Press Releases

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February 17, 2020 : Thompson Center on Public Leadership to Fund Faculty Research and Speakers

Thompson Center on Public Leadership to Fund Faculty Research and Speakers

MADISON—The Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership will provide faculty research grants and fund speakers across the UW System to address two topics: “Reforming the Administrative State” and “Privacy in a Digital Age.”

The Center seeks grant applications from scholars across the UW System to conduct research on these topics. The Center has allocated up to $500,000 for faculty to research these areas and, consistent with the Wisconsin Idea, benefit the state with the results.

“These are important and timely issues to examine,” said Director Ryan Owens. “If we can find ways to improve the administrative state that would be huge for Wisconsin. And I think we all know the growing importance of privacy and security in this online era. With the combined effort of our UW System faculty, we can make real reforms possible.”

The Center also sent out a call for applications to UW System schools to hold speaking events. Faculty, departments, and student organizations at any UW-system school outside of UW-Madison (where the Center is based and holds other planned events) may apply for speaker grants.  The Center has allocated a total of $500,000 to support these efforts.  While speakers on the topics mentioned above will be given priority, the Center will entertain applications to host expert speakers on other important leadership related topics. The Center’s goal is to fund high quality speakers who can drive important conversations in Wisconsin.

“We earnestly want UW System schools to apply for these speaker grants,” Owens said. “They can use the money to bring in highly influential speakers on these issues and expose their students to some of the top thinkers in the country. As Governor, Tommy Thompson always thought big. We want to continue to expose Wisconsin’s students to big thinkers.”

For more details on these funding opportunities and upcoming events, please visit the Thompson Center’s website at  https://thompsoncenter.wisc.edu

June 25, 2019 : Thompson Center Announces UW System Faculty Research Grant Awards

Thompson Center Announces UW System Faculty Research Grant Awards

MADISON— The Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership is pleased to announce the award of a half million dollars in research grants to faculty at University of Wisconsin System campuses around the state.  The objective of the Center’s annual faculty research grant competition is to advance solutions and effective public leadership on pressing challenges in Wisconsin.

This year’s grant awards fit into three priority areas identified by the Center’s governing board for the 2019-2020 academic year: improving independence for people with disabilities in Wisconsin, increasing Wisconsin’s influence in biomedical advancements, and reforming Wisconsin’s energy future.

The Center allocated a large proportion of grant funding to study ways in which transit-oriented real estate development (UW-Madison), home modifications (UW-Madison), meal management (UW-Milwaukee) and secondary education teaching methods (UW-River Falls) can help improve independence for people with disabilities in Wisconsin.

Next, the Center is funding creation of a think tank to bring together leaders in the field of biomedical technology to identify challenges affecting the conversion of biomedical discoveries to commercial products and how Wisconsin can best compete as a national leader in biomedical advancements (UW-Madison).

Finally, the Center will be funding research to help Wisconsin prepare for its energy future.  Faculty will create software to better assess the impact of renewable energy investment policies on the state’s economy, grid security, job creation levels, and public health (UW-Madison).  In addition, faculty will develop a strategic plan for optimizing Wisconsin’s competitive advantages and future investments in the renewable energy manufacturing sector (UW-Eau Claire).

The Center is investing a grand total of $500,000 to fund this research and is elated to join some of the brightest minds in the University of Wisconsin System in making these research endeavors possible.

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May 28, 2019 : Thompson Center to Begin Podcasting

Thompson Center to Begin Podcasting

MADISON— Today, the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership announced that it has started a new podcast, “The Badgercast”. The Podcast will feature a number of politicians, policy specialists, academics, pundits, and other luminaries to discuss a variety of topics important to the state of Wisconsin.

“We’re uniquely placed at the Thompson Center to harness the knowledge and experiences of these experts without the dampening overcast of partisanship.” said Thompson Center Director Ryan Owens. “We hope the podcast will expand our reach to every county in Wisconsin so we can have these important discussions and bring people together to  knowledgably debate the options the state is faced with.”

The inaugural episode featuring former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson is now available on the Thompson Center’s website with more soon to follow. Please visit https://thompsoncenter.wisc.edu/podcasting/

For more details on future podcasts, upcoming Thompson Center events, and other news please visit the Thompson Center website at https://thompsoncenter.wisc.edu

May 2, 2019 : Thompson Center to Host former Second Lady, Lynn Cheney

Thompson Center to Host former Second Lady, Lynn Cheney

MADISON— Today, the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership announced that it will host former Second Lady of the United States, Lynn Cheney, as the keynote speaker for its conference on “The Founding Fathers and Public Leadership” on September 20th.

The conference will examine what the Founding Fathers believed about public leadership in America and what lessons we can learn from them today.  The Center has invited some of the country’s best historians and political scientists to examine the views of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, John Adams, John Marshall, John Dickenson, Alexander Hamilton, Frederick Douglass, and several others.

Mrs. Cheney, a UW-Madison Ph.D. and author of a book on James Madison, will provide her thoughts on the Founders and public leadership today.

“We’re excited to host this highly relevant conference and to host Mrs. Cheney,” said Thompson Center Director Ryan Owens. “We’re at a moment in our country’s history where we need to examine who we are and discuss where we’re headed. The Framers are speaking to us. We must listen.”

The Thompson Center Conference is scheduled for September 20, 2019 at 9:30 AM at the Pyle Center on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

For more details on upcoming events—and to register for events—please visit the Thompson Center website athttps://thompsoncenter.wisc.edu

March 13, 2019 : Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Attorney Dean Strang to Hold April 18 Conversation on Criminal Justice Reform

Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Attorney Dean Strang to Hold April 18 Conversation on Criminal Justice Reform

MADISON— The Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership is proud to announce that it will host former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Attorney Dean Strang to speak about criminal justice reform on Thursday April 18th at 4:00 pm at UW-Madison’s H.F. DeLuca Forum in the Discovery Building.

“We’re excited to have Gonzales and Strang discuss criminal justice reform,” said Thompson Center Director Ryan Owens. “Criminal justice reform is an issue that Republicans and Democrats know requires attention. Gonzales and Strang both have considerable expertise to bear on this topic. And I’m sure we’ll all learn a lot from listening to them.”

Alberto Gonzales is the Dean and the Doyle Rogers Distinguished Professor of Law at Belmont University College of Law in Nashville, Tennessee. He was the 80th United States Attorney General after appointment by President George W. Bush in February 2005, making him the highest-ranking Hispanic American in executive government to date. Previously, Gonzales served as a Texas Supreme Court Justice. He is the author of Truth Faith and Allegiance, the story of his life and service.

Dean Strang is a shareholder in StrangBradley LLC. His past work includes five years as Wisconsin’s first federal defender; shareholder in two of the state’s leading criminal defense firms; co-founder of a criminal defense firm; a short stint as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Wisconsin; and a litigation associate in a large civil law firm. In the media, Strang was featured in the popular Netflix documentary series “Making a Murderer,” which has resulted in extensive press coverage and a speaking tour focused on improving the criminal justice system.

Attendance at the event is free but reservation is required. To register, visit the Thompson Center website athttps://thompsoncenter.wisc.edu and click on Events.

For those interested but not able to attend in person this event will be streamed live on WisconsinEye at wiseye.org.

February 20, 2019 : Political Strategist Mike Murphy to Deliver Talk for the Thompson Center on the State of Politics Today

Political Strategist Mike Murphy to Deliver Talk for the Thompson Center on the State of Politics Today

MADISON— The Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership is proud to announce that it will host political strategist Mike Murphy to speak about the state of contemporary politics in America on Friday March 29th from 4:00-5:30pm at Madison’s Fluno Center.

“We’re thrilled to have Mike Murphy talk about the state of national politics,” said Thompson Center Director Ryan Owens. “He has been involved with national and state campaigns for years and enjoys tremendous insight into where we are politically. He will talk about where Republicans and Democrats need to go to remain politically viable into the future.”

Murphy has handled strategy and advertising for more than 26 successful gubernatorial and Senatorial campaigns. He was also a senior strategist for John McCain’s first campaign for President in 2000. Murphy is a well known opinion journalist; both in print and as a longtime panelist on NBC’s Meet the Press. He has written for TIME Magazine, the New York Times, theWashington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Post and the Weekly Standard. In 2016, his podcast — Radio Free GOP — averaged more than 100,000 downloads a week and was reviewed by Vanity Fair’s James Wolcott as “… a weekly inside baseball bullpen conversation about polling, tactics and candidates’ foibles so funny and informative that even a dyed-blue liberal Dem such as myself is addicted.”

Attendance is free but reservation is required. To register, visit the Thompson Center website athttps://thompsoncenter.wisc.edu and click on Events.

February 11, 2019 : Tommy Thompson Center on Public Leadership to Fund Faculty Research and Speakers on Improving Independence for the Disabled and Other Topics

Tommy Thompson Center on Public Leadership to Fund Faculty Research and Speakers on Improving Independence for the Disabled and Other Topics

MADISON— Today, the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership announced that it will provide faculty grants and fund speakers across the UW-System to address three topics: improving independence for Wisconsin’s disabled population; enhancing Wisconsin’s role in the development of biomedical technology; and reforming Wisconsin’s energy sources.

The Center has called for grant applications from scholars across the UW-System to conduct research on these topics. In line with the Wisconsin Idea, the Center has allocated up to $500,000 for faculty to research these areas in order to benefit the state more broadly with the results.

“We want faculty throughout the UW-System to apply for grants and to research these important topics,” said Director Ryan Owens. “They’re all critically important to the future of this state. Helping our disabled population become more independent would be a godsend to many of them and their families. Keeping Wisconsin at the forefront of biomedical technology will also have important positive effects on our state. And reforming Wisconsin’s energy sources by enhancing Wisconsin technologies is the right thing to do.”

The Center also sent out a call for applications to UW-System schools to hold speaking events. Faculty, departments, and student organizations at any UW-system school outside of UW-Madison (where the Center is based and holds other planned events) may apply for speaker grants.  The Center has allocated total of $500,000 to support these efforts.  While speakers on the topics mentioned above will be given some measure of priority, the Center would also be pleased to entertain applications utilizing expert speakers on topics outside those discussed above. The Center’s goal is to fund high quality speakers who can drive important conversations in Wisconsin.

“We earnestly want UW-System schools to apply for these speaker grants,” Owens declared. “They can use the money to bring in highly influential speakers on these issues and expose their students to some of the top thinkers in these areas.”

For more details on upcoming events—and to register for events—please visit the Thompson Center website athttps://thompsoncenter.wisc.edu

February 4, 2019 : Thompson Center on Public Leadership Applauds Winners of Wisconsin Civics Games

Thompson Center on Public Leadership Applauds Winners of Wisconsin Civics Games

MADISON— The Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership congratulates the regional winners of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation’s Wisconsin Civics Games, which took place at UW-Madison this weekend. The Center co-sponsored this event in which teams from schools all over Wisconsin competed over their understanding of civics and Wisconsin history.

“We were thrilled to co-sponsor this event,” said Thompson Center Director Ryan Owens. “James Madison once said that ‘Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.’ We agree. These events go a long way toward helping.”

The final tournament, which involves ten teams from across the state, will take place on February 23 in the State Capitol.  Each member of the state championship winning team will receive a $2,000 scholarship to a Wisconsin college or university.

Among its future events, the Center will hold conference on Second Chances and Prisoner Re-entry at the Monona Terrace in Madison on March 7; and conference on Transportation Reform in Wisconsin at the Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee on April 25.  Both are free and open to the public.

For more details on upcoming events—and to register for events—please visit the Thompson Center website athttps://thompsoncenter.wisc.edu ##

November 15, 2018 : Thompson Center on Public Leadership Announces Free Leadership Conference

Thompson Center on Public Leadership Announces Free Leadership Conference
MADISON — In celebration of its one year anniversary, the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership will host a free conference on November 30 at the Pyle Center on the UW-Madison campus.  The conference will feature policymakers and empirical researchers who study effective leadership.
“We’re excited to put ‘the Wisconsin Idea’ into practice by hosting an event which honors Governor Thompson’s effective approach to problem solving.” noted Thompson Center Director, Ryan Owens. “Leaders across the political spectrum will need to work together, and we will discuss how they can do so.”
The event will focus on two themes. The first will examine what skills tend to produce more effective public leadership.  The second will focus on how political leaders can use their powers to lift everyone up, or abuse them by pitting people against each other.
The event is free and open to the public. It will run from 10 am–2 pm, and includes free lunch.  Attendees are asked to register in advance by going to the “events” page on the Thompson Center website.  For more details on upcoming events, research, and the Center, please visit the Thompson Center website at https://thompsoncenter.wisc.edu

October 31, 2018 : Awards for Faculty Research and Statewide Speakers

Thompson Center on Public Leadership Announces Awards for Faculty Research and Statewide Speakers

MADISON— Embracing “the Wisconsin Idea,” the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership has voted to award nearly $500,000 to UW System faculty and researchers on three general topics: 1) prison to work initiatives, 2) the future of transportation in Wisconsin, and 3) bipartisan leadership practice.

“We were very pleased with the response to our request for proposals,” noted Thompson Center Director, Ryan Owens. “UW System faculty are among the best and brightest in their fields, and their grant proposals reflect that. Together, we will help policymakers as they seek to move Wisconsin forward.”

The Thompson Center also awarded nearly $100,000 in speaker grants in its first round of applications for “Thompson Talks.” These talks are intended to bring in major figures from across the country to UW System campuses. The first round of Thompson Talks will be held this academic year on topics ranging from renewing civic life in America to the economic rationale for clean energy. Speakers will deliver their talks at UW-Green Bay, UW-Stevens Point, and UW-Superior. The Center will soon invite additional speakers at other universities as well.

UW System campuses interested in submitting an application for second round speaker awards may do so by the next application deadline of March 1. The Center plans to call for another round of faculty grant proposals in May.

The Center will hold free (and open to the public) conferences on Leadership (Madison – November 30); Second Chances and Prisoner Re-entry (Madison – March 7); and the Future of Transportation (Milwaukee – April 26).

For more details on upcoming events and proposal deadlines, please visit the Thompson Center website at https://thompsoncenter.wisc.edu

 

July 23, 2018 : Decision to Fund Statewide Speakers and Faculty Research

Thompson Center on Public Leadership to Fund

Statewide Speakers and Faculty Research

 

MADISON—In its efforts to embody “the Wisconsin Idea,” the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadershipwill fund speaker presentations and faculty grants on UW campuses across the state in the upcoming academic year.  The object of both is to advance effective public leadership and address pressing challenges in Wisconsin.

 

These “Thompson Talks” will be publicized to the UW campus and the broader community, will bring timely political and policy issues to the attention of larger audiences, and are expected to generate lively public debates.  Student organizations, faculty, or departments of any UW-system school outside of UW-Madison (where the Center is based and holding other planned events throughout the school year) may apply for speaker grants.

 

The Thompson Center also pursues its leadership objectives through funding faculty research. This year the Center will focus on projects that address prison to work initiatives and the future of transportation in Wisconsin.

 

Spurred by Governor Thompson’s recently proposed “Second Chance Initiative,” the Center seeks proposals from UW System scholars to investigate how to reduce recidivism and long-term prison costs while increasing employment among former low-level offenders and non-violent prisoners.  The Thompson Center is interested in funding research on programs designed to get prisoners on track with skills and jobs that help them hit the ground running when they re-enter society.

 

The Center is also interested in faculty grant proposals which investigate the future of transportation in Wisconsin.  In the effort toanticipate changes forthcoming in transportation, the Thompson Center seeks to fund research on a wide array of transportation and transportation-related issues.

 

For more details on deadlines, applicant eligibility, and requirements please go to the Thompson Centerwebsite at https://thompsoncenter.wisc.edu/faculty-research-grants/and https://thompsoncenter.wisc.edu/speaker-grants-thompson-talks/.

 

 

June 25, 2018 : Decision on Research Themes and Director Confirmation

Tommy Thompson Center on Public Leadership Selects Research Themes and Confirms Director
 

MADISON—Today, the Public Leadership Board for the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership took action on a number of important items that will set the stage for the Center’s success.

The Center identified two major themes on which it will focus during the 2018-2019 academic year. The first theme targets prison-to-work policies in Wisconsin. The Center will investigate how Wisconsin can reform prison re-entry policies in a way that reduces recidivism and long-term prison costs while increasing employment stability. Along these lines, the Center will investigate Governor Thompson’s proposed “Second Chance Initiative.” That Initiative aims to deliver certified job and entrepreneurial tools, along with necessary life skills training, for low-level offenders.

The Center’s second theme will examine Wisconsin’s transportation future. The Center will identify changes in Wisconsin’s transportation system in the near and long term, and seek to devise policy solutions that sets the state on a path of long-term transportation success.

The Center will call for UW System Faculty grant proposals on these—and related—topics soon. It will also hold conferences on the topics this coming academic year.

Additionally, the Board selected Professor Ryan Owens as the first Director of the Thompson Center. Owens earned his Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis in 2008, his law degree from UW-Madison in 2001, and his Bachelor’s degree from UW-Madison in 1998. The two-time Badger expressed excitement at his selection: “I’m pleased to lead the Thompson Center and look forward to working with the Board and the faculty to help solve some of Wisconsin’s most pressing leadership and policy challenges. We aim to follow Tommy’s legacy of big tent problem solving.”