As I continue to explore the importance of the research function in higher education, I am revisiting the “Wisconsin Idea”. For those of you not familiar with it, the Wisconsin Idea is a philosophy embraced by the University of Wisconsin System (UW System) that holds that university research should be applied to solve problems and improve health, quality of life, the environment, and agriculture for all citizens of the state. Put another way, it is a principle that colleges and universities should improve the lives of people beyond the borders of the campus.
I think all colleges and universities should embrace the Wisconsin Idea. We face a number of huge challenges in the 21st century. The research being conducted on college campuses is key to addressing these challenges, but higher education needs to do a much better job of sharing this research with society. Research needs to be available beyond academic journals, and communicated in a way that the general public can understand. Colleges and universities needs to be more proactive in combating misinformation by focusing more attention on faculty content. And this should be a campus-wide effort, not solely under the purview of Media Relations.
Here are some additional resources on the Wisconsin Idea: