Students from the Clinton School of Public Service at the University of Arkansas will deliver a presentation at the Southwestern Social Science Association Annual Meeting, set for April 21-23 in San Antonio, Texas.
The team’s presentation, “The Common Barriers to Equitable Procurement in the Southern United States,” will focus on the barriers and challenges faced by women-owned or minority-owned business enterprises (WMBE), as well as perceptions of the procurement process. The presentation reflects research from the students’ work with the City of Little Rock Purchasing Division during the 2020-21 academic year.
Ralph Bray, Madeline Burke, and Camille Gilmore partnered with the City of Little Rock Purchasing Division – a centralized purchasing office that has the responsibility to locate and secure materials, supplies, equipment, and related services for the city – to research best practices for increasing WMBE vendor participation and contract spending.
Bray and Gilmore, along with Dr. Nichola Driver, Assistant Professor and Faculty Director for the Office of Community Engagement, will present at the SSSA Annual Meeting. The students received funds from the Standerfer Student Travel Reimbursement Fund, organized by Dr. Robert Richards, to cover a portion of the travel costs.
"This is an amazing project for many reasons: it challenged students to strategize on how to solve a local problem in real-time, it provided important answers for a community partner, and it yielded findings that other cities and communities can benefit from,” said Driver. “Presenting and publishing the project ensures that its impact doesn't stop when the students receive a grade. Our field service can have a ripple effect beyond just one community. Special thanks to the City of Little Rock Procurement Division and alum, Derrick Rainey, for an excellent partnership.”
The Southwestern Social Science Association (SSSA), founded in 1919, is the oldest interdisciplinary social-science association in the United States. SSSA’s annual meeting brings together professional scholars, graduate students, and undergraduates from across the country and the world in the spirit of intellectual growth, collaboration, and collegiality.
The Clinton School Speaker Series not only enhances the education of Clinton School students, but also provides a venue for the public to engage in intellectual discussions on the issues of the day.