Get to Know the RDS Team: Cid Freitag

In this series, we introduce the team members who make up Research Data Services (RDS). This interview is with Cid Freitag, RDS team member and Program Manager in Academic Technology’s Faculty Engagement Service.

Describe your role at DoIT Academic Technology.
Artwork made by Cid Freitag.
Artwork by Cid.

I am a Program Manager in Academic Technology’s Faculty Engagement service. We offer a variety of programs designed to foster the use of research-supported, technology-enhanced, teaching and learning methodologies. My primary role is to manage the Research-to-Classroom Studio program, which offers short workshops series, providing a forum for faculty and instructors to infuse research processes directly into their undergraduate courses. I am also one of the instructors of our Blend@UW program, which helps faculty design blended courses that foster deeper, more active learning for students.

What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on recently?

I recently organized a short workshop series on Engaging Students with Data Visualization. We included sessions with presentations, assignment design, and hands-on with popular visualization tools, built around the idea that visualizing data can be an aspect of student skill development in learning research and professional practices.

What excites you about supporting research data management on campus?

I love that I’m helping support ideas of students working with data. With all the data and analysis and visualization tools available now, there’s amazing potential for anyone to find and work with data on what interests them, and have the tools and knowledge to engage with the processes that lead to new knowledge, and new insights. At UW-Madison, with our heritage of research and the Wisconsin Idea, we’re in a position to give our students the foundation in thoughtful, skilled processes in being both producers and consumers of data.

If you had an unlimited budget, what would you institute on campus?

Data and data literacy for everyone!  If I had an unlimited budget, I’d offer grants to people who could study the data needs, uses, and practices within all disciplines, with an eye toward what’s happening or what’s possible with the onslaught of new data, and big data. And then figure out how we best support current researchers and curriculum to develop the next generation. I’d also love to see a data makerspace, where faculty, staff, students in any and all disciplines could come together for collaboration and exploration.

Do you have a favorite UW building or landmark?

The Lakeshore Nature Preserve. I love that it includes so many different aspects of local nature and history, and of the UW mission. As a short list, there’s Native American mounds, pockets of Oak Savanna and other vegetation restoration efforts, great views of Lake Mendota, reminders of the land’s farming past, and current research projects.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I make art. I’ve worked in photomontage and photo manipulation since the early 80s.  I started out with old-school darkroom trickery, cutting and pasting photos, photomechanical graphic arts and alternative printing processes, and have since moved into digital tools. Although I miss the kinesthetic hands-on aspects of the old-school tools, there’s a lot more possibilities with digital tools. My photo is a montage that includes me and a sunrise photo taken from Picnic Point.