Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Monday, July 2, 2018

UW honors La Follette, Women in Government

UW honors La Follette, Women in Government

UW–Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank presented the La Follette School and the Wisconsin Women in Government (WWIG) with a Community-University Partnership Award on Wednesday, June 27. The award recognizes the School’s long-time collaboration with WWIG in providing leadership training for women who work in or interact with local, state, and federal government.

La Follette School Director and Professor Susan Yackee accepted the award along with Kara Kratowicz, WWIG’s past president, on behalf of President Anne Sappenfield. Professor Emeritus Dennis Dresang and Sr. Outreach Specialist Bridget Pirsch also represented the La Follette School, while Board of Directors members Deb Erwin and Rebecca Ballweg represented WWIG.

“The La Follette School’s partnership with WWIG is a shining example of the Wisconsin Idea – UW–Madison’s century-old commitment to extending the boundaries of the university to the borders of the state and beyond,” says Yackee. “By empowering women through professional development, the partnership reflects the La Follette School’s commitment to a vibrant, inclusive, and participatory democracy.”

Founded in 1987, WWIG is a nonpartisan volunteer organization that recognizes and supports women by providing scholarships as well as educational and networking opportunities. Since 2001, the La Follette School has collaborated with WWIG to provide high-impact leadership training for women who work in local, state, or federal government or who interact with the government through nonprofit or private-sector employment.

“I was honored to be accepted as part of a cohort of diverse women across local and state government dedicated to learning in a collaborative environment,” Kratowicz says. “The experience inspired me to give back to WWIG as a board member for six years, where I continue to learn new skills and grow my network of women I can rely on, no matter our political affiliation.”

More than 350 women have participated in the leadership seminar, which provides 20-plus hours of training for early and mid-career women seeking to advance their careers and increase their leadership and management skills. Seminar graduates uniformly point to the training as a critical step forward for their careers, and many have obtained key positions across government and related sectors. Dresang and Yackee lead the seminars.

“The partnership provides young and mid-career women – who have been historically underrepresented in the highest positions across Wisconsin government – the necessary skills and networking opportunities to take their careers to the next level,” Yackee adds.

The Community-University Partnership Awards recognize the work of UW-Madison faculty, staff, and students and their community partners across the state of Wisconsin, as they address pressing public issues in Madison and the surrounding region. UW–Madison started the awards under the leadership of the late LaMarr Billups, a respected community leader who was committed to key civic institutions and social causes.

Chancellor Blank and UW–Madison Director of Community Relations Leslie Orrantia also presented awards to the following projects.

  • Oneida Nation: Wisconsin Alzheimer's Disease Research Center Partnership
  • The Compost Project: A Systems Approach to Food Waste Composting for Urban Agriculture
  • CAMP Bayview: College Advancement Mentorship Program at the Bayview Foundation
  • Indigenous Sustainabilities: Health, Culture, and Environment in Waaswaaganing
  • Creators, Collectors, & Communities: Making Ethnic Identity Through Objects
  • Native American Center for Health Professions (NACHP) and Oneida Nation Partnership

In addition, Kaleem Caire was honored with the 2018 LaMarr Billups Community-University Engagement Award. Caire is a known national leader in K-12 education reform, economic and workforce development, and community transformation. He serves on Chancellor Blank’s UW Community Advisory Council and the UW School of Education Madison Education Partnership (MEP) Steering Committee. The prestigious award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding contributions to campus-community partnerships.

Image Gallery photos by Bryce Richter/UW-Madison