Women taking a break from gardening while working with ISCP on the City of Milwaukee Fresh Food Access Grant.

The most difficult challenges we face today don’t exist in isolation, rather they are the result of interacting factors such as poverty, pandemics, injustice, violence, ecological damage, climate change, and political polarization.  

Moving these systems towards health, wellbeing, and sustainable peace requires institutions and practitioners that can engage with these complex social-ecological challenges and interacting systems at multiple levels, including at the individual, interpersonal, community, and global scales.

ISCP’s Mission

The ISCP’s mission is to align university and community interests in equitable partnership toward to engage with these complex and ever-changing systemic drivers. To bring about transformative and sustainable change, we work to build long and deep relationships that are rooted in trust as a path toward advancing equitable power dynamics, learning, adaptation and emergence.

Through these relationships, we collaborate with campus and community partners to co-create community-based initiatives that engage these complex challenges with holistic systems thinking and participatory processes.

Connecting community partnerships in research, education and practice graphic
Connecting community partnerships in research, education and practice graphic

Community-Driven Professional Practice Fellowships

The Systems Change & Peacebuilding Fellows (SCP Fellows) program provides opportunities for students to work side-by-side with community partners while building critical leadership skills in systems change, facilitation, strategic planning and evaluation. Fellows provide support for ongoing partner initiatives, while also bringing the new skills and perspectives that they are learning in the coursework.

To inquire about creating an SCP Fellow position with your organization please contact Timothy Ehlinger, W.C. Kohler Chair (ehlinger@uwm.edu | 414-243-7672) or Laura Hermanns, SCP Partnerships Coordinator (herman26@uwm.edu). Agreements can be initiated at any time of year. Fellow positions are typically filled by May for a start date in September, though the timeline can vary depending on the Partner’s needs and availability of students to fill the position. 

Systems Change and Peacebuilding Fellow Victoria Ibiwoye  and Sarah Kubetz from Milwaukee Public Schools.
Systems Change and Peacebuilding Fellow Victoria Ibiwoye and Sarah Kubetz from Milwaukee Public Schools.

Aligning Interests for Collective Action on Co-created Programs and Projects

The Institute works to create space for dialogue among diverse community members, university faculty, students and alumni, supporting the relationships required to engage in the difficult conversations necessary to address the issues impacting sustainable peace.

The Institute utilizes participatory processes and systems-thinking approaches to create shared understandings and proposals for collaborative initiatives.

Jake Jansen and Albert Asiimwe Kabura, Systems Change & Peacebuilding Fellows, Co-Coordinators
Jake Jansen and Albert Asiimwe Kabura, Systems Change & Peacebuilding Fellows, worked as Co-Coordinators of the Fresh Food Access Fund Grant.
ISCP members working on community gardens
The ISCP worked in partnership with the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee and other neighborhood partners to coordinate the City of Milwaukee Fresh Food Access Grant which facilitated community-building and action to address the fresh food needs of the Silver Spring and Westlawn Gardens neighborhoods.

Transdisciplinary and Interprofessional Education, Evaluation and Research

Traditional research practices tend to be overly linear, static, and dependent on a level of control that is unrealistic in addressing complex interconnected challenges.

Utilizing the Systems Change Learning Cycle, the Institute seeks to bridge theory and research with applied research and practice. This means valuing local, lived, and traditional knowledge as essential in research, evaluation, and learning.

Systems change learning cycle graphic

Key Partners

Our partners represent organizations and agencies spanning the diverse sectors of practice, issues, and engagement relevant to Milwaukee and globally.

  • Alma Center
  • Catholic Charities
  • Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee- Choice Neighborhood Initiative
  • International Peace Initiatives
  • KIVA & the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation
  • Marquette University Center for Urban Research, Teaching, and Outreach Education Preparedness Program
  • Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition
  • Nia Imani
  • Riverwest Food Pantry
  • UW-Milwaukee Institute for World Affairs
  • Walnut Way Conversation Corps
  • Wisconsin Decarceration Platform