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Engage Grants

Of 14 applications to the inaugural Grand Challenges Engage Initiative, eight finalists will receive approximately $25,000 each to carry out innovative solutions for critical social and scholarly problems in education, health, and creative expression in Wisconsin and around the world.

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Engage Grant Award Recipients

  • CCBCDeepDive Digital Research Library

  • What the Moon Saw, Interactive Performance Research

  • UW Community Arts Collaboratory

  • Glassblowing for Individuals with Parkinson Disease

  • Exploring and Realizing the Equitable Inclusion of Immigrant Parents and Students in Educational Policy and Decision Making

  • Statewide Partnership to Strengthen the Role of School based Language Paraprofessionals in Latino Student and Immigrant Family Engagement

  • Curiosity Practice: A powerful new lever for science engagement across Wisconsin

  • Developing a culturally sensitive, holistic, and sustainable health promotion program for El Salvadorans with chronic Illness and disability

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More Engage Proposals

  • Global Education for Wisconsin Educators

  • Connecting Cultures & Building Responsive Relationships: Strengthening Academic Capacity to Enhance Supports for K-Graduate Tribal Students

  • Foundations for Early Learning: Building Consensus About the Goals, Practices and Outcomes of 4K Experiences

  • Art for the 21st Century: Open Space Maker’s Lab at the Art Lofts

  • Rural Special Educators: Surveying the Landscape, Identifying Inroads

  • The Mind’s Eye View

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CCBCDeepDive Digital Research Library (CCBC-D3) Pilot Project

KT Horning (Cooperative Children's Book Center) Brenda Spychalla (MERIT) Miron Livny (Computer Sciences) Lauren Michael (Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery)

This team aims to apply big data analytics to children's books so that researchers will easily be able to query a wide range of contemporary literature to extract details about content. Particular attention will be given to looking at how race, ethnicity, and gender play a role in books for today's children and teens, making it possible for scholars to engage in diversity-related work.

Poster by Dante Nash

What the Moon Saw, Interactive Performance Research

Dan Lisowski (Theatre & Drama) Shuxing Fan (Theatre & Drama) Roseann Sheridan (Children’s Theater of Madison) Mike Lawler (Children’s Theater of Madison) Erica Halverson (Curriculum & Instruction) Kevin Ponto (School of Human Ecology, Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery)

This project partners UW faculty researchers with community collaborator Children's Theater of Madison to develop a unique production environment specifically designed to engage young audiences in live theatrical performance through the use of video gaming and interactive technology. Through the development of a new script and the continuation of research into interactive technology, the team will test a new storytelling methodology for use in augmented reality performance.

Poster by Max Hautala

UW Community Arts Collaboratory

Kate Corby (Dance) Erica Halverson (Curriculum & Instruction) Faisal Abdu’Allah (Art)

The UW Community Arts Collaboratory aims to explore the use of the performing and fine arts (specifically dance, theatre, and visual art) in order to develop and empower underserved youth. The project brings direct arts experiences to underserved youth throughout the Dane County region, cultivating transdisciplinary research partnerships between the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Madison area partners.

Poster by Max Hautala

Glassblowing for Individuals with Parkinson Disease

Kristen Pickett (Kinesiology) Helen Lee (Art)

The purpose of this proposal is to bridge the fields of art, occupational therapy, and movement science to explore glassblowing as a therapeutic intervention for individuals with Parkinson disease (PD) and reinvigorate the way glassblowing is taught and consumed. The information gleaned from this endeavor stands to reinvent how the team understands this discipline as a movement-based practice and the possibilities that exist for intervention-based practices.

Poster by Elizabeth Jean Younce

Exploring and Realizing the Equitable Inclusion of Immigrant Parents and Students in Educational Policy and Decision Making

Mariana Pacheco (Curriculum & Instruction) Yang Sao Xiong (Social Work & Asian American Studies) Taucia Gonzalez (Rehabilitation Psychology & Special Education)

The educational opportunities and schooling experiences of immigrant students have typically been developed ‘top-down’ and, in essence, have excluded the particular insights of the immigrant students and the parents these reforms attempt to serve. This project will examine how parents’ and students’ insights can help shape and realize the equitable potential of education and schooling for disenfranchised students.

Poster by Taylor Wright Rushing

Statewide Partnership to Strengthen the Role of School-based Language Paraprofessionals in Latino Student and Immigrant Family Engagement

Carmen Valdez (Counseling Psychology) Leslie Orrantia (UW Community Relations) Nelse Grundvig (Wisconsin Center for Education Research)

Guided by mixed methodologies, this project will engage school administrators, counselors, and teachers, and language paraprofessionals. The team will then assess the formal and informal roles of language paraprofessionals in supporting schools and immigrant parents in Wisconsin, as families grapple with immigration stress and educational demands. The study will also involve a partnership between School of Education, Latino Equity Collaborative, UW Community Relations, Wisconsin DPI, and CESAS.

Poster by Elizabeth Jean Younce

Curiosity Practice: A powerful new lever for science engagement across Wisconsin

Leema Berland (Curriculum & Instruction) Rosemary Russ (Curriculum & Instruction) Noah Weeth Feinstein (Curriculum & Instruction)

By cultivating a sense of curiosity in families, this project will change how Wisconsinites engage in out-of-school science experiences and in public discussions about socio-scientific issues. Further, this team will study the nature and development of curiosity in diverse Wisconsin communities.

Poster by Taylor Wright Rushing

Developing a culturally sensitive, holistic, and sustainable health promotion program for El Salvadorans with chronic Illness and disability

David Rosenthal (Rehabilitation Psychology & Special Education) Aydin Bal (Rehabilitation Psychology & Special Education) Barbara Alvarado (Madison Arcatao Sister City) Ian Davies (Edgewood College) Alberto Vargas (Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies)

This proposal aims to improve the health of El Salvadoran citizens with Chronic Illness and Disability by enhancing health promotion and rehabilitation systems using Culturally Responsive Positive Interventions and Supports and the WHO's International Classification of Function framework.

Poster by Max Hautala

Global Education for Wisconsin Educators

Lesley Bartlett (Educational Policy Studies) Simone Schweber (Curriculum & Instruction) Beth Giles (Education Outreach & Partnerships)

The Wisconsin International Education Leaders project will play a key role in one of the most pressing issues of our time by equipping current and aspiring teachers and administrators in Wisconsin to work with immigrant and refugee students.

Poster by Elizabeth Jean Younce

Connecting Cultures & Building Responsive Relationships: Strengthening Academic Capacity to Enhance Supports for K-Graduate Tribal Students

Nicky Bowman (Wisconsin Center for Education Research) Bruce King (Education Leadership & Policy Analysis) Christine Pribbenow (Wisconsin Center for Education Research) Analee Good (Wisconsin Education Collaborative) Clif Conrad (Education Leadership & Policy Analysis)

A lack of Native faculty, educational leaders, and teachers in classrooms with Tribal students results in the exclusion of Indigenous participation in academic studies, curricular misrepresentations, and dire educational outcomes for these students. This study documents WCER & Education Leadership & Policy Analysis led projects & evaluates to illuminate best practices with Native students.

Poster by Elizabeth Jean Younce

Foundations for Early Learning: Building Consensus About the Goals, Practices and Outcomes of 4K Experiences

Beth Graue (Curriculum & Instruction) Eric Grodsky (Sociology) Katherine Magnuson (Social Work)

Recognizing the importance of early childhood for human development, policymakers are focusing attention on public preK programs designed to build children’s readiness for school. This proposal seeks funds to convene a meeting with Wisconsin stakeholders to discuss the potential of developing shared goals, instructional practices, financial supports, and outcomes for 4K.

Poster by Taylor Wright Rushing

Art for the 21st Century: Open Space Maker’s Lab at the Art Lofts

Meg Mitchell (Art) John Hitchcock (Art) Doug Rosenberg (Art) Faisal Abdu’Allah (Art) Li Chiao-Ping (Dance)

This proposal would create a makerspace to be housed in the Art Lofts in a space that has recently been made available to the UW Art Department. The Open Space Maker’s Lab at the Art Lofts is a practice-led research project, a facilitated “hive” for interdisciplinary prototyping and collaboration that connects disparate communities by de-emphasizing the boundaries between the arts, sciences, humanities, and other siloed, disciplinary spaces/practices.

Poster by Elizabeth Jean Younce

Rural Special Educators: Surveying the Landscape, Identifying Inroads

Andrea Ruppar (Rehabilitation Psychology & Special Education) Bonnie Doren (Rehabilitation Psychology & Special Education) Kimber Wilkerson (Rehabilitation Psychology & Special Education)

The purpose of this project is to understand the factors influencing the rural special education teacher shortage in Wisconsin, with a particular focus on rural special education teachers who hold emergency licensure. As an outcome of this project, this team will develop partnerships with key stakeholders in order to build a path to certification for emergency licensed special education teachers. The team will also collect descriptive data about the scope and shape of the rural special education teacher shortage in Wisconsin.

Poster by Max Hautala

The Mind’s Eye View

Joe Koykkar (Dance) Shuxing Fan (Theatre & Drama) Karen McShane-Hellenbrand (Dance)

This project proposes to combine modern dance, computer animation/video projections, and computer-produced sound design/music with a highly sophisticated interactive mapping technology. This 3-D technology would allow the dancer to control imagery and audio in real-time to produce visually fresh and thought-provoking stage illusions. It would be a truly 21st-century integrated artwork that would place the UW-Madison “on the map” in this genre of technology and the performing arts - a field that is opening up in the USA and other nations.

Poster by Taylor Wright Rushing