Associate Dean Callie Rennison and Associate Professor Tanya Heikkila served on the committee to review proposals for the inaugural round of funding from the SPA Faculty Investment Fund. Six projects were ultimately selected to receive $5,000 in funding each. A brief description of the projects can be found below.
Congratulations to the SPA faculty members whose projects were funded!
Angela Gover: The Role of Victim Advocates in Domestic Violence Offender Treatment in Colorado: Identifying Unique Opportunities and Challenges in the Promotion of Victim Safety
One novel aspect of the criminal justice system’s response to domestic violence in Colorado is the inclusion of a victim advocate in a team approach to decision making about offender treatment so that victim safety concerns remain a main consideration when making decisions about offender progress. However, the ways in which advocates’ negotiate their “place at table” with treatment providers and probation officers is not well understood. Given the often clandestine nature of domestic violence, victim advocates may provide important and unique insights about domestic violence offender treatment that increase victim and community safety that could not be identified by these other sources given the nature of their positions. At the same time, the inherent power differentials between treatment providers, probation officers, and victim advocates as well as issues of victim confidentiality may impact victim advocates’ ability to be an effective part of process.
Using survey data and follow-up interviews with a near population of domestic violence treatment advocates, and working with Tara N. Richards, CCJRI Research Affiliate, the current research examines victim advocates’ experiences, roles, and responsibilities in Colorado domestic violence offender treatment as well as the unique challenges and opportunities they face.
Benoy Jacob and Malcom Goggin: Bottom-Up Federalism: Assessing Local Government’s Role in Climate Change Policy
This project considers the ways in which American cities are becoming increasingly active in policy domains that, traditionally, have been considered outside their purview. Cities are, legally, considered creatures of the state. As such, the policy domains of cities are proscribed by state governments. Such limits on the decisions of local governments are found even within states with home-rule provisions for cities. As such, city policy making activity is expected to be limited to those issues that directly affect the local population. That said, it seems to us, that cities are increasingly involved in shaping a broader range of public policies; in particular, policies that:
- spill-over jurisdictional boundaries (e.g. climate change);
- have re-distributional effects (e.g. minimum wage laws); or,
- have broader social implications (e.g. civil unions).
To the degree that this observation is correct, it poses a unique set of questions regarding the role of the city in American federalism. With this in mind, the stated objective of the project is to understand how local governments are shaping public policy beyond their specific jurisdiction; in particular, as it relates to climate change policy. The requested funds will facilitate completion of this objective by providing support to a critical data gathering elements of the project.
Christine Martell: Market-based Subnational Government Credit Access Book Project
The project goal is to write a book entitled Market-based Subnational Government Credit Access. I, and two colleagues, are preparing a manuscript designed to improve the market access of subnational governments around the globe to affordable credit as a means to finance their capital projects. I am the lead author of the book; the co-authors are Dr. Salvador Espinosa (San Diego State University) and Dr. Tima Moldogaziev (University of Georgia).
Subnational governments around the globe have needs to finance their infrastructure projects, yet are often have limited sources of financing. Market-based practices have the potential to increase subnational government access to affordable capital, improve transparency, align resources with demand, and reduce moral hazard behavior. Of central interest to this project is how to apply market-based practices in countries, particularly emerging economies, which have a myriad of contextual backgrounds and institutional arrangements.
This book offers four contributions:
- Based on economic theory of markets and institutional factors that undermine its assumptions, a theory of subnational government credit markets (SNGCMs);
- Classification of countries for their likelihood of having markets based on quantitative data analysis;
- Identification of what countries that do not meet all the preconditions can do to enhance their market options based on qualitative case analysis of financing tools applied to an array of country contextual arrangements; and,
- Policy and management recommendations to development actors.
John Ronquillo: Assessing the Social Enterprise of Low-profit Limited Liability Companies (L3Cs)
Trends in nonprofit commercialization and other market-based approaches to providing social services have been increasing. Various forms of hybrid organizations from the private and nonprofit sectors, commonly known as “social enterprises,” seek to blend this market-based approach with social missions. That is, in addition to their profit-maximizing orientation, the organization also has a social mission to improve existing conditions among society’s vulnerable populations, creating a “double bottom line” for these organizations. The rapid growth of these organizations has made it difficult for researchers to keep pace with new developments.
There are over 1100 L3Cs in the United States, with similar types of organizational forms being legislated elsewhere, including “flexible benefit corporations” in California. Much of the research on social enterprise in the U.S. has been focused on case-based, grounded theory, or qualitative approaches. With the number L3Cs growing, now is an optimal time to collect additional data and assess the initial impact of these organizations, and to give some variance to research in the area of social enterprise. Data collection will also include a survey administered to L3Cs to:
- assess managerial perceptions of the work these organizations are engaged in;
- contribute more to our understanding of organizational and environmental attributes of L3Cs; and,
- provide greater breadth and depth regarding the testing of empirical hypotheses concerning social enterprises.
Jessica Sowa and Mary Guy: Public Administration Evolving: A Symposium on the Foundations and Future of Public Administration
As a field of study matures, it is important to periodically assess its development and consider the direction of future scholarship. As part of the 75th Anniversary celebration for the American Society for Public Administration, the professional association that has driven public administration research and practice, scholars conducted such a review in the edited volume Public Administration Evolving: From Foundations to the Future, edited by Professors Mary Guy and Marilyn Rubin. This volume explores questions regarding the major trends in practice and theory, the intellectual development of public administration, and the professionalization of the field. Drawing on this edited volume, we propose a half-day symposium that brings together scholars who contributed to this volume. They will present a workshop on the foundations and future of public administration research and implications for practice.
This project is geared toward advancing the mission of the School of Public Affairs, enhancing the educational experience for MPA and PhD students, and furthering the professional development goals of the public administration faculty. We will actively encourage all current and prospective Ph.D. students, and those MPA students who are close to completing their degrees, to attend this seminar. Additionally, we anticipate including a panel of our senior Ph.D. candidates in order to elicit the student perspective on this work and what it portends for their future research agendas. Based on funding and travel costs, we anticipate inviting three or four of the contributing authors to present their views on the foundations and future of public administration. Having these senior scholars, most all of whom are Fellows of the National Academy of Public Administration (a Congressionally chartered organization that conducts studies on good government practices) will be an invaluable learning experience for our students and colleagues. It will provide students with an opportunity to engage one-on-one with scholars whose work they have read in their studies.
Chris Weible: Understanding the Role of the News Media in Hydraulic Fracturing Debates in Colorado
Over the past five years, hydraulic fracturing and oil and gas development has expanded across much of Colorado and the newspaper coverage of the issue has increased in the majority of Colorado newspapers. A critical complaint among the leaders actively involved with hydraulic fracturing is that news media over-reports conflicts, misrepresents science, and overlooks some of the major events on the issue, such as low conflict advances made in the regulation of the practice. Based on the PI’s prior research, leaders in Colorado rate problems with the media as moderate to severe. To further explore the issues and concerns surrounding hydraulic fracturing in the news media, this project involves interviews of a cross-section of leaders and journalists in Colorado. With Colorado at the worldwide epicenter for the politics and management of hydraulic fracturing, this is a critical time to evaluate how this complex and significant topic is being communicated to the general public and to provide recommendations to improve its reporting.
This project will:
- Conduct an analysis of news media coverage of the hydraulic fracturing issue in Colorado. Existing funding from the Sloan Foundation and the National Science Foundation is supporting automated text analysis and hand coding of the news media of Colorado papers; this study will complement this existing study with 15 interviews of members of the news media and leaders of hydraulic fracturing.
- Evaluate communication of risk and uncertainty within the news media. In evaluating media framing of complex issues, such as hydraulic fracturing, this project seeks to understand how risks and uncertainty of contentious environmental issues are communicated to the public and to offer insights for better communication of these issues.
- Provide impartial research to leaders of hydraulic fracturing issues, the general public, and journalists. This project seeks to improve the discussion of the news media’s role in this issue in CO. CO leaders and journalists will be interviewed with questions focusing on current practices by the news media and strategies for improvement.