Message from the Dean–March 2024

Frances Vavrus
Frances Vavrus, Dean and Vice Provost of the International Division at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

The last month has been one of excitement and activity for the International Division.

During the final days of February and the early days of March, we celebrated Peace Corps Week on campus. This has become a tradition for UW given our long history of service, our active Returned Peace Corps Volunteers community in Madison, and our consistent track record as a top producer of volunteers. We held numerous events to honor Wisconsin’s legacy of service and inspire new generations, including special advising sessions, the Peace Corps Story Slam, and the Freeze for Food 5K. Thank you to all who turned out for these events. If you are interested in service, you can connect with our campus Peace Corps Recruiting Office.

In addition to celebrating this longstanding tradition, we also began a new one with our first Fulbright Week. It was launched to raise awareness of the many opportunities available through this prestigious program. Often, when I talk with students and colleagues, they are surprised to learn that there are Fulbright opportunities for everyone, whether one is an undergraduate, graduate, faculty, staff, or alum. In addition, the awards are not restricted to any single field as recipients teach abroad or conduct research on any number of areas.

I especially enjoyed attending the Fulbright social, which allowed past, present, and future Fulbrighters to connect and share their experiences. As I shared with attendees, the Fulbright programs have special meaning for me because I have benefited greatly from several of them. I participated in the Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad in Kenya and Tanzania when I was working on my master’s degree. I received a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Award when I was a doctoral student at UW–Madison, and I was a Fulbright Scholar in Tanzania when I was a professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College. It is not an overstatement to say that my career was forged by Fulbright, and it might be the same for you. Be sure to reach out to our UW Fulbright Coordinator for more information. I hope all of you will celebrate Peace Corps Week and Fulbright Week with us in the years ahead.