Sept. 11, Gwen Drury

Gwen Drury – “A Tribute to University Extension”

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Gwen Drury

“When Gwen Drury started researching the expansive, 100-year history of the Wisconsin Idea, she was impressed by the university’s culture and the rich stories of how it manifested itself again and again during the last century. But she also discovered that people’s knowledge and opinions about it had changed significantly, and the only way that today’s UW alumni and friends could truly appreciate their shared history was to learn about it — and more importantly, to discuss it with each other.” Wendy Kraus Hathaway, WAA

Drury received undergraduate degrees in History and English at Frostburg State University.

Gwen’s lecture this fall will feature a specific example of the Wisconsin Idea in action.

VIDEO:  In order to have the background for this lecture, students in the course have been assigned the video of last year’s talk – to be viewed in advance of the lecture.  If you would like to be sure that you have the same background, please view the video recording of that talk (recorded for University Place, by Wisconsin Public Television):

HISTORICAL PAGEANTS:  If you are interested in the art form that was “All the Rage” in 1914, see this short paper by Ethel Rockwell, who served as the “Pageant Master” for the Sauk City event.  The link is to Google Books:”Historical Pageantry: a Treatise”

University Extension and Cooperative Extension were always separate but related programs.  My talk is a tribute to University Extension, which has been discontinued.  A broad overview of the part of Extension that is NOT being discontinued at this time, please see:

“The Heritage and Outlook for Wisconsin Cooperative Extension”

             by Dr. Gerald Campbell and Dr. Thomas Zinnen
Wednesday, October 17, 2018  7:00 pm
Room 1111 Genetics Biotech building
presented for the Wednesday Nite @ The Lab series
Free and open to the public to attend in person, or stream online at:

Required for course credit: Attendance – sign in sheet
Additional Resources:
READ: Cap Times article “UW President Ray Cross skirted faculty”
READ: “Great American Universities – Wisconsin” PDF – Read pages 210-214 of the chapter about the University of Wisconsin.Pay special attention to the paragraph about the “bleeding stump” and be ready to discuss in class
WATCH: Gwen Drury on PBS – “The Wiscosnin Idea: How Do We Define the Concept?”

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2 thoughts on “Sept. 11, Gwen Drury”

  1. Gwen Drury has, as usual, presented an in-depth and extremely informative overview of the Wisconsin Idea, and drilled down into one vital aspect with the University Extension, now defunct. An important element of the Wisconsin Idea which is intrinsic to the University Extension which she elaborated on is the concept of Social Capital. She mentioned how Social Capital seemed to pop up or fade away at various times and locations, seemingly without reason.

    I would like to point out an important location for Social Capital developing currently, and building quickly – the Maker Movement. By providing a Maker Space, such as Sector 69 or the Bodgery, the Human Capital of information technology and arts and crafts is coming together to create huge Social Capital and explosion of creativity and technical knowledge. These spaces are intended for makers to help and educate each other. Currently around Wisconsin this movement is supported by individuals, small clusters of organizations and a dispersal arm provided by the Wisconsin Librarian System.

    Social Capital has shifted from the University to another great educational resource — the Library. The driving force being the ground level Makers themselves and their desire to be independently educated in their various interests. Social Capital is disappearing in one location, but compounding in many others.
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    Interesting post about Social Capital!

    Charles McCarthy, the author of the 1912 book entitled THE WISCONSIN IDEA, and the person who really kick-started University Extension at Wisconsin, was a Librarian. He would have loved this development – especially if the Social Capital accrued is also directed toward making democracy work better for everyday Wisconsinites. That, of course, means preparing everyday Wisconsinites to identify common ground, discuss issues and learn from each other and as many sources as possible, and THEN tell their elected representatives what their constituents have thought through together….

    Maker-spaces that make it easier for people to talk to people who are different from themselves and have different points of view – and that make it easier for everyone to broadly educate themselves and each other on issues – would definitely have gotten the THUMBS UP!

    Also – I thought I should add that the Wisconsin Union jumped on this idea many decades ago by establishing the first “Craftshop” in a college union. (Today, it’s known as Wheelhouse Studio, and is located in Memorial Union) When they started, they had a carpentry shop; a darkroom for photographers to develop their own work; a ceramics shop; a print-making shop and more. It was all about grass-roots, hands-on, peer-t0-peer education, with some expert advice available to those who wanted it. Go Maker Spaces!

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