Again this year, I am happy to offer probono design for public and nonprofit organizations who have needs for program evaluation. As part of a graduate-level course at the Humphrey School, we create utilization-focused plans for agencies using rigorous evaluation methods and appropriate alignment with organizations' needs. If you are interested, see the request for proposals here.
Over the past six months, we've been in discussion with county, state and nonprofit leaders about how the Humphrey School might offer resources to support policy and program improvement in the Human Services field. Today, we've launched the Future Services Institute with the convening of a dynamic group of advisors. They will help us respond to the important needs in our region and bring the unique talents of staff, doctoral students, and faculty in systems analysis, facilitation, evaluation, and training into the fields where they are needed.
Attached is the scope of our work in these first years, strategies where our advisors think that we can make the most differences given the needs for high quality evaluation, program-based peer learning, and training.
This month, my team at the Humphrey School and I have been in dialogue with some great county human service directors here in Minnesota about what is needed now to help really improve public service delivery in our state. We are struggling with huge racial disparities in outcomes across most areas & are growing more racial diverse. So it is neither morally justifiable or sustainable. Things have to change in the operations of public & nonprofit service organizations.
As we've talked, we realize that there needs to develop some alternatives spaces where people working in the system can work through ideas, develop innovative solutions and prototype them (without risk), and develop their own skills. And I feel like the Humphrey School's Public & Nonprofit Leadership Center can provide that platform. It also provides a way to apply the theory and know-how I've articulated in my book and recent articles.
We've landed on the name "Future Services Institute" and are going to explore a few programmatic efforts - bolstering the peer learning networks that we facilitate, conducting program evaluations, hosting innovation labs, and seeing if we might create a new graduate certificate at the Humphrey for mid-career students. So stay tuned!
As part of the Hubert Project leadership team, I've worked with doctoral and masters students to develop an array of teaching materials that highlight key issues and quandaries in policy and program implementation. It's grown to quite a collection on the Hubert Project web-site. See the list below for short video briefs (<4 minutes) to extensive & engaged e-studies. Enjoy!
In January 2016, I'm teaching a course on Program Evaluation to master's students at the Humphrey School at the University of Minnesota. These professional range in age from 23-73, and bring a wealth of experience to this task. In the course, I support them in working with a public or nonprofit client to develop an evaluation plan, including the program logic model and data collection tool (s).
Interested in having a team work with you? Check out the Request for Proposals below. Deadline is December 4th.
To support people interested in becoming more aware of policy implementation, I wanted to share a few additional tools to be used in a work team or by yourself. These relate to understanding the 'macro' setting, equivalent to Market Analysis in Business. Policy Field Analysis (see our quick Video Brief http://www.hubertproject.org/hubert-material/314/ for an overview) allows you to get a quick snap shot of who is who and what is what in the environment surrounding a policy or program.
I've just returned from the Global Implementation Conference in Dublin Ireland that was filled with over 450 delegates passionate about improving program implementation, particularly focused on disseminating models that work for children & families. In my presentation, I drew upon our work in the Minnesota welfare system, but also talked about the reality of working in complex social systems where cause and effect aren't linearly related. In that space, we need to develop and use probes for influence the system and nimbly evaluate what happens to inform our strategy. In social welfare, we are finding some effective probes are those that provide information about client/program participants to decision-makers. One tool, research-based personaes, we've been using a lot and to good end. Attached is worksheet (using more general terminology "Target Group Experiences" ) that can help others more easily develop and use a personae in their own contexts. Enjoy!
Just spent the last few days with leading scholars of policy implementation in a doctoral seminar sponsored by the University of Bergen (Norway) and the French-Norweign Center for Social Sciences. It was entitled Studying Public Policy Implementation in an Era of Governance and provided an opportunity for Peter May, Peter Hupe, Soren Winter, and Harald Saetren to come together and exchange our views and perspectives about policy implementation research. In this regard, I realize how the approach Stephanie Moulton and I have taken in this book is fairly radical. Not only do we orient our writing to people doing implementation but we bring in a conceptual framework that highlights the dynamics of complex systems.
One of the power points I used is attached below.
When writing Effective Implementation in Practice, Stephanie Moulton and I did our homework. Because of its complexity, the topic of policy implementation has confounded academics for 45 years. We knew we needed to stay grounded in our experience of working with others who implement public policy. But we also knew that books that deal only with experiences are limited in their appeal, because they often aren't generalizable. So we set out to develop a nimble and intellectually defensible theoretical foundation. We scoured the existing literature in many fields and, ultimately, landed on a theory recently articulated by two sociologists Doug McAdams and Neil Fligstein called Strategic Action Field Theory that provides a robust understanding of social systems. However, it required a lot of elaboration and further specification to be useful as a framework for scholarship on policy and program implementation. This paper, under review at Policy Studies Journal for inclusion in a special issue focused on the integration of public policy and public management, lays out our ideas to inspire other scholars to focus their attention on this important issue.