Welcome to the UW System Institute for Urban Education (IUE). The IUE is a UW System program housed at UW-Milwaukee.

Research on school reform consistently demonstrates that the presence of an effective teacher is an influential factor in the success of a student. The mission of the UW-System Institute for Urban Education (IUE) is to prepare highly effective, culturally relevant, and culturally responsive teachers who can serve the needs of culturally diverse youth in PK-12 schools and their surrounding communities. The IUE will accomplish this mission by providing urban education opportunities for preservice teachers, in-service teachers, and scholars. This mission is central to the IUE, UW System, and its PK-12 partners.

Learn more about Wisconsin and the Wisconsin DPI Equity Plan.

Institute for Urban Education Goals
  1. Provide internship opportunities for UW-System students to teach in urban school settings to fulfill their student teaching requirements.
  2. Facilitate community connections between teaching candidates, community members around and within the school districts, and UW-System stakeholders.
  3. Increase and support effective professional development opportunities for Wisconsin teachers who are working in urban settings or want to work in urban settings.
  4. Increase and improve the collaborative teaching and research efforts of UW System Schools and Programs of Education.
Institute for Urban Education Mission

The IUE’s charge is to advance the field of urban education and to recruit, promote and retain high quality educators for urban districts. To achieve this goal, the IUE will:

  • Establish and maintain productive relationships with appropriate public and private organizations at the local, regional, state, national, and international levels;
  • Promote public service and research efforts directed toward meeting the social, economic and cultural needs of the state of Wisconsin and its metropolitan areas;
  • Encourage others from institutions in the University of Wisconsin System and from other educational institutions and agencies to seek benefit from the University’s research and educational resources such as libraries, special collections, archives, museums, research facilities, and academic programs; and
  • Provide educational leadership in meeting future social, cultural, and technological challenges.
Institute for Urban Education Staff

Denise RossDenise Ross, PhD., BCBA-D, is chair of the UW-Milwaukee Institute for Urban Education, a UW System sponsored program. Her research applies behavior analysis to the development of language and literacy interventions for children with and without disabilities. Ross has established or led approximately 20 professional development partnerships with school districts in New York, Chicago, South Florida, and Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ross earned master’s and doctoral degrees from Teachers College, Columbia University with a major in special education and a specialization in applied behavior analysis. She received her bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Spelman College.

Lisa LitzseyLisa Litzsey, MS., is currently serving as the program manager for the UW-Milwaukee Institute for Urban Education (IUE), a UW-System sponsored program. She received her bachelor’s degree from UW-Milwaukee in elementary education with a minor in natural science.  After teaching for 4 years, Lisa returned to UW-Milwaukee to get a master’s degree in educational psychology. After teaching, Lisa transitioned to mentoring new educators in Milwaukee Public Schools for 11 years.  After 20 years with Milwaukee Public Schools, she moved into higher education at UW-Milwaukee to have an impact on students before they begin their careers as fully licensed teachers. During the first year in her role as IUE program manager, she was nominated for the UWM School of Education staff excellence award. She currently holds a valid teaching license for 1-8 grade and K-12 school counseling.

Amy Gutowski profile image.Amy Gutowski is a proud graduate of UW-Milwaukee. She taught in the Milwaukee Public Schools for nine years and was a new teacher mentor in the district for one. She is an educator and an activist. Anti-racist/social justice teaching is her passion. Amy enjoys writing about education and policy and has had essays published in Rethinking Schools along with published letters to the editors of local newspapers and magazines. She is certified to teach K – 8th grade. Currently, she is the clinical specialist with the UW Institute for Urban Education. She also teaches the IUE’s ‘culturally relevant practices’ cohort sessions. She advocates for humane systems. In the spring of 2021, she was presented with the UWM School of Education ‘Staff Excellence Award’. Her work at UWM has brought her joy and purpose. Growing new teachers is good work.

Questions About the Institute?

For questions about the Institute for Urban Education, please email iue-info@uwm.edu.