The Nelson Institute encourages broad, interdisciplinary collaboration across the UW-Madison campus. This creates a synergy that benefits the individual participants and strengthens the ties between their colleges, schools, and departments.

The institute is a freestanding campuswide unit led by a director who is appointed by the chancellor of the university and reports to the provost.

The institute administers three graduate degree programs, two graduate-level certificate programs, an undergraduate major and an undergraduate certificate program. All are interdisciplinary. Each has its own elected faculty chair and committee. An Instructional Committee chaired by the director oversees these academic programs as a whole, while the institute's associate director manages their day-to-day operations.

The institute also is home to four interdisciplinary research centers. Each has a director appointed by the director of the institute.

The Governance Faculty is the institute's main decision-making body. This group includes all faculty members who hold tenure/tenure track and/or funded appointments in the Nelson Institute, the institute's director and associate director, the chairs of its degree and certificate programs and the directors of its research centers, and any other Nelson Institute faculty or academic staff member approved by the Executive Committee.

The Executive Committee comprises tenured members of the Governance Faculty with either 50 percent or more of their tenure in the Nelson Institute or less than 50 percent of their tenure in the institute but for whom the institute was a principal sponsor of their appointment. The committee may admit additional faculty members who meet certain other criteria.

These and a variety of other committees of faculty and staff members and students deal with matters ranging from curriculum review to long-range planning.

An appointed Board of Visitors advises and assists the director in the areas of program direction and fundraising. The board comprises representatives of government, business, the nonprofit sector, and academia with a strong interest in the Nelson Institute's mission.

For further details, see the Nelson Institute Policies and Procedures (PDF) and the Appendices to the Policies and Procedures (PDF). For UW guidelines in general, see the UW-Madison Faculty Policies and Procedures.