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Andrew Lovley of Wrentham, Mass. completed a three-month partnership with Give & Surf Inc., a nonprofit based in rural Panama that provides community development and educational access to an underserved indigenous population. Lovley’s final capstone project for the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service culminated with the integration of an in-depth evaluation system into regular organizational practice.
To gather recommendations of employees, local leaders, and program participants, Lovley designed and distributed surveys to community members and former staff. This critical input informed the resulting evaluation plan, which assesses program impact while ultimately generating financial and in-kind support by outlining community need and documented program results. Systems were introduced to systematically monitor daily attendance, subject retention, Pre-K development, library book borrowing, community engagement, as well as student, staff, and volunteer satisfaction. In addition, a longitudinal impact study will be conducted to track progress of participating students.
“Andrew’s aptitude in development and organization was immensely beneficial in assessing the organization’s present structure and paving a way for its future. His project encompassed a full-scale assessment of the organization and its operations followed by a detailed implementation plan complete with measurements and goals,” said Neil Christiansen, President and Founder of Give & Surf. “As a small grass-roots run organization we are incredibly grateful to have received such amazing support that will undoubtedly lead to positive changes for the organization and those individuals we serve in Bocas del Toro, Panama.”
The services provided by Give & Surf are a result of glaring inadequacies in the indigenous Ngobe communities of Bocas del Toro. Local residents suffer from minimal access to early childhood education, healthcare, quality nutrition, and sanitation services, keeping the majority of the population in extreme poverty. The opportunity to participate in relevant, impactful educational programs, from preschool to adult classes, offers a way to empower an indigenous population that has long been marginalized and treated as second-class citizens.
In another component of the project, Lovley assisted Give & Surf’s strategic plan to diversify its revenue stream by identifying appropriate foundational partners and submitting grant proposals that would support newly created summer school and marine education programs.
The capstone project is the third of three major field projects in the Clinton School curriculum. Lovley will graduate May 2015 after defending his capstone project to Clinton School faculty.
About Give & Surf
In response to requests by the local indigenous population for greater educational access, this small, grassroots 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was established in Bocas del Toro, Panama. Since its inception in 2011, Give & Surf has continued to expand its services to better meet community needs and now offers an array of programs and services, including pre-school, kindergarten, elementary school, and adult English classes, in addition to locally driven development projects.
More information about Give & Surf is available at http://giveandsurf.org/.
For her final individual capstone project, University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service student Ashley Jones of Piedmont, South Carolina, studied the Arkansas Drug Court System.
Jones partnered with the Arkansas Supreme Court to investigate the costs and benefits of Drug Courts in Arkansas. Through this partnership, she gathered information about the funding that is allocated to the drug court program as well as how, and how effectively, this money has been used. The study also compared the costs of drug court to those of jails, prisons, and addiction. In addition, she conducted interviews with experts that currently work in the drug court system.
Jones used the data to create, 1) a cost-benefit analysis of the Arkansas Drug Court System; 2) an executive summary that provides highlights from the full report; and 3) a pamphlet that gives a brief view of the costs and benefits of the Arkansas Drug Court System.
“We appreciate the work Ashley has done to study whether drug courts are effective not only in terms of cost, but also effective at keeping people out of prison, with their families, in recovery, and working in their communities. Often the intangibles are more valuable than the things we can count,” said Stephanie Harris, Arkansas Supreme Court Communications Counsel.
“As Arkansas policy-makers discuss the need to spend millions on new prisons,” Harris said, “there are existing programs that reduce the costs within our criminal justice system. Not only do the drug courts save the state money, they also keep people from reoffending and help them become productive citizens again. We hope that in the future more resources can be provided to expand these successful programs.”
Vital Voices Global Partnership is honored to collaborate with the McLarty Global Fellows Program, a philanthropic endeavor established by Mack and Donna McLarty, for a five-year partnership to provide fellowships to students at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, Sam M. Walton College of Business, and J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.
“Donna and I began the McLarty Global Fellows Program as a way to support the important work being done to promote women’s engagement and entrepreneurship around the world. We are pleased that Vital Voices has agreed to partner with us, and we are confident that both the students and the organization will benefit from the experience,” Mack McLarty said.
Donna Cochran McLarty co-founded Vital Voices Global Partnership and serves on our Board of Directors. “Our mission is to identify, invest in, and bring visibility to extraordinary women around the world by encouraging their leadership potential,” Mrs. McLarty said. “When we support women, we are also lifting families, strengthening communities, and enhancing prospects for peace.”
This fall, we welcome to Vital Voices two fellows from the program, Tshering Yudon and Anna Applebaum, both 2015 MPS candidates at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.
Tshering is conducting a review on the benefits of international networking for women business owners around the world. She will analyze the value of business networking and its potential to improve program design and implementation
Anna is conducting a review on the effectiveness of peer-peer exchange programs for women leaders around the world. She will analyze the use of peer-peer exchange as a tool for learning, network building and informal mentoring.
Arkansas Literacy Councils and the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service will host a “Time for the U.S. to Reskill” event on Thursday, December 4, 2014 at Universal Unitarian Church.
This event is part of a nationwide effort initiated by the U.S. Department of Education to gain feedback about the best ways to improve essential skills for the American workforce.
According to the Time to Reskill website (www.timetoreskill.org), results from an international study of adult skills, Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) Survey of Adult Skills, released in October 2013, show that the U.S. workforce trails many other developed nations in foundational skills essential for both individuals and the nation as a whole to thrive. These skills include the ability to read, the ability to understand numbers and do math, and the ability to solve problems using technology.
In order for the Department of Education to better understand the challenges involved in improving these skills, gather input from a wide range of stakeholders, and inform development of a national response, the Secretary of Education launched a national engagement process to obtain feedback. The goal of this process is to develop a national action plan to improve foundation skills of adults in the United States.
This event is part of that national engagement process and the report from this event will sent to be included in the national action plan on improving foundation skill of adults in the U.S.
The event will be on December 4, 2014 from 10Am to 4PM at Unitarian Universalist Church, 1818 Reservoir Road, Little Rock. For more information, contact Christina Standerfer at 501-683-5215.
About Arkansas Literacy Councils
Arkansas Literacy Councils (ALC) is the statewide non-profit that provides structure and support to 32 county-level literacy councils serving adults in over 45 Arkansas counties. These councils offer instructional tutoring to adults who want to learn to read, write or speak English better. All services are free.
More information about Arkansas Literacy Councils is available at www.arkansasliteracy.org.
A graduate student assisted The Beez Kneez, a Minneapolis small business, in its efforts to raise awareness about the importance of honey bees and pollinators to the health of our food system.
University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service student Lindsay Kuehn of Minneapolis, Minn., spent the past summer working in Minneapolis creating an interactive timeline to tell the story of how The Beez Kneez evolved from a business initially created to produce local honey and deliver it by bicycle, to a business that also educates the public through in-hive classes and has spearheaded an advocacy campaign to create positive legislation to improve the health of pollinators in Minnesota.
With one out of every three bites we eat resulting from the work that pollinators do on a daily basis, Kuehn’s project aimed to help The Beez Kneez convey the importance of honey bees to the health of our food system and our lives. Over 85% of Minnesotans are concerned about the recent disappearance of pollinator species. The Beez Kneez, itself, lost over 50,000 bees in a twenty-four-hour period in 2013 due to the application of a common pesticide near one of its hives.
The loss of that hive spurred The Beez Kneez to launch the Healthy Bees, Healthy Lives campaign, which has been working to change legislation in Minnesota so that it becomes more pollinator-friendly. Kuehn was tasked with telling the story of how—and why—the Healthy Bees, Healthy Lives campaign was developed. “The timeline was instrumental in translating this work to the public in a digestible way which will further strengthen and communicate our goals as beekeepers and educators,” said Kristy Allen, founder of The Beez Kneez.
Kuehn completed the project as part of the Clinton School Capstone program, which is the culminating project for students leading up to their Master of Public Service degree.
This article was written and produced by TalkBusiness.net
Paying college athletes a small stipend in addition to their scholarships is inevitable, the sports agent for former Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback Ryan Mallett said during a speech before the Clinton School of Public Service Monday.
J.R. Carroll, a partner at the Fayetteville office of the Kutak Rock law firm and one of two Arkansas-based agents representing NFL players, said the NCAA will no longer be able to rely on the justifications it has used in the past to avoid paying players. It calls players “student-athletes” when they really are college employees, and it uses their likenesses and names without compensating them. Meanwhile, the economics of college sports demands that the athletes be paid.
“The money has gotten to be so big and the pie has gotten to be so big that at some point, you’re going to have to give a piece of that pie to the individuals who are actually generating that income,” he said.
Carroll predicted that it will be commonplace for athletes to be paid small stipends to help them pay for college. Scholarships do not cover the full cost of college including incidentals, but practice demands preclude players from working paying jobs. However, he said stipends will remain relatively low because the universities will collude to prevent an “arms race.”
Carroll said schools will have to pay stipends to both male and female athletes to comply with Title IX, a federal law requiring gender equity in educational programs receiving federal funds.
Carroll traced the current situation back to the 1950s, when Walter Byers, the first NCAA president, coined the term “student-athlete” so the NCAA and its member schools could avoid paying for worker’s compensation. In a case involving a football player who died in a game, a judge ruled that players were not under contract, that universities are not in the football business, and that no university could profit from a football team – arguments that don’t apply now, he said.
Two legal decisions this year have weakened the NCAA’s case, Carroll said. When Northwestern University’s players asked to be allowed to unionize, a National Labor Relations Board regional director ruled that scholarships are a contract and athletes are employees. Then a judge ruled in a lawsuit brought by former basketball player Ed O’Bannon and others that the NCAA could not prohibit member schools from offering players a limited share of sports revenues.
The ruling in the Ed O’Bannon case will not apply until 2016, but Carroll said some schools have already begun to discuss the kinds of financial rewards they will offer.
Carroll pointed to the University of Alabama to show how athletics is tied to the overall operation of the university. Since Nick Saban became head football coach of the Crimson Tide in 2006 and began leading the team to three national championships, athletic department revenue has increased by 112 percent, the school has received more than $600 million in private donations, and the student population has increased by 51 percent. Sixty-two percent of the school’s students are from out of state, bringing in an extra $300 million just in out-of-state tuition. Meanwhile, the University of Florida, whose football team has been mediocre in recent years, has seen a one percent drop in its student population.
“Seven million dollars a year seems like a pretty good bargain for Nick Saban,” he said, referring to the coach’s salary.
- See more at: http://talkbusiness.net/2014/12/college-athletes-will-be-paid-agent-says/#sthash.EhZ1E3VI.dpuf
This op-ed was originally published in The Baines Report, an approved student organization composed of and governed by students of the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.
In the 2014 midterm elections, Americans sent a clear message—they are currently displeased with the liberal policies of the Obama Administration. Republicans, moderates, and independents overwhelmingly voted for Republicans in an attempt to reign in the administration and to prevent any further left wing legislation. Considering the imbalance of power before the elections, specifically the Democrat Senate majority and the Democrat Executive branch, the switch of controlling parties in the U.S. Senate after midterm elections is not a new phenomenon. Four influential Arkansans recently spoke on a panel at the Political Animals Club in Little Rock, Arkansas, about the midterm election and its implications for Arkansas and the nation. Skip Rutherford, former Chairman of the Democratic Party of Arkansas and current Dean of the Clinton School of Public Service (CSPS), said that the nationwide elections results are not indicative of a new, long-lasting national trend. (S. Rutherford, personal communication, November 13, 2014). Rutherford compared the 2014 midterm election to the midterm elections of 1958, 1972, and 1995. (S. Rutherford, personal communication, November 13, 2014). During these elections, Americans voted to change the controlling party of the U.S. legislative branch, creating a U.S. Senate and House that were not of the same party as the president. Therefore, midterm elections that create a legislative majority diverse from that of the executive branch are a normal occurrence in American politics. The 2014 national election results are politics as usual—voters retaliating against current national officeholders and unpopular policies.
While the elections do not herald a new trend nationally, they do represent a change in Arkansas (M. Brantley, R. Brock, J. Brummett, & S. Rutherford, personal communication, November 13, 2014). Once an established swing state, Arkansas is now a state whose voters toe the Republican Party line (M. Brantley, personal communication, November 13, 2014). As a former legislative staffer for Mike Ross, retired democratic Congressman for Arkansas’s Fourth Congressional District and 2014 gubernatorial candidate in Arkansas, I thought Arkansans would choose Congressman Ross over his Republican opponent Asa Hutchinson. I believed Arkansans would set aside their personal views about President Obama and vote for Congressman Ross based on his former voting record—he opposed “Obamacare”—and their past support for conservative Democrats in the state. However, I was wrong, and I am beginning to understand why.
Arkansans primarily rejected Democrats in local elections because they equated Arkansas’s Democrats with the national Democratic Party. This is a significant divergence from the norm in Arkansas. Dr. Jay Barth, a political analyst in Arkansas and author of Ripe for Reform: Arkansas as a Model for Social Change, lectured to one of my CSPS classes on the nature of politics in Arkansas. He implied that while Arkansans generally supported Republican candidates in past national elections, Arkansans did not always apply the same reasoning to statewide elections. (J. Barth, personal communication, September 2013). Arkansas Democrats are traditionally more conservative than their national counterparts, which has appealed to voters in Arkansas and often resulted in voter support for statewide Democrats even when the state elected Republicans to national office. (J. Barth, personal communication, September 2013). Therefore, traditionally, Arkansans have supported candidates—regardless of party affiliation—who best aligned with Arkansas’s traditional and populist values. (J. Barth, personal communication, September 2013). The midterm elections represent a stark delineation from Arkansas’s past voting record. Statewide rejection of Democrats meant that Arkansas’s Democratic candidates’ unique policies and positions fell on deaf ears. Instead of considering state Democratic candidates’ positions on issues in the recent election, which—for the most part—were not considerably different from their Republican counterparts, Arkansans rejected conservative southern Democrats and toed the Republican Party line.
Arkansas’s transition from a swing state to an established Republican state is primarily due to President Obama and his liberal policies. Roby Brock, Editor-in-Chief and Host of Talk Business & Politics and another panelist at the Political Animals Club, explained that Republicans progressively gained ground during the 2014 campaign season because of their anti-Obama rhetoric, as well as President Obama’s inaction on big issues, such as Ebola and ISIS (R. Brock, personal communication, November 13, 2014). President Obama’s inaction during the election cycle, coupled with the Republican campaign against him, resulted in Democrats losing support from Arkansas’s moderate, conservative, and independent voters (R. Brock, personal communication, November 13, 2014). According to Rutherford, “Big Republicans,” concerned with economics and taxes, voted with “Little Republicans,” concerned with Ebola, immigration, and guns. As a result, Democrats lost nearly all middle class and working class voters in Arkansas (S. Rutherford, personal communication, November 13, 2014). Brock echoed Rutherford and said Arkansas’s Democrats had truly lost the white, middle-class, and rural conservative votes, and it would be 30 to 40 years before the Democratic Party could appeal to these demographics again (R. Brock, personal communication, November 13, 2014). While President Obama and his policies may not have had an effect on voters nationwide, they have made a tremendous, lasting impact on voters and candidates in Arkansas.
While I do not think Americans, or more specifically Arkansans, were wise to reject everything “Democrat,” I do believe our country is best served by balanced legislative and executive branches. If the branches of government were balanced between a Democrat Executive branch and a Republican U.S. Senate before the elections, it is very probable that voters would have felt no need to retaliate at the polls; no one party’s policies would have reined, and Republicans and Democrats would have had a balance of representation and control in our national government. For instance, had a Republican Senate majority existed during the debate on the Affordable Care Act, the branches would have been balanced, and Republicans potentially would have had more influence on the individual nuances within the proposed healthcare legislative package. A balanced government could even have prevented the overwhelming loss for Democrats during the 2014 midterm elections; both Democrats and Republicans would have been clearly represented and none could say their position was not considered.
The combination of a Democratic executive branch, a Democratic Senate, and the passage of unpopular policies gave Republicans fuel to oust Democrats in the 2014 elections (M. Brantley & R. Brock, personal communication, November 13, 2014). While the election did not create a new national trend, it did change the dynamics of politics in Arkansas. Today, a moderate, unaffiliated candidate will have a much better chance of being elected to office if he/she chose to run as a Republican, whereas traditionally a moderate candidate could have good odds running as a Republican or a Democrat. The Democratic Party of Arkansas has much to do if it is to regain the demographics it has so obviously lost. The questions remain: what can the Democratic Party do to attract voters in Arkansas, and how long, if ever, will the party regain support in statewide elections? As a moderate Democrat—and a woman who believes everyone deserves a voice—I believe balance is key to the governing process. If balance is not maintained, elections result in “complete wipeout revolutions” and “political earthquakes” that can alter the established political dynamics of a state for a very long time. (J. Brummett and S. Rutherford, personal communication, November 13, 2014).
For his final capstone project, University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service and concurrent UAMS Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health student Alex Handfinger of Holland, PA partnered with the Arkansas Local Food Network (ALFN) to develop a strategic plan.
ALFN is a small, grassroots 501(c)(3) nonprofit with two part-time staff and a nine-member executive board that did not previously have a strategic plan in place. Like many non-profits, they have extremely limited resources and thus enlisted Handfinger, their Director of Operations, to develop a strategic plan to ensure those resources are being used effectively and efficiently.
Tasks performed included forming a strategic planning committee, re-clarifying ALFN’s mission and vision, performing a SWOT analysis, determining strategic priorities, and developing an action plan for implementation and review moving forward.
Handfinger worked with Round Table Consulting to develop participatory and inclusive facilitation techniques that ensured ALFN’s diverse stakeholders of board members, staff, volunteers, farmers, customers, funders, and partner organizations all had a voice throughout the planning process. Handfinger conducted the SWOT analysis by developing and conducting 109 surveys, three focus groups, and 20 qualitative interviews with these diverse stakeholders. He then analyzed this data and presented it to the board and strategic planning committee to determine their strategic priorities and then develop an action plan based on those priorities.
“With Alex’s help, we’ve been able to take into account multiple stakeholder perspectives while really bringing to light our priorities and clarifying our goals,” said Sarah Donaghy, ALFN Board member and project advisor.
The strategic plan will function as a guiding document for future decision-making at ALFN.
About the Arkansas Local Food Network (ALFN)
ALFN has spent the last eight years working to strengthen Arkansas farmers, promote the local food system, and support community food endeavors. They do this through a variety of programs including the Little Rock Local Food Club, their year-round, online farmer’s market; the Green Groceries food pantry that gets fresh, locally-produced food to low-income families through a partnership with Christ Episcopal Church; a FRESH comprehensive directory of the Central Arkansas local food system; and through community fund grants for small farms and gardens.
This essay was produced by the Clinton Foundation and written by Clinton School alum Mara D’Amico. For more essays on public service, click here.
As millions around the world can attest, the legacy of President Clinton has been both far-reaching and profound. Like many millennials, I came to understand what leadership through public service looked like while President Clinton was in office, and was fortunate to be a child during a period of relative peace and prosperity while he was President. Although I couldn’t fully understand at the time, he was crafting policy and creating programs that would shape the course of my life. As a young person who served two terms as an AmeriCorps member, graduated from the Clinton School of Public Service, and was awarded a fellowship in Secretary Clinton’s name to continue her work supporting women’s rights around the globe, I can say with certainty that my life would be completely different without the influence of President Clinton. My classmates from the Clinton School and I are now part of his ever-growing legacy.
In 2011, I was serving as an AmeriCorps Public Ally in Miami, and was looking for a graduate program that would embody the philosophy of public service that I had come to value. During a conversation about graduate programs, a close friend suggested I look into the Clinton School, as it seemed to be a good fit for me. I wanted a program that was firmly grounded in community-based work. That paired academic rigor with real-world application. That cultivated a diverse and tight-knit group of classmates with a wide range of public service interest areas and proven leadership. That gave students the opportunity to do international fieldwork. That didn’t burden graduates with excessive levels of student loan debt. That gave access to some of the best thought leaders and public servants in the world. And that didn’t shy away from working to address the toughest social issues facing our world today. I found all of those things and more at the Clinton School of Public Service. Although it was hard to say goodbye to Miami, Florida, I knew that the Clinton School was the right fit for me.
The mission of the Clinton School is “to educate and prepare professionals in public service who understand, engage and transform complex social, cultural, 13 economic and political systems to ensure equity, challenge oppression and effect positive social change.” At the Clinton School, we learn theory and concepts in the classroom—ranging from program planning and evaluation to research methods to ethics of public service—and apply that knowledge through three major field service projects. The first is a team public service project called Practicum, in which students work to address a need in the state of Arkansas. The second is the International Public Service Project, in which students spend a minimum of ten weeks abroad working to solve problems or build the capacity of an organization or community. Finally, students complete a culminating Capstone project in their second year of the program, which can be completed anywhere in the world, from Little Rock to Lagos to Lima. For me, this was the main draw of the program—to be able to directly apply the concepts that I learned in the classroom.
I completed my Practicum project with Lewis-Burnett Employment Finders in Little Rock, working with a team of classmates to survey the Little Rock service community about their capacity to meet the needs of formerly incarcerated individuals, create a service directory specifically for that population, and write a white paper of analysis and recommendations for how the service community could be better organized to meet the needs of those individuals. For my International project, I travelled to Ometepe Island in Nicaragua, where I worked with a health clinic to create a curriculum of educational and support groups to start discussions in the communities there about topics related to violence against women. For my Capstone project, I worked with the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas to research and author a strategic plan for its Policy and Research Committee so it could be better positioned to create research and effect change for women and girls in Arkansas. These field service experiences gave me a more intimate look at the issues impacting the lives of people across the state of Arkansas and around the world. I gained new skills, learned a great deal, and made real contributions to the organizations where I worked. All of these experiences taught me skills and knowledge that I continue to apply on a regular basis.
Students at the Clinton School have numerous opportunities to be involved in a variety of academic and leadership pursuits. We can listen to countless speakers at the renowned public program series, learning from leaders like Al Gore, Buzz Aldrin and Rachel Maddow. Because the Clinton School is located on the grounds of the Clinton Presidential Center, we also have the chance to become engaged in the vibrant community that Little Rock offers. I enjoyed taking full advantage of my time there, getting to know the Natural State through the Hope Watermelon Festival, trips with classmates to the Buffalo River and Pinnacle Mountain, and finding the best pie from Helena to Hot Springs, and from Eureka Springs to El Dorado. I also found some truly incredible friends in my classmates. I learned more than I could have imagined from classmates who were working to address climate change through training women to install solar panels, others who were focused on improving health through walkability, and still more who worked with women seeking refuge from the conflict in Syria. At the Clinton School, you are surrounded by true public servants who are passionate about and committed to cultivating positive social change. I look forward to seeing the collective impact my classmates will have over the course of our lives.
Upon graduation from the Clinton School in May 2014, I was named the Hillary Rodham Clinton Communications Fellow for the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security in Washington, D.C. My time and experiences at the Clinton School directly prepared me for the work I’m doing now, and I am thrilled to have the chance to build upon the legacy started by Secretary Clinton in working for the world to see women’s rights as human rights, once and for all. My life has been shaped by the work and legacy of President Clinton. I have directly benefitted from the policies and programs he has shaped and implemented, which are represented at the Center in the Library, the Archives, and at the School, and it is my responsibility to pay that forward. I have committed to a life of public service—a life of working to find community-based 15 solutions to pervasive social problems, of fostering inclusivity and thoughtfulness, and of operating at the intersection of theory and practice. I look forward to the bridges I will continue to build through the legacy of President Clinton.