Tag: Master of Public Administration

2020 Capstone and Oregon Policy Lab Project Launch

Starting in January students in the University of Oregon’s Master of Public Administration (MPA) began working on their capstone projects. The MPA capstone projects pair student groups with clients across the region to solve real-world policy and management problems. Over two terms (January – June 2020) these students will draw upon a wide range of skills they’ve acquired during their MPA to scoping the project, execute a rigorously designed research study, pull in the most current research, and synthesize their findings to their clients. Throughout the process, the students work hand-in-hand with IPRE professionals and PPPM faculty.

This year, three of the Capstone Projects originated from the Oregon Policy Lab’s relationship with the Lane County Government (and in partnership with some other local governments), focusing on vulnerable populations, resilience, and sustainability. This mix of subject areas allows students to engage in work that they are excited about and gives them many opportunities to flex the skills gained in this program in different ways. Students will answer new and exciting questions for the county like 1) How could an Intergovernmental Compact Model address hazard mitigation? 2) How can a peer-to-peer support network impact people experiencing homelessness? And 3) How can smoke hazards be addressed during a wildfire event, especially for vulnerable populations?

Lane Regional Resilience Collaborative

The student consultant team will provide Lane County and the newly organized Lane Regional Resilience Collaborative Steering Committee the best options for a countywide collaborative effort to address pre-disaster mitigation. This research will involve review of case studies and finding best practices in collaborative formation, function, and long-term sustainability. This team hit the ground running, meeting with the steering committee only ten-days into the project. The meeting allowed them to discuss the roles and needs of the Steering Committee in moving this project forward and gave the student consultants more insight on the needs of an inter-governmental compact model in Lane County. More information on Lane Regional Resilience Collaborative can be found at http://lanecounty.org/lrrc

Peer-to-peer support network development for people experiencing

Currently the City of Eugene is building capacity within a group of people experiencing homelessness to provide peer to peer support. The consultant team will review and analyze programs that enable effective peer support, assess best practices, and participate in the ongoing, local peer-to-peer capacity building activities to better understand the needs and challenges that the participants are facing. The group hopes to help provide greater insight how to increase community capacity through peer-to-peer support programs.

Cleaner Air Spaces in Lane County

The Oregon Policy Lab has previously provided guidance to Lane County on potential policy interventions to aid vulnerable populations during wildfire events. In this project, students will expand on this research by reviewing global case studies of clean air shelter policies and programs to understand the best practices in these efforts. Students will conduct interviews and catalogue features of existing clean air shelters to understand the local capabilities. This will lead to recommendations to stakeholders to successfully communicate and establish policies for effective use of cleaner air spaces during a smoke event.

Stay tuned for additional updates about the projects to come!

“You Have To Try The Water”

One of the most appealing factors that encouraged me to sign up for Community Planning Workshop was the opportunity to work with Oregon communities to help solve real problems. Therefore, having spent 3 weeks learning the details of our project, Ashland Sustainable Transportation, and the dynamic community we would be working with, my team and I were itching to get out, hit the road, and see what it is that draws those 400,000 visitors to Ashland, Oregon every year.

Ashland Sustainable Transportation Community Planning Workshop CPWOur day started out with a tour of the city of Ashland, including a drive along the city’s main streets and a walk around the downtown area (although I should not neglect to mention the great lunch we had at Ashland Food Co-op beforehand, nor the delicious natural lithia spring mineral water we all tried). We then met with Mike Faught and Bill Molnar, who work with Ashland’s Public Works and Community Development Departments, respectively, and are serving as our primary project contacts.

The highlight of our trip was getting to meet with our Project Advisory Committee (PAC) for the first time. The committee’s 23 members were handpicked by the Mayor of Ashland, and includes representatives from the Planning Commission, Transportation Commission, and local businesses.

Our main task for this meeting was to introduce the PAC to several parking management strategies that could potentially be implemented as solutions to Ashland’s transportation issues. Each of us made a poster highlighting one of the strategies, which included education, wayfinding, regulation, and transportation demand management (programs designed to get users out of single-occupancy vehicles). After splitting into five groups, the PAC members rotated through our stations, where we discussed examples of how each strategy has been successfully used in other communities, and subsequently, if there were any issues or opportunities for using them in Ashland.

Overall, I feel we got valuable feedback from this process. It is really motivating to be able to work with a group of people that are so engaged and committed to the project and the community as a whole. The committee members had a wide range of experience in working with transportation and parking matters, and were able to give us very constructive and practical insight into Ashland’s needs.

Based on how our first meeting went, I look forward to continuing to work with the PAC as our project progresses. Our next meeting is scheduled for March 5, and we have eagerly begun preparations for it. This time around, we will be presenting the results from the first round of surveys, which gathered perceptions about downtown use. With more responsibility, we are even more excited for the next meeting, as  it should turn out to be quite the learning experience!

Amada DSouza Community Planning Workshop Ashland Sustainable Transportation About the Author: Amanda D’Souza is a first year Master of Public Administration student at the University of Oregon. Calling Tucson, Arizona home, she received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of St. Andrews in 2010. Since then, she served a term with the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, and spent the past two years supporting a social services nonprofit in Coos Bay, where she fell in love with the state of Oregon.