UW-Madison: Chancellor to conduct telepresence meeting from China

Contact: William P. Tishler, (608) 333-2745, [email protected]; Jeremi Suri, (608) 263-1852, [email protected]

MADISON – As part of her trip to China and Taiwan, Chancellor Biddy Martin will help to inaugurate a cutting-edge videoconferencing device now available to the greater UW-Madison campus community.

Two identical Cisco TelePresence CTS 3210 units were installed on the Madison campus last week, with one unit in the renovated Education Building on Bascom Mall and the other in the Town Center of the new Wisconsin Institute for Discovery-Morgridge Institute for Research.

The CTS 3210 system allows real-time global videoconferencing that closely simulates “live” in-person meetings. The system was designed by Cisco to help companies and institutions participate in face-to-face meetings without the costs or carbon footprint associated with travel.

Use of this technology is part of UW-Madison’s broader innovative efforts to build valuable international connections for research, teaching, and public service.

The first TelePresence event will be held from 8-9 a.m. (Madison time) on Friday, Nov. 5 in the Bascom Hill TelePresence classroom, located adjacent to WISCAPE in L138 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall. The event is open the media.

Martin departed for China on Nov. 1 and is scheduled to meet with several dignitaries there, including the vice minister of education, Wisconsin companies doing business in China, including the Oshkosh Corp., and at the Beijing Forum, a gathering of international leaders.

Despite the 13-hour time difference, Chancellor Martin will end her week on Friday with a discussion from Beijing with a diverse group of 14 undergraduate students in the Grand Strategy Program taught by history professor Jeremi Suri.

“The ability to instantly communicate ‘face-to-face’ in real time with students and faculty around the world makes TelePresence the ideal tool for teaching and learning in the 21st century,” says William P. Tishler, a media specialist who serves as the technical coordinator for the planning and implementation of the Cisco TelePresence classroom. “This technology is a powerful symbol of how interconnected our university has become with the world.”

During the meeting, Martin will discuss the Beijing leg of her trip, her goals in China and Taiwan and the role that young people in both societies can play in improving cooperation and progress on complex global challenges. Martin will also encourage students to think about ways in which they can connect more directly with peers in China and other countries, especially through the use of new communications technologies.

“The students are particularly excited to be included in this discussion with their chancellor and build on her valuable outreach work in China” says Suri who teaches U.S. foreign relations courses and serves as an advisor to many of the students in attendance.

With an eye toward the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Wisconsin Idea in 2012, Friday’s Telepresence discussion will also explore the future role of the University of Wisconsin-Madison in pioneering new contributions to the state, the nation, and the world.

In the future, the Bascom Hill TelePresence classroom is expected to have many uses in the campus community, including courses, research collaborations, and public outreach events. For example, the system could be used for graduate seminars, low-enrollment courses, classes in critical language programs and research collaborations involving two or more institutions worldwide.

The Bascom Hill TelePresence classroom will be available for members of the campus community after Nov. 16. For those interested in learning how to utilize TelePresence in their teaching and research can contact Tishler at [email protected]. In addition, a website is being developed at http://telepresence.wisc.edu.