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The IT Services Center, located in Taylor Hall, manages computer resources for students, including access to over 90 software packages (with special strength in statistical software), email, printing, internet access and remote access to the department network.
Twenty-five major campus libraries contain holdings of 5.6 million volumes and 45,000 periodicals. Of special interest is Steenbock Memorial Library, housing a comprehensive collection of documents on land tenure, agrarian reform, and agrarian structure in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Oceania. In addition, the library collects extensively on the subjects of agricultural economics and rural development for these regions. Over the last 30 years the Land Tenure Center has collected 60,000 titles, including research reports, government and international agency documents, unpublished studies, and published research and 20,000 indexed articles dealing with development issues. The collection also contains an extensive "fugitive literature" of occasional papers, conference papers, government documents, unpublished studies, and reprints not elsewhere annotated or accessioned.
Department faculty are affiliated with a broad range of institutes and centers. Among the instructional programs are the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, the Land Tenure Center, the Global Studies Research Program, the La Follette School of Public Affairs, and Area Studies programs dealing with Africa, Latin America, Europe, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Asia. The Department of Economics, where doctoral students take roughly half their credits, is ranked in the top two or three economics departments at public universities nationwide. Collaboration in applied economics research and teaching can also be found in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, the Forest and Wildlife Ecology Department, the Agroecology Program, the School of Business and several other departments. Each of these units has its own rich intellectual life of seminars and other activities. In addition, many are sources of graduate fellowships and research assistantships for the department's students.
Research centers connected to the department include the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems, University Center for Cooperatives, Center for Dairy Research, Center for Community Economic Development, and Center for Dairy Profitability.
The Taylor-Hibbard Club provides a formal liaison between the students, the faculty, and the department. Student representatives are elected to several department committees, and through these committees the students have furnished input on curriculum revisions and voiced concerns on department policy. Throughout the year, the Club holds four meetings, giving opportunities for the student body to address collectively student issues, be they administrative or academic. In addition, the Club acts as an information center for students: keeping files on courses in Agricultural and Applied Economics and Economics; organizing the new student orientation in the fall; and providing information and referrals to students on issues such as registration, major field coursework, and funding opportunities. For fun, the Club coordinates an autumn steak fry, an international potluck in February, and a summer picnic.
"As a Master’s student with an interest in community economics, I have had tremendous opportunities to apply the theory learned through coursework to field research in a Wisconsin community. Seeing my research actually make a difference in a local community has motivated me to continue in the field of community development. The faculty were extremely supportive; they helped me to define my research interests and link those interests with a real world issue of importance in the state. The department's ties to the University of Wisconsin-
Extension and statewide community developers have been an invaluable resource. Equally important has been the support of a truly top-notch graduate student body."
Amy Lake, Class of 1996, Research Specialist, UW School of Family Medicine and the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council