Meet the 2013 Policy Council: Mark Long
August 22, 2013 10:00 AM
Each December, the membership votes for a new cohort to serve a staggered four-year term of office in the Association’s Policy Council. Previously, the membership elected seven new members while APPAM’s Committee of Institutional Representatives elected three additional persons. As of this year, members will vote for three individuals to serve on the cohort, two academic members and one practitioner. The Committee of Institutional Representatives will vote for one institutional representative for the Policy Council at their meeting in November and one student member will be appointed to the Council.
Last year, the membership voted for Mark Long as part of the new Policy Council cohort. Serving until 2016, Mark joins Colleen Barry, David Johnson, Robert Kaestner, Jodi Sandfort, Laura Peck, and Lucie Schmidt as the newly-elected Council members.
Mark C. Long is an Associate Professor of Public Affairs at the University of Washington Evans School of Public Affairs. His current research focuses on higher education and labor issues, including gender disparities, affirmative action, and financial aid, and has previously worked on the economics of nursing labor markets and manufacturing firms' wage and productivity dynamics.
Long previously served on the faculty of George Washington University and has publications in numerous journals, including The Review of Economics and Statistics, the Journal of Public Economics, and the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management (JPAM). He currently serves on the Editorial Board of Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis and as Co-Editor of JPAM. He received his Ph.D. M.A., and M.P.P. from the University of Michigan.
Mark took a moment from his busy schedule to answer a few questions for the Association’s membership:
What do you see as APPAMʼs biggest strength?
APPAMʼs biggest strength is the ability of its members to provide rigorous analysis of all parts of the policy cycle, including the political process and social forces that shape and generate policy; the implementation and management of policy; and the impact, efficacy, and efficiency of policy. APPAM, primarily via the Fall Research Conference and JPAM, provides a vehicle for policy and management researchers to share ideas, convene, and communicate with each other and with practitioners and policymakers. The dialogue that APPAM facilitates strengthens the quality, relevance, and impact of members' analyses.
How can that strength be leveraged in the coming year?
APPAM strives to be relevant to practitioners and policymakers. To do so requires APPAM members and APPAM leadership to be mindful of current policy debates where our timely input can help guide those discussions. Further, it requires APPAM to foresee the next round of debates and to begin the analytical process ahead of time, so as to be ready for those future deliberations.
What priorities do you have for the Policy Council in your coming term?
I would like to see APPAM expand its presence in research areas where it is currently less influential, and at the same time maintain its traditional strengths in particular areas. Through my service on the APPAM Policy Council, I hope to continue the work to balance and broaden the size and scope of the Association.
In your opinion, what are the two biggest issues facing the Association today?
In addition to the issues I raise above, I think the field of public policy analysis needs to think carefully about how to evaluate important policies in less than ideal situations (e.g., when perfect identification strategies are lacking) and with less than ideal data. We should not turn our back on important questions just because they cannot be answered unambiguously. In such messy situations (which nonetheless need our analysis for successful policy innovation) we need to be able to convey our best estimates while successfully conveying the limitations of our analyses. We can do so while remaining rigorous.
Do you have ideas on how to tackle those issues?
I am a big fan of research that starts with an important question and then seeks the best methods and data to answer that question. In my role as Co-Editor of JPAM, I seek to help develop and promote papers that take this approach. APPAM has a dual role here. On the one hand, APPAM must push for using the most rigorous designs to answers research questions with precision and validity. Further, the Association must welcome thorough and rigorous research that attempts to answer important questions in less than ideal conditions. By promoting this dual agenda, APPAM will stimulate better research that is relevant to ongoing and future policymaking and public management.
What long-term strategy would you like the Policy Council to consider for the Association?
As I note above, I think the Association could be larger in scope and size. I think growing the organization could enhance its impact and deepen its dialogues.
What excites you about the coming year?
This year I will be serving on the Dissertation Prize Committee and I am excited about immersing myself in the work of our brightest new researchers.
How do you think members can best leverage their APPAM membership?
Attendance and active participation at the Fall and Spring Conferences provide the best means for APPAM members to get to know each other and practitioners and policymakers. Expanding personal networks and exchanging ideas and resources is the best means to develop one's future scholarship.