IRIS NRC at the Wisconsin Council for the Social Studies (WCSS) March 15-17

The annual conference of the Wisconsin Council for the Social Studies (WCSS) was held at the Madison Concourse Hotel between March 15th and March 17th 2024. The theme of this year’s conference was “The Power of Social Studies” and brought over 200 social studies teachers from across Wisconsin to downtown Madison. Several IRIS NRC staff members including Associate Director Csanád Siklós, Assistant Director Essie Lenchner, and Faculty Director Stephen Young attended the conference. Along with UW-Madison doctoral student and cartographer Gareth Baldrica-Franklin, Stephen Young presented and showcased the free mobile map and guided tour Global Madison: A Walking Tour to Teach Globalization (view event recording on how the map was created here.) Global Madison is designed to support teaching and learning about globalization using Madison as a situated classroom. Using images and narration, the map takes participants on a unique tour of the city, reexamining familiar landmarks to reveal their transnational linkages. 

IRIS NRC’s participation at WCSS also included representing the Wisconsin International Resource Consortium (WIRC), an outreach collaboration of nine international and area studies centers at UW-Madison. IRIS NRC and WIRC representatives engaged with over 80 social studies educators over two days and enjoyed learning from teachers about how WIRC can better support educators in the classroom. On Saturday, Essie Lenchner together with Eleanor Conrad (European Studies) presented The Global Wisconsin Idea: Using UW-Madison regional experts and resources to engage your students and expand curriculum.  

Csanád Siklós (left) with President-elect of NCSS, Joe Schmidt (right).

IRIS NRC Associate Director, Csanád Siklós met with former social studies teacher and President-elect of the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), Joe Schmidt. Csanád and Joe participated in the European Union Centers of Excellence educator study tour to Brussels, Belgium in 2013 where they engaged in a variety of site visits to learn more about the European Union. These included visits to the European Parliament, the European Commission, NATO, the US Mission, and several think tanks.  

Assistant Director of IRIS NRC, Essie Lenchner met with UW alumna Irene Ann Resenly. Irene received a Scott Kloeck-Jenson Fellowship from IRIS NRC in 2014 to pursue PhD field work in Germany, where she studied how classroom teachers and memorial site educators can collaboratively work to construct meaningful Holocaust curriculum designed for teaching with and about historic sites of memory. 

Teacher Naomi Huffman stopped by the WIRC booth to express her gratitude for the grant she received from IRIS NRC that enabled her to attend WCSS. “I’ve always wanted to come to WCSS but have not been able to,” Huffman shared. “The IRIS NRC grant made it possible for me to be here.” IRIS NRC provides an annual educator mini-grant which covers registration and lodging costs for up to four educators to attend WCSS. Keep an eye out on our website or join our mailing list for updates on next year’s WCSS mini grants.