The Distance from Public Institutions of Higher Education

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The Distance from Public Institutions of Higher Education: Public Perceptions of UW–Madison

Author

Katherine Cramer Walsh (BIO)

Associate Professor, Department of Political Science
Faculty Affiliate, WISCAPE
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Summary

Public opinion matters for the administration of public higher education. Yet, we know little about how members of the public conceptualize these institutions in general, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison in particular. This study investigates how Wisconsinites think about UW-Madison through investigations of conversations regularly occurring among 36 groups sampled from 27 communities statewide. It reveals a pervasive sense of distance from UW-Madison that is part of a broader sense of disconnection from institutions of authority. The implication is that positive relationships between UW-Madison and the mass public will require innovative means of listening and relationship building.

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