Center for the Study of Institutions and Innovation

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

CSII logoThe Center for the Study of Institutions and Innovation (CSII) 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. 

CSII 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 CSII Director.

Upcoming Events

Third Annual Civil Liberties Symposium

April 6 - 7, 2020

Join CSII at the Third Annual Civil Liberties Symposium - a 2 day event! As always, every event is free and open to all!

Events are to be determined, but will occur on Monday, April 6th between 10:30 AM and 4:00 PM in MSC Willow/Walnut, and on Tuesday, April 7th between 8:30 AM and 3:00 PM in MSC Oakwood.

Call for Papers: 2020 Civil Liberty Symposium

 

Menard Family Gift to CSII

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.

 

CSII Programs & Participating Institutions

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

Student Research

CSII provides $1000 awards (up to $2500 for exceptional proposals) to students 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 CSII campus network are eligible. Applicants are encouraged to contact the CSII Director about potential proposals. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis.

Student Research Application

Faculty Research

CSII will award four $5,000 faculty research stipends during the 2018-2019 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 CSII campus network are eligible. Applicants are encouraged to contact the CSII Director about potential proposals. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis.

Faculty Research Application

Speaker Grants

CSII 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 CSII 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. CSII funded events should be open to the public and provide opportunity for audience involvement. 

Participating Institutions

To support its mission, CSII 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 2017-2018, there are twenty-one 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-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 CSII 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.

CSII Funding

CSII is funded by a four-year $1.7 million award from the Charles Koch Foundation.  The agreement protects the academic freedom of the center and its staff, provides transparency to the public, and gives control of the center to the university.  A copy of the agreement between the university and Charles Koch Foundation is available from the Stout University Foundation. 

 UW-Stout and the Charles Koch Foundation both recognized a significant need for increased education and discussion—guided by civil and rational debate reflecting a diversity of perspectives—regarding civil liberties and their relationship to institutions and innovations.