Research News

UW-Madison announces Baldwin Wisconsin Idea grant winners

May 12, 2016

Projects both large and small will help UW-Madison contribute knowledge and resources across the state, thanks to grants from the Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment.

The competitive grant program is open to UW–Madison faculty, staff and students.

Ira Baldwin, a longtime university teacher, researcher and administrator, served as dean of the Graduate School and the College of Agriculture and as vice president for academic affairs. Ineva Reilly Baldwin taught and served in the university administration as assistant dean of women and associate dean of the College of Letters & Science. Their endowment is one of the largest gifts ever received by UW–Madison.

This year, nine grants of up to $120,000 were awarded as well as 11 mini-grants of up to $4,000 to encourage innovation and experimentation in small-scale projects. To learn more about all if this year's projects, check out this University Communications news story.

Funded projects with School of Education ties include:

Mini-grant: Intervention for Latino Families in a School Setting

Project Leader: Carmen Valdez, Associate Professor, Department of Counseling Psychology

Carmen Valdez
Carmen Valdez
Summary: The purpose of this study is to build on the knowledge and expertise of an existing family-focused intervention for Latino families in Madison by transferring the intervention from a community to a school setting. By doing so, the intervention is expected to reach more families and those who do not typically utilize outpatient mental health services. The 16-session intervention, Fortalezas Familiares (FF: Family Strengths), is a linguistically- and culturally grounded multi-family intervention for Latino families affected by maternal depression. The goals of FF are to help family members reach a shared understanding of depression, improve family functioning, build competence in parenting and coping, and draw on cultural resources. In previous implementations, FF has been shown to be feasible in community settings, acceptable to families and their mental health providers, and associated with positive improvements in parent, caregiver, and child coping and mental health, family functioning, and acculturative stress. The FF intervention has to date been offered to Latina mothers who are in depression treatment in outpatient mental health clinics, and their families, including other caregivers and children ages 4-18. Funds are requested to build upon this work by transferring the intervention to a school setting. Glacier Edge Elementary School is located in Verona, WI, which has become a new receiving community for immigrant families. From July of 2014 to January of 2015, the school district enrolled an additional 100 students from immigrant, predominantly Latino households. The school has struggled to incorporate these students into a largely White, middle-income, student population, and there are few mental health resources for youth and their parents. The school counselor, alarmed by the prevalence of parental depression in this multi-stressed population partnered with an advocacy group, Correr la Voz (Spread the Word), and have asked Dr. Valdez, PI of this study, to offer the FF intervention in the school. The intervention will be implemented and evaluated in terms of feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary outcomes. The school counselor will also be trained in the intervention with the aim of building existing capacity in the school that can extend beyond the study.

Mini-grant: The Clark Street Studio Project

Project Leader: Michael Dando, a graduate student with the School of Education’s No. 1-ranked Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Summary: Working with educators, administrators, and professional hip-hop artists, The Clark Street Studio Project seeks to establish the area's first hip-hop high school program housed at the Clark Street Charter School in Middleton, WI. Research has demonstrated that hip-hop can be a powerful tool for engaging students, but with The Clark Street Studio, this team introduces an iteration of hip-hop education that goes beyond simply studying rap music as classroom content, and looks instead at engaging student knowledge, culture, and everyday experience. Using elements of hip-hop culture, this program uses a culturally relevant framework to create meaningful learning by critically examining hip-hop culture (spoken word, graffiti, DJ, and dance), elements of social justice, and participatory citizenship. The end result is the creation of a student written, recorded, and produced "Social Justice Mixtape" with one or more public performances offered to the Madison community free of charge. Students will be responsible for the entirety of the project including composition, recording, production, artistic layouts, publicity, event planning, and performance guided by professional hip-hop artists as well as expert educators and staff. Planning, recording, production, and co-ordination will all be done at the facilities already existing on site. Working with the aspiring artists currently enrolled in Clark Street Charter School, The Clark Street Studio invites student to think creatively and critically about what hip-hop education can mean, and to consider the implications that a broader definition of hip-hop education could have on their learning experiences and communities. Our vision is that hip-hop's creativity and swagger that took it from a local phenomenon to a global force can lead to a fundamental change in the way the public thinks of teaching, school design, policy, and leadership. To that end we are seeking funding to underwrite educational materials including books and artistic supplies, honorarium for guest artists & speakers, expenses related to venue reservation and equipment rental, and pressing of 200 vinyl and digital of the "Social Justice Mixtape" which will be made available to local libraries and school districts.

Grant: Developing a Mobile Tool to Foster Citizen Engagement
with Wisconsin’s Flora

Project leaders: Catherine Woodward, faculty associate, botany, and David Gagnon, program manager, Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, and an alumnus of the School of Education’s No. 1-ranked Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Gagnon earned his master's degree from C&I in 2010.

David Gagnon
David Gagnon
Summary: A new mobile app for the identification of Wisconsin’s native plant species that engages citizens in monitoring the flora in their own backyards and natural areas will be developed. The project will build upon the “Key to Woody Plants of Wisconsin Forests” app, the Nomen Project, and the Wisconsin State Herbarium’s WISFLORA database to create a mobile application that allows users to identify any plant in Wisconsin and submit data, including images, location, date and phenology (e.g., flowering, fruiting) to an online database. The app will help users identify plants, and the data collected will fill important knowledge gaps on the distribution, population status and impacts of climate change on plant species. It will be built on an open platform that can be freely repurposed by others worldwide.