To further expand the Wisconsin Idea and construct new tools for research and development in the education field, University of Wisconsin officials announced Monday a new institution that will allow university faculty and graduate students opportunities to provide greater resources for students.
The Wisconsin Center for Education Products and Services, which will be located at the University Research Park, will help license and distribute copyrighted material created by UW faculty and graduate students, WCEPS Board of Directors Chairman Brad Taylor said.
Taylor said WCEPS will invest the proceeds from its commercialization efforts to promote, encourage and aid the teaching and research missions of UW professors, while still allowing them some form of protection for their work.
“The Wisconsin Center for Education Products and Services will be used as a way to expand the marketplace of research in the School of Education,” Taylor said. “The available tools will allow faculty to broaden their research discoveries.”
Though UW already operates the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, which works to obtain similar overall goals for UW faculty and teaching assistants, Taylor said WCEPS will serve a slightly different function by only working to protect copyright-protected educational material that is ineligible for patents. WARF focuses on producing patentable material.
The new institution will also provide a potential outlet for undergraduate and graduate students to do extra research with experienced UW faculty members, he said.
“There could be paid internships and even college credits available to students for working on research projects,” Taylor said.
Taylor said the resources available through WCEPS are already being put to use through start-up programs and partnerships.
According to the statement from the WCEPS Board of Directors, WCEPS and World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment are teaming up to uncover new ways to teach English to students who are not fluent in the language. The goal is to develop more efficient teaching methods for these instructors, along with more interesting and interactive materials for the students.
Taylor said the institution hopes for new projects and further partnerships to be established in the near future. WCEPS members are hoping to work side-by-side with faculty in the UW math and science departments to improve the quality of education in these core subjects, he said.
The institution is angling to produce computer games and Android or Apple cell phone applications that would help the user better understand basic math and science concepts, he said.
“Education research and product development are long-standing strengths of UW-Madison, and WCEPS will fill an extraordinarily important role in making non-patentable ideas more widely available to the marketplace,” Taylor said in a statement.
Funding for the first two years of operation for WCEPS was provided by a grant from the UW Foundation. WCEPS hopes after the first two years, the institution will be capable of self-sustaining from donations and further research grants from other organizations, Taylor said.