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EOP News

The Network to build collaborations between UW researchers, educators

March 29, 2014

A new education research network on the UW-Madison campus that has been in the planning stages for years is now a reality.

The Network logo 300 pxThe Wisconsin Collaborative Education Research Network (the Network) is a match-making endeavor that is designed to facilitate relationships among university researchers and educators to create new pathways for innovating teaching and learning practices. The Network is a collaborative effort between the UW-Madison School of Education, Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER) and Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI).

The Network is being co-directed by Richard Halverson, a professor with the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, and Jack Jorgensen, an associate dean for Education Outreach and Partnerships within the School of Education.

Rich Halverson 150 px
Richard Halverson
“There are big challenges in public education today, and we want to spark new partnerships between the university, educators and policymakers across the state to share knowledge and solve problems,” says Halverson.

“This is the Wisconsin Idea at work,” adds Jorgensen.

While the School of Education has long been recognized as a national leader in education research -- thanks in large part to WCER -- the Network is dedicated to creating an infrastructure that can facilitate stronger, more mutually beneficial links between researchers and those involved with education. In its early stages, those involved with the Network are focused on the important task of building these relationships with researchers within UW-Madison and educators, professional organizations, political leaders and community members across Wisconsin.

In addition to relationship building, another strategic priority is to find ways for researchers to more easily and effectively share knowledge. In this regard, the Network is working with DPI to establish NetworkED, a public repository of research, best practice and innovation resources. The Network will also provide policy and practice briefs to help translate sometimes complex research to inform legislation, professional learning and best practices into information that can be used by a range of stakeholders.

Jack Jorgensen
Jack Jorgensen
The origins of the Network date to August 2006, when WCER’s 10-year program review suggested the center “might consider playing a larger role in helping (researchers) identify and manage field sites for projects." In 2009, the Office of Education Outreach and Partnerships (EOP) within the School of Ed titled its strategic plan, “Bridging Educational Research and Practice,” to emphasize the importance of developing more effective ways to access research to inform practice and professional learning. And in 2011, leadership within WCER and EOP announced the formation of a collaboration “to better bridge research and practice across the School and with our community partners.”

“It’s exciting to see this project go from an idea to reality,” says Jorgensen. “Right now it’s all about reaching out to people and building relationships. We are identifying the priority areas with the Department of Public Instruction and other groups, seeing if we can be that match-maker between researchers and educators who have similar interests.”

For more information, visit www.wcernetwork.org, email info@wcernetwork.org or call 608-263-4062.

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