Scott W. Allard, University of Chicago
© University of Chicago
Meet the 2013 Policy Council: Scott Allard
September 5, 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.
In 2011, the membership voted for Scott Allard, who serves until 2015 with the Policy Council cohort that includes Marcy Carlson, Swati Desai, Barbara Devaney, Susan Dynarski, Joyce Manchester, and Jane Waldfogel.
Scott W. Allard is an Associate Professor at the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration (SSA) with expertise in social welfare policy, federalism and intergovernmental relationships, and urban policy. Allard has received research grants supporting his work on social welfare policy from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), The Brookings Institution, the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research (UKCPR), and the Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI). He is also the author of Out of Reach: Place, Poverty, and the New American Welfare State. Allard has authored several articles on contemporary social welfare policy and social service delivery in several academic journals.
In addition to his appointment at the University of Chicago, he is a research affiliate of the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan, the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the RUPRI Rural Poverty Research Center.
What do you see as APPAM’s biggest strength?
APPAM’s biggest strength is the commitment of the membership to high-quality, cross-disciplinary research in vital areas of policy and management. This is most visible during the Fall Research Conference each year, but also is evident when you speak with both long-term and new members about what they appreciate about APPAM.
How can that strength be leveraged in the coming year?
I think APPAM can leverage this strength by continuing to provide new opportunities for researchers and practitioners with different perspectives to engage around common issues or puzzles. Again, I think the annual conference does a good job of this and is taking steps to support more activities that bridge perspectives. One challenge for the Policy Council will be to find additional ways to create meaningful interactions for APPAM members seeking to work across traditional methodological, conceptual, and professional divides.
What priorities do you have for the Policy Council in your coming term?
In the next few years, the Policy Council will be faced with some important decisions about how to grow the Association and its portfolio of activities. A top priority should be developing a plan for how we will grow our membership, expand the Fall Research Conference without compromising the quality of the exchange around ideas and research, and ensure that we are identifying new programmatic activities that strengthen APPAM’s research mission.
In your opinion, what are the two biggest issues facing the Association today?
Two items come to mind immediately, although there are many others that I feel are important. First, I would like to see the Association continue to grow the diversity of its members across many different dimensions. Second, I think APPAM should continue to assess how it can better meet the needs and interests of the next generation of researchers and consumers of research.
Do you have ideas on how to tackle those issues?
Although I’ve only been on the Policy Council for a short time, my sense is that APPAM is making important progress in each of these two areas. Some aspects of diversity, such as achieving a more racially and ethnically diverse membership, require short-term and long-term strategies to ensure success. Cultivating other aspects of diversity within our membership, whether methodological, theoretical, or substantive, may require us to rethink how we communicate our mission and how we structure key events or activities. When it comes to reaching the next generation of researchers and consumers or research, I feel that we need to think about the knowledge products we are generating – apart from papers and articles – that might be better aligned with the technology used to share and promote ideas.
What long-term strategy would you like the Policy Council to consider for the Association?
Another area where I’d like to see APPAM develop a long-term plan involves our ability to connect member research to policymakers, advocates, and practitioners. While I think the Association can be proud of its efforts to connect with the policy community in Washington, DC, I’d like to see greater effort to translate member research for a much broader audience.
What excites you about the coming year?
I’m most excited about the Fall Research Conference. It is a special opportunity to share work, learn from what others are doing, and meet with research collaborators. Personally, it’s also a chance to connect with colleagues that I don’t get to see often enough.
How do you think members can best leverage their APPAM membership?
I leveraged my APPAM membership initially by getting involved in many different aspects of the Fall Research Conference: poster presenter, paper presenter, proposing panels, serving as a discussant. Engagement within the conference helped connect me to many different researchers and ideas that powerfully shaped my work. It also allowed me chances to speak with Policy Council members and institutional representatives about key issues or opportunities that I felt were most pressing for the association. I feel lucky to have been elected to the Policy Council, as it provides an opportunity for me to tackle some of those priorities and help advance the ideas that others have for how we might strengthen our work as an Association.