A message from the dean: A welcome beginning to 2023!

Barry Gerhart
Dean Barry Gerhart

It is with great pleasure that I greet you all in 2023! The new year is always an exciting time, but especially on campus as we also welcome the beginning of the spring semester and the possibilities that come with it.

Last week I was able to attend the International Student Welcome and Information Fair (ISWIF) organized by International Student Services as a way to greet new international students and connect them to resources and groups around campus. Currently, about 1 in 7 of our UW–Madison students are international. This semester, we welcome 444 international students joining our university community. I am grateful that more than 20 campus units sent representatives to welcome our global Badgers, and that peers representing more than 10 registered student organizations were on hand as well. I am sure the students who attended ISWIF appreciated the opportunity to meet new people and learn about resources as they settle in at the university.

In speaking with these students, I had the opportunity to give advice in reply to questions such as “Who has the best ice cream?” and “Where are the best art museums?” I believe I was especially helpful on the first question. (Babcock Hall, also served at Memorial Union and Union South, of course.) One student from the Netherlands actually seemed somewhat interested in my advice on outdoor ice skating (Vilas and Tenney Parks). I also learned that our student organizations include Chinese theatre: Saying Theatre. Those students helpfully informed me that they use English subtitles, offering an additional way for audiences to enjoy the stories and dramas. The students at ISWIF were a lively bunch, enthused to be here, to meet each other and, of course, to get started with their academic areas of study. We are fortunate to have them here on campus and to have the opportunity to learn from one another.

I wish all of our students at UW–Madison a wonderful semester, whether they will spend the coming months in Madison or abroad. There are many ways to connect with one another and to add a global dimension to your UW–Madison experience. A great way in particular is to follow International Division units and programs on social media for updates on events and other news.

Additionally, I would like to wish those in our community celebrating the Lunar New Year happiness and health. This year marks both the Year of the Rabbit as observed in the Chinese zodiac and the Year of the Cat in the Vietnamese zodiac. There are several celebrations on campus and in the community, and I encourage you all to explore ways you might participate.


All the best,


Barry Gerhart

Interim Vice Provost and Dean

International Division