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Workshop Report: Exploring the integration of data-intensive analytical skills in public affairs education

Abstract

Introduction

About the Workshop

Data, Technologies & Context: How the practice of government is changing

Preparing Government Professionals for a New Context

Advancing Policy Informatics in Public Affairs Education

Next Steps

Workshop Participants

About the Workshop

Thirty-two participants interested in the intersections of technology and information in public policy and management represented a wide range of academic and professional backgrounds including e-government, business and public administration, comparative politics, and operations research among many others. They worked in more than a dozen policy domains ranging from agriculture to criminal justice to public health to transportation and urban planning. Individuals at the workshop possessed many kinds of specific expertise they wanted to share including analytic methods, building data repositories, understanding cultural differences and complexity in research and practice, interacting with practitioners, and innovative teaching strategies. They also expressed interest in a variety of topics they hoped to learn more about related to policy informatics including data visualization, innovative teaching methods, international comparisons, balancing theory and practice, and leveraging technology.

Participants represented the following schools: Arizona State University, Brunel University, Carnegie Mellon University, Delft University of Technology, Ohio State University. San Francisco State University, University at Albany, University of Koblenz, Germany University of Vermont, and University of Victoria. Experts from government and non-profit organizations represented New York State, New York City, Kid Risk, Inc. and the Millennium Institute.

Participant Profile


The workshop had four objectives: Two morning panels and a keynote talk introduced experiences and ideas that informed afternoon small group discussions. The first panel focused on Policy Challenges and set the stage for the workshop by illustrating the kinds of issues our students will face as they enter careers in government or government-related research. The second panel focused on Preparing to Meet the Challenges, highlighting examples of innovative teaching in public affairs education to stimulate discussion about how faculty can employ creative methods and tools in the classroom such as modeling, data analytics, and other non-traditional ways of assessing public problems and considering solutions. The keynote talk, Visualization, Informatics, and Teaching Policy Analysis and Management, by Evert Lindquist, provided an opportunity to delve into the history of visualization in research and practice across different disciplines, and to reflect on the needs of public sector leaders, the new ways they are consuming information, and how visualization can and cannot be a useful tool.