Message from the dean: Looking ahead at spring 2021

The spring semester is always an energetic time on campus. And spring 2021, even as we continue to work within health guidelines to create a safe environment for the campus community, will be no different in many ways.

Connect with international issues through International Division events

A number of events are already planned that will give UW–Madison students, faculty, and staff a front-row seat for discussions on some fascinating topics.

On Mar. 1, the university will begin celebrating the 60th anniversary of Peace Corps at UW–Madison. As you may know, Badger participation in this globally recognized organization is a point of pride for our university, especially as more volunteers annually come from UW–Madison than any other university. Several events are being planned to observe this milestone throughout the year, so please watch for more information on the kick-off event in March and other ways you can celebrate.

Also coming up is the J. Jobe and Marguerite Jacqmin Soffa Lecture on Mar. 8, featuring Professor Wanjiku Kabira from the University of Nairobi in Kenya. The Mildred Fish-Harnack Human Rights and Democracy Lecture will be held on Apr. 15, and will feature Professor David Kaye, University of California in Irvine and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. In addition to these events, many more are available daily through the regional studies centers in the Institute for Regional and International Studies.

Students continue to experience the world virtually

Many around campus are surprised to hear that even with restrictions on travel, students continue to participate in study abroad programs and international internships. However, like many activities, these have moved to virtual formats. This spring, Badgers will intern for organizations ranging from health NGOs in Uganda and Ghana to English language academies in Spain and South Korea to university research in Costa Rica. They will also study abroad through programs such as the Wisconsin in Washington D.C. Internship Program, which enables them to build their professional skills while establishing their own professional network.

No decisions have been made at this point on in-person study abroad and international internships for the summer and fall semesters. A decision has been made for WISLI to be held virtually this summer. Health and safety continues to be the top priority for students, so assessing conditions in host locations is being approached with caution. More information on this will be shared as it becomes available.

The International Division welcomes ISS and IFSS

I want to acknowledge the addition of International Student Services (ISS) and International Faculty and Staff Services (IFSS) to the International Division.

Throughout the semester, the International Division will be working with colleagues in ISS, IFSS, and others on campus to create a new unit within the division. The staff members in these units bring crucial expertise to campus, and I am pleased they will be joining the division. Their diligent work in a dynamic environment continues to be essential to making UW–Madison a university recognized worldwide. I look forward to when this transition is complete and to officially welcoming these colleagues to the division. For now, the campus community should continue to engage ISS and IFSS as they normally would.

I wish you all the best in the coming semester and hope you take every opportunity to engage with the International Division.



Guido Podestá

Vice Provost and Dean, International Division