The UW-Green Bay Center for Public Affairs will serve as a research consultant on the Leading Indicators for Excellence (LIFE) study of Brown County, now underway. The Greater Green Bay Community Foundation, Greater Green Bay Chamber, and Brown County United Way are sponsoring and spearheading the work. The study, a measure of the quality of life in Brown County through analysis of available data, expert opinion and surveys of residents and community leaders, guides the alignment of community resources to achieve the greatest impact. The first Brown County LIFE Study was published in 2011. This current effort will help identify progress and current status after five years of community investments and continued community growth. Joining with the lead partners are two local higher education institutions bringing unique and specialized expertise to perform the work. The St. Norbert College Strategic Research Institute will conduct survey work for the study. It has initiated confidential surveys of nearly 900 community leaders and 1,500 scientifically selected households to gather public opinion on the quality of life in Brown County. Those surveyed are asked to share their thoughts on a comprehensive series of indicators that measure various aspects of life in the community. As a research constant, UWGB’s Center for Public Affairs will help gather and examine data related to the indicators and work with local experts to delve further into each area of measurement. The findings will be analyzed by the UWGB Center for Public Affairs, and they will also take the lead in drafting the final report. The full release can be found here.
The good news according to UW-Green Bay Associate Prof. Lora Warner, is that research supports that Brown County is still highly valued for its quality of life.
Warner (above with her students) presented to a near-capacity crowd at UW-Green Bay’s After Thoughts event, Tuesday, March 3.
The director of UW-Green Bay’s Center for Public Affairs has a front-row seat to all the community has to offer after leading a number of community-wide quality of life studies, including serving as principal investigator for the Fox River Region Leading Indicators for Excellence, or LIFE Studies, the first large-scale, two-year effort that concluded in 2011.
The Life Study included multiple surveys and focus groups, combined with an analysis of census, health, education and other data. The report date was finite, but work to protect all that we hold valuable in the community continues, Warner said.
This wide-ranging study of the quality of life in Northeastern Wisconsin looked at 10 key areas of quality of life (arts, community, health, vulnerable groups, education, environment, leisure, safety, self-sufficiency and economy) in Brown County, the Fox Cities and Oshkosh.
Research supports tremendous satisfaction from both community leaders and community members.
The community is not without its challenges, however. On the top of the ”challenge” list:
- Achievement gap
- Water quality
- Community life and diversity issues
- Access to higher education
For instance, 66 percent of Green Bay Area Public School children are considered economically disadvantaged, and despite efforts for years, there are still huge gaps in their educational achievement.
Warner has continued to explore these issues with the Center for Public Affairs, which connects students and faculty with the community through research, internships, service projects and various courses. Students take on high-impact experiences while the community benefits from the expertise of student and faculty, resulting in more engaged citizens and better community strategies for enhancing quality of life.
Warner said that educating oneself and getting involved are keys to strengthening our local community and protecting our current quality of life. Warner points to student-initiated activities such as UWGB’s Steps to Make a Difference Walk and the partnership with the “Learning by Giving Foundation” by which her students receive a $10,000 grant to research, solicit nominations and eventually award to other non-profit organizations — as novel ways to advance the next generation’s understanding of philanthropy and improve the lives of others.
Warner’s “After Thought”… “YOU have a role in our quality of Life. Do something.”
About After Thoughts:
After Thoughts connects women in the community with UW-Green Bay. The gatherings showcase University faculty, staff and guests after their workdays for learning, enrichment and fun. The sessions are so named because they provide “After Thoughts” for participants to take with them when they leave.
The final After Thoughts presentation will be April 7, with presenter Kristy Aoki, UWGB’s International Student Adviser, who will speak on the value, challenges and joys of international education.
Each After Thoughts takes place from 5-7 p.m. in the Grand Foyer of the Weidner Center. The events begin with time to network, mingle and enjoy hors d’oeuvres before the featured guest speaker begins.
The cost of each program is $14. To reserve your spot, send a check (payable to “UW-Green Bay Foundation”) to: UW-Green Bay Foundation, CL 805, 2420 Nicolet Drive, Green Bay, WI 54311; or register online. Walk-up registration also is an option. Call (920) 465-2074 for more information.
Associate Prof. Lora Warner will speak about her research into the quality of life in Brown County during the University’s next After Thoughts event Tuesday, March 3. The Public Administration faculty member was principal investigator for the Leading Indicators for Excellence (LIFE) Study, which looked at 10 key indicators in three different communities. The program begins with a 5 p.m. reception, followed by Warner’s talk at 5:45 p.m. in the Grand Foyer of the Weidner Center. Advance registration is recommended. The cost of each program is $14. For details.
Assistant Prof. Lora Warner of Public and Environmental Affairs and staff research associate Ashley Heath of the Center for Public Affairs are co-authors of a chapter describing the Fox River Regional LIFE Study. (LIFE stands for Leading Indicators For Excellence.) Results from the four-county, year-and-a-half long study were rolled out last October, offering an analysis of how local communities relate to key quality-of-life indicators. The chapter by Warner and Heath, titled “The Fox River Region Leading Indicators for Excellence: The Benefits and Challenges of Regional Collaboration,” appears in a book titled Community QOL Indicators: Best Cases VI. Edited by scholars from Virginia Tech, Arizona State and the College of William and Mary, the book is published by Springer Books, with information and previews available – click here.
If you’d like an overview of the LIFE study, see our previous release.
When Assistant Prof. Lora Warner’s brand-new Strategic Philanthropy class set out to coordinate its first gift, students wanted to target environmental quality, or possibly civic engagement.
The project they chose was a stellar example of both.
Using a $5,000 anonymous gift presented under the auspices of the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation, Warner’s students facilitated start-up funds for a new community garden at Green Bay West High School. The student-run project is designed to address the issue of a “food desert” — lack of a nearby grocery store — in the school’s near west-side neighborhood, and also get students and the community involved in the garden’s creation and upkeep. Students from numerous Green Bay West clubs and organizations will tend the garden, which will grow an assortment of vegetables to represent the diverse backgrounds of the community.
“I was just so excited to see this proposal,” said student Emily Fischer, speaking during a Dec. 18 check presentation event. “It has the potential to get not just the students, but an entire community involved. We would like to thank the (West) student and faculty for winning our hearts.”
The West group won not just the class’ heart, but also a thorough selection process involving RFPs (requests for proposals), in-person interviews and a carefully chosen set of project criteria. The new course was designed to help students experience the intricacies of the philanthropic giving process firsthand, and to give them a real-life chance to apply their knowledge.
“These students came in as caring, compassionate people,” Warner said. “Now I think they have the strategic part in mind … and can be much more intentional about where they give.”
The proposals for consideration were carefully chosen based on needs identified in the Leading Indicators for Excellence, or LIFE Study, a broad-based, four-county quality-of-life report that presented its findings in October 2011. Warner led the year-and-a-half long study, in coordination with the St. Norbert College Strategic Research Institute.
Students in Warner’s class not only learned about the process of philanthropic giving, but also were motivated look for ways to give back themselves, whether through time or monetary donation, said UW-Green Bay student Michael Hastreiter. The unofficial class mottos became “do something,” a call to action, and “one person can make a difference,” a reminder that big ideas sometimes start small.
Numerous members of Green Bay’s philanthropic community attended the Dec. 18 check presentation event, including United Way CEO Gregg Hetue; Martha Ahrendt, Greater Green Bay Community Foundation VP of programs; and current or emeriti Women’s Fund of Greater Green Bay board members Gail McNutt, Suzy Pfeifer and Lise Lotte Gammeltoft. Representatives of UW-Green Bay included Assistant Chancellor for University Advancement Bev Carmichael and Development Director Jeanne Stangel, Women’s Fund board member emerita and president-elect, respectively; along with Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean Scott Furlong and Public and Environmental Affairs Chair John Stoll. Former UW System Regent Judy Crain also was in attendance.
West school social worker Margaret Kubek and two students accepted the check on behalf of their school during the Dec. 18 event, as principal Mark Flaten looked on. They thanked Warner’s class and invited everyone to come visit the garden this spring.
“They know how to make an impact,” Warner said of her students. “And they feel empowered to do it.”
The UW-Green Bay Civics Club and Center for Public Affairs will team up to host the seventh annual Steps to Make a Difference Walk, part of national Make a Difference Day, Saturday, Oct. 27 on the Cofrin Arboretum Trail. Proceeds from this year’s walk will go to the Baird Creek Preservation Foundation, the Ecumenical Partnership for Housing, Inc., Hand-N-Hand of NEW, Inc. and the Neville Public Museum Foundation. Each of this year’s recipients was chosen using the findings of the Brown County LIFE Study, which was spearheaded by UW-Green Bay Assistant Prof. Lora Warner. Registration for the event begins at 9:30 a.m. in the Phoenix Room, with the walk beginning at 10. Full details.
UW-Green Bay Chancellor Thomas Harden is among area educators who co-authored a column on embracing diversity in Tuesday’s (May 8) Green Bay Press-Gazette. Along with Michelle Langenfeld, Green Bay schools superintendent; Jeffrey Rafn, president of NWTC; and Thomas Kunkel, president of St. Norbert College, Harden and colleagues urge readers to celebrate the diversification of greater Green Bay. New people bring new ideas, perspectives and energy, not to mention fashions, cuisines, leadership and more, the column says. The impetus for the piece also has UW-Green Bay ties — it’s based on data from last year’s large-scale LIFE Study, for which our own Prof. Lora Warner was the principal investigator. Only 45 percent of respondents said the region’s growing diversity is a good thing, down from 60 percent a decade earlier, the paper reported. Harden and his colleagues in education are committed to turning that around. Full column.
A large-scale regional study led by UW-Green Bay’s Lora Warner continues to inform community and media discussion around significant issues in Northeastern Wisconsin. An editorial in Sunday’s (Jan. 8) Green Bay Press-Gazette cited data from the Leading Indicators For Excellence, or LIFE Study, that show that for the first time since 1995 more Brown County residents believe they could not have an impact on decisions made by county leaders than those who believe they could. The Press-Gazette editorial board used this fact as a springboard for its piece on the importance of voter education and engagement, imploring readers to help reverse a trend of increasing voter apathy at the local level. You can read the editorial, and find more info on the LIFE Study, by clicking the links below:
Green Bay Press-Gazette editorial
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay researcher Lora Warner will host a public discussion on the results of the extensive Leading Indicators for Excellence, or LIFE Study, from 9:30-11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 24 at the Neville Public Museum of Brown County, 210 Museum Place, Green Bay.
Warner, an assistant professor of Public and Environmental Affairs and the director of UW-Green Bay’s Center for Public Affairs, was the principal investigator for the large-scale, 1 ½ year study of the quality of life in Northeastern Wisconsin. Monday’s discussion will focus on the Brown County LIFE Study, beginning with a presentation of its findings and themes from 9:30-10:30 a.m. and concluding with a question-and-answer session from 10:30-11 a.m.
“This presentation is offered for the general public to provide an opportunity to learn some of the important findings of the Brown County LIFE Study,” Warner said. “We will explore the 10 aspects of quality of life that were assessed and conclude by discussing the area’s major strengths and opportunities for improvement.”
Local and regional LIFE Study results were rolled out earlier this month, highlighting the common and individual strengths and challenges of Brown County, the Fox Cities and Southern Winnebago County. Warner and the UW-Green Bay Center for Public Affairs, along with the St. Norbert College Strategic Research Institute, conducted the study. It was funded by the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation, Brown County United Way and Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce.
Area citizens will have the opportunity Monday (Oct. 24) to learn more about results of the unprecedented Leading Indicators For Excellence, or LIFE Study, spearheaded by UW-Green Bay’s own Lora Warner. Warner will host the first of two public forums on “Exploring the Brown County LIFE Study” at 9:30 a.m. Monday at the Neville Public Museum of Brown County, 210 Museum Place, Green Bay. The event will feature a presentation of the study’s findings from 9:30-10:30 a.m., followed by an open question and answer session from 10:30-11 a.m. Warner and the UW-Green Bay Center for Public Affairs, along with the St. Norbert College Strategic Research Institute, conducted the study. It was funded by the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation, Brown County United Way and Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce. Monday’s event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.uwgb.edu/cfpa.