The Center for Interdisciplinary French Studies was pleased to host the Higher Education Attaché, Vincent Michelot, in Madison the weekend of September 30th-October 2nd. This particular weekend, the campus was buzzing with many Badger fans anticipating the Badger-Michigan football game.
Attaché Michelot had the opportunity to discuss with an array of departments and observe the efforts of UW-Madison to strive towards a more globalized and collaborative environment. From the UW Systems President’s office, Attaché Michelot saw the entire span of campus from the top of Van Hise to the Capitol Building offering a unique perspective of how the French Center of Excellence is connected to this city and University. Vincent Michelot attended a class on campus titled “Doctors without Borders” taught by Professeur Gilles Bosquet. Additionally, he visited with Professor Michael Swift from the Department of Computer Sciences, who is a strong proponent of study abroad in general and discussion options for France. Professor Swift and Bousquet have collaborated on a machine language learning project as well. Collaborations such as the one between Professor Swift and Bousquet is part of a larger strategy of building meaningful bridges between the French program and larger campus majors.
Within the French and Italian Department, Vincent Michelot discussed opportunities for French Programs at Wisconsin and Beyond. He met online with Professor Heather Allen, the Language Program Chair for French and Second Language Acquisition.
To end his first evening in Wisconsin, Attaché Michelot attended a dinner with the CIFS Steering committee and friends of the Center. Participants included Gilles Bousquet
Kelley Conway, Ritt Dietz, Anne Pringle, Anne Theobald, Aude Trinquier, Jason Yackee, Susan Yackee, Josh Armstrong and Katrina Forest. The evening was filled with lively exchanges and perspectives, fueling the intention of cross-campus collaboration with French at the heart of it all. The night ended with remarks by Vincent Michelot on the Embassy’s strategy to strengthen and expand French studies and French-related collaboration at universities around the country.
The next day, sharing common interests over croissants and Perrier, Professor Michelot met with Ph.D. and Professional French Master Students at the French House. With enthusiasm, students shared the role that the French community on campus plays in the cultivation of a Franco-positive environment. They discussed how the UW-Madison Francophone community contributes greatly to the French-forward culture in and outside of UW-Madison’s campus.
In addition to Francophone-related visits, Michelot visited with several campus entities who are central to the campus’ innovation and research initiatives. Michelot met with Anne Lucke, Chief Development Officer of the University of Wisconsin Foundation, briefing him on alumni relations and fundraising. Additionally, he was welcomed by various other central entities of the university such as Michael Falk from the WARF, who is the Chief Intellectual Property and Licensing Officer, and the Associate Dean of the International Division, Richard Keller.
His visit concluded with a visit to the LaFollette School of Public Affairs, where he met with Susan Yackee the Director of the LaFollette Institute of Public Affairs, and lastly a tour of the Lab of Professor Ané and Associates in the Department of Bacteriology.
The visit of Professor Vincent Michelot was an exciting opportunity for the French Cultural Embassy of the United States to see the progress towards a more collaborative environment between departments on campus as well as the future of French on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.