Category Archives: Rotary Club of Madison Guest Speaker

MARC (Mobilizing Action for Resilient Communities)

–submitted by Vikki Enright; photo by John Bonsett-Veal

Elizabeth Hudson 5 17 17

From left: Club President Michelle McGrath, Elizabeth Hudson & Rotarian Janet Piraino

Elizabeth Hudson, who was appointed by Wisconsin’s Governor in 2014 to create the Wisconsin Office of Children’s Mental Health, was our featured speaker on May 17. Hudson discussed the science of Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) and how early adversity, before age 18, can lead to ongoing struggles in adulthood. She discussed how food insecurity, poor health and toxic stress attack the developing nervous system. When neurodevelopment is compromised, anger, depression and poor health can make kids struggle in school, and as adults, they may continue to struggle in the workplace.

In her work with the Wisconsin Office of Children’s Mental Health, her team received a MARC Grant (Mobilizing Action for Resilient Communities) and is engaging with the business community so they learn how to implement policies that help employees be more productive and offer a supportive environment for working parents.

Hudson also discussed how the Wisconsin Assembly Committee on Small Business Development is addressing the issues of childhood development and health with the understanding that healthy families grow business. She acknowledged the efforts of Rep. Melissa Sargent (D-Madison) who was in attendance.

Hudson outlined some leadership goals for trauma-informed care. They include changes in corrections, instruction in school and recognizing the importance of incorporating mindfulness into business culture. In her work, Hudson has learned that resilient children thrive because they have access to a trusted adult who listens to their concerns. The audience followed up with several questions and comments. There was agreement that adverse childhood experience has always been with us, but the way we recognize and act on these issues has changed as we are more open to discuss problems and try to find solutions.

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here.

Wisconsin’s Research Universities: A Case for Reinvestment

–submitted by Andrea Kaminski; photos by Mike Engelberger

Rebecca Blank 5 3 2017    Mark Mone 5 3 2017

Rotarians heard from not one, but two University of Wisconsin chancellors on May 3. UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank and UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Mark Mone teamed up to talk about collaborations between their campuses and the challenges they face in maintaining the high quality our universities are known for. The two chancellors have been on the road with this presentation, having also spoken to the Milwaukee Rotary and the Wisconsin Technology Council. Mone is a fellow Rotarian.

UW-Madison has 43,000 students who hail from all 72 counties in Wisconsin, all 50 states, and 121 nations. This year they have a record number of applicants. Blank said the university has excellent retention and graduation rates, and less than half of its students graduate with debt because the university has focused on helping students finish in four years.

UW-Milwaukee has 26,037 students, 84 percent of whom come from Wisconsin. There were 5,300 graduates in 2016. Three-quarters of graduates continue to live and work in Wisconsin when they finish. The most diverse campus in the UW System, UW-Milwaukee has the most students who are veterans. Forty percent of its students are the first in their families to go to college. Mone noted that by 2023 the state is projected to have a six-figure worker shortage. He showed how UW-Milwaukee is producing graduates in the four areas most needed in the Wisconsin workforce: healthcare; business; computer science; and engineering and science.

Both chancellors credit the collaborations and pooling of resources between their campuses for making it possible for a state of Wisconsin’s size to have two great research universities. The two campuses are anchors along a 400-mile “IQ Corridor” between Chicago and the Twin Cities, which is known for its research, industry and technology.

The chancellors gave several examples of collaborations that have pushed the level of knowledge and innovation in the Midwest. Examples include the UW-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences and UW-Madison Sea Grant Institute and energy partnerships funded in part by Johnson Controls centered at the UW-Madison Wisconsin Energy Institute. Mone noted that faculty on his campus alone partner with such Wisconsin industry leaders as Rockwell Automation, Harley Davidson, Kohl’s, Manpower, Northwestern Mutual and WEC energy group.

The chancellors see a major challenge in continuing to attract and retain top talent to uphold the UW’s reputation for excellence. The UW System’s budget has been cut in five of the past six state budgets. Blank noted that currently the state provides about 15 percent of UW’s budget, compared to about 45 percent 20-30 years ago.

Fortunately, the biennial budget proposed this year by Governor Walker includes a modest increase for UW System. It’s not enough to make up for the cuts, but the chancellors stressed that it is greatly needed and appreciated.

The chancellors outlined the following priorities the state should implement to keep the UW strong:

  1. Reinvest in the University as a way to invest in the state economy and workforce;
  2. Provide compensation increases to attract and retain talent. UW faculty and staff have seen on average a 0.3 percent compensation increase, compared to two percent at other major state universities. The proposed budget provides compensation increases but they are tied to savings from self-insurance;
  3. Authorize building projects, in particular those that are funded with program revenue. Budget-neutral examples are the UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine parking ramp and renovation of the Slichter Residence Hall.
  4. Don’t pit state universities against one another through performance-based funding. The campuses have different missions and serve different types of students. Each campus’s own performance can be compared from year to year, but it should not be compared with that of other campuses.

The chancellors said the UW is approaching the “tipping point” financially. Faculty and staff compensations are almost 19 percent behind those of peer institutions. Yet every state dollar invested in the UW generates three to four dollars in expenditures that stimulate the economy. And that does not even figure in the long-term economic impact of the university’s graduates who continue to live and work in the state. Truly, we invest in our state by reinvesting in our great state university.

If you missed our meeting, you can watch the video here.

Transformation of Policing

–submitted by Jocelyn Riley; photo by Valerie Johnson

Noble Wray 4 12 2017

From Left: Susan Schmitz and Doug Poland with Noble Wray

Former Rotarian Noble Wray spoke at the April 12 Downtown Rotary meeting at the Park Hotel on the topic “From Leading the Madison Police Department to Leading the U.S. Dept. of Justice’s Policing Practices and Accountability Initiative: What I have Learned about Community Policing.”  Wray served as the Madison Police Department’s Chief of Police from 2004 to 2013.  After his retirement, Wray was asked by the Obama administration to lead a national U.S. Department of Justice taskforce on policing practices.

Wray began his remarks by asking for a moment of silence in memory of the Wisconsin State Trooper who died on the job this week.  Then he asked “How do you change an institution?”  He cited previous commissions that attempted to “reform” police work.  But we are still faced with the age-old, intractable problems of poverty, limited access to housing, and discrimination.  Wray urged that changes in policing be driven by transformation rather than reform.  “Reform comes from the outside,” he said, “as a result of something that went wrong.”  He said that transformation, on the other hand, comes from inside.  “We have to be constantly improving,” he said.

Wray said that in order to transform police work, “courageous police leadership” is needed, as well as “rank-and-file support.”  Wray also said that the road to improving policing always involves community-oriented policing and that it can’t come in a top-down approach from the federal government.  “Washington should be the catalyst to make sure that change happens at the local level.”

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here.

Pevehouse: International Order is Costly But Necessary

–submitted by Valerie Johnson

Jon Pevehouse 4 5 17Jon Pevehouse, UW Political Science Professor, asked and answered the question, “How should the Trump administration balance power with constraint to maximize our legitimacy and prosperity?” at the April 5 Rotary meeting.

With graduate student Ryan Powers and Carnegie Foundation grant-funded opinion polls, Pevehouse has a wealth of information on what Americans want in international trade policy:

  • The last 5-6 years have found more people interested in trade barriers
  • Older, non-college educated people are more interested in trade barriers (these tend to be Trump supporters)
  • People want to keep jobs in the US, a platform Bernie Sanders also ran on as evidenced by the many “NO TPP” signs seen at the Democratic convention
  • Most American still want free trade (12% margin) even with job losses
  • Both political parties are pro-free trade; Hillary Clinton ran on this and Bill Clinton began NAFTA
  • Interest in trade barriers follows the economy; people like trade better than trade agreements.

Trump has indicated an interest in re-negotiating NAFTA.  Wisconsin has a positive balance of trade with Mexico, even though US does not.  The rules of origin Trump complains about were already re-negotiated by Obama as part of the TPP, but Trump threw that out; it would increase the percent of product manufactured/labeled required to be created in Mexico (for example) from 65% to perhaps 85%, decreasing what can come from China.

The concern is the Trump administration likes the power of the US economy, but not the traditional constraints we have used with other countries, such as the foreign ad Bush quietly used or the traditional tools such as the World Bank, WTO, etc.

“But without constraint,” Pevehouse said, “the fear is our power endangers our foreign policy.  International order is costly, but gives us legitimacy, as we have had with the last 60 years of prosperity.

Professor Pevehouse’s research in the areas of international relations, international political economy, American foreign policy, international organizations, and political methodology. Topics on which he has recently published include regional trade agreements, human rights institutions, exchange rate politics, and international organizations. He is the author, with Joshua Goldstein, of International Relations, the leading textbook on international politics. He is currently the editor of International Organization, the leading journal in the field of international relations.

Pevehouse has a Ph.D. in Political Science from Ohio State University and a B.A. in Political Science from University of Kansas.

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here.

Superintendents Candidates Forum

–submitted by Stan Inhorn; photos by Pete Christianson

A week before the election, Rotarians were privileged to hear the two candidates for the office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction describe their qualifications and goals for improving educational achievement in Wisconsin.

Holtz Mtg 3 29 2017

Amanda Brink, Dawn Crim & Lowell Holtz

In his opening statement, challenger Lowell Holtz noted the failure of many schools in minority districts in Wisconsin to achieve reasonable graduation rates. These failures are occurring not only in large urban districts but in rural areas as well.

Evers Mtg 3 29 2017

From left: Oscar Mireles, Tony Evers & Roberta Gassman

Incumbent superintendent Tony Evers has headed the Department of Public Instruction for 8 years. He noted that scores on standardized testing have increased through the years and are near the top in several categories. He believes that some of the problem is due to inadequate state funding that has led to citizens voting for local tax referenda.

Five questions were presented to the candidates. In answer to the question – “Why do we need a state department of public education,” Evers noted that federal money for professional development and afterschool programs has been sharply reduced in the proposed federal education budget. Holtz responded by indicating that the federal budget included a significant amount for students with disabilities and for teacher training. In response to a question about innovation, Holtz described a Tennessee innovation zone program that allowed parents and teachers to design a system that improved the climate and culture within the classroom. Evers noted that Pewaukee had integrated special education students into the regular classrooms with extraordinary success.

Regarding transfer of public money to private schools, Evers indicated that funding of public schools is inadequate, so dividing it into 2 to 4 systems will only make public education worse. Holtz pointed to the successes that have occurred in districts where voucher schools are present.

The issue of improving the environment for teachers, including salaries, classroom respect, Act 10 in Wisconsin, is important. Holtz suggested that principals must help create a nurturing environment. Evers recommended that students should also be involved in planning activities that include projects that could evolve into actual jobs. In his summary statement, Holtz indicated that bureaucratic tasks are taking too much classroom teaching time away from teachers. Evers again stated that the state is not doing its fair share in providing funding for public education in Wisconsin.

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here.  Our thanks to WisconsinEye for videotaping our meeting.

Holistic Support for Returning Veterans and Their Families

–submitted by Donna Hurd; photo by Pete Christianson

Will Beiersdorf 3 22 2017

From left: Club President Michelle McGrath, Will Beiersdorf, Nasra Wehelie and Susan Schmitz

After recognizing and showing appreciation for all Rotarians and guests who have provided military service to our country, fellow Rotarian Will Beiersdorf provided a brief but comprehensive overview of an organization that provides holistic support and care for those service men and women who have returned home with physical and often, severe invisible wounds of war.

With first-hand knowledge of the stress of deployment, Will was called into active duty after the events of September 11, 2001, leaving his wife and three young children behind.  Since that time, 800,000 service men and women have been deployed multiple times. This was almost unheard of prior to that date.  The toll of numerous deployments affects not only the servicemen and women but also their families.  The services available for many who have served are often inadequate and in all cases, only treat the wounded, leaving their families to seek help from other providers or caregivers.  Two million children and parents sought mental and behavioral healthcare since 2001.  One-third of the men and women returning from war suffer some type of trauma.  Approximately 400,000 have suffered a traumatic brain injury.  Besides the wounds suffered, approximately 22 veterans end their life every day, leaving family members to carry on.

In March 2013, Will was invited to assist with the formation of the Road Home Center for Veterans and their families.  Since that time, the organization has seen 400 – 500 veterans and their families each year.  They remove all barriers to receiving the needed services.  The organization’s mission is, “Help heal the invisible Wounds of War.”  They accomplish this by going beyond the level of care expected and needed.  The continuum of care provided by the Road Home Program incorporates clinical care, counseling, outreach services, and education.  The program employs Outreach Managers who have experienced the trauma of war, either directly or indirectly and can tell the story of why their services and this program are so needed.

Service Above Self, not only exemplifies Rotarians but also the brave men and women who choose to serve to protect the freedoms we all enjoy.  The bottom line of this program’s existence is, “We owe it to them to give back and help.”

 

Fostering Diversity in the Workplace

–submitted by Kevin Hoffman; photo by Pete Christianson

DSC_0003Karen Lincoln Michel challenged us to think in a different way about workplace perceptions, the importance of fostering diversity in our workplaces (particularly if we are leaders), and to be sensitive to the welcome our workplace culture extends to those with different ethnicity, gender, or cultural background.

Leaders with hiring responsibility need to be aware of affinity bias – the tendency to hire those who look like us or have the same background.  Our perceptions can powerfully influence our decision-making process, often without us realizing it!  By selecting people with similar characteristics we miss out on key insights and perspectives that someone outside of our experience and background can bring.  She challenged leaders to have the courage to step out of their comfort zones to realize the benefits that increased diversity can bring.

True workplace diversity demonstrates benefits in terms of being able to attract top talent, improved customer relations, improved employee satisfaction, better decision-making, and retaining talented employees.  The business environment is a diverse place and hiring and retaining staff to effectively address that environment only makes good business sense.  On a tangible basis, Ms. Lincoln cited a McKinsey study that indicated that firms with greater diversity showed a greater likelihood to financially outperform their peers.

Finally, culture matters.  Workplace and community culture is important to the success of diversity efforts.  Is the culture welcoming?  Do persons of color feel isolated?  Programs and policies are not enough – leaders have to truly engage and drive the initiative and commit to recruiting and supporting diverse candidates.

Ideas for true engagement in workplace diversity programs include having an officer or position in charge of fostering diversity, mission statements that include diversity as part of the organization’s core values, creation of an inclusive and positive atmosphere, widely seeking out candidates, and providing mentoring relationships to support individual success.

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here.