Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs

La Follette School faculty members Christine Durrance, Greg Nemet, Morgan Edwards, and Philipp Koellinger


Four La Follette School faculty members will participate in a three-part Badger Talks LIVE series on critical public policy issues during August. 

The La Follette Focus series begins with Associate Professor Christine Durrance discussing health policy Tuesday, Aug. 10. One week later, Professor Greg Nemet and Assistant Professor Morgan Edwards will discuss climate policy and preview the La Follette School’s policy forum on October 6. 

The series concludes Tuesday, Aug. 31 with Professor Philipp Koellinger discussing social genomics and big data. All three events begin at noon and can be watched live on Facebook or watched at a later date on YouTube. La Follette School students will introduce the faculty members. 

Durrance will talk about state and federal health policy, including her research on maternal and infant health and on substance use, violence, and other risky behavior.  

She also will discuss the key aspects of health policy: paying for and accessing healthcare; the healthcare workforce; the role of markets and consequences of market/government failures; public policy that supports or promotes health; healthcare outcomes, quality, and disparities; and tools for evaluation.

Durrance teaches two courses in the La Follette School’s Undergraduate Certificate in Public Policy program: Analytic Tools for Public Policy and Introduction to Health Policy in the United States. She also will teach in the School’s new Undergraduate Certificate in Health Policy program; enrollment begins in November.  

Edwards and Nemet will provide highlights of their current work on climate solutions—from technologies like solar panels and heat pumps to policies that accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy.

Even as floods, droughts, fires, and heat waves make the impacts of climate change increasingly dire, they also will discuss how an array of innovative solutions is making addressing climate change more feasible. 

Edwards teaches Cost-Benefit Analysis and is affiliated with the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment, Energy Analysis and Policy Program, and Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies

Nemet teaches courses in energy systems analysis, policy analysis, and international environmental policy. In 2017, he received an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship and used it write How Solar Became Cheap: A Model for Low-Carbon Innovation.

In the series finale, Koellinger explain how genes are linked to behavior, socioeconomic status, and health, and the interconnection between genes and environments. He also contemplates a future with genetic data everywhere and explains how the role of genetic luck limits the amount of credit or blame people deserve for the things that happen in life.

Koellinger is one of the principal investigators and co-founders of the Social Science Genetic Association Consortium, the BIG BEAR Consortium, and the Externalizing Consortium. At UW–Madison, he is affiliated with the Institute for Research on Poverty, Center for Demography and Ecology, Center for Demography of Health and Aging, and Department of Psychology. 

Badger Talks LIVE helps spread the Wisconsin Idea across the state by engaging with and inviting Wisconsin residents to listen to UW–Madison experts discuss topics they care about and share the latest discoveries by faculty, staff, and students.

More information regarding the Badger Talks series is here