteers from the UW Writing Center, and Bayview staff. Students who completed the workshops are now enrolled at Madison College.

Indigenous Sustainabilities: Health, Culture, and Environment in Waaswaaganing 

Partners: B. Marcus Cederström, Community Curator of Nordic-American Folklore, Department of German, Nordic, and Slavic; Colin Gioia Connors, PhD student, Department of German, Nordic, and Slavic, Folklore; Thomas A. DuBois, Halls-Bascom Professor of Scandinavian Studies, Folklore, and Religious Studies, Department of German, Nordic, and Slavic; Tim Frandy, previously outreach specialist at the UW Collaborative Center for Health Equity (now Assistant Professor of Folk Studies, Western Kentucky University)

Partner Organization: Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians & Lac du Flambeau Public School

Indigenous Sustainabilities: Health, Culture, and Environment in Waaswaaganing promotes physical health, cultural sustainability, and environmental stewardship among the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians. A series of collaborative projects between Ojibwe community leaders and folklorists at the University of Wisconsin–Madison have resulted in higher high school graduation rates, college attendance rates, language revitalization, and the restoration of traditional health systems to address substance abuse and other community health issues. Tangible outcomes include multiple birchbark canoes, a winter lodge, and annual winter games at Lac du Flambeau, with the projects’ success now inspiring similar repatriation and revitalization efforts in Indigenous communities throughout the state and beyond. Led by Ojibwe language and culture instructor Wayne Minogiizhig Valliere and Professor Thomas A. DuBois, the collaboration is now in its sixth year and is still expanding.

Creators, Collectors, & Communities: Making Ethnic Identity Through Objects

Partners: Ann Smart Martin, Stanley and Polly Stone (Chipstone) Professor of Art History; Steel Wagstaff, Instructional Technology Consultant, L&S Learning Support Services.

Partner Organization: The Mount Horeb Area Historical Society

Beginning in Fall 2015, the Mount Horeb Area Historical Society (MHAHS) has partnered with faculty, staff and students in the Department of Art History and L&S Learning Support Services to research, interpret and present material from the Society’s collection to the broader public. This partnership culminated in June 2017 with the opening of the Driftless Historium, a newly constructed history center in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin. The fruits of this multi-faced collaboration between the MHAHS’s professional staff and community volunteers, and university staff and students, have included Creators, Collectors, & Communities: Making Ethnic Identity Through Objects, a 60-object exhibit examining the evolution of ethnic identity in southwestern Wisconsin which has been seen in person by more than 10,000 visitors over the past year, and a free, media-rich catalogue and eBook accompaniment featuring photographs, oral histories, and original student research which has been viewed online by thousands.

Wisconsin Women in Government 

Partners: Dennis Dresang, Professor Emeritus, La Follette School of Public Affairs; Bridget Pirsch, Senior Outreach Specialist, La Follette School of Public Affairsand Susan Yackee, Professor, La Follette School of Public Affairs

Partner Organization: Wisconsin Women in Government

Since 2001, the La Follette School of Public Affairs has collaborated with the Wisconsin Women in Government (WWIG) organization to provide high-impact leadership training for women who work in local, state, or federal government or who interact with the government through nonprofit or private-sector employment.

Founded in 1987, WWIG is a nonpartisan volunteer organization that recognizes and supports women by providing scholarships as well as educational and networking opportunities. La Follette School Emeritus Professor Dennis Dresang and Professor Susan Yackee lead the seminars.

More than 350 women have participated in the leadership seminar, which provides 20-plus hours of training for early and mid-career women seeking to advance their careers and increase their leadership and management skills. Seminar graduates uniformly point to the training as a critical step forward for their careers, and many have obtained key positions across government and related sectors.

Native American Center for Health Professions (NACHP) and Oneida Nation Partnership

Partners: Dr. Jacquelynn Arbuckle, Former Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery and director of NACHP, Current NACHP Advisory Council Member; Dr. Bret Benally-Thompson, Clinical Associate Professor, Palliative Care & NACHP Advisory Council Member; Lauren Cornelius, Program Specialist, NACHP; Dr. Tracy Downs, Associate Dean for Multicultural Affairs and Diversity, School of Medicine and Public Health; Melissa Metoxen, Community and Academic Support Coordinator; Dr. Elizabeth Petty, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Danielle Yancey, Director, NACHP

Partner Organization: Oneida Nation of Wisconsin.

The Native American Center for Health Professions was founded in 2012 with the vision to improve the health and well-being of Native American communities through increased representation of Native American health professionals. Wisconsin serves as home to 12 Native Nations, many of whom face the most striking health disparities in the state. This served as an important catalyst to create NACHP, a true embodiment of the Wisconsin Idea to work with Wisconsin’s tribal communities to address education access, health equity and workforce needs in some of the most rural and underserved communities in the state. One of NACHP’s most innovative and effective campus-community partnerships is with the Oneida Nation. This partnership established a NACHP office within the Oneida community to work closely with the tribal government, health center, education department, schools and Tsyunhehkwa (joon-hey-kwa), the tribe’s agricultural community.

LaMarr Billups award

Additionally, Kaleem Caire will be given the 2018 LaMarr Billups Community-University Engagement Award. Caire is a known national leader in K-12 education reform, economic and workforce development, and community transformation. Since 2014, he has served as founder and CEO of One City Early Learning Centers, a 21st century preschool in Madison specifically aiming to eliminate the racial achievement gap by ensuring children are reading-ready by kindergarten and their parents have the knowledge, tools, and ability to provide for them and lead strong families. His tireless advocacy and efforts inspired the creation of UW–Madison’s PEOPLE Program and its Information Technology Academy (ITA), Madison Metropolitan School District’s Nuestro Mundo Bilingual Charter School and the Schools of Hope Tutoring Program. He has also assisted with the development of other education reform efforts across states. In the area of school development, Caire has been directly involved with the proposal, planning, development and governance of several public charter schools in Madison and Washington, DC. He currently serves on Chancellor Rebecca Blank’s UW Community Advisory Council and the UW School of Education Madison Education Partnership (MEP) Steering Committee, and is exploring a collaboration with UW–Madison on the creation of a comprehensive resource on birth-to-college for first-generation families across the nation.

The LaMarr Billups award is a prestigious one for individuals who have demonstrated outstanding contributions to campus-community partnerships.