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APPAM Secretary Matt Stagner
© Mathematica Policy Research
Meet Matthew Stagner, APPAM's New Secretary
February 27, 2014 10:00 AM
Matthew Stagner, Senior Fellow at Mathematica Policy Research, was elected as APPAM’s new Secretary in January of this year. He is responsible for keeping official minutes of the Executive Committee and Policy Council meetings, and also represents the Association in circumstances requiring official certification of APPAM activities.
Stagner directs the human services research in Mathematica’s Chicago office. He is a nationally known expert on youth development and risk behaviors, child welfare, evaluation design and methods and the role of research in policymaking. His work focuses on policies and programs for vulnerable youth, such as those transitioning out of foster care or into employment and postsecondary education.
Stagner took a few minutes to share some of his thoughts about APPAM and the future of the Association.
What do you see as APPAM’s biggest strength?
The greatest strength of APPAM is the variety of perspectives its members represent. Bringing together top policy academics, those from research organizations, and those from government means the organization can advance analysis of policy and management issues with great sensitivity.
How can that strength be leveraged in the coming year?
This strength is leveraged frequently in our two key activities, the conference and the journal. There is no better place than the APPAM conference for discussion of what we know, what don’t know, and what we need to know about policy in many areas. Having discussants from government for research panels especially enriches the conference.
Beyond these two activities, I’m looking forward to additional work on how to increase the policy impact of research conducted in our member institutions. APPAM can do more to leverage its Washington staff and frequent interaction with key policy researchers around the nation.
What priorities do you have for the Policy Council in your coming term?
I look forward to working on expanding APPAM’s reach to new policy fields and to testing ways to improve the communication between researchers and policy makers. There is a lot of interesting work going on about the research-policy connection, and APPAM can nicely build on and expand that work.
In your opinion, what are the two biggest issues facing the Association today?
One challenge is making the most of people for whom we are a “second” association. I’ve always favored APPAM as my main professional identity. But for many folks we are a “second home.” And that is a strength to have these people. But how do we bring more such people into our orbit and give them the experience they are looking for?
Another challenge is making the most of new communication technologies. The journal and the conference play important roles but what else might we do to help people make the most of their participation in APPAM? This is probably most important for the new generation of policy scholars, who are most comfortable with new technologies and will re-invent how collaborative work gets done.
Do you have ideas on how to tackle those issues?
I’ve enjoyed being on the Communications Committee. So far, our major task has been the update logo. But there’s a lot of more to come!
What long-term strategy would you like the Policy Council to consider for the Association?
Continuing to expand the institutions who belong to APPAM and the membership that can link policy makers and researchers.
What excites you about the coming year?
The Fall Research Conference is in a unique location and I’m excited about that. We’ve been in the Washington-Baltimore area the last three years. It will be exciting to get out to a new part of the country and, I hope, interact with some researchers and policy makers who are new to our association.
How do you think members can best leverage their APPAM membership?
In these days of social media, there’s a lot to be said for an “old fashioned” network of people interested in and passionate about similar topics. APPAM is just such a network. No matter how you connect, I especially urge younger members to use APPAM as a way to connect to both those more experienced in the field and their colleagues who are just starting out.
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