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About the Watershed Institute

Mission Statement

We work collaboratively to build healthy, just and sustainable human and ecological communities.


  • Collaborative and interdisciplinary
  • Student centered
  • Bold teachers and learners
  • Focused on imparting skills
  • Programmatically distinctive
  • Engaged in the world
  • Place centered
  • Ecologically aware
  • Ethically intentional

What's in the Name?

The Watershed Institute for Collaborative Environmental Studies: what's in the name? A watershed is a large geographic unit, incorporating not only groundwater and surface water but also all its human, terrestrial, and atmospheric inputs. "Watershed" also denotes a decisive point in history, the origin of a transition between two unique states of being: a "watershed moment." The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire is located in the Lower Chippewa River basin, at the confluence of the Eau Claire and Chippewa Rivers. So for us it is a term referencing both location and context. And because we are UW-Eau Claire (or "clear water") the adoption of an inclusive hydrological metaphor as the Institute name seems highly appropriate.