International Research Among Baldwin Grant Recipients

The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment is supporting a diverse portfolio of community-inspired projects for 2009, from improving Midwest flood-response policies to exploring Wisconsin’s language roots.

Included in the 14 projects totaling more than $800,000 this year are initiatives to get Wisconsin youth involved in the National Science Olympiad; bringing the restorative power of creating art to UW Hospital patients; making piano instruction affordable for lower-income families; establishing a program to help Wisconsin businesses tap global markets; and helping farm families get involved in small-scale food processing.

The Baldwin endowment, now in its seventh year, funds projects at UW-Madison that directly advance the Wisconsin Idea through collaborations with communities and outside organizations. Projects are judged by an eight-member campus committee on the strength of their ability to address the needs and priorities of external partners.

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Among the grants are:

– Growing Wisconsin Business Globally: International Business Workshops for Wisconsin Businesses, led by Suzanne Dove, outreach director, Center on International Business Education Research/World Affairs and the Global Economy, and Alberto Vargas, professor and associate director, Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program.

Critical sectors of the Wisconsin economy, particularly in smaller communities built around manufacturing, struggle to compete in the face of globalization. Wisconsin companies must learn to take advantage of opportunities to expand their markets outside the United States. Through a partnership with state businesses and business organizations, the Wisconsin Department of Commerce and other UW System campuses, this project will work to foster international export opportunities in three regions of the state: Eau Claire, Wausau and Janesville.

– Interdisciplinary Public Health in Mexico, led by Lori Diprete-Brown, faculty associate, Center for Global Health.

Faculty and Spanish-speaking graduate students are engaged in a public health service-learning program in Tequililla, a small community in rural Mexico. The project expands an ongoing university partnership with the University of Guadalajara at Los Altos, and will provide opportunities for faculty and students from both universities to show the effectiveness of academically grounded, community-based service learning in a rural health care setting in Mexico.

– Language Matters for Wisconsin: A Community-based Initiative, led by Max Kade Institute assistant professors Thomas Purnell and Eric Raimy.

All across Wisconsin, “language” is a topic of great interest and an issue of immediate concern, often related to historical or current immigration and questions of identity. This program aims to address these concerns and create a collaborative community model that will provide knowledge and insights to enhance public debate about language in Wisconsin. Focusing on Kenosha-Racine, Rhinelander, Mineral Point and Wausau, the project will showcase each community’s unique regional language features and history; develop a community-linked Web site; sponsor public forums in each community and a statewide meeting in Madison; and produce a general-interest book exploring languages and dialects across Wisconsin, past and present.