Welcome David Joiner and Laurie Dennis to the Division of International Studies

Introducing Laurie Dennis, Wisconsin China Initiative coordinator and David Joiner, director of Wisconsin Institute for Global Education and Leadership (WIGEL)! Laurie and David provided us with background on their careers and experiences, and until can you meet them in person, we hope you will enjoy meeting them through these brief biographical sketches. Welcome Laurie and David! 

Laurie Dennis, Wisconsin China Initiative Coordinator

Laurie has a background in journalism and extensive experience related to China. She has worked as an editor for a newspaper in Minnesota and most recently helped start an on-line community newspaper in Davidson, N.C. Her feature writing and opinion pieces have brought her state and national recognition from such organizations as the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Newspaper Association, and the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors.

Laurie is also a Class of 1987 alum of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she earned a double major in Chinese and political science while competing for four years on the UW women’s track team. Her first job in journalism was at the Beijing bureau of the Associated Press, where she spent a year as a researcher. She has also lived in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, where she taught English and set a record in the 800 meters for East China Jiaotong University. Laurie’s travels across China have taken her from the glittering Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival near the Russian border, to the Buddhist treasures of the Dunhuang Grottoes along the Silk Road, to the shopping districts of the southern coastal business tiger Hong Kong. While completing her master’s degree in journalism, Laurie was able to visit the Taipei headquarters of the China Times newspaper, a major Taiwan daily. This followed her work as the graduate student assistant for the University of Minnesota’s China Times Center for Media and Social Research.

One of Laurie’s most recent trips to China involved leading a group of professors to the Anhui Province hometown of the Ming founder, Zhu Yuanzhang. This trip was a prelude to a conference on the Ming founder held at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, at which Laurie gave a presentation in both Chinese and English titled, “The Women in Ming Taizu’s World.”

“I am thrilled to be able to bring my background in communication and my lifelong interest in China to the service of the Wisconsin China Initiative,” she said. “As a proud Badger, I want to make sure everyone is aware of all the exciting China-related programs, research, and outreach underway at the University of Wisconsin.”

In August, the Dennis family moved from North Carolina to Madison. Laurie’s husband, Joe, is the University’s new historian of premodern China.
Laurie can be contacted at ldennis@international.wisc.edu.

David Joiner, Wisconsin Institute for Global Education and Leadership (WIGEL)  Director

David’s primary role will be to support the Division’s goal of rapidly developing new programs and expand opportunities to meet the expressed educational needs of international partners.  He comes to this role with a unique perspective on the global education sector including public/private partnerships, pre-college program development, and U.S. government supported programs.

David Joiner is an international educator with more than 10 years experience working in South and East Asia. Prior to joining UW-Madison, David worked with Dipont Education Management Group in Shanghai, AFS Intercultural Programs in New York, and CET Academic Programs in Beijing.

David’s primary focus has been on the expanding opportunities for student mobility, including the growth of CollegeBoard AP and J-1 visitor exchange programs in China. David was also the architect of several pre-college and bridge programs currently offered by U.S. universities. At AFS, David worked with the sponsored programs team and managed a program to establish sister-school relationships in Asia for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. He has a MA in South Asian Studies and MS in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

David can be contacted at 265-4753 or dljoiner@international.wisce.du.