Service & Outreach

Public service is a cornerstone of a UW-Madison education.  L&S is dedicated to supporting the university's commitment to the Wisconsin Idea, the principle that the beneficial work of the university should improve people's lives beyond the classroom.

Visit & Learn

L&S is proud to have many facilities and resources open to the public. We are strongly committed to public service and outreach, and many any of our units are dedicated to working with K-12 educators to enhance learning in and out of the classroom.

Film & Theatre

UW Cinematheque
The Cinematheque is a coalition of UW-Madison academic departments and student film groups dedicated to showcasing films which would otherwise never reach Madison screens. As the screening facility of the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research (WCFTR), a member of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF), the Cinematheque regularly showcases archival and other rare prints from around the world.

Conney Project on Jewish Arts
This far-reaching educational entity supports and encourages new narratives of Jewish identity in all the arts, including literature, music, and the visual and performing arts.

Greenfield Summer Institute
Summer lectures center around a theme and features concerts, dinners, and other opportunities to socialize.

KlezKamp at the Mayrent Institute for Commity-Based Yiddish Culture
An intensive, invigorating week of Yiddish music, language, and arts and culture taught by a top roster of national and local masters. Be part of the historic revitalization of Yiddish in America’s heartland.

School of Music Concerts and Events
A listing of concerts and events hosted by the School of Music.

University Opera
University Opera presents an annual season of two fully staged opera productions, as well as evenings of opera scenes and one-act operas. University Opera's mission is to cast students in roles, and the program features every level of singer from doctoral student to undergraduate music education major in principal and supporting roles.

Wisconsin Film Festival
Film. Farther. Founded in 1999, the festival presents 200 films in eight theaters over five days in April in Madison, Wisconsin.  The College is proud to be a supporter of this popular festival in partnership with the Arts Institute and the Department of Communicative Arts.

Greenhouses & Gardens

Botany Greenhouse
Open to the public, the eight-room greenhouse is home to 1,000 species of aquatic, desert and tropical plant communities. The greenhouse is open to school tours and staff can assist visitors seeking advice on plants for their homes. In winter months, the facility is used as a setting for art students.

Botanical Garden
Open to the public, the Botanical Garden is an important resource for teaching and research, serving as reference for the different plant families, genera and species. It also provides an area for leisure where examples of plants from around the world demonstrate the diversity and beauty of the plant kingdom.

Wisconsin State Herbarium
A museum collection of dried, labeled plants of state, national and international importance, which is used extensively for research, teaching and public service. It contains the world's largest collection of Wisconsin plants.

International & Global Programs

Africa Focus: Sights and Sounds of a Continent
Africa Focus brings together, in digital form, two categories of primary and secondary resources: research and teaching materials collected by University of Wisconsin faculty and staff; and unique or valuable items related to these fields held by the University of Wisconsin Libraries.

African Studies Outreach Scholars
Outreach Scholars enrich school curricula and community events by sharing their area studies expertise, life stories, and artistic skills of African Studies. As they facilitate learning experiences that go beyond the textbook, Outreach Scholars expand students’, teachers’, and community members’ understanding of different African contexts.

Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences Rooftop Cameras
The Space Science & Engineering Center in collaboration with the Department of Atmospheric Science maintains several high resolution cameras atop of our building (AO&SS) located on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. These cameras take pictures every 10 seconds.

French House
A Francophone residence for UW-Madison students and a cultural center for the community - the first of its kind on any U.S. university campus. The residence opened in 1918.

Max Kade Institute for German-American Studies
Max Kade’s outreach efforts center on bringing a better understanding of issues of German-American immigration, history, culture, and language to a general public as well as to school children.

World Cinema Day
World Cinema Day is an annual event held in conjunction with the Wisconsin Film Festival that brings high school students and teachers to the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Madison for the screening of a high-quality international film along with an introduction and discussion led by a UW faculty member or guest. Curricular materials based on the film are provided to participating schools in advance.

World Languages Day
World Languages Day is an educational outreach program of the Language Institute. At World Languages Day, high school students from throughout the state of Wisconsin gather on the UW-Madison campus for an inspiring college-for-a-day experience.

Library Outreach, Literature & Media

Allied Drive Literacy Time
Allied Drive Literacy Time is a community engagement program connecting School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS) students with children enrolled at the Allied Learning Center run by Madison School & Community Recreation (MSCR).

Center for the Humanities
The Center hosts a series of events, many of them open to the public, that encourage dialogue, inquiry, and critical engagement across the humanities. The Center’s partnerships with libraries, hospitals, senior centers, prisons, community gardens, and public schools are helping to define the ‘public humanities’ at UW-Madison.

Great World Texts
The mission of the Great World Texts in Wisconsin program is to encourage more high school and university students to read the classic world texts of the humanities and to connect and engage UW faculty and high-school teachers across the state in this project. High school and college classes will participate in these projects throughout the year. Each program culminates in a student conference in the spring.

Jail Library Group
A student run organization in the School of Library & Information Studies, the Jail Library Group provides education, recreational and community resource reading materials to the residents of jail facilities in Dane County Wisconsin.

Madison Commons
The Madison Commons was founded in 2006 to provide news and information from all of Madison's neighborhoods. The name comes from the idea of a village commons, a place for news, talk, debate, and some entertainment, too, that's open to everyone.

Tribal Libraries, Archives and Museums Project
The project was inspired by an independent study project in 2008 of three SLIS students, Chelsea Couillard, Christina Johnson, and Catherine Phan. Through funding from the Kauffman Entrepreneurship Community Internship Program, the students completed an interest and priorities assessment of the Red Cliff community to determine the potential role of the library on the reservation.

Wisconsin Public Library Director Certification
Every public library director in Wisconsin must be certified by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI). The School of Library and Information Studies' Continuing Education division works with DPI to develop and provide the four required courses for library directors. The classes are offered online to provide access to all communities throughout Wisconsin.

Museums

Chazen Museum of Art
The museum is home to the second-largest collection of art in Wisconsin: more than 20,000 works include paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, photographs, and decorative arts. The museum also presents frequent temporary exhibitions and a series of public events which are free and open to the public.

Geology Museum
Open Monday through Friday and Saturdays, this free public venue stretches back to 1877 and is now located in Weeks Hall.  The museum is home to rocks, corals, jellyfish and other sea creatures that used to live and swim where we now walk.  Specimens include the Boaz Mastodon and the Mifflin Meteorite that fell in Southwestern Wisconsin in 2010. 

L.R. Ingersoll Physics Museum
Open Monday through Friday in Chamberlain Hall, the museum is a free public venue that give visitors a "hands on" experience of mechanics and modern physics in a kid-friendly environment.

Zoological Museum
The Museum consists of a 10,000 square-foot collections storage and research facility, and a small exhibits gallery.  It is dedicated to the preservation, study, and understanding of the vertebrate and aquatic fauna of Wisconsin, the Midwest, and other parts of the world. The gallery is open to the public most weekdays, but access to the collections is restricted.

Music Performance Groups

School of Music Concerts and Events
A listing of concerts and events hosted by the School of Music.

Jazz Orchestra
The UW-Madison Jazz Orchestra is a college "lab" jazz ensemble, its goal being to simulate, as closely as possible, the experience of working in a professional, commercially pertinent musical setting.

Pro Arte Quartet
The Pro Arte Quartet continues to maintain an 85-year tradition of dedication to classical and contemporary string chamber music. In addition to their residency at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where duties range from formal concerts and radio broadcasts to a variety of educational activities, the quartet tours nationally and internationally, often presenting premieres of new works, many of which are written for the ensemble.

Symphony Orchestra
Auditions for UW orchestras are held in late August and again in December and January (for available spaces).

University Choirs
Run by the School of Music, there are a number of programs open for both the experienced singer and the novice. Groups range in size from 34 to 160 members and include Choral Union, Chorale, Concert Choir, Masters Singers and more.

University Opera
University Opera presents an annual season of two fully staged opera productions, as well as evenings of opera scenes and one-act operas. University Opera's mission is to cast students in roles, and the program features every level of singer from doctoral student to undergraduate music education major in principal and supporting roles.

University of Wisconsin Bands
The University of Wisconsin-Madison Band Program offers a comprehensive selection of ensembles for students. Bands are actively commissioning new works from world-renowned composers and performing with internationally acclaimed soloists and guest conductors

Wingra Woodwind Quintet
Founded in 1965, the Wingra Woodwind Quintet is ensemble-in-residence at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music. Since its formation, the quintet has established a tradition of artistic and teaching excellence.

Wisconsin Brass Quintet
Founded in 1972, the Wisconsin Brass Quintet is ensemble-in-residence at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music. The brass chamber music experience of the Wisconsin Brass Quintet is nationally recognized.

Science & Discovery

Current Weather and Forecasts
Administered by the Department of Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences, current weather forecasts are available for educators. A robust collection of other weather-related resources is available including Hurricane Forecasts, Satellite Images and other observation maps.

Institute for Chemical Education (ICE)
ICE is working to create new scalable teaching and learning programs, methodologies, and communities aimed at cultivating a diverse next generation of nanoscientists and engineers. ICE produces kits and publication for students and teachers.

Space Place
Located on South Park Street, Space Place is the vibrant education and public outreach center for the Department of Astronomy.  From star gazing to telescope workshops, Space Place offers more than 100 free public programs each year.

Spalding Lab - Botany Outreach
The lab of Botany Professor Edgar Spalding works to bring hands-on science learning to students and classrooms in Wisconsin. The lab has participated in the UW-Madison Day at the State Fair and the Wisconsin Sciences Festival.

Science is Fun: In the Lab of Shakhashiri
The master of chemical demonstrations and science policy advocate, Chemistry Professor Bassam Z. Shakhashiri, shares the fun of science through home science activities, public presentations, scholarship, and other programs of the Wisconsin Initiative for Science Literacy. See the full list of events and don't miss the "Once Upon a Christmas Cheery, In the Lab of Shakhashiri."

Washburn Observatory
The UW-Madison Astronomy Department offers free public observing at the Washburn Observatory every 1-2 weeks throughout the year. The Open House sessions are hosted by UW Astronomy graduate students. The public viewing sessions are informal.

Wonders of Physics
Hands-on science! The Wonders of Physics which began in 1984 is an educational and exciting demonstration of physics available for students of all ages. Each year, the show hosts a general public presentation in Madison.  The presentations last about an hour and are suitable for all ages. The traveling show has brought hands-on physics to more than 70,000.

Wisconsin Initiative for Science Literacy
The initiative brings science resources to teachers and students including hands-on demonstrations, experiments, lecture series and presentations

Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery
The Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery is a visionary public-private partnership that is creating two world-class biomedical research institutes. Its partners include donors John and Tashia Morgridge, the state of Wisconsin, the University of Wisconsin (UW–Madison) and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). Explore the public space in the Town Center and learn about the ways L&S researchers are contributing to science and research.

Wednesday Nite @ The Lab
Get an inside look at a research lab in the company of scientists and students and experience science as exploring the unknown. Weekly, 7:00-8:15 p.m. at UW-Madison. This event is sponsored by the Wisconsin Alumni Association.

Universe in the Park
Established in 1996, Universe in the Park (UitP) is an extremely popular outreach program of the Department of Astronomy. UitP is predicated on a very simple idea: the best environment to introduce the general public to astronomy is outside under dark skies.  A typical UitP session begins just after sunset with a 20-30 minute talk and slide show about astronomy, with opportunities for the general public view astronomical objects through telescopes.

Symposia, Workshops & Conferences

Center for the Humanities
The Center hosts a series of events, many of them open to the public, that encourage dialogue, inquiry, and critical engagement across the humanities. The Center’s partnerships with libraries, hospitals, senior centers, prisons, community gardens, and public schools are helping to define the ‘public humanities’ at UW-Madison. 

Center for Journalism Ethics Annual Conference
An annual conference to further discussion of critical questions facing journalists and the public.

Metaethics Workshop
Hosted annually by the Department of Philosophy, the forum brings together scholars to showcase the new work in metaethics.

For Wisconsin and the World

For more than a century, the “Wisconsin Idea” has become the guiding philosophy of university outreach efforts in Wisconsin and throughout the world.