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.

Wine Tasters Gather for Guigal Tasting

–submitted by Mike Wilson

The Madison Rotary Wine Fellowship met at Steve’s on University for a Guigal tasting on April 27.  The tasting was held in a side room, most recently the cheese room, but the room was initially created as a Tasting Room.

Guigal 2017 4

The tasting started with a Bollinger NonVintage (NV) Special Cuvee Champagne.  This is the standard Bollinger champagne, with their other champagnes all being prestige versions or Rose.  This was a great wine.  I visited Bollinger in 2013 on an Ultimate Champagne Tasting Tour where we had a delightful lunch accompanied by the NV Rose, 2004 La Grande Rose, La Grande 2004, and NV Special Cuvee. On that trip I rated the Bollinger NV Special Cuvee (the same as the wine we drink today) as the best of the 17 NV samples tasted, and only 10% of the 71 vintage/premier champagnes were better.  This wine is 65% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay.  85% of all of the grapes used are from Premier and Grand Cru locations (very unusual) and 2/3 of the total grapes used in their Champagne production comes from land they own (also very very unusual). They remain one of the few remaining family owned champagne houses.

Guigal 2017 18  Guigal 2017 14  Guigal 2017 11

(Photo 1: Juli & Keith Baumgartner; Photo 2: Peter & Leslie Overton; Photo 3: Ellie & Paul Schatz)

The Bollinger history dates back to 1829, and family members have run it for all of this time except in the last few years.  The most famous leader was Lilly Bollinger from 1941-1971, who is famously quoted as ” I drink champagne when I am happy and when I am sad. Sometimes I drink when I am alone.  When I have company I think it is obligatory.  I trifle with it when I am not hungry and drink it when I am.  Otherwise I never touch it unless I am thirsty.”  Other unique Bollinger features includes the fact that every bottle is hand riddled, and it is the champagne of “Bond” movies.

We then started the task at hand: assessing Guigal wines.  Whereas wine has been grown in the Northern Rhone for 2500 years there are no established great old wineries. The region reached it’s lowest acreage in the 1940’s when vineyards being turned into apricot orchards. Etienne Guigal is a late arrival to the region – 1930’s – and ended up being Maitre de Chai of Vidal Fleurie when it was the greatest local winery (now owned by Guigal). In 1946 he established his own Negotiant business.  As if to make up for this late arrival, Guigal became the leader of the Upper Rhone (Shiraz and Viognier) region, and currently makes 30% and 45% of the entire Cote Rotie and Condrieu appellations.  This is a remarkable feat, to be the most prestigious producer of the Rhone’s finest red and white wines.  He early on recognized the potential of the region, and tirelessly worked to acquire the best land and promote the product, that began to soar in the 1980’s.  In addition to the Cote Rotie and Condrieu regions Guigal owns excellent properties in Saint Joseph, Hermitage and Crozes-Hermitage.  They are major negotiant of the Southern Rhone and are reputed to produce the best Cotes du Rhone yet they do not own any property in the Southern Rhone, rather they buy in wine or grapes from select producers. The bulk of their 10,000,000 bottle wine sales come from this region.

Guigal 2017 13  Guigal 2017 12  Guigal 2017 16

(Photo 1: Jennifer & Bob Winding; Photo 2: Jenny & Loie Badreddine; Photo 3: Steve & Meryl Mixtacki)

The way they make wine is uncompromising, and as a rule they continue to age their wines (estate and negotiant) long after other producers have already sold their entire vintage. Quality is their theme in all aspects of vine growing, and wine making. As Robert Parker says Guigal is “This planet’s greatest winemaker”.

We had 1 Rose, 3 Whites, and 5 Reds.  These wines were available to buy from $10.99 through $149.99. I rated the wines very well with the Bollinger champagne and the Cote Rote Chateau Ampuis 2010 being the best, and most of the others matching their 90/91 scores from reviewers being matched.  I will be buying the champagne, and did buy the cheaper Cotes Du Rhone Red and Rose for their fabulous value (90 pointers and <$10).  A great time was had by all and we had excellent wines and great mushrooms, cheese, bread, and pate snacks.

Guigal 2017 19

The U.S. Supreme Court and Its History

Submitted by Rich Leffler; photo by Valerie Johnson

Ryan Owens 4 26 2017Professor Ryan Owens, a member of the UW Department of Political Science and an Affiliate Faculty of the Law School (and who is developing the Tommy Thompson Center on Public Leadership) spoke to the Club about “The Past, Present, and Future of the U.S. Supreme Court.” He began with an interesting “Thought Experiment.” With the addition of Neil Gorsuch to the Court, Justice Anthony Kennedy continues to be the middle or the median justice, often called the swing vote. But what happens if he retires, and if President Trump appoints a solid conservative such as Paul Clement, who is perhaps more conservative than Samuel Alito? In that case, the new median justice becomes Chief Justice John Roberts, who would then become the most powerful [influential?] Chief Justice since John Marshall. [Though he would be a very distant second.] If Ruth Bader Ginsburg were then to retire, Justice Alito would become the median justice. On the other hand, if Hillary Clinton had been elected, Justice Stephen Breyer might be the swing vote, etc. Very easily, a 6-3 conservative court under Trump might have been a 6-3 liberal court under Clinton. The presidential election of 2016 was, then, a very consequential election.

Professor Owens then wondered whether this was not a time for reforms to the Court. Two that he suggested were age limits on the justices, and perhaps requiring them to “ride the circuit,” as was once the case. The U.S. is the only common-law country without some limits on judicial tenure.

An age limit would remove the incentive for judges to retire “strategically,” so as to assure a like-minded jurist were appointed. It would also reduce the likelihood of justices serving while suffering from dementia. Attending circuit courts would let the justices see the consequences of their decisions and let the people see them in action close-up. It might also encourage the justices to retire earlier. [But would it also discourage people from taking an appointment?]

In answer to a question, Professor Owens said that he and a colleague were doing research on the age issue by studying oral arguments over the years to see if there is any evidence of dementia in sitting justices. He also questioned whether the Senate’s refusal to consider Merrick Garland’s nomination would not lead to further retaliation beyond the recent filibuster. He expects the Trinity Lutheran case, probably Justice Gorsuch’s first major opinion, to be an important decision.

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

Rotary Hikers Doing Some Bird Watching in the Arboretum

Submitted by Bobbie Sladky; Photo by Andrea Kaminski

20170424_191133A group of nine Rotarians and guests met at the UW Arboretum Visitor Center for a hike on April 24 for an evening bird sighting. The goal was to observe the courting behavior of the male woodcock. Guide Levi Wood provided information about the rich conservation history of the UW Arboretum and a tour of the Longenecker Gardens which showcases a collection of trees and shrubs. The Magnolia collection was in full bloom and the early lilacs were opening.

20170424_190510We were pleased to see the Oak planted by Paul Harris and saw turkeys and a red-tail hawk nearby. The hike included a walk through Gallistel and a brief stop at Teal Pond. Curtis Prairie provided the zen-like experience of hearing the courting sounds of the male woodcock who becomes active at dusk. Although the bird was never seen, its presence was clear by the loud, nasal peent calls made on the ground, the twittering sounds made by the wings as the woodcock rises up 100’ or more in an aerial display, the call made at the ‘top’ of the flight, and steep dive back down to the prairie. The Audubon website refers to this behavior as a ‘sky dance’. Female woodcocks are attracted by the ‘lek’ of males performing their rituals and have an opportunity to select the fittest mate.

 

Remembering the Holocaust

–submitted by Larry Larrabee; photo by Valerie Johnson

Moses Altsech 4 19 2017

From left: Carol Toussaint, Moses Altsech, Melanie Ramey & Dalia Altsech

At the April 19th meeting, our fellow Rotarian, Moses Altsech, encouraged us to remember the Holocaust and to apply its lessons to our world today.   Today’s presentation follows on his 2007 Rotary presentation on the same subject.

He began his presentation by relating the story of his grandparents living in the large Jewish community in Salonika in eastern Greece at the onset of the Nazi invasion and took us through their encounter with homelessness, deportation and for many, death in concentration camps.  He told of the homelessness and relocation his parents and some grandparents experienced after WWII.

Moses reminded us that today we, our community and civilization, continue to suffer from prejudices against others for their religion, ethnicity or social behaviors.  He said of prejudice, ”If we are to throw the first stone against prejudice, we need to aim it at a mirror.”  We may not raise children to be prejudiced, but we raise them to be bystanders and this is wrong.

He made an impassioned plea for modern social justice and how critical it is for all of us to take action against injustices, not just sit on our hands.  Moses encouraged parents to tell their children about their family history because family stories tell them who they are and what they can aspire to become.  He reminded us of how we prefer to forget the past and with it, the lessons for today.

At the conclusion of the presentation, our speaker was given a standing ovation.

If you missed our meeting this week, 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.