NYU Wagner Convenes Panel on Juvenile JusticeOn Friday, February 8, 2008, NYU Wagner hosted, before a full-house in the Rudin Family Forum for Civic Dialogue, a panel discussion titled "Transforming Juvenile Justice in New York State," with Gladys Carrion, who as commissioner of the state Office of Children & Family Services is in charge of 35 juvenile detention facilities holding some 2,000 detainees. Participants on the panel included Wagner Dean Ellen Schall, Mishi Faruqee of the Juvenile Justice Project (part of the Correctional Association of New York), and Meredith Wiley of Invest in Kids: Fight Crime (an association of local law enforcement officials). Professor Dennis Smith introduced the discussion and El Diario's Opinion Editor, Erica Gonzalez, moderated it. As was noted - and highlighted in a Feb. 10 column on the forum by Errol Louis of the New York Daily News-- a striking 80 percent of the young men and women who are sent to New York's juvenile justice facilities wind up returning or going on to adult prisons within three years. Commissioner Carrion outlined her plans to close several under-utilized facilities -- "jails," she termed them -- and move casework services to the communities where most detainees come from.
Missing: Hard Data and Analysis on Microcredit
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.
'Operation Impact' in the News
Dennis Smith, NYU Wagner Associate Professor for Public Policy, was recently interviewed about New York City policing and his study of the New York Police Department's "Operation Impact" by the BBC and, separately, by a Brazilian news program (go to link below, click video box No. 2, then click new video titled "Tolerencia"). The interviews are part of the elevated profile that his recent research work on "Operation Impact," a method of hot-spot policing, has received. Professor Smith's expertise was also called upon by The New York Times. The newspaper interviewed him in December, 2007, about the overall effectiveness of the policing program (link to the article below).
Congress, Defense Issues, and the Future
NYU Wagner's Brademas Center for the Study of Congress held a well-attended and timely forum Dec. 14, 2007, on how the U.S. Congress can come to grips with looming defense issues such as the War on Terror, changes in force structure, Department of Defense reform, and base closings. The question addressed by the panel convened by Paul C. Light, Paulette Goddard Professor of Public Service at Wagner, was, "How can Congress address these defense issues before they become intractable?" Part of a series of Brademas Center discussions on Congressional decision making titled "Legislating for the Future," the forum took place in the Rayburn Building in Washington, D.C., and included leading scholars on defense: Paul K. Davis, Principal Researcher, The Rand Corporation; Kenneth R. Mayer, Professor of Political Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Michael O'Hanlon, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution.
Click the link below to view C-SPAN's coverage of the forum.
Through forums such as this, the John Brademas Center for the Study of Congress - at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service - seeks to advance understanding of the powers, processes and political character of the U.S. Congress among scholars, students pursuing careers in public service, those working on Capitol Hill, and the public. It is named for its founder, the former U.S. Representative from Indiana (1959-81) and President Emeritus of New York University (1981-1992).
How to Find a Career in the Nonprofit SectorDavid Schachter, NYU Wagner's Associate Dean for Career Services and Experiential Learning, has contributed three chapters to Idealist.org's "Guide to Nonprofit Careers." A valuable source of information and guidance for job seekers who are considering a career in the nonprofit sector, the e-book chapters are: "How to Find a Career or a Nonprofit That is Right for You"; "The Basic Tools of the Job Search: Resumes, Cover Letters, and Marketing Your Distinct Skills"; and "Presenting Yourself Well: Interviews and First Impressions." To read the Idealist guide, please click the link below.
Of Monuments and Memory
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.
Rudin Center Report Examines Programmed Fare Increases
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.
Prof. Forsythe Discusses 1975 Fiscal CrisisNYU Wagner Professor Dall Forsythe shed light on how New York City can best avoid a repeat of the fiscal crisis of 1975 at a November 8, 2007, conference organized by the city's Independent Budget Office and the Center for New York City Affairs at the New School. As discussed by the participants, including city Budget Director Mark Page, a key element in the city's fiscal management over the last three decades is about to expire -- the threat of a state takeover in the event the city significantly mismanages its budget. Differences of opinion were aired as to whether that's a good thing. For the full story, click below to read the New York Times coverage.
Furman Center Sees Sharp Rise in Sub-prime Mortgages in NYCIn October, 2007, the website Gotham Gazette interviewed NYU Wagner Professor Ingrid Ellen and NYU School of Law Professor Vicki Been about "2006 State of New York City Housing and Neighborhoods," a widely cited report of the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy operated jointly by Wagner and the Law School. As the Q@A reflects (click below), the Center has found a dramatic increase in subprime loans to individuals with problematic credit histories, as well as high rates of foreclosures in some parts of the city. Professor Ellen, Co-director of the Furman Center (Professor Been is Director), also addressed the issue of subprime mortgages and their impact on minority communities at an Oct. 4, 2007, forum at the Wagner School with Sarah Gerecke, CEO, Neighborhood Housing Services of NYC. That forum, "Risking the American Dream," was sponsored by the Students of African Descent Alliance Wagner Student Group. On October 15, the New York Times featured an article on the Furman Center analysis on sub-prime lending, entitled "Racial Disparity Found Among New Yorkers with High-Rate Mortgages." The Times also published an editorial on the Furman Center analysis in the Oct. 17 edition.
Performance Management the Focus of Prof. Dennis Smith's Talk in AtlantaNYU Wagner Professor Dennis C. Smith, a nationally recognized expert in performance management of public and nonprofit agencies, was invited to discuss his research on Saturday, September 29, 2007 in Atlanta, Georgia. His 2:45 p.m.-3:45 p.m. presentation is slated to be broadcast live at www.AmericanSolutions.com. The weekend conference marks the launch of a nonpartisan organization, "American Solutions for Winning the Future," which strives, in part, to "move the government into the 21st Century," and whose General Chairman is former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich. Among the other presenters at the conference include, in part, Dr. Elaine Kamarck, Lecturer, Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government; Arkansas Gov. and GOP presidential candidate Mike Hucakbee; and Porter Gross, former Director of the CIA.
Prof. Paul Light Convenes Washington, D.C. Forum on Future of Social SecurityProfessor Paul Light of NYU's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service convened a lively and thought-provoking discussion on the future solvency of Social Security on Sept. 21, 2007 in the Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. The event, titled "Legislating for the Future: Social Security," is part of Dr. Light's Congressional Decisionmaking Preoject and is sponsored by the Brademas Center for the Study of Congress at Wagner. The research-based discussion offered new analytical methods by which an often stalemated Congress can tackle a politically sensitive issue of huge long-range importance. The three presenters included: Jason Furman, Visiting Scholar at NYU Wagner and Senior Fellow and Director of The Hamilton Project at The Brookings Institution; William Galston, Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution; and Steven Popper, Senior Economist at RAND. "Social Security," said Dr. Light, "remains one of the most controversial policy problems on the legislative agenda. Although many experts agree that the program is headed for a crisis, Congress simply cannot find enough focus to examine the problems, sift through the solutions, and reach a consensus on how to protect Social Security. The question is not whether the program will need repair, but what kinds of repairs Congress can bear." To read the papers on Social Security, visit the link listed below.
Guy Scalzi Publishes Book with Prof. Roger KropfNYU Wagner Professor Roger Kropf, who teaches courses on health service organizational management and information services, is the coauthor of a new book, "Making Information Technology Work: Maximizing the Benefits for Health Care Organizations" (Health Forum, AHA Press, 2007). Written with Guy Scalzi, executive vice president of Veloz Global Solutions, the book provides critical information that healthcare executives, managers and clinicians should have before, during and after implementation of information technology designed to improve efficiency and to save money and even lives. "Making Technology Work" arrives as hospitals and other healthcare providers increasingly move to integrate health care information technology into the ways they interact with patients and manage multiple levels of their operations. For further details, click below.
How Do State and Local Governments Recruit and Retain "Young and Restless"?
Governing magazine's website, serving 275,000 public officials and other readers each month, considers the critical matter of how states and localities recruit managerial talent from Generatiions X and Y -- post baby boomers roughly between the ages of 30 and 42 -- and how they keep them on. To help frame the issue, the writer interviewed NYU Wagner Professor Paul Light, a nationally recognized expert on government and organizational performance, as well as Cuong Nguyen, a Wagner graduate who works as a director for the Borough President of Manhattan. In the article, Nguyen contends many governments could do more to promote public sector employment's attractive characteristics and advantages. Born in Vietnam and raised largely in California, Nguyen, 28, grew interested in public service careers after serving in the Peace Corps in Honduras and earning a master's degree in public administration at Wagner. To read the article, please visit the link listed below.
Talk of the Town: The New Yorker Magazine Covers Seminar Led by NYU Wagner's David SchachterThe Sept. 17, 2007 issue of The New Yorker magazine includes a "Talk of The Town" article on a New York University seminar expertly led by NYU Wagner's Assistant Dean David R. Schachter. The freshman orientation seminar, "Facebook in the Flesh," offered techniques for meeting new people face-to-face in a "postmodern world," where the Internet can be the preferred mode of classmate interaction. Schachter is the Assistant Dean for Career Services and Experiential Learning at Wagner, where he oversees all career-related services and programs to Wagner's students and alumni. To read the piece, "Social Studies," by Michael Schulman, click on the link below.
Prof. Paul Light Assesses True Size, and Current Effectiveness, of Federal Government
From the resignations of top White House officials to staffing gaps riddling many federal agencies, NYU Wagner Professor Paul Light was frequently called upon during August, 2007, to size up the capability of the national government. Professor Light's expertise appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, USA Today and other national media. "We are not hiring many employees outside of the war on terrorism, which is leaving many agencies under-resourced for their mission," he told Washington Post reporter Henri Cauvin. His research on federal job outsourcing was cited by the Washington Post's John McQuaid in an essay entitled "The Can't-Do Nation: Is America Losing Its Knack for Getting Big Things Done?" To read Professor Light's August, 2006, research brief entitled "The True Size of Government," click on the link below. He is the founding principal investigator of the Organizational Performance Initiative, a research project at Wagner for which the paper was written.
News Media Taps ICIS Insights
The Institute for Civil Infrastructure Systems (ICIS) is a research and education center at NYU Wagner. Infrastructure is a key foundation for quality of life, economy, jobs, and environmental sustainability. In instances when infrastructure fails owing to forces of age, neglect or nature, ICIS Director Rae Zimmerman, Wagner Professor of Planning and Public Administration, is frequently turned to for her knowledge, insight, and perspective. The latest cases were the New York subway flooding Aug. 8, 2007, the Minneapolis bridge failure Aug. 1, and the New York steam pipe explosion July 18. These prompted interviews by such outlets as CNN, National Public Radio, Forbes.com Video Network, and the New York Times. For access to the media coverage, click on the ICIS link below.
ICIS activities support the discovery of new insights and interdisciplinary approaches to planning, building, and managing civil infrastructure systems to meet their social and environmental objectives. Current areas of research include infrastructure security, risk communication and management, and the sustainability of urban areas.
Rudin Center's Director Says New York Subways Need InvestmentAfter heavy rain delayed New York City's subway network on Aug. 8, 2007, Dr. Allison C. de Cerreño, Director of NYU Wagner Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management, spoke with Newsweek's Sarah Kliff about the issues facing New York City's public transit system, how to prevent future situations like this, and what this type of event says about the broader, national public transportation system.
Barack Obama at NYU Wagner
Barack Obama visited the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University on July 25, 2007 to discuss his ideas about reducing poverty, extending health care coverage widely, and reaching disconnected youth. The event was the Working Cities Forum, a leadership forum on the working poor sponsored by the nonprofit Community Service Society of New York (CSS) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The invitation-only dialogue with a major presidential candidate was the second in three months at NYU Wagner: on April 23, Hillary Rodham Clinton addressed urban issues in the same setting. On behalf of NYU President John Sexton and Wagner Dean Ellen Schall, Obama was introduced by Lynne Brown, NYU's Senior Vice President for University Relations and Public Affairs. A video of the event will be posted in the future at www.cssny.org, where Clinton's appearance can currently be viewed.
Senator Barack Obama at NYU Wagner
Taking the Measure of Business Improvement DistrictsOn July 25, 2007, the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy issued a report measuring the impact of New York City's Business Improvement Districts on the value of properties within their boundaries. The Benefits of Business Improvement Districts: Evidence from New York City is the first empirical analysis of the effects of BIDs on property values, and can be used to better understand the role these organizations play in local economic development. The study was covered by Crain's upon its release. “BIDs are widely touted as a way to increase business activity and boost the commercial success of a neighborhood,” said Ingrid Gould Ellen, co-director of the Furman Center and a professor at NYU’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. “We wanted to test how much of a difference BIDs really make, and whether their investments were being reflected in the property values of the communities they serve. While we expected we might find positive impacts, we did not expect that large BIDs would generate such substantial impacts, nor did we expect to see such a significant difference between the impacts of large and small BIDs.”