Since its formation as a territorial county in 1836, Dane County has seen constant population growth. With approximately 516,000 residents, it is the second largest county in Wisconsin, yet agriculture remains an important part of the county’s economy. The Dane County Board of Supervisors (made up of 37 elected representatives) is the county’s legislative and policy-making body. Sharon Corrigan of Middleton currently chairs the county board.
The Dane County Board of Supervisors is the UniverCity Year partner in the 2017-2018 academic year.
"This is a truly unique opportunity to put research into action, and I can’t wait to see the results."Sharon Corrigan, Chair, Dane County Board of Supervisors
Four project areas
- Economic Development
- Closing the Housing Gap
- Frequent Users of County Services
- Water Quality & Nutrient Management
Students researched case studies of local and national organizations using cooperative business models to reduce food insecurity and increase access to affordable childcare. They also developed communication campaigns to increase participation in community supported agriculture farms among low-income families and to encourage use of the microenterprise business loan program. Finally, students investigated options for using the grounds of the Alliant Energy Center for pop-up shops.
- Agricultural & Applied Economics 323: Cooperatives. Professors Anne Reynolds and Courtney Berner. “Housing, childcare, food: How cooperatives can help build a stronger, more resilient workforce”
- Environmental Studies 402: People, Environment and Sustainability. Professor Tom Eggert. “Providing resources and creating opportunities for all Dane County residents”
- Life Sciences Communication 515: Public Information Campaigns and Programs. Professor Neil Stenhouse. “Increasing memberships in Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA)”
Students analyzed 95 parcels throughout Dane County, assessing the feasibility of future workforce housing developments at these sites. Students considered risks, determined funding options, and designed structures to address the county’s most urgent housing needs. Students also recommended energy efficient and sustainable materials to use when constructing workforce housing developments. Finally, they investigated the merits of the cooperative housing model to encourage resident engagement, promote sustainable growth and increase the longevity of the property.
- Civil Engineering 421: Environmental Sustainability Engineering. Professor Andrea Hicks. “Impact analysis of sustainable home systems and features”
- Landscape Architecture 351: Housing and Urban Design. Professor James LaGro. “Designing distinctive communities in DeForest”
- Real Estate 365/765: Residential Health. Professor Tom Landgraf. “Housing for aging residents: Proposals for DeForest and Windsor”
- Real Estate 420/720: Urban and Regional Economics. Professor Jaime Luque. “Closing the housing gap in Dane County: site analyses, values and risks”
- Real Estate 611: Residential Property Development. Professor Tom Landgraf. “Concepts for multi-family and small-lot developments in DeForest and Fitchburg”
- Real Estate 651: Green Sustainable Development. Professor Tom Landgraf. “Solar energy considerations for residential and commercial properties”
- Urban & Regional Planning 611: Urban Design: Theory and Practice. Professor James LaGro. “Guidelines for affordable and workforce housing in Dane County”
- Urban & Regional Planning 844: Housing and Public Policy. Professor Kurt Paulsen. “Housing needs assessment”
A number of people repeatedly cycle through jails, mental health facilities and social services. Students recommended processes to more effectively serve frequent users of county services, including integrating data and systems across multiple agencies. Students also analyzed usage data to tell stories about the work of county service providers.
- Global Health Institute: Quality Improvement Leadership Institute. Professor Lori DiPrete Brown. “Comprehensive Community Services program development plan”
- Journalism 677: Concepts and Tools for Data Analysis and Visualization. Professor Christopher Wells. “Interactive data visualizations”
- Population Health Sciences 780: Public Health: Principles and Practice. Professor Barbara Duerst. “Integrated human services data: Improving service provision for the super-utilizer population”
Students identified agricultural practices that protect and improve the quality of the county’s waterways. They also investigated the anaerobic digestion process of converting manure into biogas and fertilizer. They designed watershed conservation plans for Door and Dorn Creek and studied how riparian buffers can minimize the impact of runoff. Finally, students conducted user experience design analyses of nutrient-management-planning software.
- Engineering 601: Interdisciplinary Design for Energy & Sustainability. Professor Scott Williams. “Financially feasible anaerobic digesters: A proposal for Clean Fuel Partners“
- Environmental Studies 402: People, Environment and Sustainability. Professor Tom Eggert. “Phosphorus management recommendations”
- Environmental Studies 972: Conservation Planning. Professor Arlyne Johnson. “Conservation management plans: Door and Dorn Creek”
- Library and Information Studies 640: User Experience Evaluation and Testing. Professor Kyung-Sun Kim. “Helping farmers manage nutrients: A user-experience-design analysis of SnapPlus”