UW–Madison, Madison College launch Global Studies Passport partnership

Understanding different political systems, languages, customs, and cultures is essential for conducting business in today’s society, says Rebecca Waraczynski, who is pursuing an associate’s degree in marketing at Madison Area Technical College (Madison College).

Waraczynski, who studied in Germany through a Madison College program, is seeking to further broaden her understanding of world regions and global systems through a new partnership with the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Starting this spring, the Global Studies Passport Program offers opportunities and incentives for Madison College students to enroll in select international and area studies courses at UW–Madison. These courses are aimed at helping them appreciate how their own futures and the economies and cultures of Wisconsin and the United States intersect with realities of the larger world.

The program is open only to students enrolled in Madison College’s Interdisciplinary Global Studies Certificate program. Course credits earned through the program can be transferred back to Madison College and applied toward associate degrees or certificate requirements.

The two institutions developed the Global Studies Passport program through a collaboration that involved the UW–Madison International Division and the area studies centers within the Division’s Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS), and Madison College’s Center for International Education and School of Arts and Sciences.

Registrars from both institutions, as well as UW–Madison’s Adult Career and Special Student Services, also worked together to help make the initiative possible.

“This partnership satisfies an ambition we’ve long had in our area studies centers to extend the instructional reach of UW–Madison’s world area experts to more residents of Wisconsin,” says James Delehanty, IRIS executive director. “Some of the world’s leading figures in international studies are here at UW-Madison. We are delighted to offer Madison College students opportunities to learn from them.”

“This program represents a new level of collaboration between our institutions to provide students with the global knowledge and skills needed today,” says Geoff Bradshaw, Madison College’s international education director. “Our hope is that this program will not only allow for expanded opportunities for students in our Global Studies Certificate, but also help students explore more advanced degrees and careers by taking advantage of the enormous resources for global learning afforded by UW–Madison’s Institute for Regional and International Studies.”

Support for this partnership is being provided in part through the U.S. Department of Education’s Title VI program, which provides funding for the area studies centers at UW–Madison. The federal priorities for Title VI programs include improving collaborations with community colleges to bring the advantages of regional and global study to more students at the post-secondary level.

“We are excited to offer Madison College students this opportunity to take language and international courses that would not otherwise be offered at a community college level,” says Todd Stebbins, dean of Madison College’s School of Arts and Sciences. “This agreement reflects our ongoing commitment to partnering with UW–Madison to increase opportunities for students.”

“This kind of initiative speaks to our commitment to the Wisconsin Idea and our mission to promote global awareness and prepare students for a diverse and interconnected world,” says Guido Podestá, vice provost and dean of the International Division. “We hope that this experience will inspire more Madison College students to continue pursuing their international interests, perhaps in one of our programs at UW–Madison.”

Madison College students participate in the program by enrolling in selected courses through UW–Madison’s special student program. They are subject to special student tuition and regulations. Enrollment in this program does not constitute admission to a degree program at UW–Madison.

Madison College, the second-largest school in the Wisconsin Technical College System, serves more than 40,000 students throughout a 12-county district in south-central Wisconsin. Madison College is the greatest source of transfer students to UW–Madison.

“I am excited to pioneer this program,” says Waraczynski, “and have access to the knowledge and global perspectives that each school brings to the table. My only wish was to have been able to do this sooner.”

– by Kerry G. Hill