Neil Kleiman

Clinical Assistant Professor of Public Service

Neil Kleiman

Neil Kleiman has spent nearly 20 years building a career at the intersection of many sectors—policy, media, philanthropy, government and academia. He has established new organizations and divisions within organizations focused on developing innovative and practical policy solutions. Neil has written and edited over thirty policy reports and his work has been featured in many media outlets including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Chronicle of Higher Education, Education Week and National Public Radio.

In February 2011, Neil joined New York University to create new vehicles focused on urban innovation nationally and globally. Neil has established the first set of initiatives including projects with Bloomberg Philanthropies, federal agencies in the Obama administration and the New Cities Foundation.

Neil was previously the Director of Policy and Research at Living Cities, a collaborative of the nation's largest foundations and corporate philanthropies, where he was responsible for developing and advancing the organization's policy agenda. In this capacity he produced reports on environmental sustainability, home foreclosure and public/private partnerships. In 2008, in partnership with the Kennedy School at Harvard University, he helped to create the Project on Municipal Innovation, which is currently the only forum in the country where mayoral advisors meet to learn about and begin implementing innovative policy reforms.

Neil began his career as the founding director of the Center for an Urban Future, a New York City-based think tank whose work is consistently cited in local media outlets. The group has been the source of transition ideas for numerous mayoral and gubernatorial candidates and administrations, and is widely credited with providing the framework for new approaches to local governance including: a more comprehensive cultural strategy; the merger of workforce and economic development functions; and an enhanced tech-focused approach to job growth.

Neil holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He has taught urban politics at Barnard College and John Jay College-CUNY and been a visiting fellow at Williams College.

Neil is on the board of Next City and Civic Consulting USA.

This course provides an introduction to the political institutions and processes through which public policy is made and implemented in the United States (although the key concepts are applicable to other political systems as well). The course also introduces students to the tools of policy analysis. The first half of the course presents the major models of policymaking and policy analysis. The second half of the course applies these concepts to specific policy areas such as health, education, and environment, as illustrated by real-world case studies. The course emphasizes written and oral communication through the development of professional memo-writing and presentation skills.

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Governments are undergoing a shift—some might say a revolution—in their approach to operations, service delivery and policy making. With the rise of infinitely complex issues such as globally linked economies and climate change, as well as growing gaps in confidence in the ability of the public sector to address these challenges, prevailing governance approaches no longer seem adequate. There is a move to more innovative approaches – that tap into open platforms, cross agency collaborations, public/private partnerships, and public engagement to extend reach and enhance public value creation. 

With a focus on local government, this course will provide a comprehensive overview of the many facets of a new government paradigm that is taking root in various forms throughout the US. The curriculum is designed to function as a live-lab in which students learn new approaches and tools and directly engage in innovations as they’re happening.  Students themselves will be contributing to the understanding of this nascent field.   

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The purpose of the course is to deepen students’ understanding of the way in which public policy and political realities interact in American government at the national, state, and local levels: how political pressures limit policy choices, how policy choices in turn reshape politics, and how policymakers can function in the interplay of competing forces. The theme explored is how public officials balance concerns for substantive policy objectives, institutional politics and elective politics in order to achieve change. The nature of key legislative and executive institutional objectives and roles is examined. In addition, attention is given to the role of policy analysis and analysts in shaping policy decisions, seeking to identify their potential for positive impact and their limitations in the political process.

A second goal of the course is to sharpen students’ ability to think and write like professional policy analysts. Students will be asked to apply both a policy analysis framework and a political perspective to the issues under discussion

Download Syllabus

Governments are undergoing a shift—some might say a revolution—in their approach to operations, service delivery and policy making. With the rise of infinitely complex issues such as globally linked economies and climate change, as well as growing gaps in confidence in the ability of the public sector to address these challenges, prevailing governance approaches no longer seem adequate. There is a move to more innovative approaches – that tap into open platforms, cross agency collaborations, public/private partnerships, and public engagement to extend reach and enhance public value creation. 

With a focus on local government, this course will provide a comprehensive overview of the many facets of a new government paradigm that is taking root in various forms throughout the US. The curriculum is designed to function as a live-lab in which students learn new approaches and tools and directly engage in innovations as they’re happening.  Students themselves will be contributing to the understanding of this nascent field.   

Download Syllabus

2015

Kleiman, Neil and Liza Getsinger, Nancy Pindus and Erika Poethig. Striking a (Local) Grand Bargain