Thursday, October 13, 2016

An APPAM/MDRC Institutional Member Forum: The Future of Applying Behavioral Science to Social Policy

MDRC’s Center for Applied Behavioral Science (CABS) and APPAM are hosting a forum on December 13, 2016 which will explore the future of behavioral science research, practice, and policy. This event brings together distinguished experts from MDRC, academia, and the government to share their work and provide insight on next steps for research, practice, and policy.

APPAM President Angela Evans

Meet Angela Evans, APPAM's President for 2014

Angela Evans, Professor at the University of Texas at Austin Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, was introduced as APPAM’s new President at the conclusion of the 2013 Fall Research Conference. Evans spent last year overseeing the program for the 2013 Fall Research Conference as APPAM President-elect and now takes the reigns of the Association for 2014. Last month, she shared via a short video message her vision of the coming year for APPAM.

Evans joined the LBJ School as a clinical professor of the practice of public policy after serving 30 years in public service to the U.S. Congress. The last 13 of these years, she was the Deputy Director of the Congressional Research Service—the Legislative Branch agency created by the U.S. Congress to serve as its primary source for policy research and analysis. During her long career she worked with Members of Congress and their staffs on all major legislative deliberations, assisting them as they confronted some of the most critical and complex policy problems facing the nation.

Evans took a few minutes to answer some questions for Association members.

What goals do you have in mind for the Association in the coming year?
I will be devoting my time and energy to ensure that APPAM continues to thrive and that its members continue to enjoy the services they value. I will continue to work on meeting the goals of the organization: to grow opportunities that bring researchers and policymakers together, to better move the knowledge created in academia to the policy making community, and to enhance the value of APPAM to its membership.   

What do you think is a key issue for today's researchers and analysts?

We face many challenges but clearly an important one is to ensure that our work as researchers and analysts remains relevant to the policy deliberations that take place at all levels of government. This means we have to be trusted advisers to those who make decisions--we have to be "at the table" when policy problems are tackled and debated. We have to be sources of creative ways to address these problems. Our success in coping with complex policy problems, adapting to global pressures, mastering the skills needed to use large and growing data sets, and producing reliable, accessible and relevant research and analysis depends greatly on our comfort with being challenged to think differently, to reevaluate our roots, and to reach across disciplines in a collaborative spirit.

What key issues are facing today's public policy educators?

One of the most critical challenges facing those of us who teach public policy is to prepare the next generation of policy analysts and public administrators. We do this by ensuring that policy students understand how to conduct and evaluate research, how to prepare sound, authoritative analysis, and think critically. Our students should also learn how to be innovative in developing policy options, be ethical in their actions, and have the skills and expertise that align directly to those needed to support policy deliberations.
How can APPAM help its members address and overcome these issues?

APPAM offers its members the ability to network with colleagues, to share insights on developing and mature research, to learn about cutting edge approaches to policy problems, to be exposed to the work of diverse disciplines, and to join a community of professionals devoted to affecting public policy outcomes.
How has APPAM enhanced your work and career?

During my years as a member of APPAM, I have developed a truly noteworthy network of professional colleagues. I have kept abreast of cutting edge research being done in academia and have learned the diverse settings in which policy analysis is undertaken and used. APPAM has given me the opportunity to appreciate the rigor in which policy research is undertaken. Most importantly, it has given me the ability to keep current on the state of the disciplines of policy analysis and management and a community in which I can share the challenges of using knowledge generated by this discipline to affect policy changes.
What do you see as APPAM’s greatest strength?

This is an easy question to answer! APPAM's greatest strength is its members. Their dedication and contributions to public policy and their collegiality and willingness to help each other is remarkable.
How do you think members can best leverage their membership?

Members should get involved in the Association, serve on committees, attend the fall and spring conferences, and consider publishing in the Journal. Through these activities, members can build a robust, talented, and generous network of professional colleagues upon whom they could depend for counsel and advice.


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