The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Policy Research Network was created to help undergraduates conduct research and prepare reports for civic leaders.  The goal is to provide students with valuable real world experience, strengthen ties with civic leaders, and contribute to faculty scholarship. A list of current topics is provided on the Project Opportunities Board.

There are several ways for students and mentors to be involved in the network:

  • As a student's independent research project with a mentor
  • As course-embedded research in which students work on a project as a class assignment
  • As an interdisciplinary project in which multiple students and mentors from different departments collaborate

Logistics: Some topics are broad or interdisciplinary and can be broken into smaller components. You can work with the client to tailor the project to your course or research interests.  Any contribution to a project, no matter how small, is valuable.

Mentors: If you want to assign topics to your students in a course, please e-mail Scott Cooper ( or and identify the topics you will work on.  

Students: If you are interested in working on a policy-related topic as an independent research project pick a faculty mentor to help you with the project and they can get in touch with Scott Cooper (scooper@uwlax.eduor

Additional ResourcesSeveral other groups and organizations on campus have offered their services, such as:


Additional Background


Mission Statement: In the spirit of the Wisconsin Idea, the UWL Policy Research Network  will help students and faculty research and prepare unbiased reports for regional civic leaders to aid them in making the best policy decisions for their constituents.

Policy Research Network Committee:

  • Chair, Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research & Creativity - Scott Cooper
  • Economics specialist - TJ Brooks
  • Environmental Science specialist - Meredith Thomsen
  • Political Science specialist -Jeremy Arney 
  • Public Health specialist -Gary Gilmore
  • Sociology specialist  - Carol Miller


  1. To solicit policy research projects from civic leaders.
  2. To distribute these projects to faculty mentors and students.
  3. To review drafts of the policy reports and provide constructive feedback.
  4. To return vetted professional and unbiased policy reports to the civic leaders.
  5. To help students publicize their findings through formal reports and undergraduate research presentations.
Examples of course-embedded projects:


Conference offers a backstage pass to UWL classrooms Sept. 4, 2015

Dissecting Accents June 15, 2015

UWL greenhouse gas emissions are significantly lower than in 2011, June 9. 2015

Students launch website showcasing campus building sustainability,

Students put practice to work for local non-profits, June 1, 2015

UWL students join statewide public history effort, Mar 25, 2015

Student research supports community non-profits, Feb. 19, 2015

Research to move Wisconsin forward, Nov. 7, 2013

Students research local issues for civic leaders, May 1, 2014