"Best Book" on public administration
Congratulations to NYU Wagner Professor Paul Light. He is the recipient of the American Political Science Association's 2010 Herbert A. Simon Best Book Award for his brilliant and insightful study, "A Government Ill Executed: The Decline of the Federal Service and How to Reverse It" (Harvard University Press, 2008). According to the Association, Light's work constitutes the best book on public administration in the last 3 to 5 years that has made a significant contribution to public administration. The award is conferred annually.
Dr. Light is the Paulette Goddard Professor of Public Service at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School for Public Service, and founding principal investigator of the Organizational Performance Initiative based at the school. Among his current activities, he writes an influential column on the federal service for The Washington Post, entitled "Light on Leadership."
"Beyond the Wal-Martization of Immigration"
In a guest commentary, NYU Wagner Professor Natasha Iskander and fellow researcher Nichola Lowe, of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, writes on the role scholars can play in reshaping the political dialogue and debate about immigration and its impact on the national economy. The piece is hosted by the Institute for the Study of the Americas at UNC-Chapel Hill. (See, too, a recent study coauthored by Iskander, entitled "Hidden Talent: Skill Formation and Labor Market Incorporation of Latino Immigrants in the United States.")
On Friday, April 8, 2011, meanwhile, Professor Iskander visited the World Bank in Washington, D.C., to deliver a lecture about her recently published book, Creative State: Forty Years of Migration and Development Policy in Morocco and Mexico
"Code for Change" Honors New Digital Apps with a Public Purpose
A digital app that makes it possible for trained citizen responders to work together in teams as soon as a civil disaster strikes is the winner of the Grand Prize awarded by “Code for Change,” a tech competition at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University.
New York City agencies and nonprofit organizations posed technical challenges to self-formed teams of developers, designers, and specialists who participated in the Code for Change competition. The Grand Prize winner is the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), which needed an easy-to-use app to help facilitate communication and information exchange among volunteer emergency responders in the immediate wake of a disaster.
Code for Change gave the participants two weeks instead of a typical hackathon’s 24 to 36 hours to identify real, sustainable solutions to questions of public importance. The event also marked the first time that a big-city hackathon included challenges from both government agencies and nonprofit organizations.
This was the first time, too, that four major tech nonprofits – Code for America, One Economy, NPower, and Blue Ridge Foundation New York – joined in co-partnering a hackathon, together with NYU Wagner – with sponsorships from Motorola Mobility Foundation, Liquidnet, Centre for Social for Social Innovations, Notable, General Assembly, and Zurb.
A second Code for Change award, the Change Prize, was given to the New York City Campaign Finance Board for an app that provides citizens with information they can use to engage with the democratic process, and fosters higher voter participation in elections.
Code for Change awarded its Promise Prize to the CUNY Institute for Software Design and Development for an app that enables students to exchange, rather than buy, textbooks – and defrays their higher-education costs.
Code for Change’s Popular Choice Prize was awarded to Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship for a new platform enabling middle and high school students to write and share their own book reviews with one another, and creating a space for online reader discussion groups about literature.
The awardees – who were eligible for a total of $10,000 in cash, mentor lunches, General Assembly classes, Zurb’s web design audit, and free workspace at the Center for Social Innovation – were selected by a panel of seven judges.
"FolkloRican" Exhibit Draws Attention
With "FolkloRican," the latest—and current—exhibit showing in the Gallery Space at NYU Wagner, renowned multi-media artist Pepe Villegas presents a 10-piece collection of oil paintings that delve into an intriguing archive of personal and cultural memories referencing his Puerto Rican upbringing. Ranging from striking representational and semi-representational portraiture to abstract and symbolism-rich canvases, this highly evocative and criollista sampling is deeply rooted in cultural pride, introspective contemplation, and national nostalgia.
"FolkloRican," which opened Nov. 17, 2010, and continues through January 31, 2011, commemorates Latino Heritage Month at New York University and is co-presented by NYU Wagner, the Latino Studies Program, the Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies, and NYU Steinhardt. Curated by Wagner's Frank Crescioni-Santoni, the exhibition drew extensive coverage in New York City's El Diario newspaper (November 28, 2010).
Please note: the Gallery Space at NYU Wagner - at 295 Lafayette Street, 2nd Floor, will be closed Dec. 24th through Jan. 3rd. For more information, such as hours and directions, please call 212.998.7400.
"Forward 50" honors Berman Jewish Policy Archive's director
"The Forward 50" consists of "people whose religious and cultural values propelled them to engage, create and lead in a decidedly Jewish voice." Among the newly announced honorees: GOP congressman Eric Cantor, Supreme Court Justice Elana Kagan, Google co-founder Sergey Brin - and sociologist Steven M. Cohen, Director of the Berman Jewish Policy Archive at NYU Wagner.
BJBA recently collaborated on a case study of the Jewish community in the U.S., entitled "Baby Boomers, Public Service, and Minority Communities."
"From Local to Global: Extrapolating Experiments"
NYU Wagner Associate Professor of Public Policy Rajeev Dahejia, an economist, has posted an original essay stimulated by the phenomenal growth of randomized control trials (RCTs) for impact evaluations in international development and aid interventions. As he writes – for the International Growth Centre blog – “questions persist about what the results of an RCT in one context can tell us about the probable results of similar programme implemented in another context." We invite you to read and consider his blog entry.
"Improving Albany" Takes Center Stage at NYU Wagner Forum
The question of what to do about New York’s indictment-prone State Legisature took center stage at an all-day conference at NYU Wagner on April 30 entitled “Improving Albany: A Path to Greater Effectiveness.”
The forum's galaxy of participants — Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, former Lt. Governor Richard Ravitch, New Yorker writer Ken Auletta, and many others — discussed the legal, electoral, budgetary, and political reforms required to enable the Legislature to regain public confidence and tackle policies and issues that matter in the lives of millions of New Yorkers.
Richard Brodsky, who served in the State Assembly and is a Visiting Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Policy at Wagner, hosted the conference along with Wagner’s Dean Sherry Glied and Richard Ravitch.
The morning panel included: Columbia law professor Richard Briffault, chair of the NYC Conflict of Interest Board and a former member of the state Moreland Act Commission to Investigate Public Corruption (2013-14); Peter Goldmark, a veteran state government executive and most recently Director of the Environmental Defense Fund’s climate and air program; Common Cause's Executive Director Susan Lerner; and Vance. Dean Glied was the moderator.
For the afternoon panel, Auletta of the New Yorker was joined by Mayor Miner, who described the frustrations posed by the state’s “opaque” budget approval process; Mary Louise Mallick, a former senior policy maker with the New York State Senate Finance Committee; and former city Comptroller Bill Thompson, who is now Chairman of the New York State Housing Finance Committee and the State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA). Brodsky moderated the discussion.
Both conversations were lively, showing the complexities of preventing public corruption and what approaches are possible. Recommendations ranged from drawing clearer lines between legal and illegal conduct to requiring greater transparency, along with passing public campaign finance reform and — at least in the view of some of the speakers — setting term limits for legislators.
Some of the panelists said it's up to the Legislature's leadership and its younger members to improve accountability, raise the bar for impact and effectiveness, and lead the way out of Albany’s "swamp." Since they haven’t acted so far, “they’ve made themselves an easy target,” said Susan Lerner.
"Portfolios of the Poor," co-authored by Prof. Jonathan Morduch, Helped Inspire a New App to Address Income Volatility: NY Times Magazine
“Want A Steady Income? There’s an App for That,” a piece published Sunday, May 3, in The New York Times Magazine, focuses on a Silicon Valley app-in-development partly inspired by Portfolios of the Poor: How the World’s Poor Live on $2 a Day, the groundbreaking book (Princeton University Press, 2009) written by NYU Wagner Professor of Public Policy and Economics Jonathan Morduch, NYU Wagner PhD Daryl Collins, and two others. The anticipated app is designed to help households manage what has been called America's “hidden inequality” – the profound stresses and disruptions income volatility can cause.
Professor Morduch’s research centers on microfinance, social investment, and the economics of poverty. He is the Executive Director and Founder of the Financial Access Initiative (FAI). His current “U.S. Financial Diaries” project examines how income volatility affects low- and moderate-income U.S. families.