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Transform Grants

Of 18 applications to the inaugural Grand Challenges Transform Initiative, four finalists will receive approximately $250,000 each to carry out innovative solutions for critical social and scholarly problems in education, health, and creative expression in Wisconsin and around the world.

Transform Grant Award Recipients

  • FOCUS Partnerships: Enhancing Mental and Behavioral Health for Children and Youth in Rural Wisconsin Communities

  • Building Capacity for Community-School-University Partnerships for Systemic Transformation

  • Mobilizing Youth Voices for Racial Justice

  • Sociocritical Literacy for Community Change and Equity

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More Transform Proposals

  • The Healing Power of Education in New Times: New Directions for Trauma-recovery in Wisconsin

  • Transformative Global Citizenship Education Networks

  • Making Sports Safer for Children: Dissemination of Evidence-Based Safe Sport Recommendations to Wisconsin Coaches

  • CRISPR Ethics Game: Facilitating Critical Discussions of the Most Promising Science of the Century

  • Forgiveness Therapy to Improve Prosocial Well-Being and Behavior of Imprisoned Populations

  • UW Community Arts Collaboratory Arts-Integrated Summer School

  • Wisconsin StoryBridges

  • Circle of Care: A Transformative Model for Supporting Orphans' Education in Malawi

  • 5Minutes4Myself: Creating Culturally Congruent Wellness Programs for Under-served Groups in At-risk Contexts

  • Everyday Academics: Unleashing the power of research through effective communication

  • Shaping Our Community: A Mobile App for Reaching Career Aspirations Through Data Science and Community Involvement

  • Awareness Matters: Conceptualizing Multilingualism as a Resource in Schools

  • Family Childcare in Crisis: Playgroups to Professionalize Caregivers and Raise Children's Multicultural Awareness

  • Community Schools Across Wisconsin

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FOCUS Partnerships: Enhancing Mental and Behavioral Health for Children and Youth in Rural Wisconsin Communities

Craig Albers (Ed Psych) Andy Garbacz (Ed Psych) Bonnie Doren (RPSE) Melinda Leko (RPSE) Andrea Ruppar (RPSE) Steve Small (Human Development and Family Studies) Carmen Valdez (Counseling Psych) Eric Grodsky (EPS) Amy Meinen (healthTIDE)

Families, Organizations, Community, University, and Schools (FOCUS) is a universal mental health promotion program that aligns and integrates evidence-based mental health support in an efficient, effective and sustainable delivery system for rural schools, families, and community stakeholders. To address the high needs and low resources in rural communities, this approach will provide access and support for mental health interventions with a focus on prevention, promotion, and early intervention. Specific activities will likely include building parent, teacher, and community stakeholder knowledge and skills in evidence-based mental health interventions, promoting collaboration across stakeholders, and creating professional communities.

Poster by Goldie Raye

The Healing Power of Education in New Times: New Directions for Trauma-recovery in Wisconsin

Bernadette Baker (C&I) Susan Smedema (RPSE) Adam Rindfleisch (Family Medicine and Community Health)

The numbers of people experiencing trauma continue to rise and more people are turning to Complementary and Integrated Health (CIH) professionals to assist in their recovery. CIH providers utilize a range of specific educational strategies to address trauma-recovery. This project will analyze the role and range of CIH care providers, and how different modalities of care contribute to healing success. This study builds a case for a new service delivery model that broadens access to the healing power of education in trauma-care in Wisconsin.

Poster by Taylor Srebnick

Building Capacity for Community-School-University Partnerships for Systemic Transformation - Toward a Culturally Responsive Indigenous Learning Lab

Aydin Bal (RPSE) Aaron Bird Bear (Student Diversity Programs) Linda Orie (POSOH Project)

This project develops a culturally responsive school-wide behavioral support system with Native American students, families, community leaders, and educators at a public high school in Northern Wisconsin. Use of the Culturally Responsive Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (CRPBIS) framework and the Learning Lab methodology are critical to this work. The project will evaluate student outcomes such as racial disproportionality in discipline and special education referrals, the use of exclusionary discipline, and perceptions of school climate and environment.

Poster by Max Hautala

Transformative Global Citizenship Education Networks

Lesley Bartlett (EPS) Li-Ching Ho (C&I) Kate McCleary (WCER-LEAD) David Rosenthal (RPSE) Christopher Walker (Dance) Sarah Fuelleman (Alumni Relations) Dan Gold (International Academic Programs) Margaret Hawkins (C&I) Weijia Li (ELPA)

The Transformative Global Citizenship Education Networks project fosters the development of a global UW alumni network infrastructure. Starting with efforts in China and Singapore, this work will investigate how alumni engage with the UW-Madison, how the School of Education can make such efforts mutually beneficial, and how engagement with alumni shapes students' global civic engagement and competence. This work will be achieved through multiple efforts, including the creation of a database of international alumni, bi-monthly colloquia at UW-Madison, alumni engagement programming and events, and the creation of new short-term, faculty-led study abroad opportunities for students.

Poster by Max Hautala

Making Sports Safer for Children: Dissemination of Evidence-Based Safe Sport Recommendations to Wisconsin Coaches

David Bell (Kinesiology) Andy Garbacz (Ed Psych) Tim McGuine (Orthopedics and Rehabilitation)

Unsafe practices surrounding sport specialization can be positively influenced by increasing awareness of safe sport recommendations. The purpose of this proposal is to: a) develop an educational campaign about safe sport practices, b) disseminate information to coaches, c) help youth avoid injury, and d) evaluate the impact of the campaign on increasing awareness and knowledge of safe sport recommendations. This knowledge translation intervention will rely on multiple strategies (e.g. Webinars, infographics, checklists, web-based video, social media, and a custom website) to reach coaches. Each strategy will be designed in conjunction with formative and summative feedback from the coaches.

Poster by Dante Nash

CRISPR Ethics Game: Facilitating Critical Discussions of the Most Promising Science of the Century

Harry Brighouse (EPS) Kris Saha (Biomedical Engineering) Paula McAvoy (Center for Ethics and Education) David Gagnon (Field Day)

Through the design, production, and dissemination of a free online video game about a powerful new genetic engineering technique (CRISPR) this project will facilitate ethics conversations within high school science and social studies classrooms in Wisconsin and, more generally, enhance public understanding of this emerging technology. Not only does the game create an opportunity for a new public discourse about science ethics, it also will generate data that can inform researchers and other interested stakeholders about popular public opinion regarding genetic engineering. This ethics game has the capacity to set a new standard for video games as tools for bi-directional communication between researchers and the public they serve. The project will be supported and enhanced through national news and media outreach efforts, a fellowship program for science teachers, and a daylong CRISPR Ethics Education Summit.

Poster by Autumn Brown

Mobilizing Youth Voices for Racial Justice

John Diamond (ELPA) Kendra Alexander (Civil Society and Community Studies) Bianca Baldridge (EPS) Erika Bullock (C&I) Forward Madison/TEEM Scholars POWER Collective

Mobilizing Youth Voices for Racial Justice is a collaborative project intended to amplify the powerful work youth of color in Madison are doing to advance racial justice in their respective community organizations. This project will engage young people to analyze issues of race and disenfranchisement, develop intergenerational learning and action opportunities, and create a community forum to develop an agenda to implement solutions based on their collective work. Working across three institutional spaces--the Madison Metropolitan School District, The University of Wisconsin, and community based organizations in Madison--the program aims to: build social capital, generate new insights about racial justice, and facilitate meaningful progress toward racial justice in Madison.

Poster by Dante Nash

Forgiveness Therapy to Improve Prosocial Well-Being and Behavior of Imprisoned Populations

Bob Enright (Ed Psych) Clif Conrad (ELPA) Laura Dunek (UW System) Maria Gambarro (Columbia Correctional) Jonathan Scharrer (Law School) Timothy Coursen (C&I Graduate Student)

Forgiveness Therapy (FT) is a highly effective therapeutic intervention to reduce anger. This project will implement and study the use of FT programming for imprisoned individuals at two correctional facilities in Wisconsin. Goals of FT include reducing anti-social behavior and increasing cooperation in individuals who are excessively angry over unjust treatment toward them prior to imprisonment. This form of therapy has the potential to make prison communities safer and, when individuals are released, make neighborhoods, communities, and cities safer, too. The proposed project will utilize qualitative and quantitative methods, experimental analyses, videography, training workshops, journal articles and longitudinal studies to accomplish various project goals. This work is being done in conjunction with studies of FT in Brazil, China and Pakistan.

Poster by Autumn Brown

UW Community Arts Collaboratory Arts-Integrated Summer School

Erica Halverson (C&I) Faisal Abdu'Allah (Art) Kate Corby (Dance) Yorel Lashley (Ed Psych Graduate Student) Stephanie Richards (UW Population Health Institute)

Resilience Through Arts, an arts-integrated summer school program, will directly impact the lives of students, teachers, teaching artists, and the rhetorical framing of "remedial education" and "summer learning loss" toward an assets-based perspective centered on young people's art-making. Team leaders will blend expertise from existing community arts programs to explore to what degree, and how, the arts foster resiliency, empathy, agency, and self-expression while building academic competencies for underserved youth. Piloting the integration of dance, theatre, music, and visual art into summer school programs, Resilience Through Arts will focus on the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District, with plans to expand into rural school districts across Wisconsin.

Poster by Pranav Sood

Wisconsin StoryBridges

Margaret Hawkins (C&I) Stacy Lee (EPS) Mariana Castro (WIDA) Aaron Bird Bear (SOE Student Diversity Programs)

Wisconsin StoryBridges is a community-engaged project that explores and fosters civic identity among secondary school youth in Wisconsin. In partnership with school districts throughout the state, youth will engage in participatory action research about issues relevant to their community, and create digital stories to share and discuss with youth in other communities in the state via a dedicated website. The project is designed to deepen understandings of community, foster respectful dialogue among diverse groups of youth, and support civic belonging and engagement.

Poster by Max Hautala

Circle of Care: A Transformative Model for Supporting Orphans' Education in Malawi

Nancy Kendall (EPS) Zikani Kaunda (Institute for Participatory Education and Quality Improvement) Lori DiPrete-Brown (4W Women and Wellbeing) David Rosenthal (RPSE) Chrissie Thakwalakwa (University of Malawi: Center for Social Research) Travis Wright (Counseling Psych) Kate Corby (Dance)

Circle of Care (COC) is a participatory action research effort to foster the wellbeing of orphans, grandmother-headed households (GHHs), and AIDS-affected schools and communities in Malawi. COC's holistic model of care builds on best practices for participatory research, interdisciplinary collaboration, community mobilization, orphan care, and AIDS-competent schools. COC will leverage existing community assets to improve orphans' and GHHs' wellbeing, transform school cultures and community leadership practices to be more responsive, and document best practices to enable context-sensitive expansion of the program throughout Malawi.

Poster by Taylor Srebnick

5Minutes4Myself: Creating Culturally Congruent Wellness Programs for Under-served Groups in At-risk Contexts

Beth Larson (Kinesiology) Steve Quintana (Counseling Psych) Simon Goldberg (Counseling Psychology - New Hire) Stephanie Campbell (Counseling Psych Graduate Student) Lisa Rambaldo (Private Practice) Nichols Ewoldt (Center for Academic Excellence: Summer Collegiate Experience) Sharyl Kato (Rainbow Project)

The 5Minutes4Myself program is a behavioral health service delivery model that integrates in-person coaching and smartphone technology. Using motivational interviewing, trained coaches engage participants in the design of a customized wellness program that is supported with a habit-building smart phone app and monthly face-to-face meetings. Culturally-responsive versions of the 5Minutes4Myself program will be adapted for three groups who experience significant life stressors: 1) UW-Madison students who are first-generation, low-income, and/or students of color; 2) grandparents raising grandchildren; and 3) Spanish-speaking parents raising children in at-risk contexts.

Poster by Max Hautala

Everyday Academics: Unleashing the power of research through effective communication

Percival Matthews (Ed Psych) Mike Wagner (Journalism and Mass Communication) Thulani Davis (Afro-American Studies) Steven Potter (Ed Psych)

Everyday Academics aims to bridge the communications gap between UW-Madison faculty, staff, and students, and community stakeholders throughout the state, including community-based organizations and state and local government officials. The program includes trainings to help scientists and scholars boil down technical jargon and integrates support from professional writers to assist researchers and community organizations with specific projects. Several program components will encourage the bidirectional flow of knowledge among researchers and the broader community. Everyday Academics will result in more researchers who are well-trained and inclined to write for the public, the public exerting a pull on researchers for important information, and genuine partnerships wherein researchers and community organizations generate shared research questions and collaborate in the construction of knowledge.

Poster by Bailey Nachreiner-Mackesey

Shaping Our Community: A Mobile App for Reaching Career Aspirations Through Data Science and Community Involvement

Mitch Nathan (C&I) Angela Byars-Winston (Center for Women's Health Research) Mindi Thompson (Counseling Psych) David Gagnon (Field Day) Matthew Berland (C&I) Nelse Grundvig (WCER) Michael Swart (Associate Researcher) Gail Ford (PEOPLE Program)

The Shaping Our Community app is a career development tool for incoming underrepresented college students at UW-Madison that integrates gaming and locative technology. This app also facilitates the acquisition of valuable data about the career interests and readiness of undergraduate students as a tool for academic researchers. By incorporating advances in data science, geospatial technology, and social networking, the app is able to synthesize information about people's interests, experiences, and aspirations and, in turn, provide students with timely, personalized support to cultivate and intentionally pursue their career goals.

Poster by Autumn Brown

Sociocritical Literacy for Community Change and Equity: Participatory Action Research with Bilingual Hmong and Latino Youth with/out Disabilities

Mariana Pacheco (C&I) Taucia Gonzalez (RPSE) Yang Sao Xiong (Social Work) Madeline Hafner (MSAN)

The Gira Académica para Nuestros Alumnos Sociocríticos (GANAS) program explores how bilingual Latino and Hmong youth with/out disabilities develop sociocritical literacies through youth participatory action research. Developed with English learner, special education, and dual-category students, this program advances equity-driven learning ecologies, promotes students' meaning making and critical thinking, and advances social change in school districts throughout WI. GANAS utilizes students' writing assignments, digital stories, discussion board posts, testimonios , surveys and interviews to reveal: a) students' new and shifting perceptions about their lives, b) the ways that students view themselves as social change agents, and c) the ways that students view themselves in relation to educational systems and societal structures.

Poster by Pranav Sood

Awareness Matters: Conceptualizing Multilingualism as a Resource in Schools

Gail Prasad (C&I) Chuck Kalish (Ed Psych) Kristin Shutts (Psychology) Mariana Casto (WIDA) Jon Nordmeyer (WIDA) Silvia Romero-Johnson (MMSD Office of Multilingual & Global Education) Kathy Costello (Thoreau El) Amanda Clarahan (Thoreau El)

This project explores how schools can transform linguistic diversity into a resource for improving all students' academic and social outcomes. By analyzing the effects of building students' multilingual language awareness (MLA) at specific schools in the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD), the project contributes to an understanding of the benefits children experience as a result of becoming 'multilingual-aware'. By engaging children directly in an arts- based approach, this project studies the effects of building Kindergarteners' and first graders' MLA through teaching and learning that explicitly attends to language(s) and linguistic diversity at school and in the world beyond. The project will also generate curricular resources and assessment tools that could be used throughout MMSD and the state.

Poster by Pranav Sood

Family Childcare in Crisis: Playgroups to Professionalize Caregivers and Raise Children's Multicultural Awareness

François Tochon (C&I) Lynet Uttal (Counseling Psych) Amy Christianson (Reach Dane) Kate MacCrimmon (C&I Graduate Student) Alexandra Lakind (C&I Graduate Student) Giselle Martinez Negrette (C&I Graduate Student) Kristine Harrison (C&I)

Under this proposal, a Danish-American exchange program will introduce Danish-inspired playgroups to Wisconsin family child care providers to help alleviate a dramatic shortage in quality daycare options in the state. This playgroup method of early childcare creates a way for providers to practice together, reduces isolation among providers, facilitates substitute care and introduces a folklore curriculum to build appreciation for difference. Additionally, a mentorship network will be aimed at improving childcare for underserved populations, especially displaced and migrant children. This project uses participatory autoethnography to develop a model for playgroups to enhance global awareness, nurture cross-cultural understandings among families and providers, and build a broader community of practice for the professionalization of family care providers.

Poster by Pranav Sood

Community Schools Across Wisconsin (C-SAW): Leveraging the Assets of Higher Education for Excellence in Full-Service Education

Julie Underwood (ELPA) Art Rainwater (ELPA) Lori DiPrete-Brown (SOHE) Lawrence Berger (Social Work) Samuel Dennis Jr. (Planning and Landscape Architecture) Leslie Orrantia (Community Relations) Joel Rogers (Law School)

Community Schools Across Wisconsin (C-SAW) aims to leverage the assets of UW-Madison to strengthen Wisconsin's community schools effort. In addition to working with existing and potential future community schools in Racine and Green Counties, C-SAW will engage with the WI Community Schools Network, the Network of University-Assisted Community Schools, and UniverCity Alliance to identify priorities for future research, including validation of effective practices and identification of robust implementation strategies that can be applied to urban and rural a broad range of settings (urban and rural) throughout Wisconsin.

Poster by Pranav Sood