Global Research Institute names Natasha Iskander as Research Fellow
Natasha Iskander, assistant professor of public policy at NYU Wagner, has been named a research fellow at the Global Research Institute at the University of North Carolina.
Professor Iskander conducts research on labor migration and its relationship to economic development, labor mobilization, and processes of institutional innovation and organizational learning. She recently authored Creative State: Forty Years of Migration and Development in Morocco and Mexico (Cornell University Press: 2010), which examines how nations' governments elaborated policies to build a link between labor emigration and local economic development.
There are six 2011-'12 Global Research Institute fellows, the second cohort to receive research support from the Institute. The focus this year is the theme of immigration. The fellows' work contributes to the development of policy recommendations designed to keep North Carolina competitive on a national and global level.
MORE magazine asks Assistant Dean David Schachter about Nonprofit Careers
MORE, a magazine "for women of style and substance," turns to NYU Wagner Assistant Dean David Schachter for tips on pursuing a public service career in an article in the current issue headlined "Do You Have What It Takes To Work for a Nonprofit?"
"At some point," the piece begins, "almost every woman who works in business thinks, Why on earth am I doing this? Fantasies of leaving the rat race soon follow, fueled by a desire to do some good. At these moments," the article goes on, "working for a nonprofit can seem tempting, especially since there's a perception that such jobs involve less political infighting and offer a more balanced life, albeit with a lower salary. Another aspect of nonprofits' appeal: Despite the current downturn, they're still hiring, according to research by the Bridgespan Group, a consulting firm. In fact, leadership openings are expected to double in the coming years as baby boomers retire and many existing organizations expand."
Schachter, assistant dean for student affairs, provides some helpful advice for women who are switching from a business career mode; he suggests rethinking and restating their skills and experience to underscore their particular relevance to prospective nonprofit employers. He also offers information on retooling one's resume, and on how to pursue a board seat at a nonprofit.
Urban Policy Students Explore China's Massive Urbanization in Shanghai Summer Course
Students in Wagner's 2011 summer course utilized Shanghai's bike-share program, the largest in the world.
Within the next 20 years, China will move 300 million people--similar in number to the entire U.S. population--from rural to urban areas. This massive and rapid urbanization poses tremendous challenges to environment and sustainability, but also offers great opportunities for industrial restructuring and economic development.
Zhan Guo, an assistant professor of urban planning and transportation policy at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University, has completed the second summer course in Shanghai, exposing 19 students during the summer of 2011 to the unparalleled transition from a centrally controlled economy to a market oriented economy. The urban policy students are from Wagner and several other graduate schools across the United States.
The 12-day course, to be offered each summer, exposes students to diverse issues under this context, such as the household registration system, migrant rural workers, motorization and high speed rail, the land finance and real estate bubble, property rights and forced eviction, economic development zones, and environmental protection. The course is held at NYU Shanghai [http://www.nyu.edu/global/shanghai/campus/campus_photos.htm], and combines classroom lectures, local guest speakers, visits to local organizations, and field trips in Shanghai and nearby towns and villages.
Excursions take students on visits to migrant worker enclaves, suburban ghost "new towns," and the vast Yangshan deep-water port, the Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP), a large-scale mixed-class residential development, and Bao Steel factory.
Students also met the planning director of Suzhou and chief planner for SIP, discussed the real estate bubble with one of the largest developers in Shanghai, participated in a workshop at an architectural studio, and interacted with domestic students.
NYU Wagner courses abroad provide students and professionals with an opportunity to enhance conceptual knowledge, learn and interact with leading experts in the field, and apply new skills in a practical setting - in Accra, Ghana; in Cape Town, South Africa; and in Geneva, Switzerland, in addition to Shanghai.
For more information about the Shanghai program, please visit here: http://wagner.nyu.edu/shanghai.
Governor Names Prof. Moss to MTA Search Committee
Governor Andrew Cuomo has appointed NYU Wagner Professor Mitchell Moss to serve on a new, 20-member advisory committee that will conduct a search for the next chairman and CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Moss is NYU Wagner's Henry Hart Professor of Urban Policy & Planning and leads the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management located at the school.
Appointed along with Moss were, among others, the chairman of the Association for a Better New York, Bill Rudin; former Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch; Lillian Borrone, board chair of Eno Transportation Foundation; New York State AFL-CIO president Denis Hughes; Continuum Health Partners president and CEO Stanley Brezenoff; former NYS operations director Mary Ann Crotty; and Gene Russianoff, senor attorney, NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign.
The panel, formed Aug. 8, "will conduct a national and international search to find and recommend the most talented candidates for the next chairman of the MTA," Gov. Cuomo announced, adding: "I am committed to appointing a new chairman who will put straphangers first and who will continue to reform the MTA by reducing costs and waste, while improving efficiency and service."
Professor Zimmerman Serves on Panel of Global Experts on Cities' Greening Initiatives
NYU Wagner Professor of Planning and Public Administration Rae Zimmerman served on a panel of seven global experts in urban environmental sustainability for the Economist Intelligence Unit, helping the Unit devise the metholodogy for its newly published report, the "US and Canada Green City Index."
The report, sponsored by Siemens, measures and assesses the environmental performance of 27 independently selected cities in the two nations across a range of criteria. It is designed to help stakeholders in the region address the common environmental challenges they face.
"Cities are cultural and intellectual centers," according to the introduction to the five-part report. "They drive economic activity. And they are the main recipients of new ideas from immigrants, the vast majority of whom settle in cities when they arrive. Cities are ideal laboratories to respond innovatively to their countries' challenges, including environmental issues. It is well known that city life can exacerbate problems such as harmful greenhouse gas emissions or urban sprawl, but increasingly cities are also generating unique solutions to these challenges through effective local policies."
Professor Zimmerman is the director of the Institute for Civil and Infrastructure Systems (ICIS).
NYU Wagner's Fellowship for Emerging Leaders in Public Service Accepting Applications
The Research Center for Leadership in Action at NYU's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service is now accepting applications for the Fellowship for Emerging Leaders in Public Service.
The fellowship offers a chance for recent college graduates working in public service in New York City to:
- Deepen their understanding of the public service landscape through discussions with top leaders in the field;
- Gain a clear assessment of their leadership strengths and style and develop their leadership knowledge and skills;
- Receive mentorship from senior directors in public service organizations;
- Think strategically about and plan for their careers based on personal assessments and their unique goals; and
- Build a support network of other talented, dynamic leaders in public service.
The program runs from November 2011 through May 2012. Fellowship sessions twice each month offer leadership and professional development opportunities to help Fellows define their path in public service.
Program elements include:
Speaker Series. Fellows hear from senior executives across the spectrum of public service organizations. Speakers offer insights into their own career trajectories, guidance on practical strategies for succeeding in public service, and analysis of timely issues and trends.
Personal Exploration. Fellows engage in workshops that help them explore their strengths, interests and goals, and develop a personalized career plan.
Fellows Network. One of the most valuable resources and sources of support for fellows as they move through their public service careers is the other extraordinary fellows. Upon completion of the program, fellows become part of an active professional alumni network.
To be eligible for the Fellowship for Emerging Leaders in Public Service, applicants must be working full-time in public service in New York City. They may not currently be engaged in another significant fellowship program, and they must commit to attending all fellowship sessions, including a day-long Orientation on November 5, 2011. Applicants should be approximately 2-5 years out of college, and most will not have completed graduate school. There is no cost to apply or participate in the program.
The deadline to apply is noon EST on Tuesday, August 30, 2011.
Bloomberg Philanthropies Partners with NYU Wagner in 5-City Initiative
Bloomberg Philanthropies announced July 14 the establishment of a $24 million, three-year initiative to fund "Innovation Delivery Teams" that will help mayors effectively design and implement solutions to pressing city challenges, focusing on five major U.S. cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Louisville, Memphis, and New Orleans.
In an integral part of the initiative, Bloomberg Philanthropies also announced a partnership with NYU Wagner to document and share best practices across these cities, and translate those learnings into resources that other cities can use.
"NYU Wagner is proud of its work on innovation and leadership and we are excited to partner with Bloomberg Philanthropies in its new effort," said Ellen Schall, dean of Wagner. "We look forward to helping capture and synthesize key lessons across these initiatives in order to both build the knowledge base and support municipal innovation nationwide."
To meet each city's impact goals in priority areas, the new Innovation Delivery Teams, each one composed of high-performing staff, will generate innovative solutions, develop implementation plans, and manage progress towards defined targets. Bloomberg Philanthropies will fund the salaries of these staff members and provide a range of support for the project's duration.
In each city, the team will focus on top-priority issues identified by City Hall, achieving results and producing value. In Atlanta, the team will implement a comprehensive 311 system to improve customer service. In Memphis and Louisville, the teams will implement new job-growth strategies. In Chicago and New Orleans, the teams will cut waiting and processing times for key city services.
The "Innovation Delivery Team" grants are the first made through the Mayors Project, the new government innovation program at Bloomberg Philanthropies.
The Mayors Project has two goals: increase innovation capacity within municipal government and disseminate effective programs and policies across cities. Additional investments will be made through the Mayors Project over the coming year.
"Mayors are uniquely positioned to tackle some of our most pressing challenges - from growing jobs to fighting climate change to keeping quality of life high," said Michael R. Bloomberg. "The Mayors Project will fuel
these efforts by spreading effective programs and strategies between cities and helping mayors work together in new ways around solutions. We are excited to kick off this new initiative in partnership with these five great American cities."
The "Innovation Delivery Team" model draws from successful approaches that have been utilized worldwide. In New York City, for example, Mayor Bloomberg established teams to develop and implement bold anti-poverty, sustainability, and efficiency agendas. Similarly, Former Prime Minister Tony Blair formed the Prime Minister's Delivery Unit to achieve impact in transportation, education, health, and criminal justice. In Malaysia, Prime Minister Najib Razak's Performance Management and Delivery Unit has documented critical gains in advancing that nation's government and economic transformation plans.
The five cities selected are all large American cities with strong executive forms of municipal government. Most of the mayors are in the first 18 months of their first terms in office, giving the "Innovation Delivery Teams" sufficient time to achieve impact under the current administration. Team leaders shall report directly to the mayor and oversee a team of five to ten members, depending on city size and scope. Given this variation, the size of the grants awarded to each city will vary from $1.4 million to $2 million per year.
Selected Cities, Mayors and Priority Areas :
Atlanta - Mayor Kasim Reed
Introduce 311 and other initiatives to improve customer service. Dramatically reduce street homelessness
Chicago - Mayor Rahm Emanuel
Reduce waiting and processing times for key city services.
Dramatically scale energy efficiency efforts.
Louisville - Mayor Greg Fischer
Partner with Lexington to implement a new regional export strategy. Improve agency performance and public accountability.
Memphis - Mayor A C Wharton, Jr.
Increase small business growth in target neighborhoods.
Reduce handgun violence.
New Orleans - Mayor Mitch Landrieu
Reduce waiting and processing times for key city services.
Over the past nine months, Bloomberg Philanthropies surveyed government officials and a range of philanthropic, academic, and private and nonprofit organizations, to inform its approach to government innovation. This included convening 14 mayors of major American cities for a day of strategizing and idea generation in March.
Throughout these conversations, mayors and other stakeholders have identified both a heightened need for municipal innovation - demand for services is up and pressure on municipal budgets is severe - and a set of common barriers local leaders consistently face.
These barriers include siloed bureaucracies, a lack of risk capital, inflexible regulations, and challenges associated with successfully implementing programs that have been proven elsewhere. The Mayors Project's dual focus on increasing innovation capacity within municipal government and disseminating effective programs and policies across cities aims to address these challenges.
Throughout these efforts, Bloomberg Philanthropies will identify groups of cities interested in working on particular issues. Peer-to-peer learning networks that accelerate progress and elevate best practices will be established, and lessons learned will be shared broadly with other cities, academics, and grant makers.
Report Shows Ways to Create a 'High-Performance' Government
Confidence in the federal government's ability to respond effectively to national and international economic and political problems continues to dwindle. Some of these complaints are a clear reaction to political ideology, deepening polarization, and the recent budget battles, but they all reflect a core of reality.
On Tuesday, June 21, a new national blueprint for reform by Professor Paul Light and Fellows from NYU Wagner -- "Creating High Performance Government: A Once-in-a-Generation Opportunity" -- was released in Washington, D.C. With its specific recommendations, the report is based on the simple premise that the time for small-scale reform has passed, and Congress and the president have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve government for the long-term.
In attendance was U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul A. Volcker, William Robertson of The Robertson Foundation for Government, and Professor Paul Light of the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University. The report was written by Professor Light, the founding director of the Global Center on Public Service at the Wagner school.
The study, representing a year's work by Prof. Light and the Wagner Fellows, was underwritten by Volcker and the Robertson Foundation. Among the press coverage was a detailed piece in Government Executive.com.
The full report is available at http://wagner.nyu.edu/governmentreform/index.pdf.
C. Nicole Mason Joins Essence Magazine Music Festival 'Empowerment Series'
On Saturday, July 2, C. Nicole Mason, executive director of the Women of Color Policy Network (WOCPN) at NYU Wagner, will travel to New Orleans to join Dr. Cornel West, Reverend Al Sharpton, Soledad O'Brien, and other thought leaders, scholars and civil rights trail blazers at Essence magazine's 2011 music festival. The "empowerment series" at this premier cultural event for African Americans attracts more than 10,000 people each day, bringing together dozens of expert speakers to discuss pressing policy issues affecting women of color, their families, and communities.
As part of a panel on the "State of Black Women," Mason will be sharing some of the challenges that Black women face, as well as opportunities that exist to build the economic security of communities of color. Consider the following:
• Black women hold the highest poverty rates of any group. Black women have a poverty rate of 26.5 percent - a rate more than double that of white women and nearly triple that of white men.
• For every dollar earned by white men, Black women earn just 61 cents.
• Nearly half of all Black women have zero or negative wealth.
• Black women have the highest mortality rate of any racial or ethnic group, are 3 to 4 times likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women, 15 times more likely to be infected with HIV/AIDS, and face greater health disparities and access to care across the board.
• Less than 19 percent of Black women have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Though Black women and girls rank low or last on nearly every social indicator of well-being, we have also made tremendous strides that cannot go unrecognized. Over the last several decades, much has changed about the Black woman's experience in the home, on the job, and in society. From Oprah Winfrey to Ruth Simmons to the presence of Michelle Obama as the first Black First Lady of the United States, Black women, now more than ever, are blazing paths only imagined by their grandmothers or their mothers.
Mason will also be interviewed by CNN on Friday, July 1, at 12:30 pm EST; viewers can visit CNN.com shortly thereafter to join the conversation on how best to advance the social and economic well-being of all women of color and their families.
Gara LaMarche of The Atlantic Philanthropies To Become NYU Wagner Senior Fellow
Gara LaMarche, President and CEO of The Atlantic Philanthropies, will take up the position of Senior Fellow at NYU Wagner upon leaving the Atlantic helm in September, 2011.
LaMarche, an adjunct professor of public administration at Wagner, recently announced he will not seek a second five-year term at the helm of The Atlantic Philanthropies, one of the most effective and admired organizations in philanthropy.
Before joining The Atlantic Philanthropies in 2007, LaMarche was Vice President and Director of U.S. Programs for the Open Society Institute (OSI) from 1996 to 2007 and Associate Director of Human Rights Watch and Director of its Free Expression Project from 1990 to 1996.
The Great Recession's Impact on New York City's Budget
Daniel L. Smith, assistant professor of public budgeting and financial management at NYU Wagner, has co-authored a new paper for the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) Working Paper Series. According to the paper entitled "The Great Recession's Impact on New York City's Budget," New York City has effectively handled the effects of the recession on its budget, but asked lower income residents to "bear a substantial portion of the burden...."
According to the abstract, "Strong property tax growth and proactive policies - including beginning the recession with a substantial surplus of $5.3 billion (9 percent of revenues) - offset a severe contraction in income tax receipts, protecting the City's budget such that it never contracted in absolute terms during or immediately following the Great Recession. Policymakers increased property and sales tax rates, utilized fund balances, cut agency budgets repeatedly, and re-appropriated retiree health benefits in response to the fiscal challenges brought about by the Great Recession.
"Whether one attributes it to compliance with a strong, state-mandated, balanced budget rule or adept leadership, New York City certainly appears to be dealing effectively with the Great Recession's impact on its budget. However, City leaders have asked lower income residents to bear a substantial portion of the burden by favoring more regressive tax policies and by cutting the social service agency's budget substantially. With forecast budget gaps of $3 billion and $4 billion in FY 2012 and FY 2013, the long-term impact of the Great Recession on New York City's budget remains an open question."
The paper was co-authored by Lawrence J. Miller of the Rutgers University School of Public Affairs and Administration.
Twelve NYU Wagner Students Awarded Education Pioneers Scholarship
This year, 25 students from NYU Wagner applied for an Education Pioneers Graduate School Fellowship. Of this group, an overwhelming 48 percent, or 12 in all, received offers to participate in the highly selective summer fellowship. Eleven of them have accepted the opportunity.
Education Pioneers, a national nonprofit, drew more than 2,000 applicants from across the country who competed for 330 fellowship opportunities. In addition to the NYU fellows chosen from Wagner, additional offers were extended to students from Stern, Steinhardt, and Gallatin.
A network devoted to school reform, Education Pioneers places talented men and women in positions outside of the classroom, partnering with more than 130 key organizations across the country. Partner organizations include school districts, government agencies, charter schools, and leading education groups in Washington, D.C., New York City, Boston, Chicago, Houston, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Los Angeles.
The Fellows, who this year all have at least two years of work experience, will engage in a 10-week summer program. This offers high-impact work experience as a project consultant, a set of professional development workshops, and access to a robust constellation of industry experts and alumni. Almost 70 percent of alumni have gone on to work full-time as leaders and managers in the field of education, according to the network.
Examples of previous Fellowship projects include integrating teacher effectiveness research, the development of a student achievement data system for a school district, management of a facilities-renovation project, and preparation of growth and quality expansion plans for charter schools.
The Wagner students who will be participating in the Fellowship opportunity are: Ana Farinha; Jennifer Sallman; Elizabeth Olsson; Cinthia Ruiz; Antionette Koram; Maelle Fonteneau; Brittany Ebendorf; Meekaelle Joseph; Calvin Hadley; Megan Kinninger, and Elizabeth Walczak.
More information about Education Pioneers can be found at www.educationpeioneers.org .
FAI Researching How Low-Income Americans Use Financial Products [Video]
The Financial Access Initiative (FAI) at New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service has launched an important new study to better understand the financial lives of low-income Americans.
FAI, in partnership with Bankable Frontier Associates and The Center for Financial Services Innovation, will track families in four geographic regions in the U.S. over 16 months and collect highly detailed data on household financial activity. The study promises a timely and independent look at how low-income Americans are managing their financial lives. The $3 million project is supported by a grant from the Citi Foundation and the Ford Foundation.
FAI's managing director discusses the launch of the U.S.-centered financial diaries project in this video. The managing director is Jonathan Morduch, professor of public policy and economics at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at NYU.
The "Financial Diaries" methodology employed to conduct this research has been successfully applied in Bangladesh, India and South Africa. The results of that FAI research were detailed in a groundbreaking book Portfolios of the Poor: How the World's Poor Live on $2 a Day (Princeton University Press, 2009). Instrumental in broadening conceptions of global poverty, the book revealed that poor households lead surprisingly active and sophisticated financial lives, driven by the need to cope with irregular and unpredictable incomes but few reliable tools to absorb economic shocks.
"Improving access to reliable, flexible financial products and services is an important step to help poor and low-income households better manage their economic lives," says Professor Morduch. "The Financial Diaries research has proven to be an effective means of gathering important information to inform the design of these kinds of financial tools."
"The findings in Portfolios of the Poor provided an eye-opening look at the financial lives of the poor in other countries, and we're excited to use this lens in the U.S. context," says Brandee McHale, Chief Operating Officer at the Citi Foundation. "This research can fill an important gap in the current data on how low-income families in our own backyards are making ends meet and help reduce the barriers to financial well-being that these families currently face."
In the U.S., the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) found that some 17 million adults live in households without any bank accounts. Another 43 million have accounts but are "underbanked," relying on non-bank services such as pay-day lenders and pawn shops. Yet, there is little concrete data about the needs, preferences and use of financial services by low-income families.
"Remarkably, more than 30 million low-income families across the U.S. lack access to traditional banking and financial systems," says Frank DeGiovanni, director of financial assets at the Ford Foundation. "This landmark study will help us to better understand their financial lives, greatly improving the ability the financial industry of nonprofits, and policymakers to meet their needs and increase the quality, affordability, and accessibility of financial services."
To conduct this groundbreaking research, the U.S. Financial Diaries team will spend one-and-a-half years with 300 families, distributed across 4 research sites-in the South, the Northeast, the Midwest and the West. Researchers will meet with families every two weeks to collect highly detailed data on household cash flows.
This methodology of regularly observing household finances over long periods of time allows researchers to identify often-overlooked strategies of financial management, such as the use of informal borrowing and lending with neighbors and family members. The study is designed to capture spending and savings habits that often remain hidden in large surveys. The findings will be published in a series of reports beginning in mid-2012.
Congratulations, NYU Wagner Class of '11! [Slide Show]
A highly spirited, good-humored and at times poignant NYU Wagner convocation ceremony filled the beautiful Brooklyn Academy of Music on May 17, including a keynote address delivered by visiting scholar, best-selling author, and astute social critic Irshad Manji.
Her subject was "moral courage," a matter she teaches at Wagner with great passion and insight. As part of her presentation, several students stood in the auditorium; their faces were beamed onto a jumbo screen and their voices were amplified as they explained to hundreds of asssembled classmates, friends and family members what the phrase "moral courage" means to each of them.
It was just one of many emotional and powerful moments as the more than 350 graduates cheered -- all of them poised to embark on the next step of their amazing careers in public service within and across sectors and disciplines.
In another twist on the standard graduation ceremony, three MPA graduates -- Nilbia Y. Coyote, Chesray L. Dolpha, and Kuo Jeng Yang -- greeted the audience with "Welcome" in dozens of languages that reflect the United Nations-like variety of native tongues embodied by Wagner's student body and its diverse global ties.
Ellen Schall, Wagner's dean, led the ceremonies, while New York University Provost David W. McClauglin offered words of welcome and praise, and Associate Dean and Professor Rogan Kersh recited the Athenian Oath. Faculty and student awards aplenty were yet another highlight of the day.
Congratulations to the Class of '11. Forward!
New York Times piece cites 2006 research on power coauthored by Professor Joe Magee
A reporter's Week in Review piece in The New York Times refers to research co-authored by Professor Joe Magee of NYU Wagner in 2006.
"In one recent study," according to the May 23, 2011, article entitled "A Sexist Pig Myth," "researchers led by Adam Galinsky of Northwestern University primed participants to feel powerful by having them write about an incident in which they had control over others and then distribute lottery tickets to themselves and another study subject. These 'high-powered' people were significantly less accurate in reading emotions from facial photographs than a comparison group of participants who were not primed in the same way. This and other experiments suggest that power can blind people to the emotions of those around them and lead to 'objectifying others in a self-interested way,' " the authors concluded.
Joe Magee is associate professor of management at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. His research is concerned with roles of hierarchy in organizations and society.
Uncommon Street Fest Brings Together New Thinking on Cities
NYU Wagner's Rogan Kersh shines at Festival of Ideas for the New City. [Photo by Dexter Miranda.]
Instead of face painting and kielbasa, there were brightly colored worm tunnels, and a crocheted room. Italian ices and ferris wheels -- the stuff of traditional street fares everywhere -- were replaced by fresh thinking about environmental sustainability, neighborhood heterogeneity, and cutting-edge networking.
The streets and suites all around NYU Wagner's headquarters in the historic Puck Building were awash in new ideas on urban living May 4 to May 8 at the first-ever Festival of Ideas for the New City. Workshops and discussions, dealing with everything from art and housing to urban planning and public policy, took center stage at multiple locations throughout downtown.
The first-ever brainstorm of its kind, the Festival of Ideas was organized by the New Museum, with assistance provided by NYU Wagner and the Cooper Union, and other major partners.
Participants in the festival events included small businesses, local non-profits, and a raft of arts organizations.
The talks tapped the knowledge of thinkers from a variety of arenas. Artists, urban planners, architects and even musicians like David Byrne (of Talking Heads fame) - who opened an event on bicycle transportation called "The Sustainable City" -- populated and energized the discussions.
The events were all aimed at coming up with ways of making city life more beautiful, durable, collective, connective, and innovative.
Two of the discussions were hosted at Wagner's headquarters at Lafayette and Houston streets, with Wagner also dispatching expert participants to other happenings, such as Professor and Associate Dean Rogan Kersh. Wagner's Josh Mandell attended the Downtown Policy Issues World Café, co-hosted at the Puck by NYU Wagner and IDEO, the design firm; he wrote up the lively discussion about new ways to use shared space, solar panels, and even white paint. Thirteen.org was also there, picking up intelligence.
Meanwhile, Wagner's Professor Mitchell Moss took part in a Saturday evening conversation on the prospects for a thriving downtown cultural scene, held at Joe's Pub at the Public Theater.
FELPS Hosts NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott
NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott addresses NYU Wagner's Fellowship for Emerging Public Service Leaders on April 27, 2011.
Just three weeks into his role as head of the nation's largest public school system, New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott spoke with NYU Wagner's Fellowship for Emerging Leaders in Public Service (FELPS) on April 27.
He discussed his career path, including founding a youth mentorship program, heading the National Urban League, and serving as Deputy Mayor of Education and Community Development. Chancellor Walcott also talked about leadership lessons he has learned from these experiences, including the importance of recognizing mentorship moments, the growth that comes from hiring people who will challenge you, and strategies for maintaining work-family balance in public service careers.
Obama administration officials eye public-private partnering
The public and private sectors are becoming interdependent through technology, globalization, and shared services and customers. Yet historically there has been a significant divide between the public and private sectors--with causes spanning from cultural attitudes to legal and political impediments. How can we advance partnerships in the arena of critical infrastructure?
On March 21, two officials from the Obama administration talked about key avenues to greater public-private partnerships in infrastructure protection and overall catastrophe preparedness. The occasion was a forum at NYU Wagner, with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Douglas Smith, assistant secretary for the private sector, and Todd M. Keil, assistant secretary for infrastructure protection.
Offering reaction to the officials' comments were respondents Carl Weisbrod, partner in the leading policy, economic development and planning consulting firm HR&A, and Wagner professors John Gershman and Rae Zimmerman. The moderator was William Raisch, Director, International Center for Enterprise Preparedness at NYU.
For Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Whirlwind Day at Wagner
Gordon Brown (r.) enjoys light-hearted moment at Henry Hart Rice Forum with Mitchell Moss.
Gordon Brown, the British Labour Party leader who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from June 2007 to May 2010, and is a current Member of Parliament, spent an engaging day at NYU Wagner on April 11 with groups of students, faculty, alumni, staff, and the dean, Ellen Schall. In the evening, he spoke to more than 150 friends of the public-service graduate school as the guest of the Henry Hart Rice Forum moderated by Mitchell Moss, Henry Hart Rice Professor of Urban Policy and Planning at Wagner.
The Right Honourable Mr. Brown projected optimism about globalization. He said vast increases in producers and consumers in fast-developing countries such as China, India, Indonesia and Brazil will benefit the West, as long as the U.S. and Europe invest heavily in science, technology and education and keep the doors of global trade open.
In this way, Mr. Brown argued, the West can ensure it will profit and gain new sources of employment from globalization -- and ease the understandable anxiety so rife today about economic change.
"For the first time last year, in almost 200 years, Europe and America are being out-produced, out manufactured, and out-invested by the rest of the world," he said. "...It makes people insecure; it makes people feel, ‘Are we witnessing the decline of the West?...And then people feel insecure about their jobs."
It is this economic "sea change," which surpasses even that of the Industrial Revolution, that holds the seeds of opportunity for a more balanced global economy, according to the former prime minister.
"The people who are producing goods in China, India, and elsewhere - they don't want just to be workers producing goods; they want to be consumers too," he said.
"They want to enjoy some of benefit of the goods that come with a higher standard of living. They want to be part of the industrial society as middle class consumers of the future," and they want to have "houses, electrical goods, better clothes, higher quality food, health care, and education."
"There is a huge opportunity for us in what is about to happen, because we in America and Europe can be the people who are equipped to sell goods and services that are sold in the rest of the world," added Mr. Brown.
Mr. Brown, who has a PhD in History from the University of Edinburg, was introduced by Dean Schall and queried by Professor Moss about his youthful influences (mainly his parents and his school teachers), rapport with U.S. presidents (from Clinton to Bush to Obama), and Scotland's historical impact on the American experiment.
The event was held at the Kimmel Center of New York University. Mr. Brown is the university's inaugural Distinguished Global Leader in Residence.
In his remarks, the former prime minister warned against a "race to the bottom" that will occur if countries are permitted to attract business via deregulation. What is required, he stated, is the development and maintenance of consistent international standards for investment.
Fielding a question from a Wagner student about the environmental impact of burgeoning consumer economies, he said that worldwide treaties, such as the one attempted but not enacted at the recent Copenhagen Climate Summit, are clearly merited .
Katherine O'Regan Receives NYU 2010-11 Distinguished Teaching Award
Congratulations to Katherine M. O'Regan, associate professor of public policy extraordinaire here at NYU Wagner! She has been selected as a recipient of the 2010-2011 Distinguished Teaching Award.
The award recipients include a total of six professors from across the university.
Professor O'Regan will be donating half of her esteemed award to the Wagner Experience Fund, established for the first time this year to fund 50 internships for Wagner students this summer.
Past teaching-award recipients at Wagner include Ingrid Gould Ellen, Steven Finkler, and Ellen Schall.