Tag: Marty Finkler

Sustainable China: Lawrence University Interdisciplinary Initiative Awarded $400,000 Grant

Few places on the planet offer the complexity of environmental and economic governance as does China. Competing and overlapping bureaucracies with environmental officials at the prefecture, county and township levels often answering to local officials rather than superiors in the central environmental bureaucracy, create opposing perspectives on the balance between economic development and environmental sustainability.

A $400,000 grant from the New York City-based Henry Luce Foundation will support Lawrence University’s long-standing commitment to engaging students with East Asia through the college’s distinctively integrated, multi-disciplinary initiative “Sustainable China: Integrating Culture, Conservation and Commerce.”

The four-year implementation grant builds on two previous Luce Foundation planning grants for $50,000 and $30,000 that helped Lawrence lay the groundwork for the development of courses, study-abroad opportunities and collaborative research projects examining critical issues in sustainability.

Awarded through the Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment (LIASE), the grant also will enable Lawrence to expand partnerships with two Chinese institutions. Guizhou Normal University, located in the provincial capital city of Guiyang, is home to the Institute of China South Karst. Lawrence and the Karst Institute have successfully collaborated previously to improve understanding of how culture, conservation and commerce must be integrated for true sustainability. The award-winning Linden Centre in Yunnan province serves as a retreat for those studying how traditional Chinese culture meshes with modern economic development in an ecologically responsible way.

The Linden Center was created by Brian and Jeanee Linden, who also operate the Linden Gallery in Ellison Bay, which specializes in Asian art. The gallery is not far from Lawrence’s Door County Bjorklunden estate.

A Three-Prong Approach

Associate Professor of Chinese Jane Parish Yang

Lawrence’s “Sustainable China” initiative is a multi-disciplinary collaboration among the college’s East Asian Studies and Environmental Studies programs, including faculty in biology, Chinese and Japanese language and culture, economics, government and history. As China and its environmental concerns loom larger on the world stage, the program provides opportunities for student engagement with issues of economic growth, environmental sustainability and a shifting cultural landscape.

The program’s mission is threefold:

broaden and deepen Lawrence student engagement with China through the curriculum

diversify and expand opportunities for students to gain first-hand experience with China

promote mutually beneficial partnerships with organizations in China.

“This grant offers our students first-hand experiences in China with study tours to both rural and urban sites as well as research opportunities on environmental and cultural issues, such as ethnic minorities and economic development, ” said Jane Parish Yang, associate professor of Chinese at Lawrence, who will co-direct the “Sustainable China” program for the first year. “Our students also will be able to study at Guizhou Normal University and receive internships, including post-graduate positions. We hope these opportunities encourage students to pursue Chinese language study in conjunction with coursework related to China in environmental science and the social sciences.”

Three “Cs” of Sustainability

The program approaches China’s competing and conflicting perspectives on development and the environment by focusing on three ” Cs” of sustainability:
•  Culture — language, history and the roles of ethnic minorities.

  Conservation — the importance of establishing governance systems and social institutions that encourage both public and private actors to be good stewards of natural resources.

  Commerce — an alliterative substitute for economic vitality, reflecting the perspective that environmental sustainability should be pursued in ways that also drive broader prosperity and economic sustainability.

Professor of Economics Marty Finkler

“In today’s world it is vitally important students grapple with the complexity of sustainability, transcending the purely scientific and environmental issues to encompass economic, political and cultural factors as well and China offers an ideal context for such study,” said Merton Finkler, professor of economics and John R. Kimberly Distinguished Professor in the American Economic System who will co-direct the program its first year. “The interdisciplinary nature of our program offers a distinctive lens through which our students will study China, one based on the assertion that sustainability must address various perspectives for how scarce resources are allocated and managed.”

Last November, a Luce Foundation grant supported a 19-day study tour to China for 13 students and four faculty members for an investigation of water resource management issues.

The Henry Luce Foundation was established in 1936 by Henry R. Luce, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time Inc., to honor his parents who were missionary educators in China. The Foundation builds upon the vision and values of four generations of the Luce family: broadening knowledge and encouraging the highest standards of service and leadership.  It seeks to bring important ideas to the center of American life, strengthen international understanding, and foster innovation and leadership in academic, policy, religious and art communities.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2013 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,450 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries. Follow Lawrence on Facebook.

 

Lawrence University Awarded $50,000 Grant for New “Sustainable China” Initiative

A $50,000 grant from the New York City-based Henry Luce Foundation will support the development of new Lawrence University courses, study-abroad opportunities and collaborative research projects in China, all with an environmental focus, college officials have announced.

Utilizing the resources of Lawrence’s current East Asian Studies and Environmental Studies programs, the new “Sustainable China: Integrating Culture, Conservation and Commerce” program will provide opportunities for students to examine, through a multi-disciplinary approach, the critical issues of economic growth, environmental sustainability and a shifting cultural landscape facing China.

Awarded through the Luce Initiative on Asian Studies & the Environment (LIASE), the grant also will enable Lawrence to expand partnership collaborations with two Chinese institutions, Guizhou Normal University and the Linden Centre in Yunnan province.

Emphasizing integrated sustainability, Sustainable China will focus on three primary areas of study:
• culture, including language, history and the roles of ethnic minorities

• conservation, highlighting the importance of governance systems that encourage both public and private sectors to be good stewards of available natural resources.

• commerce or economic vitality, from the perspective that environmental sustainability should be pursued in ways that also drive economic sustainability.

Professor of Economics Marty Finkler

“The three Cs of sustainability provide a framework for meaningful, multi-disciplinary examination of contemporary China on its own and in a global context,” said Marty Finkler, professor of economics and John R. Kimberly Distinguished Professor in the American Economic System. “That framework will force students to grapple with the reality that environmental science and policy decisions have consequences for economic development, poverty reduction and cultural preservation.”

Designed to attract students from a wide range of majors and interests, the Sustainable China program has three major goals: broaden Lawrence student engagement with China in the curriculum; create new opportunities for students to gain first-hand experience in China and promote mutually beneficial bilateral partnerships with organizations in China.

Details of the program will be developed over the next 13 months with a goal of securing further Henry Luce Foundation grant support to launch the Sustainable China program in the 2012-13 academic year.

Associate Professor of Chinese Jane Parish Yang

“The Sustainable China program is a natural next step for Lawrence, joining the formidable talents of the Environmental Studies and East Asian Studies interdisciplinary faculties,” said Jane Parish Yang, associate professor of Chinese. “The resulting program will greatly increase the number, variety and depth of opportunities for Lawrence students to engage with China and perhaps become interested in learning Chinese.”

Finkler said the Karst Institute within Guizhou Normal University and the Linden Centre are “ideal partners” for the Sustainable China program.

“The Karst Institute’s cultural, conservation and economic context mesh very well with the goals of our program,” said Finkler. “Guizhou province is home to more than 20 ethnic minorities, including many Miao villages. The Hmong and the Miao peoples share the same historic and cultural roots. Guizhou province ranks near the bottom in terms of provincial per capita income in China but features a rich array of natural resources, so those three ‘Cs’ of sustainability are all present.

“The Linden Centre serves as a retreat for those who wish to study how traditional culture meshes with modern economic development, in an ecologically responsible way,” Finkler added.

The Linden Centre is the creation of Brian and Jeanee Linden, who also operate the Linden Gallery in Ellison Bay, not far from Lawrence’s Bjorklunden estate.

Since the formation of the East Asian Languages & Cultures department in 1989 (renamed East Asian Studies in 2003), Lawrence has steadily increased its China-focused curricular and co-curricular programming. Efforts include:

• the addition of a major in Chinese

• a series of study tours of China, Japan and southeast Asia involving 82 faculty members and 166 students from 2001-2005 supported by a grant from the Freeman Foundation

• establishment of a new professorship in 2002 devoted to comparative politics and political economy of Asia through the support of Luce Foundation grant

• co-hosting the “China-U.S. Water Symposium” in 2008, which attracted Chinese engineers and policy advisors as well as Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources officials, members of the NEW North economic development consortium, community leaders, legislators, policy experts and academic experts.

• an investigation of water resource management issues in China by 12 students and three faculty members during a three-week trip to China in 2009 funded by a grant from the Luce Foundation

The Henry Luce Foundation was established in 1936 by Henry R. Luce, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time Inc., to honor his parents who were missionary educators in China. The Foundation builds upon the vision and values of four generations of the Luce family: broadening knowledge and encouraging the highest standards of service and leadership. It seeks to bring important ideas to the center of American life, strengthen international understanding, and foster innovation and leadership in academic, policy, religious and art communities.

$23,000 Grant Boosts Lawrence University Program in Innovation and Entrepreneurship

A $23,000 grant will support Lawrence University’s growing innovation and entrepreneurship program, a university-wide initiative launched in 2008 that engages students, faculty and alumni.

The two-year grant from the National Collegiate Inventors & Innovators Alliance will target the program’s flagship course “In Pursuit of Innovation.”  Cross-taught through Lawrence’s economics and physics departments, the course incorporates the use of guest experts from various fields, intertwines innovation with entrepreneurship and employs a project-driven, hands-on component designed to develop a learning community eager to pursue innovative and entrepreneurial ventures.

Since its launch, 41 students have taken the “Innovation” course.  Operating in three-person teams and in conjunction with the FabLab, a prototyping facility at Fox Valley Technical College, students have worked on projects ranging from the development of a multi-directional split-field camera and an ergonomic student desk to a hand sanitizing system for hospitals and schools and a personal identification system that allows health records to be retrieved automatically in the event of an accident.

“From its inception, our course has focused on diverse teams creating innovative products or processes, leading to functioning prototypes,” said Adam Galambos, assistant professor of economics and one of the program’s originators, along with John Brandenberger, professor emeritus of physics and Marty Finkler, professor of economics.  “This grant will enable us to take the Innovation course to a whole new level with student ‘E-teams,’ which will translate ideas into new products or services that benefit society.

“With its long-standing commitment to the liberal arts and sciences, Lawrence is the ideal setting for a program that inspires students and faculty to create innovative new ventures that combine ideas from diverse backgrounds, fields and perspectives,” Galambos added.

The “Innovation” course is designed to prepare Lawrence students to become major contributors to a globally competitive American economy through an immersion in innovation and entrepreneurship.  Students in the course develop their own innovative ideas to lay the groundwork for entrepreneurial ventures, examine how innovation and entrepreneurship invigorate businesses and industries and their roles in creating new ones, study the innovation and entrepreneurship literature and interact with active, successful innovators and entrepreneurs.

“Our students learn to connect theory with the real-world experiences described by our visiting experts and to apply this learning to their own projects,” said Brandenberger.

The impetus for Lawrence’s “In Pursuit of Innovation” course was a highly-influential national publication entitled “Rising Above the Gathering Storm” and a bipartisan piece of legislation leading to the 2007 America Competes Act, both of which warned of slippage in American competitiveness worldwide. The studies pointed toward increased emphasis on innovative and entrepreneurial effectiveness, especially in scientific, technological and engineering pursuits, as one solution to reverse the trend.

In addition to “In Pursuit of Innovation,” courses such as “Entrepreneurship and
Financial Markets ” and “Entrepreneurship in the Arts and Society” also are part of the effort to build an innovation and entrepreneurship program at Lawrence.

Based in Massachusetts, the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance supports technology innovation and entrepreneurship in higher education to create experiential learning opportunities for students and socially beneficial businesses.

Health Care Specialist Analyses Bush, Kerry Health Plans in Lawrence University Science Hall Lecture

With health care reform once again near the top of the political agendas in this year’s presidential election, Lawrence University economist Marty Finkler analyzes the programs proposed by the two major party candidates and the feasibility of their implementation in a Lawrence Science Hall Colloquium.

Finkler presents “Health Care Reform: The Tradeoffs Before Us” Tuesday, Oct. 26 at 4:30 p.m. in Science Hall, Room 102. The event is free and open to the public.

A specialist in health care economics, Finkler will provide a brief history of health policy reform as well as an overview of the cost and quality of and access to health care services. The talk will examine the tradeoffs that collective decision-making requires and how neither of the two major proposals seriously addresses these choices.

According to Finkler, the Bush proposal might be feasible, but it does little to address the fundamental choices whereas the Kerry proposal, while not likely to be feasible, does at least make a serious effort to address part of the problem. Neither proposal, says Finkler, contains a credible funding mechanism.

Finkler, a member of the Lawrence faculty since 1979, co-founded the Menasha-based consulting firm Innovative Health Associates in 1993. A former Robert Wood Johnson Faculty Fellow in health care finance, he earned a bachelor of arts degree in mathematics at the University of California-San Diego, a master’s degree at the London School of Economics and Political Science and his Ph.D. in economics at the University of Minnesota.