Midwest Knowledge Mobilization Network April Meeting

by Ashleigh Ross and Beth Tryon

The Midwest Knowledge Mobilization Network (MKMN) held its spring meeting in April 2013, hosted by the Solutions Center at Indiana University Purdue University of Indiana (IUPUI). This network is a consortium of seven Midwestern campuses within driving distance of each other that have entities dedicated to “knowledge mobilization” – the belief that truly equitable partnerships between campus and community produce more authentic research findings and student learning, as well as better community impact.

MKMN’s inaugural meeting in October 2012 brought together practitioners to share ideas for structure and to discuss supporting science shop-like structures like the Community-University Exchange in universities across the Midwest. Main principles of science shop structures include some type of RFP process or other method of allowing the issues and ideas arise from the community, that research or service is interdisciplinary, and the goal of the collaboration is social action or change.

The second meeting allowed members the chance to articulate the goals of MKMN and its activities.

The main goals of the network are:

  1. Advocate for collaboration within MKMN
  2. Address structural systems to increase collaboration
  3. Communicate about models of collaboration
  4. Support the Engaged Scholarship Consortium
  5. Explore collaborative funding possibilities

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UW Students and “Clean and Freshies” Build Garden Beds in Southwest Madison

by J. Ashleigh Ross

a group photo of middle school students and the capstone groupThe Front Yard Gardens is a grassroots effort to beautify the neighborhood and provide healthy fruits and vegetables through “picker plots” that are open to residents in the Meadowood neighborhood. The Gardeners, known as “Clean and Freshies,” area a group of 14-15 year old youth employed through the Youth Services of Wisconsin. This summer, a UW course “The Community and School Gardens in Southwest Madison (Environmental Studies 600), funded through the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies –Zieve/Morgridge Teaching Fellows program) partnered with the Clean and Freshies to design and build new garden beds at the Porchlight apartments on Russet Road, which provides transitional housing to homeless people in Madison. The material and outreach costs were covered through a Center for Integrated Agriculture Graduate Students Mini-Grant.

The course started with a field trip to Eagle Heights Community Gardens, a large community garden on the UW campus. UW students and the “Clean and Freshies” learned about the role that community gardens play in bringing diverse groups of people together to grow healthy food and foster community. Professor Sam Dennis then gave a crash course in participatory planning that included methods for gathering community feedback which was used to understand from the Front Yard Gardeners and other residents how they would use additional garden space. The class incorporated a BBQ in southwest Madison where students were able to talk with additional residents in the area to find out how they wanted to utilize increased garden space.

The Clean and Freshies also visited the UW to review input from the community with the UW students and then generate garden designs. The designs were then shared with the class with discussions about each feature. A master design was created from those designs and was shared with Porchlight for their approval. UW student, Kaylie Duffy, said of the experience, “We worked together to brainstorm potential ideas and plans for the Porchlight lot. Each of us has contributed excellent ideas for the lot, and we have engaged the younger Clean and Freshies to share their wonderful, creative ideas. After the ideas were shared, we mapped out our plans onto large sheets of paper and presented them to the class. I motivated the girls I worked with to share their grandest ideas for the garden, no matter how outlandish they may have seemed. Any concept can become a great jumping off point for a garden design.”

The UW students and Front Yard Gardeners, with support from Community Action Coalition, completed Phase 1 by building and installing the beds during the last two weeks of class. Phase 2 will continue with the fall semester of the Community and School Garden course getting fruit tree donations and building a seating area for residents in the garden. Assistance from CUE will help cover some of the fall building materials.

In addition to garden design/build with the Front Yard Gardeners, UW students also ran a garden and food program for youth at the Meadowood Neighborhood Center and assisted with the Family Garden Night at Lincoln Elementary. Students were also able to secure extra funding from the Audubon Society to support birding activities at Lincoln. ■

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CUE: Facilitating Community Resource Access, Promoting UW-Madison Student Public Service

by Marian Slaughter

Meadowood Neighborhood Market Summer 2013

Neighbors Enjoying the Meadowood Community Famers’ Market

When CUE first opened its doors some three years ago, the majority of its assistance to communities came in the form of supporting long-term partnerships developed between researchers and community groups focused on collecting data and other sorts of information to be used to address a complex, community- identified issue, challenge or aspiration.

However, it didn’t take long before CUE recognized that neighborhoods and community groups also required more short-term but equally critical University support and information to address community-based needs.

In this issue of the CUE Newsletter, we would like to share the story of how Lisa Veldran, president of the Meadowood Neighborhood Association and member of the Southwest Madison Community Organizers (SWMCO) was able to use CUE to identify and hire UW-Madison senior Nina Rembert as an intern to manage the summer of 2013 Meadowood Community Farmer’s Market! This interview was conducted by Marian Slaughter, CUE Engaged Scholar.

Marian Slaughter (MS): Please describe the project/job for which you wanted CUE assistance?

Lisa Veldran (LV): Mayor Paul Soglin started the City’s Meet & Eat events (a gathering of food cart vendors in a specified location allowing community members to “meet & eat”) in Meadowood in 2012. The Meadowood location was to be a pilot that, if successful, would be moved to another location in the city the following year. The events were so successful in 2012 that Mayor Soglin decided to continue the Meet & Eats in Meadowood in 2013.

A survey conducted by the City Parks Division revealed that residents wanted a farmers market to be offered in addition to the food cart program. Developing a farmers market from the ground up is a huge task and needed assistance. I had worked with student interns in Meadowood in other capacities and contacted Marian Slaughter and Beth Tryon on the possibility of developing a student internship for the Meadowood Community Farmers Market.

image of Nina Rembert, Meadowood resident and UW Madison student

Meadowood Community Farmers’ Market Manager and UW-Madison Intern
Ms. Rembert is a native Meadowood resident and a senior majoring in International Studies, and Environmental Studies.

MS: Why did you prefer to hire a student intern?

LV: [The] Meadowood neighborhood has a history of UW-Madison student involvement: the Meadowood Frontyard Garden project, Meadowood Community Garden and a youth organizer. I knew that UW-Madison was committed to the city and that the city was welcoming.

MS: What made you seek out the help of CUE to assist you in your job search? How did you know that you could ask CUE for help with this hiring?

LV: I had worked with Marian Slaughter in her capacity at the South West Madison Community Organizers (SWMCO) group. Her involvement in our neighborhood has made a huge difference in how we think about issues.

MS: How did CUE help you? What sorts of tasks did CUE help you with?

LV: Meeting with Marian and Beth provided me an opportunity to further develop the farmers’ market concept at the Meet & Eat events. It was helpful for them to ask questions and for me to think about them.

MS: In what way/s did CUE help you find a suitable intern?

LV: By assisting in development of the job description. [It] helped immensely to find the right person.

MS: Would you use CUE again for a similar purpose?

LV: Yes!

MS: Would you recommend that others use CUE?

LV: Yes!

MS: Is there anything else that you would like to add?

LV: I was very happy with the intern that was eventually hired. It was a learning process for both of us, and now I know what we need to do next year!

CUE staff have repeatedly heard community members comment that one of the most important values of CUE is its function as a “Front door” into the rich, yet highly decentralized University. While CUE continues to develop different ways to facilitate community access to the University, as can be seen through the responses of Ms. Veldran, it is off to a positive start. Not only is CUE supporting neighborhoods with access to UW-Madison support and resources, in this case, UW-Madison students are afforded opportunities to contribute their knowledge, enthusiasm, and commitment to public service to promote the health and welfare of the larger community! ■

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CUE Awarded a Baldwin Grant and a Morgridge Match

by Sue Stanton and Marian Slaughter

In May 2013, CUE and Professor Gloria Ladson-Billings (UW-Madison, Department of Curriculum and Instruction) were awarded for full funding from the Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment for a grant entitled, “Engaging to Close the Gap: Community School District, University.” This competitive grant program is open to University of Wisconsin–Madison faculty, staff and students and is designed to foster public engagement and advance the Wisconsin Idea (the principle that the university should improve peoples’ lives beyond the classroom). CUE’s proposal also received funds through the Morgridge Match Grant Program; this program funds projects which focus on engaged scholarship at the UW-Madison. The combined awards totaled almost $100,000 over two years.

The “Engaging to Close the Gap” grant has two components. The first objective focuses on working with three Madison neighborhood centers to develop after school youth programs to engage K-8 students in activities that stimulate their intellectual, academic and career endeavors. The second component of the grant will focus on supporting site-specific family engagement programming that will build the capacity of marginalized families to constructively engage with the MMSD schools to produce more successful academic outcomes for their children.

Currently, partners in this project include: the Vera Court Neighborhood Center, the Family Voices program at the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County, the Meadowood Neighborhood Center, the Madison Metropolitan School District, the City of Madison and the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at UW-Madison.

CUE’s roles in this project are varied. They include finding and connecting resources, recruiting necessary players, teaching courses, evaluating initiatives, disseminating information, planning and coordinating and creating spaces and opportunities to share best practices.

As the Baldwin Grant is a two-year award, we look forward to providing regular updates of the various program activities through the CUE Newsletter. So stay tuned! ■

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CUE Chairs Report

Screen Shot 2013-09-27 at 9.03.12 AMGreetings and welcome back to another jam-packed academic year!

Things are starting out full-tilt for CUE this year, adding several new initiatives, you will read about in this issue. Here are just a few highlights.

We were awarded a Baldwin Foundation Grant in collaboration with Curriculum and Instruction Professor Gloria Ladson-Billings, partnering with C&I’s Professor Catherine Compton-Lilly, and Boyd Rossing and Margaret Nellis in the School of Human Ecology. Community partners include the Madison Metropolitan School District’s Family Engagement Office, the City of Madison “MOST” (Madison Out of School Time) Coalition, the Family Voices Project, Vera Court and Meadowood Neighborhood Centers and the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County. CUE Fellows Marian Slaughter and Sue Stanton are leading the implementation of the grant which includes: developing a specialized literacy tutoring program, teaching a tutor/mentor training course on cultural humility, gathering partners to share information around family engagement, and building bridges to campus for youth that may not currently see college as part of their lives. Congratulations to Sue and Marian for the hard work they put into the design of this project and its successful award!

CUE has also embarked on a new partnership with the Vice Chancellor’s Office of University Relations – two new “CUE South Madison Fellows” have been hired to strengthen ties between UW-Madison and the South Madison area. College access will be stressed as well as building community capacity with several nonprofit organizations including the Urban League, where the CUE Fellows will maintain an office, and support for Slow Food UW’s work with Family Voices, Centro Hispano, and the Odyssey Project. Read on for a short introduction of these new Fellows. We are really excited about what they’ve already accomplished and their plans for the year.

Our partnership with the Nelson Institute is going strong. CUE Fellows Ashleigh Ross and Dadit Hidayat secured Zieve Fellowships to teach Community Gardening and a new Community-Based Research class with the South Madison Farmers’ Market, respectively.

We are teaching the former “Delta” graduate course again in a concentrated workshop format as CP620, as well as hosting the Midwest Knowledge Mobilization Network Fall Meeting. Members include Notre Dame, DePaul, Loyola-Chicago, and IUPUI as well as UW-M. Please join us for a free day of learning, sharing, and lunch (who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch?) on October 18th. Don’t miss the keynote by Phil Nyden of the Center for Urban Learning and Research at Loyola-Chicago.  ■

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