Bradley Residents with Bucky

History of Bradley Learning Community

Bradley Learning Community Beginnings

The idea for the development of a richer and more academically integrated residence life program began in 1991, when Kay Reuter-Krohn and Marian Laines met with Ann Zanzig, Maggie Ballistreri and Aaron Brower. Steve Bauman joined in 1992. Kay and Marian’s idea was to create a better program for first-year students who were living in “defacto” first-year buildings due to distance to campus and reputation (Witte and Bradley).

Those early discussions focused on developing an integration of social and academic programs; the thought was to create an entirely new type of community intending to introduce students to the best that UW-Madison had to offer, and to help them become the best college students they could be. It was quickly decided that Bradley would be the building to focus on since creating a new type of community for a group of 240 students seemed possible while creating something new in a building the size of Witte was overwhelming. An early name for this new program was “Bradley Square”—emphasizing the town square aspirations for the new community.

ILS, a successor to the Meiklejohn Experimental College (1927-32) had long been focused on the integration of academics from various disciplines. Meiklejohn’s Ex College, of course, was one of the earliest examples of a fully integrated living and learning community. ILS, Global Cultures, and Environmental studies were the three major disciplines involved at the inception of Bradley, with Interdisciplinarity of each being the common link.

In 1993 David Ward, who had recently become Chancellor, addressed staff in Housing and asked them how they were contributing to the academic mission of the University. They talked together about some of the ideas being generated by Bradley’s early planning group, resulting in Housing receiving a huge shot in the arm to continue developing a program that would be seen as advancing UW-Madison’s unique educational mission.

The creation of a true living-learning community was new territory, both for Housing and academic departments, and so much of the planning from 1993 to fall 1995 (when the Bradley Learning Community was scheduled to open) focused on creating a shared vision, and then a shared understanding of the role different members would play and the activities that would make up Bradley. Two seminar events solidified Bradley:

  • First, in the spring of 1995, the steering committee (composed of Mike Hinden, Aaron Brower, Kay Reuter-Krohn, and Marian Laines) began hiring staff. Cal Bergman was hired as the first Program Director, the live-in professional staff member who would oversee the entire operation. Cal immediately joined the Steering Committee. Next, Peer Learning Partners were hired, the student live-in staff who served House Fellows and academic peer mentor duties. One memorable early PLP hire was Abha Thakkar, a junior who was active in ILS. She brought Bradley’s vision of integrative learning to life.
  • Second, a retreat was held in Bradley Hall late in the spring of 1995 that brought together everyone involved with Bradley: The PLPs, the Faculty Fellows, Mike as Faculty Director and Cal as Program Director, and Kay and Marian as essential Housing staff. The university’s Office of Quality Improvement “lent” Pat Alea to facilitate this retreat. We started the day discussing Meiklejohn’s vision as a springboard to further developing what we wanted Bradley to accomplish and what activities would be vital to its success. By the end of the day everyone had reached a vital consensus. Bradley’s purpose would be to build learning through community and to build community through learning. Faculty, staff, and students would all have an equal voice.

For Bradley’s inaugural year, 1995-96, Mike Hinden (English, ILS, and Global Cultures) was Faculty Director, and the faculty fellows were: Steve Bauman (Mathematics & ILS), Aaron Brower (Social Work & ILS), Joe Elder (Sociology, East Asian Studies, ILS and Global Cultures) Evelyn Howell (Landscape Architecture & Environmental Studies), Mary Layoun (Global Cultures & Comparative Literature), Bob March (Physics & ILS), Judy Miller (French and Italian, & Global Cultures), Barry Powell (Classics & ILS), Rich Ralston (African American Studies & Global Cultures), and Cal De Witt (Environmental Studies).

Bradley’s inaugural year was a stunning success. Students enrolled in Bradley from many diverse backgrounds and areas of studies, and the 240 person maximum enrollment was easily met. When compared to the overall freshmen class, Bradley Students had a smaller dropout rate (0 students for first three years running), higher extra-curricular involvement (twice the overall average percent of students voted in school elections) lower alcohol related problems, and a higher GPA’s. Bradley continues to expand and evolve, and only time will tell what other wonderful things will come out of the Bradley Learning Community.

Bradley continues to expand and evolve. The number of Faculty Fellows has increased and Peer Learning Partners are now called Peer Mentors. The Peer Mentors and the Faculty Fellows co-facilitate sections of the Bradley Roundtable Seminar, which remains an important tool for getting everyone connected and easing the transition to college. Inventive programming abounds, instigated by residents, Peer Mentors, House Fellows, and Faculty Fellows. There is always something going on in Bradley!

"Understanding is Integration"

Alexander Meiklejohn

Credentials: 1872-1924

Alexander Meiklejohn directed the Experimental College from 1927-1932, where he tested, reworked, and improved his ideas for the ideal liberal college. Meiklejohn’s goal was to help students develop into thinking, caring, involved citizens. He carried out these ideas by creating a framework which included developing a curriculum which ran for two consecutive years, lectures and readings by experts in those fields, students studying the same topics at the same time, and shared residence hall living space between students and faculty. The Curriculum, which came to be known as the “Athens-America Curriculum,” guided students through an in-depth, interdisciplinary comparison between Greek civilization and current American culture and social issues. The concept behind Meiklejohn’s choice of readings was that a thorough grounding in the classics, with an emphasis on “The Great Books” and the development of political democracy, would prepare students to cope with the social issues of their day and to strive for intellectual excellence. Meiklejohn was a visionary, but he was somewhat autocratic in his ways and had a tendency to make enemies. As a contemporary remarked, “He did magnificently with students and failed lamentably with grown-ups.” Meiklejohn came to Madison on the heels of his firing as the president of Amherst, where he antagonized conservative elements among the faculty and trustees. Almost immediately, he ran afoul of Madison’s Dean Sellery of Letters and Science, who viewed the Experimental College as a rival entity. Their quarrel undermined Meiklejohn’s support on campus, notwithstanding the loyal enthusiasm of his students. Although of enduring influence, the Experimental College was a rather short-lived experiment, ending in 1932 after graduating 327 sophomores. Student performance varied, but everyone touched by the experiment came away witha critical awareness of what a society is and how it works; and how its arts and sciences, its economics and politics, influence each other. At the same time, this short-lived program became a model for many residence hall programs around the country. Nowhere has the influence of the Experimental College been stronger than here at the UW-Madison. Its curriculum had a direct influence on the Integrated Liberal Studies program, which began in 1948 and is now celebrating its 50th anniversary. Even more powerful has been its model of combining academic and residential life, which influenced the formation of the Bradley Learning Community and the Chadbourne Residential College. ILS is one of the major sponsors of the Bradley Learning Community. Alumni of the Experimental College continue to follow developments in both of these programs and return annually to Madison to discuss educational reform and to meet with students and faculty. Several alumni of the Experimental College hailed the opening of the Bradley Learning Community at its inaugural convocation in August, 1995. Meiklejohn’s philosophy continues to inspire new generations of students on the Madison campus, as evidenced by the motto of the Bradley Learning Community, adapted from one of Meiklejohn’s famous essays: “Understanding is Integration.”

Bradley Hall Namesakes

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Harold Bradley

Harold C. Bradley portraitDr. Harold C. Bradley, a teacher of physiological chemistry, came to Wisconsin in 1906. He served on the Medical School faculty from 1906 to 1948 when he retired. Dr. Bradley was involved in many organizations on campus. He was president of the Sierra Club, a member of the National Ski Hall of Fame, and one of the founders Of the UW Hoofer Club and the Madison Blackhawk Ski Club. Professor Bradley served for many years as chairman Of the Faculty Committee for Social Needs; throughout this period many changes in campus life affecting both students and faculty were initiated. Among these was the 1925 recommendation to construct the Men’s Dormitories and the Wisconsin Union. He served until his retirement as chairman of the original faculty committee which developed the residence hall system which embraced the Oxford -Cambridge concept of guidance from residence house-fellows. In 1925 he was chairman of the University’s first Father’s Day, later to become Parents’ Weekend, which increases the parents’ involvement in the life Of the University. Perhaps no one was as instrumental as Professor Bradley in the enrichment beyond the classroom of the lives of University Of Wisconsin students. He resolved that Wisconsin’s halls would not be just for shelter and food, but an educational experience. In recognition of this, the Board Of Regents named one of the Elm Drive halls after him; now the Bradley Learning Community. Dr. Bradley’s activities within the University, the Madison community, and at the national level were numerous and varied. His teaching in the Medical School spanned a period of 42 years. He was an enthusiastic teacher and imaginative demonstrator of laboratory techniques and practices.

Willard Bleyer

Willard Bleyer portraitWillard Grosvenor (“Daddy”) Bleyer was the father of journalism education at the University of Wisconsin – Madison building a lasting monument dedicated to the responsible communication of facts and ideas: the School of Journalism. His influence was widespread to national journalism education during its formative period. Born into a Milwaukee newspaper family, Dr. Bleyer grew up in an atmosphere of active journalism. From an English instructorship, the young teacher moved on to achieve his dream of a full journalism program at the University. Ahead of his time, he believed that journalism belonged among the arts and sciences. He believed in the importance of a liberal education for practicing journalists. He stressed social responsibility and scrupulous honesty in news presentation. With encouragement from President Van Hise, Dr. Bleyer developed journalism from one course in 1905 to a separate department in 1912 and to a School of Journalism in 1927. As a student at the University of Wisconsin- Madison (B A., 1896; M.A., 1898; Ph.D., 1904), he was a reporter and later editor of The Daily Cardinal. He edited The Badger, headed the University Press Club, and was class president (1996). Affectionately known as “Daddy,” Dr. Bleyer commanded the respect and admiration of students and faculty. Quiet courage and dry wit dwelled beneath his surface reserve. Scholar as well as pioneer, he explored new vistas in his books on journalism. He foresaw an increasingly complex world in which educated, trained individuals would be essential for reliable reporting of news and ideas. His ideals of scholarship and public service set an enduring standard. Willard Grosvenor Bleyer contributed a concept of journalism education that will ever serve the state and nation in the American tradition of a free, responsible press in a flourishing democracy. (“Daddy”) Bleyer was the father of journalism education at the University of Wisconsin – Madison building a lasting monument dedicated to the responsible communication of facts and ideas: the School of Journalism. His influence was widespread to national journalism education during its formative period. Born into a Milwaukee newspaper family, Dr. Bleyer grew up in an atmosphere of active journalism. From an English instructorship, the young teacher moved on to achieve his dream of a full journalism program at the University. Ahead of his time, he believed that journalism belonged among the arts and sciences. He believed in the importance of a liberal education for practicing journalists. He stressed social responsibility and scrupulous honesty in news presentation. With encouragement from President Van Hise, Dr. Bleyer developed journalism from one course in 1905 to a separate department in 1912 and to a School of Journalism in 1927. As a student at the University of Wisconsin- Madison (B A., 1896; M.A., 1898; Ph.D., 1904), he was a reporter and later editor of The Daily Cardinal. He edited The Badger, headed the University Press Club, and was class president (1996). Affectionately known as “Daddy,” Dr. Bleyer commanded the respect and admiration of students and faculty. Quiet courage and dry wit dwelled beneath his surface reserve. Scholar as well as pioneer, he explored new vistas in his books on journalism. He foresaw an increasingly complex world in which educated, trained individuals would be essential for reliable reporting of news and ideas. His ideals of scholarship and public service set an enduring standard. Willard Grosvenor Bleyer contributed a concept of journalism education that will ever serve the state and nation in the American tradition of a free, responsible press in a flourishing democracy.

Charles Dean Cool

Charles Dean Cool portrait

Charles Dean Cool had a deep and abiding interest in teaching and people. This greatly beloved teacher of French and Spanish was a faculty member of the University of Wisconsin – Madison for 41 years, from 1905 to 1946, and his skill, humor, and understanding endeared him to the entire University community. Professor Cool was born in Decatur, Illinois, and was educated at the University of Michigan and Harvard University before coming to Wisconsin. Unusually gifted in languages, Professor Cool acquired a fluent command of Spanish while teaching in native schools in the Philippines. Charles Dean Cool wrote widely-used textbooks and was a scholar in various literatures, but active teaching and human relationships dominated his life. His keen mind and incisive humor delighted students, and his influence on them extended beyond classroom boundaries. He was a friend and adviser with a sense of moral responsibility and personal integrity. Half in jest, he used to say, “Remember, the teacher has a moral function to perform.” This he consistently did. He had a flair for the idiom. His colloquial references to the classics, student affairs, and world events enlivened his popular classes. The spirit that radiated from Charles Dean Cool made the University experience of thousands of students an enriching blend of human fellowship and the pursuit of knowledge.

James Elsom

James Elsom portraitDr. James C. Elsom, was an inspiring teacher and a pioneer of vision in his field and was a nationally recognized leader in physical education. Dr. Elsom came to the University of Wisconsin – Madison as the first Director of Physical Education (then known as Physical Culture) in 1894, with a background as a talented gymnast educated at the Medical College of Virginia and with experience as YMCA physical director in Atlanta, Galveston, and Minneapolis. In this new field Dr. Elsom established University courses in physical education. He also organized the University’s first basketball team and served as coach, 1902-1904. After service in the Medical Corps at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington during World War I, Dr. Elsom returned to the University to work both on the medical staff and in the Physical Education department. He began developing new theories in physical therapy, and in 1924 he became the first director of the newly created Division of Physical Therapy, later called Physical Medicine. With his original contributions to corrective exercise programs and his books in the field, Dr. Elsom became a nationally known figure, and his pioneering was responsible for the incorporation of corrective exercise programs in many public schools. His enthusiastic interest in photography brought him recognition for technical and artistic ability.

Vivian Henmon

Vivian Henmon portrait

Vivian A. C. Henmon “V. A. C.” earned degrees from Bethany College (B.A. 1895; M. A. 1899) and a Ph. D. from Columbia University (1905); was a distinguished scholar in the field of education psychology. Before he came to the School of Education in 1910, Dr. Henmon had been a school principal and had taught at Bethany College, Columbia University, and the University of Colorado. Dr. Henmon served the University of Wisconsin – Madison for 38 years developing wide research interests into significant contributions to the psychology of learning. He directed the School of Education from 1916-1926, and was professor of psychology at the University from 1927-1948, when he retired. During many of those years he served as director of educational guidance of the Bureau of Guidance and Records which he helped to establish. From 1939 to 1940, he was supervisor of psychological research in the Civil Aeronautics Authority. Dr. Henmon’s best known research studies were those involving reaction time, efficiency of learning, aptitude testing, and prediction of college success. He was co-author of the Henmon-Nelson Test of Mental Ability and the Henmon-Holt prediction formula. Dr. Henmon’s rare knowledge of education, psychology, and related fields buttressed his penetrating research. His insistence on rigorous research standards inspired colleagues and students to pursue the endless search for underlying truths and insights. He set a personal example of kindliness, charm, and modesty. In an active lifetime his research stretched the frontiers of educational and psychological thinking— and will continue to inspire those with keen intellectual curiosity and concern for human values.