Centers & Extension

The School of Human Ecology hosts a collective of campus centers and initiatives that conduct a variety of scholarly, research, and outreach efforts. They are part of a larger UW campus-wide network, which involve faculty, staff, and students from the natural and social sciences, to the arts and humanities.


Student sits and studies in front of the "Threshold" mural in Nancy Nicholas Hall.


4W (Women & Wellbeing in Wisconsin & the World) initiative leverages the strengths of UW–Madison to be a convener and leading voice in education, applied research, and impactful engagement to promote gender equity, global wellbeing, and the full participation of women in society.

Visit the website

Illustration of overlapping silhouettes of people in multiple colors.

Equity & Justice Network

The School of Human Ecology has a century-long history of improving the well-being of children and families, particularly those who are underrepresented and underserved in our communities. The Equity and Justice Network initiative supports the continued evolution of our school into a community wherein people with diverse backgrounds find success, share knowledge, and advance justice.

Learn more

Graphic of circular beadwork in multi-colors with a floral motif. A needle is threading on loose beads at the bottom.

Indigenous EcoWell Initiative

The School of Human Ecology is home to several Native/Indigenous faculty whose work focuses on the intersections of Indigenous cultures, health, language and community. Faculty members are collaborating with campus partners and First Nations to develop the School’s Indigenous EcoWell Initiative. The intention is to build and engage a community of scholars, practitioners, undergraduate, and graduate students within this endeavor.

Learn more

An whimsical illustration of a Black mother reading to her child.


The Center on Promoting Early Literacy, Child Advocacy, and Nurturance (PELICAN) aims to bring students and professionals from different disciplines into the same conversation with the goal of bettering the lives of children and families. Its purpose is to help those who care about children and families build a more complete, more inclusive, more collaborative, and more powerful toolbox to use in their work.

Learn more

An adult sits on the floor playing blocks with a small child. Books and a couch are in the background.

Prenatal to Five Initiative

The Prenatal to Five initiative focuses on the earliest times in a child’s life, looking for ways to enhance brain development and improve the quality of life in our state and our nation. Through the human ecology lens, we investigate the impact of housing, nutrition, physical health, education, parenting, and more during this key period of life.

Learn more

Preschool students and teachers interact in the Child Development Lab.

Child Development Lab

The School of Human Ecology operates the UW Child Development Lab as part of its teaching and research mission. Established in 1926 the Lab supports projects that are observational or participatory, and works with faculty and students to conduct research  on a variety of topics, including child development and learning, family dynamics, education, childcare and other related areas.

Visit the website