When Nelson Mandela Gave NYU Wagner a Helping Hand
It is only a footnote in the life of a great historical figure, but the gesture of support that Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) made for NYU Wagner more than a decade ago marks a spectacular moment in the life of the public service graduate school.
Initially postponed by the September 11, 2001, attacks, the campus visit the following May by the Nobel Peace Prize recipient and leader of the emancipation of South Africa helped to catalyze an innovative Fellowship designed to bring students from Africa to Wagner to study public policy and management. The new Fellowship launched that day attracted generous financial backing from Oprah Winfrey, and today is known as the African Women's Public Service Fellowship.
Many dignitaries attended the event, punctuated by thunderous applause for Mandela. But Mandela, with quietly overpowering dignity, delivered a simple message. The Wagner school's commitment to Africa represented an opportunity for mutual learning in the important work of nation and community building, and Mandela exhorted the next generation of public service leaders to take up the struggle for equality, justice, and liberty for all.
"The struggle for true and universal human emancipation still lies ahead of the children, youth and future generations," he said, in words that continue to resonate with urgency and truth.
The Wagner community joins the world over in mourning the loss of Nelson Mandela.
Hope Tumukunde, a former African Public Service Fellow at NYU Wagner, Describes Global Program to End Violence Against Women and Girls
Hope Tumukunde, a recent African Public Service Fellow at NYU Wagner, is working on an initiative in Kigali City, Rwanda to end violence against women and girls.
A city of nearly 1 million people and the capital of Rwanda, Kingali was one of five pilot cities included in the “Safe Cities Free of Violence Against Women and Girls Global Programme" sponsored by UN Women and other partners and launched in 2010. Ms. Tumukunde is Deputy Mayor of Kingali.
In a recent interview, she shared some of her experiences from the Kigali City Initiative.
Ms. Tumukunde graduated in 2008 from Wagner (MPA, International Policy and Management). Based in good measure on her oustanding academic standing and professional stature, she was selected to be the guest speaker at the school's Convocation ceremonies that May.
Before attending Wagner as a Fellow, Ms. Tumukunde served as the Governor of Butare province in southern Rwanda, and as Governor of the Kigali Ngali province. She also worked as an employee of the government of Rwanda.
Immediately after completing her Wagner degree, she returned to her native Rwanda and served there as Commissioner at the Rwanda National Human Rights Commission.
NYU Wagner Alum Jennifer Jones Austin Named Co-Chair of de Blasio Transition Team
Fresh on the heels of Bill de Blasio’s landslide victory in the New York City mayoral election, distinguished NYU Wagner alumna Jennifer Jones Austin has been named co-chair of the Mayor-elect’s transition team, which will have a key advisory role in assembling the new City administration.
Austin, who received her MS in Management from NYU Wagner in 1997, serves as the Executive Director of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA). She has also held positions in health and human services for both City and State governments and major nonprofit organizations.
Her co-chair is Carl Weisbrod, a leader of city agencies and public-private partnerships in three mayoral administrations, including city-state efforts to revive the Times Square area, and as founding president of the NYC Economic Development Corporation. The work of the transition group begins immediately.
Jennifer Jones Austin assumed the helm at FPWA in 2012 after serving as Senior Vice President of Community Investment for United Way of New York City. Before joining United Way, she was the Family Services Coordinator of the City of New York, a new position to which Mayor Bloomberg appointed her in 2006 after she had served four years as Deputy Commissioner of the City's Administration for Children's Services. She served as Civil Rights Deputy Bureau Chief in the Office of the New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, and as a Vice President for LearnNow/Edison Schools Inc. From 2000 to 2010, she was a member of the board of FPWA.
She is a graduate of Rutgers University, Fordham University School of Law, and New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
Doctoral Program Grad Receives AJPH "Paper of the Year" Award
Frederico C. Guanais, who earned his Ph.D. at NYU Wagner, is a recipient of the 2013 "Paper of the Year" award from the American Journal of Public Health. Guanais was recognized for his article entitled “The Combined Effects of the Expansion of Primary Health Care and Conditional Cash Transfers on Infant Mortality in Brazil, 1998-2010.”
AJPH’s editors termed Guanais’ article “an innovative paper looking at the synergic effects of two government programs, from two different areas, on infant mortality. Using a relatively innovative approach, the paper exemplifies something that the public health community has been emphasizing for ages: the importance of intersectoral approaches.”
Guanais received his Ph.D. in 2006. He wrote his dissertation on primary care in Brazil.
NYU Wagner Alumna Jennifer Jones Austin Speaks at 'March on Washington' Event
NYU Wagner alumna Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO and Executive Director of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, gave a spirited speech at the 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington, addressing economic inequity, upward mobility, and the work that remains to advance the causes of the most vulnerable in America.
NYU Wagner alumnus RuthAnne Visnauskas Appointed as HPD Commissioner for NYC
NYU Wagner alumna RuthAnne Visnauskas has been appointed to serve as the next Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD).
Ms. Visnauskas has been serving as the deputy commissioner for development at the agency. She will replace the current Commissioner, Mathew M. Wambua, who is departing to take the position of President of RHR Funding LLC, part of The Richman Group of Companies’ mortgage lending business.
Commented Ms. Visnauskas, “I am grateful to the Mayor for putting his trust in me, and I am thrilled to take on this challenge. In the nearly eight years since I came to HPD, we have experienced a national hosing book, weathered a recession, and are moving into a recovery. Through it all our commissioners and staff positioned the agency to exceed expectations and to better serve those most in need.”
Ms. Vinauskas received a Masters in Urban Planning from Wagner. Prior to joining HPD, she was the Diretor of Housing for Clinton Housing Development Companies. To read more about her appointment, click here.
Sherry Glied, Economist and Health Care Policy Expert, Named Dean of NYU Wagner
Dean Sherry Glied
Sherry A. Glied, a Harvard-trained economist from Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health whose expertise in health care reform has led to important governmental posts, was today named by NYU President John Sexton and Provost David McLaughlin to be the dean of NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. She will take up the new post on August 1, 2013.
John Sexton, NYU’s President said, “In the last 10 years, Wagner has been on a remarkable upward trajectory: it has soared from 19 to 6 in the US News and World Report Rankings for schools of public affairs – a great feat. So, in selecting a new dean, we were keenly aware of the need to find someone outstanding who could sustain that trajectory – a highly regarded scholar, a talented administrator, and a person of vision and drive.
“In Sherry we have found such a person. The quality of her scholarship has led not only to success within the academy, but to important policy-making and advisory positions as well. At heart, universities are judged by the quality of the people they attract, and it says a great deal about NYU and about Wagner, its successes, and its momentum that we are able to attract someone as talented as Sherry Glied as dean.”
An extensively published scholar in the area of health care policy reform and mental health policy, Sherry Glied was first appointed to Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health in 1989. From 1998 to 2010, she was chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management.
Professor Glied has also served in important policy-making and advisory positions in government, most recently as the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the US Department of Health & Human Services. She had previously served as a senior economist for health care and labor market policy on the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, had participated in the Clinton Health Care Task Force, and had been a member of the Congressional Budget Office’s Panel of Health Advisers.
Ingrid Ellen, professor of public policy and urban planning and chair of the Search Committee, said, “The Search Committee has utmost confidence that Sherry is up to the task of sustaining the momentum of the past few years. She is a leading health economist with high-level government experience and boundless energy and enthusiasm for the mission of NYU Wagner –from research to teaching to public service.”
She received her B.A. from Yale, her M.A. from the University of Toronto, and her Ph.D. from Harvard in economics. She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine, is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance, was a member of the Board of Directors of AcademyHealth, and was the recipient of the Research!America Eugene Garfield Economic Impact of Medical and Health Research Award. She is a fellow at the New York Academy of Medicine, and a faculty research fellow in health economics at the National Bureau of Economic Research.
“Provost David McLaughlin and I would like to thank the Dean Search Committee, led by Professor Ingrid Gould Ellen, for their hard work and their judgment, for their hard work and discernment,” said John Sexton. We would also like to thank Ellen Schall, Sherry Glied’s predecessor, for her superb leadership over the past 10 years and for doing so much to improve the school. And we’d like to thank Tyra Liebmann and Scott Fritzen for so capably taking on the role of Interim Co-Deans these past few months.
“First and foremost, however, we would like to congratulate Sherry Glied on her appointment as Dean of NYU’s Wagner School, and welcome her to the University.”
Wagner Students Capture $50,000 Prize in Entrepreneurs Challenge
Three NYU Wagner students won the $50,000 Social Venture Prize in the 2012-13 Entrepreneurs Challenge held at NYU Stern. Their winning idea, called Kinvolved, is a digital app that aims to reduce truancy by providing real-time data on classroom attendance to teachers, families, and students.
Kinvolved is the brainchild of Miriam Altman (MPA ’13), Alexandra Meis (MPA ’13), and Barrie Charney Golden (MBA/MPA ’14). Since December 2012, the Kinvolved program has been piloted in a public elementary school in Harlem. The Kinvolved team is now working on sales and distribution for the 2013-14 school year.
The Entrepreneurs Challenge, a university-wide competition held by Stern’s Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, selected four winning teams in all, composed of students, alumni, and faculty from seven different NYU schools. These most promising innovators were chosen after pitching their ideas and enduring a rigorous Q&A by judges from the venture capital, technology, design, and social enterprise sectors.
NYU Wagner Named To White House Strong Cities, Strong Communities Team
The U.S. Department of Housing Preservation and Development has announced that a consortium including NYU Wagner will serve as the first National Resource Network Administrator under the White House Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) initiative. The SC2 Network, funded with HUD technical assistance resources, will provide cities with targeted technical assistance to help support locally identified priorities for economic growth and job creation.
In addition to Wagner, the consortium includes Public Financial Management, Enterprise Community Partners, HR & A Advisors, and the International City/County Management Association. Wagner’s lead professional for this endeavor is Neil Kleiman, who heads the NYU Wagner Innovation Labs.
Click here to read the HUD announcement.
Wagner Students' Policy Proposal Wins $5,000 in National Fels Public Policy Challenge
CluedIn at Convention Center.
A new website that will offer comprehensive information about after-school programs to New York City families has garnered national recognition, as have its inventors -- NYU Wagner students Christine Han, Anna Swanby, and Rachel Szala.
The team rose to become one of the top four finalists at the National Invitational Fels Public Policy Challenge, held at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia on March 17, and received $5,000 for the development of its innovative tech platform, “CluedIn.” Nine teams in all competed for the finalist spots and the grand prize.
This was the second year the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania invited graduate schools across the country to participate in its public policy challenge. In the inaugural opportunity last year, a Wagner student team, Kinvolved, took first prize with an app that enables teachers to communicate readily with parents when a student is absent or late, and tracks causes and trends. Kinvolved has emerged as a for-profit corporation dedicated to improving attendance, particularly among disadvantaged youth. It piloted its app at two city high schools last summer.
In this year’s challenge, CluedIn turned judges' heads with a proposal that responds to the positive correlation between after-school programming and academic improvement —and to the difficulty many parents experience when trying to access New York City’s substantial after-school educational resources. The CluedIn website will provide basic information to parents about the available services, a message board allowing users to pose questions to providers, and snapshots of the market for after-school programming, potentially useful to policy makers, funders, and program developers.
In addition to the Wagner student team, the other finalists heralded by the judges hailed from the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia, the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, and the Fels Institute of Government at UPenn, whose "re:Mind” team won the top prize of $10,000 for its plan for an appointment reminder system for mental health patients to decrease preventable re-hospitalizations.
Wagner’s CluedIn team received support from Professors Shankar Prasad, John Gershman, Will Carlin, and David Schachter, the assistant dean for student affairs. Judges who heard the policy proposals in the Constitution Center – where President Obama delivered his famous speech on race in 2008 – commented positively about the Wagner students’ presentation, with several of them saying that they could hardly believe that so useful and promising an idea had not, until now, been rolled out. One judge even offered to give Han, Swanby, and Szala a personal introduction to leaders at the New York City Department of Education.
Without question, the Wagner team has done us all proud. Congratulations!
Conference Explores Philanthropy's Potential Impact on Public Policy
Gara LaMarche, a senior fellow at NYU Wagner, was the recent co-sponsor of a highly successful conference at New York University on philanthropy and the new, post-2012 election landscape of policymaking and politics.
Foundation executives, individual donors, and civic leaders came together to examine what philanthropy’s evolving relationship with public policy and government means in the context of the rapidly changing political scene. Participants engaged on such issues as K-12 education, health care reform, and poverty. Among the questions examined were:
- How is America’s polarized political culture changing philanthropy?
- How has the political culture shaped the types of projects we fund, demands on grantees and partnerships with government?
- How successful or challenging have philanthropy’s investments been in the realm of policy change and with government? At the start of this new political cycle, what should we do now (or not do) given the ongoing polarization?
The Feb. 12 event was titled “Money and Power in Post-Election America: Where is Philanthropy?” It was co-hosted by NYU, Duke, and Philanthropy New York.