Madison (WKOW) -- from University of Wisconsin: A new doctoral initiative that explores buildings, landscapes and cultures may make the distance between Madison and Milwaukee just a little bit smaller, at least figuratively speaking.
This collaboration between the Ph.D.-level art history program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the School of Architecture at UW-Milwaukee will allow students from each concentration to take classes at the other university.
Students have the option of either commuting one or more times a week, or residing in the other university for a semester.
A summer field school, taught jointly by faculty from both campuses, will also be required for participants.
This component will get students out of the classroom and onto sites where they can research historical buildings around Wisconsin.
While Madison does not have a school of architecture, Milwaukee does not have a Ph.D. program in art history.
The collaboration will offer students exposure to both disciplines to provide a more comprehensive study of the physical, cultural and social aspects of the built environment.
"The two groups of faculty represent a critical mass of expertise that will be great for students and will allow all of these faculty to advance their scholarship more effectively," says UW-Madison Provost Patrick Farrell.
Talk of the collaboration began between faculty on both campuses at an academic conference in New York in 2006 and continued in March 2007.
"This was initiated as a faculty effort, it was faculty from two institutions actually talking about possibilities," says Anna Andrzejewski, UW-Madison assistant professor of art history and co-director of the "Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures" initiative.
Although there were several administrative hurdles to figure out in terms of enrollment and other logistics, administration and faculty alike were both enthusiastic about the effort and therefore worked quickly to put it into gear.
"We had the benefit of everyone saying, 'You know, this is a really good idea,' and we were all very impressed and pleased that by just creating this partnership with Milwaukee, these two institutions have something that exists nowhere else in the country," says Elaine Klein, UW-Madison assistant dean in the College of Letters and Science.
The collaboration is operating under the infrastructure of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) Traveling Scholars program, which allows students to take classes in different doctoral programs but still earn the degree from the university in which they are enrolled.
"This doesn't reduce the purpose of the university or their own degree, it just shares resources. That's the way to go in the future," says Arijit Sen, UW-Milwaukee assistant professor in the Department of Architecture and co-director of Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures.
This semester, there is one UW-Milwaukee student, Caitlin Boyle, who will take classes at the Madison campus. Boyle, an architecture doctoral student, drives to Madison once a week for a class taught by Andrzejewski.
"They're all great about letting me tie [the class] back to what I'm used to be exploring," Boyle says. "It's really great to get a perspective from people in other disciplines."
Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures has generated excitement on both faculty and administrative levels because it presents a model that could be used for future collaborations.
"It's the first doctoral-level collaborative [effort] that is designed to share both overlapping curricular components and to share the experience of faculty in the mentoring and advising of graduate students," says Jocelyn Milner, director of UW-Madison Academic Planning and Analysis.