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 in the Spotlight
Kimber Wilkerson on: Special education teacher residency program
Forty graduate students will work with students with disabilities in high-need and small, rural school districts across Wisconsin, thanks to a $2.5 million U.S. Department of Education Teacher Quality Partnership Grant.
"Special educators are sorely needed across Wisconsin — with the need particularly acute in small, rural districts and in schools that serve a high number of families and children who are economically disadvantaged,” says Wilkerson. “We are excited to work with new school district partners in this much-needed effort."
Experts on today’s news…
Simone Schweber on: Educating about the Holocaust
Incidents like a photo showing a group of high school boys in Baraboo appearing to give the Nazi salute have sparked discussions about the prevalence of anti-Semitism. Simone Schweber, author of "Making Sense of the Holocaust: Lessons from Classroom Practice," is an expert on Holocaust education. She can discuss the need for education about the Holocaust. Last April 14, observed as Holocaust Remembrance Day, a survey showed that Americans know little about the Holocaust. Thirty-one percent of Americans, and 41 percent of millennials, believe that two million or fewer Jews were killed in the Holocaust; the actual number is around six million. Forty-one percent of Americans, and 66 percent of millennials, cannot say what Auschwitz was. And 52 percent of Americans wrongly think Hitler came to power through force.
Jennifer Smith on: Legacy of Stan Lee
Jennifer Smith, an expert on American comic books, can comment on the impact of comic book legend Stan Lee who died at the age of 95. Not only did Lee create some of the world's most recognizable superhero characters, Smith says, he was the comic book industry's most notable spokesman and showman.
"Decades after he left Marvel editorial, Stan Lee remained the public face of a small and misunderstood arm of the media industries," Smith says. "Through his countless cameos, interviews, and convention appearances, Lee served as a human link between today's massive blockbuster films and the humble periodicals from which they spawned. Part Walt Disney and part P.T. Barnum, Stan Lee was, for many people, the comic book industry incarnate."
Amy Wagner on: Spanking
To spank or not to spank children is no longer a question, says the American Academy of Pediatricians. Twenty years ago, the group urged caution about using spanking as a form of discipline but now says it shouldn't be done ever.
"Aversive disciplinary strategies, including all forms of corporal punishment and yelling at or shaming children, are minimally effective in the short-term and not effective in the long-term," the AAP advises. "With new evidence, researchers link corporal punishment to an increased risk of negative behavioral, cognitive, psychosocial, and emotional outcomes for children."
Amy Wagner, an expert on child development, can comment on the new recommendations. "Helping children learn to regulate their behavior and emotions starts with adults who are able to regulate their own behavior and emotions," Wagner says. "Children will be better able to control their behavior and express their emotions in socially-acceptable ways if they are supported by adults who understand child development, reward positive behaviors, and calmly yet firmly reinforce limits. Adults need to be able to explain the reasons for limits while supporting the child's emotional responses."
Pamela McGranahan, an expert on the impact of childhood adversity and trauma on lifelong health, can also comment.
Frank Tuerkheimer on: Sessions firing and impact on Mueller investigation
Frank Tuerkheimer, an expert on criminal law and a former federal prosecutor and associate special Watergate prosecutor, can comment on the firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and how that could impact special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.
Dr. Doug Jorenby on: FDA limits sale of flavored electronic cigarettes
Dr. Doug Jorenby, an expert on smoking and tobacco cessation, can discuss the decision by the Food and Drug Administration to limit the sale of sweet electronic cigarette flavors in an effort to curtail vaping by teenagers. "We must do more to stem what I see as an epidemic of use of e-cigs among teens, and deeply disturbing trends that show no sign of abating," FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said. "The FDA won't tolerate a whole generation of young people becoming addicted to nicotine."