by Nancy Mathews, Morgridge Center Director
For more than 15 years, the Morgridge Center for Public Service has sought to uphold the Wisconsin Idea—the belief that the boundaries of the university extend to the boundaries of the state and provide university resources for the benefit of the people of Wisconsin. When I became director in 2010, community partners suggested that the Center could help by showcasing the UW-Madison’s extraordinary resources via a clear and visible “front door.”
When discussions about the Community University Exchange (CUE) began in 2010, it was clear that this initiative could create that front door. It could also enhance the Morgridge Center’s ability to advance the Wisconsin Idea and allow the Center to achieve a new level of service to the Madison community and beyond. Now, nearly two years later, after the debut of an pilot and now three more multifaceted projects, CUE has indeed become a “front door” to the university for those who seek joint initiatives to tackle complex social issues.
While some of these projects are highly visible, many are not. Community organizations can more easily find researchers tracking their topics of interest through CUE. At the same time, researchers can use the exchange to seamlessly find community partners.
CUE is poised to amplify engaged scholarship by bringing together faculty, staff, students and community partners. Key ingredients which lead to successful partnerships include the three C’s of engaged scholarship: commitment, communication and compatibility (Stoecker and Tryon, 2009).
CUE has made the Morgridge Center a more direct advocate for community-based learning. CUE supports campus researchers in sharing their expertise and resources while simultaneously learning from communities. Together, authentic and deep learning experiences will be created for students, and community projects will have enhanced impact and build sustainable capacity. ￭