Menard Center for the Study of Institutions and Innovation

MCSII's mission and staff support programs on campus, in the community, and across the region.
In this Section

MCSII logoThe Menard Center for the Study of Institutions and Innovation (MCSII) mission is to promote the study and discussion of civil liberties and related institutions (governmental, civic, business, social, scientific, religious, etc.) and innovations through scholarly inquiry, educational activities and community outreach. 

MCSII is housed in the College of Arts, Communication, Humanities and Social Science, and subject to UW-System, UW-Stout, and Stout Foundation policies and procedures. 

A Board of Advisors composed of UW-Stout shared governance representatives, participating institutions representatives, and others provide guidance to the MCSII Director.

Upcoming MCSII Events

Banned Books Week: Banned Books and Orwell’s 1984

Tuesday, Sept 29 - 4:30 to 5:30 PM - via Microsoft Teams

Contact MCSII Director Tim Shiell for email with invite link to the meeting shiellt@uwstout.edu

Main speaker is James Tager, deputy director of free expression research and policy at PEN America. PEN America is the leading defender of the expressive rights of writers, editors, playwrights, poets, etc. The respondents are Rickie-Ann Legleitner and Laura McCullough. Legleitner is an English professor and director of the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program who will discuss her use of banned books in her classes. McCullough is a professor of Physics who will discuss her research on the silencing and censorship of women in STEM

Co-sponsored by MCSII, Literature Committee, and University Library

 

Honors College Colloquium: The Undocumented Migration Project: A Conversation with Jason De Leon

Thursday, Oct 8 - 7:30 to 8:30 PM - via Microsoft Teams

Join the Honors College and guest speaker Jason De Leon to discuss his book The Land of Open Graves : Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail. Contact Honors College to get an invite to the meeting. 

Co-sponsored by MCSII and Honors College

 

Student Workshop: Investigating Civil Liberty and Economic Liberty

Tuesday, Oct 13 - 4:00 to 6:00 PM - Harvey Hall 240 (In Person)

Facilitated by Dr. Andrew Swanson, Professor of Economics. We will be complying with the proper COVID-19 guidelines. Applications due by October 2nd. Apply here

 

Free Speech Week

Pros and Cons of Banning Hate Speech

Monday, Oct 19 - 4:30 to 5:30 PM - via Microsoft Teams

Contact MCSII Director Tim Shiell for email with invite link to the meeting shiellt@uwstout.edu

Hosted by Tim Shiell, MCSII Director, with guest speaker Alison Kibler of Franklin and Marshall College.

Academic Freedom and Free Speech

Tuesday, Oct 20 - 4:30 to 5:30 PM - via Microsoft Teams

Contact MCSII Director Tim Shiell for email with invite link to the meeting shiellt@uwstout.edu

Hosted by Tim ShiellMCSII Director, with guest speakers Brian Huffman of UW-River Falls and John K. Wilson, independent scholar.

Cancel Culture

Wednesday, Oct 21 - 4:30 to 5:30 PM - via Microsoft Teams

Contact MCSII Director Tim Shiell for email with invite link to the meeting shiellt@uwstout.edu

Hosted by Tim Shiell, MCSII Director, with guest speakers JC Hallman, NYC writer, and James “Duke” Pesta, from the English department at UW-Oshkosh.

 

Student Workshop: Graffiti and Street Art

Tuesday, Oct 27 - 6:00 to 8:00 PM - via Zoom

Facilitated by Cynthia Bland, Professor of Art. 

Registration is required. More information coming soon. 

 

Student Workshop: Campus Free Speech Cases: You Decide

Tuesday, Nov 3 - 4:00 to 6:00 PM - Harvey Hall 240 (In Person)

Facilitated by Tim Shiell, MCSII Director. We will be complying with the proper COVID-19 guidelines.

Registration is required. More information coming soon. 

Civil Liberties During COVID-19

On Tuesday, May 5, 2020, the Menard Center for the Study of Institutions and Innovation hosted an online panel discussion of “Civil Liberties during COVID-19.”  Panelists included:

  • Jolly Emrey, associate professor and chair of Political Science at UW-Whitewater
  • Rick Esenberg, President and General Counsel for Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL)
  • Eric Kasper, associate professor of political science and director of the Center for Constitutional Studies at UW-Eau Claire

Topics discussed included religious freedom, freedom of assembly, the right to protest, and property rights (business restrictions and closings).

Civil Liberties During COVID-19 panel discussion held on Tuesday, May 5, 2020 / UW-Stout

MCSII Programs & Participating Institutions

MCSII's mission and staff support the following programs on campus, in the community and across the region.

Student Research

MCSII will provide up to $2000 to students during the 2020-2021 academic year to support research and scholarship on civil liberties and their relationship to institutions and innovation. Only students, undergraduate or graduate, enrolled full time at institutions participating in the MCSII campus network are eligible. Applicants are encouraged to contact the MCSII Director about potential proposals. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis.

Student Research Application

Student Internships

MCSII will provide up to $4000 per student during the 2020-2021 academic year to support faculty supervised student internships related to civil liberties or the relationship of civil liberties to institutions or innovation. Only students, undergraduate or graduate, enrolled full time at institutions participating in the MCSII campus network are eligible. Applicants are encouraged to contact the MCSII Director about potential proposals. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis.

Student INTERNSHIP Application

Faculty Research

MCSII will award up to four $5,000 faculty research stipends during the 2020-2021 academic year to promote civil liberties and related institutions and innovations. Only tenured or tenure track faculty employed full time at institutions participating in the MCSII campus network are eligible. Applicants are encouraged to contact the MCSII Director about potential proposals. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis.

Faculty Research Application

Speaker Grants

MCSII provides grants to support public discussion of civil liberties or the relationship of civil liberties to relevant institutions or innovation. Proposals may be submitted by individuals or organizations. Organizational proposals must identify one individual as the lead proposer. Applicants are encouraged to contact the MCSII Director about potential proposals. Applications are accepted on a continuous basis. Preference is given to proposals that involve presentation of multiple points of view, for example, a speaker with a responding panel, a dialogue / debate between two or more speakers, or a speaker series. Preference also is given to proposals that are co-sponsored by additional campus or community organizations. MCSII funded events should be open to the public and provide opportunity for audience involvement. 

Participating Institutions

To support its mission, MCSII provides funds to other public and private universities and colleges in Wisconsin to promote the study and discussion of civil liberties and their relationships to institutions and innovation. In 2019-2020, there are twenty-two participating institutions: UW-Eau Claire, UW-Green Bay, UW-La Crosse, UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Parkside, UW-Platteville, UW-River Falls, UW-Stevens Point, UW-Superior, UW-Whitewater, Alverno College, Beloit College, Concordia University, Lawrence University, Marian University, Marquette University, Ripon College, St. Norbert College, Viterbo University, and Wisconsin Lutheran College. 

Participating institutions receive funds to conduct programming supporting MCSII mission and designate a campus coordinator to organize the programming. Programming can include speakers, debates or panels; book groups; faculty-supervised student research; workshops; and more. All programming is expected to include multiple points of view. 

Faculty and students at participating institutions are eligible to apply for the Faculty and Student Research Awards and Speaker Grants.

 

Menard Family Gift to MCSII

Menard Family Open Letter

An open letter from the Menard family to the communities we serve:

Anyone who knows the Menard family knows how proud we are of our Midwestern heritage and the principles it’s instilled in us. Chief among those is a dedication to hard work and our belief in the power of education to unlock the extraordinary human potential that lies within all of us.

We believe that big dreams can come true for those who are willing to work for them. In 1958 we started transitioning from farming and teaching to build our home improvement business from scratch, building it, as has been reported, "one two-by¬ four at a time." Since then, Menards’ reputation for offering superior value has led to success far beyond our expectations.

We want to share in that success by investing in the future of the communities where our employees, customers and business partners live, learn and work. Our hope is to empower as many people as possible to have the opportunity our family did to use their innate abilities to learn, contribute and succeed.

When one person succeeds, we all succeed. By providing opportunities that help people realize their potential, we drive progress, because the more people who are creating value for society, the stronger we all become. So it's a win-win all around.

How do we do that? We think one good place to start is with higher education.

To tackle the tough issues facing this country, that are holding so many people back, requires big, bold ideas. And where do we find those? One place is at colleges and universities like the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

Who doesn't remember at least one professor or guest lecturer in college who exposed us to a new way of thinking or captivated us with previously unimagined possibilities? Who inspired us to dream? Who pushed us to do more than we thought we were capable of? That is the essence of learning. That is what leads to innovation. That is what moves society forward.

A seminal part of the college experience is hearing from people who have a diversity of viewpoints and track record of creating value for others. At Menards, we want to give more students the opportunity to have that experience and to develop a lifelong love of learning as a result.

From the beginning of time the one constant in the world is change. Thanks to the technological revolution we are all living through--and benefiting from--today's rate of disruption seems faster than ever, and it spares no one. We don't even cut two-by-fours like we used to.

To stay relevant, all of us need to embrace learning and new ideas so that we can create an America where nobody gets left behind. We hope our support of the University of Wisconsin-Stout will enhance the educational experiences of students, preparing them for future success and inspiring generational prosperity throughout communities across the Midwest to lead the way.

John Menard founded his namesake home improvement stores while he still was a student at UW – Eau Claire. Today, Menards has 325 stores and 41 manufacturing facilities located in 14 Midwestern states. In Wisconsin alone, Menards has 44 stores and 11 manufacturing facilities.

Menards’ commitment to UW-Stout will enable it to expand its Center for the Study of Institutions and Innovation, which promotes the study and discussion of civil liberties and related institutions and innovations through scholarly inquiry, educational activities and community outreach. Free speech and freedom of expression are critical to the innovation and advances that have improved our lives, and the center embodies the university’s mission to provide an education that will help tomorrow’s leaders solve real world problems.