UW-System President Ray Cross said "The Wisconsin Idea is embedded in our DNA," .. "It is so much more than words on a page. It is the reason the UW System exists. It defines us...." This class uses Wisconsin Idea video lectures of academics and public leaders followed by discussion. The phrase Wisconsin Idea is loaded with history. The "Wisconsin Idea" emerged over a century ago as an idealization of the University of Wisconsin's connection to citizens. Recent state budget debate has suggested different perspectives on why our University should exist and how it should be connected to citizens.