Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin highlights UniverCity Year in Board of Regents speech

At its first meeting of 2023, Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin addressed the UW System Board of Regents and mentioned UniverCity Year as an example of partnerships across the state.

UniverCity Year (UCY) is the hallmark program of UniverCity Alliance – an initiative that connects local governments across Wisconsin with resources at the university. During the three-year program, students and faculty work with communities toward locally-identified goals.

Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin stands near a window with a bookshelf in the background.
Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin

“The program has been around eight years, and it’s a huge success,” Mnookin said. 

Since launching in 2015, UCY has partnered with 20 local governments in geographically diverse parts of Wisconsin, including counties, cities, towns, school districts, villages, and community organizations. These entities range in size from villages with 66 residents to counties with over one million residents.

UCY has also worked with five UW System campuses including UW-River Falls, UW-Eau Claire, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Green Bay, and UW-Parkside. 

“(UCY is) also a wonderful example of the power of System-wide partnerships,” Mnookin said. 

In September 2022, Mnookin met with local leaders from Marathon County, including County Board Chair Kurt Gibbs, Conservation Program Manager Dave Mack, and Wausau Mayor Katie Rosenberg, in addition to UW-Extension area director Jason Hausler, and UniverCity Year staff.

“I’ve heard from county administrators and mayors about what powerful concrete help this program offers for their needs and thinking and understanding,” Mnookin said. 

Throughout its history, UCY has worked with 90 UW–Madison faculty members and teaching instructors in addition to 14 faculty members from other educational institutions. UCY projects, approximately 264 in total to date, have been embedded into 74 UW–Madison courses. 

“I’ve heard from students and faculty about just how transformative it can be for them,” Mnookin said.