Madison College Partners with UW–Madison to Establish Open-Source Program Office


The UW–Madison Data Science Institute will establish an Open-Source Program Office (OSPO) in partnership with Madison College, the Data Science Hub, the UW–Madison Libraries and UW–Madison Extension. Through a range of initiatives, this new office will promote open and collaborative software development.

The OSPO will develop partnerships with both communities and enterprises, ensuring that the benefits of open-source applications extend across the state and beyond. In partnership with the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), the OSPO will provide guidance to entrepreneurs on topics such as open-source software licensing, and it will explore ways to support campus entrepreneurship programs. In addition, students from Madison College and UW–Madison will participate in paid open-source development internships, and businesses and other organizations will have opportunities to work with these interns to address real-world challenges.

Madison College IT instructor, Perry Govier notes that open-source software is ubiquitous now with most software using, at a minimum, some segments of open-source code. For example, the Unix core of Mac OS is open-source, Android has an open-source core and Windows also employs open-source code.

“IT professionals rarely start projects from zero; they build on the existing components and tools shared by the broader development community,” says Govier. “This mindset drives innovation in the industry, and we are excited to leverage this same partnership mentality with UW–Madison to offer expanded learning and internship opportunities for Madison College's IT students. Working on open source together, now and in the future, will benefit our student community much in the way that open-source development benefits the entire programming industry.”

Of particular note to Madison College students is the paid internship component of the OSPO which Govier sees as an opportunity for students to accelerate their careers. The internships will provide networking opportunities for the students to interact with professionals they wouldn’t otherwise have access to and bolster their resume with highly visible projects.

The OSPO will also host symposia, workshops and offer training events.

“The goal of the Open-Source Program Office is to catalyze institutional change that will foster open-source community and projects,” says Kyle Cranmer, the David R. Anderson Director of the Data Science Institute at UW-Madison.

UW–Madison is one of six U.S. higher education institutions recently selected by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to launch campus OSPOs. Sloan is supporting a total of 12 university OSPOs, including projects selected in earlier funding rounds.

At least initially, the OSPO will be based at the Data Science Institute on the UW-Madison campus. This summer, the institute will hire a program manager and other staff, with the goal of launching the OSPO and its first events this fall.

If you are interested in learning more about opportunities available through this OSPO, contact Madison College IT instructor, Perry Govier ( or Kyle Cranmer, UW–Madison (