Category: Faculty & Staff

Fischer to serve as Interim Director of External Relations

Maj Fischer has been appointed as interim director of external relations, effective March 1, 2017. The move comes as current director of external relations, Cynthia Williams, assumes a new post in Washington, D.C. as International Policy and Program Development Officer.

As interim director of external relations, Maj will manage university agreements and memoranda of understanding with institutions abroad. In addition, she will coordinate key visitors and delegations on campus and lead the external relations team. Maj will retain her roles as director of UW–Madison’s Peace Corps Office, the Scan|Design Foundation Fellowship Program, and as committee chair of International Education Week.

“I am very pleased that Maj has agreed to serve as interim director of external relations,” said Guido Podestá, vice provost and dean of the International Division. “IIP and Peace Corps have both seen growth and new milestones through Maj’s efforts. I have no doubt her extensive experience and strong history with various international programs at UW–Madison and abroad will help her to succeed in this role.”

Maj has served as the director of UW–Madison’s International Internship Program since 2010. Previously, she worked as associate director for the Peace Corps in Fiji from 2003–2005, re-opening the program after its five-year hiatus. After Fiji, she moved half way around the world to Copenhagen, Denmark, to work for DIS as Director of Academics before returning to UW–Madison. In addition, she has served as associate director of International Academic Programs (IAP).

Michelle Kern Hall will serve as interim director of the International Internship Program (IIP), while Maj fields this new position.

Michelle has been the assistant director of IIP since December 2011. In that time she developed the IIP website and database while expanding internship opportunities and student services for the program. Prior to joining IIP she worked at MIT as the MIT-Japan program manager, coordinating student internships and research in Japan.

Statement from Chancellor Blank on executive order on immigration

Throughout its history, the University of Wisconsin–Madison has been fortunate to draw together students, faculty and staff from many different countries, religions and backgrounds. This diversity is a source of strength and innovation and it enhances our research, teaching and outreach. It also drives the Wisconsin Idea through the ideals of sharing knowledge and building global partnerships.

We add our voice to those of the Association of American Universities (AAU), the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU) and many of our peer institutions calling for a reconsideration of the administration’s new order barring the entry or return of individuals from certain countries. Continue reading

Remembering Kannikar Elbow

University of Wisconsin-Madison students, faculty, staff, friends, and family mourn the loss of Kannikar Chanprasert Elbow, a dedicated and innovative educator of Thai language and culture. Kannikar was loved by her students and greatly respected by her colleagues, having gained knowledge and experience through a variety of roles throughout her dynamic life.

Kannikar Elbow

Kannikar Elbow had a tremendous impact on students and fellow faculty members throughout her life.

Kannikar Chanprasert Elbow was associated with UW-Madison for nearly 30 years and in the past 12 years was a senior lecturer in Thai language in the Department of Languages and Cultures of Asia (recently reorganized as Asian Languages and Cultures). In addition, she served as a member of the Steering Committee of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies. At UW-Madison, she was a highly successful and greatly respected teacher, known to her students and colleagues as Ajan Daeng. Continue reading

UW’s Tripp to lead team examining role of women in peace-building in Africa

An international team of experienced researchers will examine women’s role in peace-building in Africa, supported by $961,600 grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Aili Mari Tripp

Aili Mari Tripp

 The two-year project, which begins July 1, will be administered by the Center for Research on Gender and Women at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and led by Aili Mari Tripp, UW–Madison professor of Political Science and Gender and Women’s Studies.

The project consortium also includes the Chr. Michelsen Institute in Bergen, Norway, and Isis-Women’s International Cross-Cultural Exchange, in Kampala, Uganda.

The researchers include scholars and women’s rights activists from Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, Norway, United States and Finland. They will be conducting research in Somalia, Algeria, northern Nigeria, South Sudan, and Sudan. Continue reading

Fulbright: Drewal to work with, learn from metal artists in Morocco

“In the beginning, there was no word, only sensations,” says Henry John Drewal.

“The senses are crucial to understandings of the arts, as well as the formations of persons and cultures, and histories,” explains Drewal, Evjue-Bascom Professor of Art History and Afro-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Henry J. Drewal

Henry J. Drewal

Drewal began to discover the central role of the senses in the arts in the 1960s. While in Nigeria teaching French and English and organizing arts camps as a Peace Corps volunteer, he apprenticed himself to a Yoruba sculptor, an experience that proved to be transformative.

He followed up in 1978 with mask-making apprenticeship with another Yoruba sculptor in Nigeria, and the Gelede mask he created still dances in annual festivals.

Through these experiences, he says, “I gained insights into Yoruba artistic concepts, not only in discussing them with artists and observing them as they emerged from the creative process, but also in attempting to achieve them in my own carving under the tutelage of Yoruba artists.”

He adds, “In other words, my own bodily, multi-sensorial experience was crucial to a more profound understanding (oye) of Yoruba art, and the culture and history that shape it. This process of watching, listening, carving, making mistakes, being corrected by example, and trying again, was a transformative sensorial experience for me.”

Drewal has received a 2016-17 senior Fulbright Scholar award to continue exploring African art through what he calls Sensiotics – “the study of the multi-sensorial dimensions of the arts, both in the making and the reception of the arts by body-minds.” Continue reading

‘Experience Languages!’ brings pre-college students into UW-Madison classrooms

Wisconsin middle and high school students are getting a taste of world languages at the University of Wisconsin–Madison through Experience Languages!

The outreach initiative, organized by the Language Institute, also introduces visiting students to related opportunities, such as study abroad, international internships, and residential language communities.

On April 12, 2016, approximately 60 students from Monroe High School were introduced to Portuguese, Finnish, Mandarin, Swahili, Ancient Greek, and Yucatec Mayan. Each student was introduced to two languages.

The Experience Languages! initiative began in the fall 2015. Schools that participated include Madison East and LaFollette, Plymouth, Kimberly, Fort Atkinson, Cedarburg, Sauk Prairie, Verona, and Waterford.

UW Language Experience 033Wendy Johnson, assistant director of the Language Institute, welcomes the Monroe students and gives an overview of languages at UW–Madison. Continue reading

2016 Day in Africa brings 185 high school students to campus

The University of Wisconsin–Madison welcomed 185 juniors and seniors from eight Wisconsin high schools on April 13 for the 2016 Day in Africa program at Union South, sponsored by the African Studies Program.

The high school students explored the languages and cultures of Africa through a variety of sessions led by UW-Madison faculty, students, and staff. Many sessions incorporate the theme of health and healing in Africa and beyond.

The participating high schools were: Madison West, Madison East, Beloit Memorial, Pardeeville, Westosha Central, SAPAR, Oregon, and Kettle Moraine Global.

UW Day in Africa 2016 012Neil Kodesh, associate professor of history and director of the African Studies Program, gives the keynote remarks on Global Health in Africa to open the day’s program. Continue reading