Message from Dean Julie Underwood

Fall/Winter 2012 message From Dean Julie Underwood

During the 2012-13 academic year, the UW–Madison campus is celebrating the Year of Innovation.

Dean Julie Underwood

Year of Innovation Logo


The Innovation focuses on three themes:  

  1. Innovation in how we teach, do research and operate 
  2. Innovation through social entrepreneurship, engaged scholarship and service learning
  3. Innovation in the area of technology transfer and knowledge transfer

This year Letters and Science Dean Gary Sandefur and I serve as co-chairs of the Year’s events.

I had the honor of kicking off the first Year of Innovation event as the co-chair of the Wisconsin Science Festival, which ran from September 27-30 at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. The four-day festival provided plenty of opportunities for people to discover the wonders of science, art and innovation through hands-on interactive exhibits and workshops, lectures and demonstrations with leading researchers and creative thinkers.

The School of Education has long been known for its innovation, beginning in 1917 when Margaret H’Doubler taught the first dance class at Wisconsin. She experimented with dance and movement, broadening beyond ballet and the “five steps,” toward a greater understanding of the body and our relationship to it — creating the foundation for modern dance. H’Doubler’s innovative approach became the standard method for teaching dance. Her work continues in the department’s mission to teach “thinking dancers.”

Fast forward to today. For the first time, the School of Education will offer a “Winter Term” course as a pilot for campus. It will meet for two weeks in January as a hands-on technology course to help future teachers make better use of technology in the classroom. Students will learn how to build websites, utilize multi-media tools and incorporate social media in their teaching, as well as how to utilize laptops, tablets and cell phones in the classroom to teach lessons.

Lastly, we want you, our alumni and friends, to share with us your stories of innovation. For example, current Madison College science teacher and 1985 graduate Holly Walter Kerby sent the story of Fusion Science Theater to us. Together, through innovation, we can transform education.


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