The heart of NYU Wagner's programs is our faculty. An amalgam of full-time, clinical/research/visiting, and adjunct professors, they are outstanding teachers, expert researchers and committed practitioners.
Sewin Chan, Associate Professor of Public Policy at NYU Wagner, has been sworn in as a member of the U.S. Departmetn of Labor's Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Plans. The panel was established under the ERISA Act, and Professor Chan will be one of 15 members on a three-year term. Her specific role is to represent the general public in advising Secretary Hilda Solis on issues relating to pension and health plans. Others on the council represent various industry groups and unions.
Professor Chan teaches courses in microeconomics, public finance, and health economics. Her research is concerned with the well-being of individuals and households and how it is shaped by the interaction of economic behavior, market institutions and government policies. Professor Chan's current focus is on the economics of aging and retirement. Her recent projects include the impact of job loss on older workers, individual responsiveness to financial retirement incentives, and the well-being of caregiving grandparents. Professor Chan has also worked on the economics of the residential housing market, examining the inherent risks of homeownership and designing innovative financial instruments for controlling those risks. Professor Chan has received grants from the National Science Foundation, the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, and the Center for Retirement Research. Her research has been published in leading journals such as the Journal of Labor Economics, the Journal of Public Economics and the Journal of Urban Economics. She holds an M.A. from Cambridge University and a Ph.D. in economics from Columbia University.
In a Convocation speech to Wagner's Class of 2009, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan said he attended the 1977 World Series game when sports commentator Howard Cosell, observing a column of rising smoke in the vicinity of Yankee Stadium, told a national television audience, "Ladies and gentleman, the Bronx is burning." The wave of arson, crime, and abandonment afflicting much of New York City less than two years after the city government had narrowly avoided municipal bankruptcy captured Donovan's attention even then, as an 11 year old baseball enthusiast. And it's probably no accident that as someone who came of age in the 1970s and '80s in New York, he went on to devote his education and distinguished public career to understanding and innovating policy steps that helped rescue and transform New York and many other American cities in the wake of that "urban catastrophe."
Donovan quoted former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton in addressing the proud and excited graduates and their families gathered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on May 15: "Public service is not just a way of life, it is a way to live life fully."
According to Donovan, the rise of New York and the restoration of its once-strained civic bonds show that public-sector work - his own path-has enormous potential value, even though the challenges were amply demonstrated by the government's response to Hurricane Katrina. Citing President Obama's call to service, as well as his recently signed national service bill, Donovan said the mission of public employees and others embarked on public service work of all kinds is to give us "a reason to believe in public service again" in our neighborhoods and across the nation and world.
"Wagner Class of 2009," Donovan said, "we need you to make it possible to believe again!...Together, we can put our shoulder up against the wheel and change the course of history."
Dean Ellen Schall enumerated the impressive accomplishments of the graduating students and faculty members, including Professors of the Year Shanna Rose and Anthony Kovner. She contended that the work of public service requires more than technical and analytical capabilities, as critical as those are, but also "artistry," saying, "Public service is as much about art as about science." Artistry is what is required to find bold new answers to problems that resist technical solutions, whether those are ending poverty, overcoming racism, ensuring equal health outcomes for all, creating public school systems that work, or building cities that are sustainable.
The dean told the graduates that she wrote an essay for the Convocation as if she were applying for admission to the school. She based her thoughts on a photograph she selected from a catalogue of visual images, just as many Wagner applicants are asked to do. The image she selected was that of a person bringing a pot to life on a pottery wheel, as it reminded her of an introduction to pottery class she took last fall.
"I showed up every Monday night from 6-9, much the way you showed up for a class," she told the graduates. "And it was very hard. It was the worst in the class, a fact clear to me and to everyone else. Yet I stayed and kept on trying. I knew there was learning in the trying, in sticking with what didn't come easily. I never actually cracked the code or became a potter. Yet at the end, I have these small little pieces of ‘pottery' in my house and the odd thing is, I display them...and they make me smile when I walk in. They remind me to take myself seriously, but not too seriously, to stretch even in the face of initial resistance, mine or others, to find pleasure in small wins."
She referred to the image on a large screen on the BAM stage.
"This captures a simple visual image that I wish for each of you as you go forth. That you embrace the boldness of seeing yourself as artists, as creators and change makers, as people who bring passion and the fullness of yourselves to the critically important challenges of public service. And that you have the discipline and energy and commitment to keep on going, even if you don't get it right the first time around, that you learn from what works as well as what doesn't, and that you find joy in small things as well as big moves."
Michael C. Alfano, executive vice president of New York University, offered spirited welcoming remarks, while class speaker Tracey Gardner, who earned an MPA in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy, introduced Donovan, noting, "He's not beaten down, not jaded, and ever on the lookout for policy changes to improve how things are done and make our lives better."
" 'Jonas & Kovner's Health Care Delivery in the United States' is one of the best-known and longest-standing (first edition, 1977) compendiums on the unique problems of US health care policy. And with good reason -- like other grand textbooks such as Harrison's for internal medicine, Guyton's for psychology, or Robbins' for pathology, this text authoritatively demonstrates the breadth and depth of current foundational knowledge of its field."
So begins a complimentary Journal of the American Medical Association online review of the now classic textbook (New York: Springer, 2008, 9th ed.) edited by NYU Wagner Professor Anthony Kovner and Wagner alumnus James R. Knickman. The book has sold has sold more than 300,000 copies since its publication in 1977.
"[D]espite the considerable expertise presented," according to the review written by S. Ryan Greysen, MD, Department of Health Policy, George Washington University, "the text remains approachable for professionals in health care delivery or policy, whether novices or masters in the field."
To read the review, click below.
Walter Stafford, the much-beloved NYU Wagner professor of public policy and planning has been honored posthumously by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Faculty Award Committee at New York University. Professor Stafford was one of four members of the NYU faculty who was heralded at the recognition reception on Jan. 21, 2009, for their classroom and community work exemplifying the spirit of the civil rights leader. Chilli Devadutt accepted the award on behalf of her late husband.
The award is sponsored by The Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Development and The Office of the Assistant Vice President of Student Diversity. Its purpose is to recognize faculty members who exemplify the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. through their positive impact within the classroom and the greater NYU community. NYU students nominate faculty members who are considered and then chosen by the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Faculty Award Committee, which is composed of Tamu Al-Islam, Arlene Davila, Bella Mirabella Pedro Noguera, Jeffrey Sammons, Jack Tchen, and Marc Walters.
In addition to Professor Stafford, the founding director of Wagner's Women of Color Policy Network, the award recipients include Christina Marin, assistant professor of education theatre, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development; J. Ward Regan, master teacher, Global Liberal Studies, College of Arts and Science; and Ella Turenne, adjunct instructor, Gallatin School of Individualized Study.
Hilary Ballon, Professor of Urban Studies and Architecture, has won the William H. Whyte Award, which is given annually by the American Planning Association's New York Metro Chapter to an individual, plan, or project that is distinguished by creativity in the field of planning. Dr. Ballon was honored on June 16, 2008, at the APA Chapter's annual meeting at the New York Historical Society for her major exhibition, "Robert Moses and the Modern City."
Professor Ballon, who teaches the history and theory of planning at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, is an architectural historian whose work focuses on cities and the intersection of architecture, politics, and social life in two fields of research, 20th-century America and 17th-century Europe. Among her senior roles, she is Associate Vice Chancellor, NYU Abu Dhabi.
Dr. Ballon's books include New York's Pennsylvania Stations (W.W. Norton, 2002); Louis Le Vau: Mazarin's Collège, Colbert's Revenge (Princeton University Press, 1999), which won the Prix d'Académie from the Académie Française; and The Paris of Henri IV: Architecture and Urbanism (Architectural History Foundation/MIT Press, 1991), which won the Alice Davis Hitchcock Prize for the Most Distinguished Work in Architectural History and is widely cited as a model for its consideration of urban planning in relation to social, political, and economic forces. She co-edited the book Robert Moses and the Transformation of New York (W.W. Norton), with Kenneth T. Jackson.
Dr. Ballon serves on the Board of Directors of the Regional Plan Association, the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, and the Skyscraper Museum. She was chairman of the Planning Board of Englewood, New Jersey from 2000-05 where she dealt with contested development issues and rewrote the town's master plan. Her academic awards include fellowships from the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, the Institute for Advanced Study, and the Mellon Foundation, as well as the Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching, the Great Teacher Award, and the Philip and Ruth Hettleman Teaching Award, all from Columbia University. She has taught at Columbia University since 1985 and received a B.A. from Princeton University and a Ph.D. from M.I.T.
Microfinance's global acclaim has been fueled, in part, by anecdotes about cash-strapped micro-entrepreneurs propelled out of poverty by bits of extra cash in the form of microloans. But research by NYU Wagner's Professor of Public Policy and Economics Jonathan Morduch shows that little actually is known about the magnitude of very poor people who benefit from microloans -- or to what degree. The evidence that does exist, meanwhile, is flawed.
Professor Morduch is a leading microfinance expert, the co-author of the 2005 book "The Economics of Microfinance" (MIT Press), and lead researcher of the NYU Wagner-based Financial Access Initiative supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. On January 21, 2008, he delivered a Distinguished Lecture hosted by the Center for Analytical Finance of the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad. Entitled "Microfinance: The Next Capitalist Revolution?", the presentation focused on expanding concepts of microfinance to meet the needs of the next generation of unbanked customers. The lecture focused on consumer finance, livelihoods strategies, and the roles of the private and poverty sector.
While in India, Professor Morduch also delivered presentations at the Reserve Bank of India, the Delhi School of Economics, and the National Council on Applied Economic Research.
Professor Morduch also visited Japan in December, 2007, where he gave the keynote speech at a symposium on microfinance attended by academics, policymakers, and bankers, held at the Japan Bank for International Cooperation. He delivered talks at Kobe University, the University of Tokyo, and the Ministry of Finance.
Friday, February 1, 2008, Professor Morduch discusses his groundbreaking new paper, "How Can the Poor Afford Microfinance," at the First Annual Forum on Financial Access, hosted at New York University by the Financial Access Initiative. The conference, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., includes a student debate competition moderated by a senior writer and editor from The Economist and discussions by leading experts on microfinance and poverty. For further information, click below.
Paul C. Light, Paulette Goddard Professor of Public Service at NYU Wagner, gave the 2007 Elmer Staats Lecture at the National Academy of Public Administration. Professor Light delivered a paper titled "A Government Ill Executed: The Depletion of the Federal Service," built from his research for a forthcoming book, due out in May, 2008. The paper's title comes from Alexander Hamilton's warnings in Federalist No. 70 about the danger of bad government. "More than 200 years later, however, the federal government seems plagued by bad execution," he writes.
Professor Light is a nationally known expert on the federal bureaucracy and organizational performance in the public and nonprofit sectors.
To read the full paper, click the link below.
Louis Bickford, Adjunct Associate Professor of Public Administration at NYU Wagner, has published an essay in the International Herald Tribune titled "Monuments and memory," in which he argues that countries should find ways to preserve the symbols
and monuments of fallen or discredited regimes. Instead of serving as candidates for destruction, civic memorials around the world can provide opportunities to learn from the past and "educational tools in the pursuit of democratic citizenship." The piece appears in the Nov. 19, 2007, edition of IHT. Please click below.
Linda M. Spock, Visiting Practitioner at the NYU Wagner Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management, has produced a new report documenting and synthesizing the experience of a dozen transit agencies that have implemented or tried to implement programmed fare increases -- those that occur on a regular and/or inflation-related basis as opposed to an "as-needed" basis. The transit agencies ranged widely in size, mission, and location, from New Jersey to the San Francisco Bay area. Often, they didn't know others' experiences with similar fare approaches. But taken together, according to the November, 2007, report, their experiences "suggest the importance of clearly communicating the need for regular fare increases to transit customers in the context of agencies' efforts to maintain service, constrain costs, and address customer needs and concerns.
"In short," the report continues, "customers appear to be willing to pay increasingly higher fares on a regular basis if they feel they clearly benefit from reliable transit service, the agency does its 'fair share' in contributing to the most efficient and cost effective operation possible, and the fare increases are small and predictable."
Ms. Spock has served as the NYU Wagner Rudin Center's Visiting Practitioner since 2001. A respected transportation expert, she played a key role in establishing E-ZPass as a regional electronic toll collection system. Following an 11-year career at the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, she began her own consulting firm and has been Principal since 1994, conducting research,writing, and project coordination for individual agencies, multi-agency groups, and national and international organizations.
The Rudin Center was established in 1996 at the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and named in September, 2000, in recognition of a generous gift to New York University in support of the Center. It is currently led by the Center's Director, Allison L. C. de Cerreno, Ph.D. Its mission is to provide the tools for strengthening institutions and leadership within and across all modes of transportation, and for encouraging innovative thinking, discourse, and action on urban transportation policy, regionally, nationally, and internationally.
To read the full report, please click below.
On October 11th, 12th and 13th, the Conference on Social Theory, Politics and the Arts (STP&A) -- the premier arts and cultural policy conference - will be conducted for the first time in more than a decade in New York City, and the first time ever at NYU. The 33rd annual conference, which was held last year in Vienna, Austria, will be chaired by NYU Wagner Professor Ruth Ann Stewart. It begins Thursday evening, Oct. 11, 2007, with an opening reception in the Puck Building in Manhattan, the landmark home of the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. About 200 scholars, artists, and cultural-organization leaders from 26 countries and 22 states throughout the U.S. are expected to attend the conference and share their professional experience and research findings through papers and panels. The six conference themes are: Artists, Activism, and Social Change; Leadership in, of, and through the Arts; Sustaining Cultural Industries and Organizations; Role of the Arts in Bridging Ethnic, Cultural, and Regional Differences; Cultural Planning, Development, and Economics; Urban Revitalization and the Arts.
The online conference schedule can be found at http://stpa.culture.info. Anyone interested in attending this exciting event may contact the Conference Coordinator, Darren Flusche, at email@example.com.