2003 Scott Greer Awards
Postgraduate Contribution to Urban Affairs
A 1973 graduate of UWM with a M.S. in Urban Affairs, Dorothy K. Dean has capably served this urban area for over two decades as a County Supervisor and more recently as County Treasurer. Her political career started inauspiciously but we may note in her first political role the already evident willingness to buck the prevailing consensus.
As an undergraduate in Grand Rapid, Michigan, the Republican stronghold of Gerald Ford, she started a College Democrats club. Although under her leadership the membership of the College Democrats rose to two, it is our good fortune that she moved along to Milwaukee county, specifically the Department of Urban Affairs. Although surely this was a congenial location for a budding reformer, she recalls arguing with faculty that the problem of the female-headed household was not the lack of a man but the lack of a household income. I recall the fall of 1972, when making my debut as the first woman in the departments of Urban Affairs and Sociology, departments that were ahead not behind the curve, a voice greeted my introduction with "F-iii-n-a-ll-y.....a w-oo-man."
Upon graduation, Dorothy served as a VISTA volunteer, serving in a small agency , Elder Care, that provided transportation to homebound elderly. This led to a job with the Office of Aging as "transportation specialist" and this to a position with the County as a fiscal analyst. Observing herself to be at least as capable as the supervisors she instructed, she entered politics in 1979, becoming the first woman on the county board who had not followed her husband to office.
As a supervisor, she initiated many programs to aid those in need including one that, over the objections of the 7 defense attorneys serving on the board, assisted the witnesses and victims of sexual assault. She achieved the creation of a drop-in center for the homeless, a mobile crisis team to assist police in dealing with people found on the street, mental illness services for inmates in the new jail, and a more humanized design for the welfare office.
Always a pioneer and advocate on behalf of women, we have her to thank for the first ever feminist music magazine ("Piad my Dues") and gender appropriate exhibits at the Milwaukee Public museum.
The second woman to be a major party candidate for state office, she ran in 1994, for Lt. Governor, during which campaign, her chauffeur was an 18 year old UWM student named Scott Greer. Reportedly as a campaigner, she was not above exploiting the advantages of a favored parentage. At the county fairs and farm breakfasts they really appreciated that she was the daughter of a home-delivery milkman.
She was twice elected to the post of County Treasurer, where she has increased collections of delinquent taxes by more than 50%, but true to form, has launched programs, in partnership with other county departments and nonprofit organizations, to address holistically the social problems of tax-delinquent elders and the financial distress caused by predatory lenders. She has produced numerous and award winning videos (some forty in all) that have addressed feminist issues, inner city arts, the death penalty, and sexual assault.
A long list of others groups have preceded us in honoring Dorothy. To mention only a few, these include 1993 award from Metro Milwaukee Fair Housing Council for outstanding contributions to Fair Housing, the YWCA's Women in Leadership Award in 1997, the Unity in the Community Award from the Harambee Ombudsman Project in 1999, the United Cerebral Palsy Award for Service to persons with disabilities in 2000, and the 2001 Milwaukee Community Journal Lifetime Service Award for Community Development and Empowerment.
Postgraduate Achievement in Advancing Understanding of Urban Social Institutions
Lois M. Quinn, who received her Masters Degree in Urban Affairs in 1978 and her Ph.D. in Urban Studies in 1990, is a Senior Research Scientist at the Employment and Training Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She has served as the State Coordinator for the Wisconsin Women's Political Caucus and Executive Director of the Metropolitan Integration Research Center. Lois's extensive research and writings examine public policy issues of concern to Milwaukee and other urban centers. While working with the Helen Bader Foundation and the City of Milwaukee, she joined John Pawasarat in developing a mapping project to describe the market strengths of targeted central Milwaukee neighborhoods by utilizing administrative and institutional databases. The project work received the Trail Blazer Award from the Milwaukee Awards for Neighborhood Development Innovation. The Brooking Institution contracted with ETI to prepare a discussion paper for use by national and urban policymakers on "Exposing Urban Legends: The Real Assets of Central City Neighborhoods," available on the Brookings website.
She is the author of a widely discussed 2003 research report, Racial Integration in Urban America: A Block Level Analysis of African American and White Housing Patterns, which measured metropolitan integration in a new way by census blocks rather than tracts and compared partially integrated blocks with segregated units. This project challenged common measures of racial segregation, challenged social science paradigms that lay behind the measures and focused attention for the first time on racial integration as a condition to be studied. She has published other breakthrough reports of the GED exam and Workfare programs, and a history of WPA Work programs for Milwaukee County Women on Welfare. Throughout the years the goal of her research has been to raise knowledge of central city life, public policies and urban programs designed to improve employment and income levels of city residents.