Whitburn Center
Whitburn Wednesday Past Events

Whitburn Wednesday Past Events

The Whitburn Wednesdays Event Series covers a wide range of pressing issues and features panelists representing a diversity of viewpoints. See below for information about past events and links to video recordings.

2024 Events

April 2024: Advantages and Challenges of Online Graduate Education

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In this presentation, UW Oshkosh MPA student and Graduate Assistant, Kayla Nessmann, presents her research on the advantages and challenges of online graduate education. The presentation is a chance to learn about the latest research on online delivery of higher education, engage in discussion about your experience with online education, and to brainstorm how to improve professional graduate education across modalities.

March 2024: Department of Sociology and Public Administration (SPA) Information Session

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Please join us for this virtual meet and greet with students/alumni, and faculty of the newly merged Sociology and Public Administration (SPA) Department! Come and learn how our programs can help you connect your passion for public service, social equity, and community change into a meaningful career. Find out how we empower imaginative, transformative leaders for life. We will highlight our program line-up, including:

  • Sociology Major (with double major options in Environmental Studies or Criminal Justice)
  • Sociology Minor
  • Health, Humanities, & Society Minor
  • Social Equity & Diversity Certificate
  • Fire & Emergency Response Management (FERM) Major (With Fire Services and Emergency Management Tracks)
  • Master of Public Administration (MPA) Program
  • 4+1 MPA Program – A NEW accelerated option for undergrad Sociology majors!
  • Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Management

Faculty will also discuss career opportunities and benefits for SPA students with the Whitburn Center for Governance and Policy Research, such as:

  • MPA Graduate Research Assistantships, including an option with a FULL Tuition Waiver!
  • Undergraduate Student Research Assistant Opportunities
  • Career Mentorship and Networking with Alumni and Employers
February 2024: Half-Hearted and Partially Awake: Building Tools and Pathways to Liberatory Management

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The study and practice of traditional U.S. public management (PM) is often rooted in acontextual and ahistorical perspectives that ignore the harms perpetuated by people in power. These approaches are aligned with existing systems of oppression that not only undergird dominant narratives but also uphold false identity-based hierarchies. Such perspectives diminish understandings of the shared humanity between those that benefit from and are most impacted by these systems. This engaged session offers participants the tools of mindfulness and racial healing, within the context of PM, to build a sense of shared humanity that can help serve as a pathway toward liberatory management.

January 2024: Faculty Funding Opportunities Informational Webinar

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The UWO Whitburn Center will present an overview of two new 2024 faculty funding opportunities, including 2 Community-Engaged Research Fellowships (up to $12,500) and 10 Community-Engaged Course Development Stipends (up to $500). 

2023 Events

November 2023: Demystifying the Wisconsin Budget Process

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Every two years, Wisconsin policymakers craft a new spending plan for the state. The state budget impacts education spending, student tuition, tax rates, local government, and so much more. The state budget is also the vehicle by which most major policy changes impacting Wisconsin residents occur. This event will demystify the Wisconsin state budget process through a moderated conversation with three experienced experts:

  • Dr. James Scott McCallum, 43rd Governor of Wisconsin
  • Ellen Nowak, Former Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Administration
  • Gordon Hintz, Former Wisconsin State Assembly Minority Leader and member of the Joint Committee on Finance

Panelists will share personal experience, answer questions, and provide guidance on how to increase citizen engagement in the budget process.

October 2023: Communicating Change to Employees

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Does your staff dread change? This program will identify the kinds of changes organizations face, describe how to develop a communication plan, and explore the importance of positivity and proactivity in response to resistance. Participants will leave this session better equipped how to communicate change successfully with empathy, active listening skills, and flexibility.

September 2023: How do faculty connect research to practice? What do you need to know about being a Master of Public Administration (MPA) student?

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MPA faculty members and Whitburn Center leaders, Michael Ford and Samantha Larson, will be sharing their research, focused on how they connect their work to practice. We will also be joined by MPA graduate, Jennifer Gauthier, discussing how she has used her MPA to advance her career. It will be a great opportunity to meet MPA faculty and students, learn about the Whitburn Center, and ask questions about academic offerings at UWO. 

May 2023: MPA Student Graduate Capstone Presentations

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What’s it Like to Work Here? The Worker’s Perspective on Organizational Culture and Climate.

Melissa Malchow, MPA Student 

Studying the Impact of Unmet Needs on Graduation Rates for Caregiving Students at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

Elizabeth Bouche, MPA Student

April 2023: Wisconsin Open Records and Meetings Law

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Please join us as our presenter Raymond Taffora discusses Wisconsin’s Open Records and Meetings Law. Taffora, who most recently served as the Vice-Chancellor for Legal Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will share his expertise and experience from his accomplished legal career. Attendees can expect to leave the event with a practical understanding of how to navigate Wisconsin’s Open Records and Meetings Laws. The presentation will be of particular interest for those working in, or with, Wisconsin’s public sector.

March 2023: Modernizing the Local Government Workforce: A Next Generation Initiative

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Please join us as Dr. Michael Ford and Renee Christiansen present data, and a preliminary roadmap for recruiting, training and managing a modern public sector workforce. Human capital is both the most important and most expensive resource in Wisconsin’s local government. The quality of our local governments is directly related to the quality of the public servants working within each agency. Yet, there remains a limited study of how best to train, recruit and lead local government employees in a changing political and economic landscape in Wisconsin.

February 2023: Search Inside Yourself: Mindfulness-Based Emotional Intelligence for Leaders

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We are excited to share with you our first Whitburn Wednesday Event of the spring semester. Please join us as we host SIY certified teacher Stacey Crowley as she presents ‘Search Inside Yourself’; an inspiring and interactive 60-minute introduction to mindfulness-based emotional intelligence skills and their practical applications for leadership.

2022 Events

December 2022: Celebrating Student Research: MPA Capstone Presentation

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Whitburn Wednesday’s December event closes out the fall semester with an exciting presentation of student scholarly research. Join us as MPA candidates Alex Hummel and Monica Jackson will be highlighting their Graduation Capstone experiences by presenting their research. Alex will enlighten us with his investigation on ways to use regional comprehensive universities, like UWO, as vehicles to attract and retain human capital in Wisconsin. Monica will be highlighting the role political journalism has had on covering the confluence of social issues and the current efforts to roll back the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

November 2022: Grant Writing: Tips and Tricks for the Public and Nonprofit Sectors

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Are you interested in becoming a better grant writer? Join us for a conversation with grant writing experts Jessica Wildes, MPA and Erin Schultz-Wege, MSW. You will learn tips and tricks for writing successful grant proposals for public and nonprofit organizations. We will be covering topics such as how to find grants that are a good fit, changes in the funding landscape, storytelling and creativity in the writing process, building relationships with funders and the importance of collaboration.

October 2022: Going Digital in Local Government

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Chris Astrella will lead this professional development event, presenting strategies to digitally transform local government. He will discuss the history of technology in public administration, giving examples of how other industries have evolved over the past 20 years. Astrella will also discuss his work as a consultant with HeyGov, providing a sneak peak into what the company does and how governments can use the service to increase civic engagement.

September 2022: A Practical Approach to Improving Governing Board Performance

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Join us as our own Dr. Michael Ford presents his latest project examining how local governing officials who may be struggling to diagnose and resolve issues can move forward as a cohesive governing body. This research-based project offers pragmatic ways to analyze and resolve many concerns afflicting local government in Wisconsin today. Participants will learn how to apply practical techniques, including a conflict diagnostic tool and regenerative relations tool, to improve performance and ensure governing boards are greater than the sum of their parts.

April 2022: Reimagining Social Welfare: Past, Present, and Future

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Increasing polarization, budget cuts, stigma, and other challenges have made it increasingly difficult to meet the needs of the most socially vulnerable in our communities. This conversation will reimagine how to advance social welfare and wellbeing to advance racial and economic equity. The panel will provide a historical account of public assistance programs in the United States, which were historically extensive and run by local governments. Yet,such services were not regarded as controversial, unlike today. Further discussion will examine how programs of the past have evolved, now requiring more collaboration between the public and nonprofit sectors. This conversation will also tackle the question of how government and nonprofit leaders can more effectively work together, promising practices that can foster collective impact, and why such partnerships are critical to address present and future issues.

March 2022: Women in Government: A Next Generation Initiative

No video recording available.

To commemorate Women’s History Month, join us for a conversation with an esteemed group of women leading the way in government across the State of Wisconsin. The purpose of this event is to introduce and demystify public service careers for the next generation of leaders. Panelists will discuss their unique journeys into public administration, barriers they experienced along the way, strategies for navigating government careers, the importance of mentorship, work/life balance, advice for those starting out or aspiring to the executive level, internship opportunities, and the importance of equity, inclusion, diversity, and the need to empower more women and people of color in the workplace. Time will also be provided for breakout groups. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and network with panelists and members of the Wisconsin City/County Management Association’s (WCMA) Women’s Leadership Committee, an initiative aimed at the development and support of emerging and existing women professionals in local government.

February 2022: Responding to the Opioid Epidemic in Wisconsin

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The harms of opiates, such as overdose and death, can impact any family. Between 2019 and 2020, reported fatalities from overdoses grew by more than a quarter in Wisconsin – from about 1,200 to 1,530. Numbers surged as the coronavirus struck and disrupted social services, prompting the need for further harm reduction strategies. This conversation will focus on how various agencies are responding to the opioid epidemic on a systemic level. Panelists will provide perspectives from the lens of public health, law enforcement, healthcare, and recovery. Particular focus will be placed on the work of the Winnebago County Overdose Fatality Review Team. The panel will also cover the importance of having open and honest discussions about opioids to create a more supportive community where prevention, hope, and recovery can be a reality.

January 2022: Becoming a Local Government Leader

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This engaging conversation will feature tips and career advice for how to be successful in preparing, applying for, and landing a leadership position in local government. The panel will be moderated by Dr. Mike Ford, Chair of the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program.