These experts from the UW-Madison faculty and staff have agreed to comment on breaking news, ongoing developments and trends in their areas of expertise. If you need help arranging interviews, email University Communications.
Experts on today’s news
Allison Prasch on: Inauguration day experts
Experts from UW-Madison are available for insight and analysis this inauguration week. Click the links below to access contact information and the complete expert profile.
Allison Prasch, an expert on political communication, can discuss the historical import of this week's inauguration and what president-election Biden needs to accomplish in his auguration day speech. Prasch says, "Historically, incoming presidents use their inaugural address to unify the country, remind the U.S. public of shared national values, and reaffirm their commitment to upholding their oath of office. In his First Inaugural Address, Franklin D. Roosevelt famously told the U.S. public that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” only after he promised “candor” and a commitment to speaking “the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly” about the depths of the Great Depression. Biden should do the same, and directly address the threats and crises facing the nation. He must also remind the U.S. public and the rest of the world that he is but a temporary guardian of the institution of the presidency. Biden needs to reframe the public’s understanding of what a president is, does, and says."
Mark Copelovitch, a political science professor and expert on money and finance, is available to discuss the nomination of Janet Yellen as Treasury Secretary and what the Biden administration will mean for economic policy, foreign policy, trade policy, US-Europe relations, and international cooperation.
Barry Burden, director of the Elections Research Center, is available for interviews about what the new Biden administration will mean for national politics. Burden says, "Biden's inauguration marks a return to an earlier style of Washington politics that seems anachronistic but was in fact dislodged only four years ago by the Trump presidency."
Political scientist Kenneth Mayer is an expert on the American presidency. His oped on the insurrection at the Capitol was published in USA Today. He is available to discuss the current political climate for incoming president Joe Biden, along with many other aspects of this week's transition in Washington.
Steve Vavrus, a senior scientist at the Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research, is an expert on global climate change and extreme weather. Gregory Nemet is an expert on energy policy and climate change. Vavrus and Nemet can discuss the impact of U.S. reinvolvement in the Paris Climate Accord and the future of U.S. climate change policy.
Erin Barbato, director of the Immigrant Justice Clinic and an expert on immigration law, is available for interviews to discuss the Biden immigration plan. Barbato comments, "On the day of his inauguration, President-Elect Joe Biden will introduce a historic immigration bill that will provide an eight year path to citizenship for approximately 11 million people in the United States. Over the past four years we witnessed children ripped from the arms of their parents, people from Muslim majority countries banned, a nonsensical attempted termination of DACA, and more. This inauguration will signify the end of these horrific policies and a beginning of a Presidency that welcomes of immigrants and a country that will again be a pillar of humane treatment of people seeking refuge from around the world."
Economist Steven Deller can discuss the impact the new administration is likely to have on the U.S. economy. According ot Deller, "The new Biden Administration will help create a stronger environment for economic growth and development because it will reduce the level of uncertainity fostered by the Trump Administration. The Trump Administration introduced a level of uncertainity in policies and future directions that left many businesses unsure of what might come next. This uncertainty makes long-term investment planning difficult and as such hinders economic growth and development. The Biden Administration will introduce a certain level of stability that will help businesses move forward."
Menzie Chinn, an economist at the La Follette School of Public Affairs, is available to discuss macroeconomic and fiscal policy aspects of the incoming administration.
Keith Findley, an expert on criminal procedure and policing, is ready to offer insight on future directions in criminal justice, and in particular the new administrations renewed commitment to science, which can have an important impact on the way the law handles forensic science.
Susan Webb Yackee, a professor of public affairs and political science, is available to discuss Executive Orders, the Congressional Review Act, and other options the Biden-Harris administration might use in the coming days and weeks to change the course of policymaking in the United States.
Hilary Dugan on: Salting icy roads and sidewalks
The slippery season is in full swing, and many roads, sidewalks and parking lots are getting a heavy dose of salt to speed ice melt. "Road salt in small quantities is relatively benign, but when we start using millions of tons a year to deice our roads and parking lots, we risk impairing our freshwater resources," says limnologist Dugan, who studies salt's impact on the delicate chemistry of lake ecosystems.
Thomas Friedrich on: UK virus variant found in Wisconsin
A variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 believed to spread faster than other common versions has been identified in a Wisconsin infection by the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene. Friedrich's lab began sequencing the genomes of virus samples from COVID-19 patients in March, building a family tree of hundreds of different viral variants and tracking the spread of the pandemic using viral mutations like genetic fingerprints.
Diana Hess on: How schools can discuss the storming of the Capitol
Diana Hess, Dean of the UW-Madison School of Education, is available for interviews about how schools can hold discussions about difficult topics, like the recent storming of the Capitol by pro-Trump mobs.
Franciska Coleman on: Trump banned from social media platforms
Franciska Coleman, an assitant professor of law and an expert on constitutional law, is available to discuss the legal framework behind the banning of President Trump from various social media platforms like Twitter and YouTube.
Dietram Scheufele on: How to overcome COVID vaccine fears
Dietram Scheufele, a science communication expert, is available to discuss how public health communication tactics can help to overcome fear of the COVID-19 vaccine. Scheufele suggests that Americans could get "I got vaccinated" stickers, in an echo of the "I voted" sticker campaign.