Task force to take fresh look at UW’s China-related activities

A task force appointed by outgoing Provost Paul DeLuca has been assigned to take a fresh look at the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s engagement in China and provide direction for future China-related activities involving the Division of International Studies.

The advisory task force – chaired by Rob Howell, professor of German – has been instructed to report its findings and recommendations by the end of October to Guido Podesta, vice provost and dean of the Division of International Studies.

In a letter to task force members, DeLuca noted that the campus leadership in recent years took steps to increase UW–Madison’s engagement in China, with the hope of expanding and enhancing institutional collaborations with academic counterparts and corporations in China.

He pointed to the opening of a UW–Madison office in Shanghai in 2012 and increased, limited-term funding to enable the Wisconsin China Initiative to play a stronger role in developing China-focused academic activities. The Division of International Studies provided administrative support and oversight to these endeavors.

“Since then, the scope of China-related activities and collaborations across the UW–Madison campus has expanded considerably, thanks to these and other efforts, including individual initiatives led by faculty, staff, and students,” DeLuca said. “With such rapid growth, there is a periodic need to step back and take a fresh look at our combined efforts.”

The charge given to this task force included:

  • Identify priority areas for possible China-related programming and engagement that would allow for an assessment of current activities.
  • Provide direction to help ensure the most efficient and effective organizational structure for China-related programming at UW–Madison.
  • Provide advice to help guide UW–Madison’s current and future presence in China.

To provide a wide range of perspectives, the task force includes members currently engaged in China-related initiatives and others who have not been involved with current activities. In addition to Howell, the members are:

  • Joe Dennis, associate professor of history
  • Dan Gold, director, International Academic Programs
  • Margaret Hawkins, professor of curriculum and instruction
  • Song Jin, professor of chemistry
  • Sida Liu, assistant professor of sociology and law
  • Melanie Manion, professor of public affairs and political science
  • Alfred McCoy, professor of history
  • John Pfotenhauer, professor of mechanical engineering
  • Pamela Ruegg, professor of dairy science
  • Janet Silbernagel, professor of landscape architecture
  • George Wilding, professor of medicine