Wisconsin Ideas

At a glance

What: Classes, lectures, and other programs for exploring important ideas that began in Wisconsin—including your own.

When: Fall 2018

Questions: Contact Jessica Courtier or call 608-890-3626

Wisconsin Idea plaque
UW-Madison committed itself to the “sifting and winnowing” of ideas in 1894.

Wisconsin Ideas

I shall never be content until the beneficent influence of the university reaches every family of the state.
― Charles Van Hise, UW–Madison president, 1903-1918

Learn our state’s stories, then tell some of your own

Here at Continuing Studies, we’re dedicated to enriching lives. We’ve been doing it for decades by providing ways to learn new languages, discover new histories, and create new ideas. It’s all part of our commitment to the Wisconsin Idea, the notion that the University of Wisconsin should serve all residents of the state with opportunities for intellectual, creative, and community growth.

That’s why this fall we’re offering programs that dig into the history of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Idea, and the rich creative life of this state. Join a public discussion, take a class, or learn new skills for telling your own Wisconsin story.

Browse the list of classes and lectures below to start your Wisconsin Ideas adventure!


Wisconsin Regional Art Program Art Exhibition

Aug 17–Sep 22

Pyle Center, 702 Langdon

Celebrate art about Wisconsin artists

Information about the WRAP State Day Conference >


Greenbush Writers Collective: Wisconsin Writers in the Community

Fridays, 6:30pm

Neighborhood House Community Center, 29 S. Mills St.

Sep 7 — Troy Hess
Oct 5 — Guy Thorvaldsen
Nov 2 — Rita Mae Reese
Dec 7 — TBD

Join local and regional authors for craft talks and writing workshops.


John Bascom and the Wisconsin Idea

Sun, Sep 23, 2pm

Pyle Center Auditorium, 702 Langdon St.

Examine the origins of the Wisconsin Idea at this free lecture by J. David Hoeveler, an emeritus professor of history at UW–Madison.


The History of Distance Education

Wed, Oct 24, 5-6:30pm

Wisconsin Historical Society Auditorium, 816 State St.

Dr. Michael Moore will speak about the history of Distance Education and Independent Learning at UW-Madison as part of the  Madison meeting of the Association for Distance Education and Independent Learning.


The Legacy of Robert Gard
Discussion, musical performance, and community art project

Fri, Oct 26, community art project at 1pm, conversation and performance at 2pm

Madison Public Library, 201 W. Mifflin St.

Learn about Robert Gard, an early champion of community arts programs, at this free discussion featuring his daughter, arts advocate Maryo Gard Ewell, in conversation with theatre producer Sarah Marty.


Monuments and Meanings: UW–Madison and Beyond (panel discussion)

Tue, Oct 30, 7pm

DeJope Residence Hall, 640 Elm Dr.

Join experts from Madison and UW for a panel discussion about how local monuments and markers fit into national conversations about monuments and American history.

Speakers: Heidi Lang (Wisconsin Union), Stu Levitan (Madison Landmarks Commission), Omar Poler (American Indian Curriculum Services, School of Education), Jennifer Pruitt (Art History)


the Driftless Region


Explore the Wisconsin Idea; share your Wisconsin story


Driftless Nature Writing Workshop

This class is about celebrating, through poetry and nonfiction, the driftless natural area that we live in. We will learn how to write in a variety of genres with a focus on voice, style, and structure in nature writing.

Program and registration details

Storytelling in Digital Audio

Our voices are natural vehicles for storytelling. Now, thanks to the availability of audio technologies and the popularity of podcasting, audio storytelling is having a renaissance. Learn how to record/work with digital audio and music to construct narratives for yourself or to share with others.

Program and registration details