A little more than a year ago, Rebecca Blank visited the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery on the UW-Madison campus to listen to faculty members, entrepreneurs and business leaders. Her topic: What’s working and what’s not when it comes to the role of the university and the economy?
Blank was visiting at the time as deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, an economic emissary of sorts for the Obama administration. When she returns sometime this spring, it will be as the UW-Madison’s next and 32nd chancellor.
The meeting stuck in my mind because it was precisely the kind of discussion an economist like Blank might be expected to convene. Attended by 30 or so people, the meeting was built around five questions that will likely define, at least in part, how she views her new role: