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With the kickoff of the 2019-20 academic year, we offer a collection of “hidden gems” – suggestions of things to do, places to go, and a treasure trove of online resources available to School of Medicine and Public Health students, staff and faculty. Whether you are based in Madison or are a member of our statewide campus, here are ideas to help you get the year off to a great start.

Explore the natural world

Craving some fresh air? There are many options.

  • The Lakeshore Nature Preserve is next to the hospital and health sciences complex on the west end of UW-Madison’s campus. Check out an audio field trip as you explore, and take advantage of the paths and points of interest – you can even reserve a fire circle for your next outing with your work team or student group. The Virtual Water Walk lets you see how the Yahara Watershed feeds the area’s lakes and streams.
  • Allen Centennial Gardens near the corner of Observatory Drive and Babcock Drive is a “living laboratory” maintained by the Department of Horticulture. It is open from dawn to dusk, and admission is free.
  • The UW Arboretum covers 1,260 acres of prairies, forests, and marshland. Trails are open for hiking and running year-round, and snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter. The family-friendly nature center offers learning opportunities for all ages.
  • During the winter, warm and plant-filled greenhouses are a pleasure. Olbrich Botanical Gardens on Madison’s east side has a conservatory with more than 475 plant species. Informational tours can be requested at the two campus greenhouses, the Botany Greenhouse and the D.C. Smith Greenhouse.

Allen Centennial Gardens

Learn new skills

There are many options for professional development, including online learning experiences that can be completed from any location.

  • The newly-launched UW-Madison Professional Development website is a one stop shop for thousands of courses, seminars, and conferences available in-person and online. The site’s catalog includes workplace-focused professional development from the Learning and Talent Development unit of the Office of Human Resources, and fee-based courses from the Division of Continuing Studies on topics ranging from world languages to tap dancing. Popular choices for employees include the Thrive@UW-Madison series, the Principles of Supervision and Management program, Fully Prepared to Lead, and the Plain Language certificate.
  • Access LinkedIn Learning using your UW-Madison NetID. Previously available to students, faculty and staff as Lynda.com, LinkedIn Learning provides UW–‍Madison members access to more than 14,000 training videos in a wide range of topics. Subjects include business areas such as project management, leadership and HR; software; creative skills; and technology.
  • For health science clinicians, UW-Madison Interprofessional Continuing Education Partnership (ICEP) is a central catalog of continuing medical education activities at UW-Madison. Grand Rounds series, live workshops and conferences, and online (enduring) activities are available. The site allows you to create an account and track all of your CME transcripts in one location.
  • Faculty Central is a curated collection of resources recommended by the Office of Faculty Affairs and Development (OFAD) in the School of Medicine and Public Health. Resources are categorized by six different themes related to professional success. OFAD also offers events and workshops for faculty, including a popular series on preparing for promotion.

Build community

For the past year, more than 100 members of our organization have been involved in planning a new initiative called Building Community. This effort has one goal: to create an environment where all learners, staff and faculty feel valued, included and empowered, and where everyone can thrive. Building Community means modeling our values of professionalism, compassion, altruism, and empathy as we work and learn together, continually refining these skills until they become our first instincts and a source of strength. As Building Community moves from the “thinking” stage to the “doing” stage, you’ll be hearing more about our next steps and ways to get involved.

Check out the campus events calendar

UW-Madison comes alive every day with seminars, workshops, performances, and exhibits that are open to the campus community and the public. The Campus Events calendar is the clearinghouse for university-wide event information. Search for topics of interest or browse by event tags such as diversity, science, and wellness. If your unit has an event that you’d like to promote, you can submit your event information using these instructions. Importantly, if you tag the event with “SMPH,” it will also automatically appear on the Upcoming Events section of the SMPH public website.

Tap into your inner artist and musician

The vibrancy of the UW-Madison arts scenes is on full display at the Arts On Campus website, which gives an overview of programs, events and more. Keep your eye on the Mead Witter School of Music this year as it celebrates a milestone: the opening of the Hamel Music Center. Wisconsin Union is a source of information about performances at Memorial Union and Union South. For self-expression, check out Wheelhouse Studios, an open art studio at Memorial Union that offers drop-in sessions and classes in music, dance, visual arts, and culinary arts. If you are a student or parent, there are deep-discount deals available on last-minute “rush” tickets at the Overture Center in downtown Madison.

Take advantage of libraries

In addition to providing access to books, journals, databases, and the invaluable skills of librarians, the university’s library system offers a surprising array of resources. For example, the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Center has over a million images, scanned texts, sound recordings and other digital resources that support the teaching and research needs of the UW community. Ebling Health Sciences Library – which is open 24/7 to approved health-related staff, faculty and students – is the home of InfoCommons, where patrons can check out laptops and iPads for up to three days. Online health science database and resource tutorials are available to augment the consultative services of Ebling’s information science library liaisons and reference and research services team.

Give back

Volunteering your time and talent to causes that are personally important can be an uplifting experience. Student-run MEDiC Clinics provide urgently needed care to underserved populations – find out how to get involved. Ronald McDonald House, which serves as a “home away from home” to families of hospitalized children, can be a convenient location for colleagues or learners to volunteer as a group. For those interested in sharing the joy of science with the public, UW Science Alliance is a longstanding network of volunteers who give science outreach presentations and organize an annual spring campus open house called Science Expeditions. Researchers can also volunteer to present layperson-oriented talks at Wednesday Nite @ The Lab, an evening public lecture series offered 50 weeks per year.

Get moving

UW-Madison Recreation and Wellbeing aspires to “build a movement of healthy habits through inclusion, education, innovation, and connection.” Sports teams, fitness classes, and facilities are available, and family-friendly events are an option for significant others and children. For those interested in a 5K or biking event as an individual or with family and coworkers, run/walk and cycling events occur throughout the year that raise funds for research and patient support such as The Ride, Cycle for Sight, and Carbone’s Race for Research, among many others.

Support your wellbeing

For UW-Madison employees, information about campus wellness resources is available through the Office of Human Resources, including a guide designed for supervisors and managers about promoting workplace wellbeing. Student wellbeing support is available thorough University Health Services. And for clinical personnel affiliated with UW Health, information on the U-Connect intranet is available about the Wellness Options at Work Program and Provider Wellbeing efforts.

Familiarize yourself with the SMPH Intranet

To allow statewide campus members and UW Health colleagues ease of access, the SMPH Intranet does not require UW NetID login. Check out information about upcoming Faculty/Staff Town Halls, school-wide policies and bylaws, HR tools, resources for researchers, and more.