Blank honored by Belgian university for poverty research

April 2, 2014

by John Lucas

Photo: Rebecca Blank

Chancellor Rebecca Blank speaks during a UW Board of Regents meeting at Union South on Feb. 6. Blank is the recipient of an honorary doctorate from the University of Antwerp in Belgium.

Photo:

University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank has received an honorary doctorate from the University of Antwerp in ceremonies held in Belgium today, Wednesday, April 2.

Blank and three other leading researchers were granted the title of Doctor Honoris Causa. The citation for Blank's honor focused on her academic research and leadership around issues of poverty and social policy.

Blank was nominated by the University of Antwerp Faculty of Political and Social Sciences and Associate Professor Ive Marx, who directs research on minimum income protection and poverty.

"[Blank's] work is not just about understanding social problems," Marx said. "Her work is about 'What can we do, and what should we do?' Her work speaks a clear commitment to improve the world we live in. I think she believes that scholars have a moral duty to think about social problems in that way."

“Her work speaks a clear commitment to improve the world we live in. I think she believes that scholars have a moral duty to think about social problems in that way.”

Ive Marx

"I'm deeply honored by the University of Antwerp and thank the faculty for its recognition of my research," Blank says. "I've been fortunate in being able to contribute to both the research discussion and to help shape the policy discussion in some key areas."

The University of Antwerp has approximately 20,000 students and is located in Flanders, the northern region of Belgium.

Blank brought strong academic credentials to the position of UW-Madison chancellor. Her research has focused on the interactions between the macro-economy, government policy, and the behavior and well-being of American families.

From 2009 to 2013, Blank served in top positions at the U.S. Department of Commerce. She also spent two years, from 1997 to 1999, as a member of the President's Council of Economic Advisers.

Blank served as dean and professor of public policy and economics in the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan from 1999 to 2008. Earlier in her career, she was a member of the faculty at Northwestern University and Princeton University, as well as an assistant visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.