The Department of Civil Society and Community Studies collaborates with communities, civil society organizations, and social movements to co-create a just and sustainable future for all.
We are a department that:
- Strives for social justice, common good, and sustainability for current and future generations;
- Elevates the power of those who are marginalized by various forms of oppression and dominant cultural norms;
- Embraces the multitude of ways of knowing and being in the world;
- Engages with the wider community in our work as researchers, teachers, and members of civil society;
- Uses systems thinking, mixed methods, and community-engaged research approaches to gain a holistic and comprehensive understanding of community issues and how to address them;
- Emphasizes positive youth development, asset-based evaluation and programming, and appreciative inquiry; and
- Seeks to understand and honor the various ways people come together to effect policy and programmatic change in their communities.
The School of Human Ecology is home to the Center for Community and Nonprofit Studies, known as “the CommNS.” Under the leadership of faculty director Dr. Brian McInnes and executive director Mary Beth Collins, the center develops resources and hosts events to connect and assist change agents in their work to better communities. The CommNS also builds and supports community–university partnerships through entities like Co-Create, which facilitates student work on applied research and evaluation projects to meet the mission-driven needs of nonprofit organizations and civic actors.
SoHE also seeded the 4W Initiative (Women and Well-being in Wisconsin and the World) and more recently launched the Indigenous Ecowell Initiative, which supports work at the intersections of Indigenous cultures, health, language, and community. In addition, SoHE is home to the POWER Collective, founded and led by CSCS students to produce, support, and disseminate critical scholarship and community action projects led by students, community members, and professionals of color at UW–Madison and throughout the state of Wisconsin.
Dr. Cynthia Jasper