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..

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.