UW’s international engagement explored in new book

The 175th anniversary of UW–Madison celebrates the university’s legacy as a premier driver of education and knowledge in Wisconsin. However, from its earliest days of pushing beyond boundaries, the impact of UW–Madison expanded past the borders of Wisconsin and the U.S. to nations worldwide.

Wisconsin in the World: Internationalization at the University of Wisconsin–Madison (2023, Information Age Publishing) explores the ways the university has engaged internationally since its earliest days. The 604-page edited volume covers various programs and units at UW that have contributed to institution’s global reputation. The book is organized into four overarching sections—internationalization of the curriculum (general and language); experiential learning (co-curricular engagement and education away); establishing linkages (institutional and outreach); and administration. Topic areas include language learning, experiential learning, student organizations, partnerships, the international studies major, and more.

Perhaps what is most unique of the project is the numerous perspectives brought together into the volume. In all, more than 90 colleagues contributed to the project, including those from peer institutions.

“While not comprehensive, the project provides a robust cross-section of examples of how UW faculty, staff, and students have been engaging globally throughout the 20th and 21st centuries,” said Elise Ahn, director of the International Projects Office and the book’s editor. “What the book demonstrates is that foundational to the Wisconsin Idea is the power of the person-to-person connection. These connections have brought together communities in Viroqua and Lafarge (Wisconsin) and the Ayuquila river watershed (México), connected UW–Madison students involved with Engineers without Borders to communities in Guatemala in order to build a suspension bridge and clean drinking water systems, and connected UW–Madison graduate students in the Nelson Institute’s professional programs to a network of practicum sites as part of their educational experience.”

Events are being planned to coincide with the launch of the book throughout the upcoming year, including a networking lunch, followed by a panel discussion, on Friday, October 20, 2023. More information about the book project can be found at witwbook.international.wisc.edu. The website also features section and chapter overviews, information on contributors, events, and more. Please continue to check the site over the months ahead as new opportunities to engage will be added.