CHASP now has a new online Events Calendar! We post events that are relevant to the many social policy issues under the Center for Health and Social Policy umbrella, both at The University of Texas at Austin and beyond. Please submit your event by filling out the CHASP Event Calendar form.
The tragic death of Sandra Bland put a human face on the troubles lurking within the “pretrial” stage of criminal justice–policing and the decision to effectuate a custodial arrest, the bail decision, jail safety and the impact of incarceration on the mentally ill. The profound sadness and frustration over her death galvanized legislative hearings and more are planned.
By all accounts, the next legislative session promises to bring some important criminal justice reform. For a preview of some of the most pressing issues, a group of academics, national experts and justice system practitioners, including LBJ professor and CHASP faculty associate Michele Deitch, held a major symposium in December 2015 called, “Police, Jails, and Vulnerable People: New Strategies for Confronting Today’s Challenges.”
In response to issues raised at the symposium, the students of the LBJ School of Public Affairs Policy Research Project (PRP) led by Prof. Deitch, developed and recently released two white papers:
- Risk Not Resources- Improving the Pretrial Release Process in Texas – on bail reform and pretrial practices in Texas
- Prioritizing Treatment Over Punishment – on Texas’s efforts to divert people with mental illness away from the justice system
Both white papers are intended to provide guidance to legislators and others looking for recommendations to address these important criminal justice issues.
Prioritizing Treatment Over Punishment was written by LBJ graduate students Rachel Gandy and Erin Smith, under the supervision of Prof. Michele Deitch and Dr. Lynda Frost from the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health. Click for more.
Risk, Not Resources: Improving the Pretrial Release Process in Texas was written by LBJ School graduate students Nathan Fennell and Meridith Prescott, under the supervision of Prof. Michele Deitch. Click for more.
Credit: Thank you to Michele Deitch for allowing reprinting of parts of her blog posts from Grits for Breakfast for this article.
Expectations of fathers have changed over time, for the better. Though the father’s role in child-rearing has traditionally been understood solely in terms of financial support, research now shows that fathers’ involvement in their children’s lives is critical to healthy child development. CHASP director Dr. Cynthia Osborne and her policy research group, the Child and Family Research Partnership (CFRP), aims to better understand the role that fathers play in shaping their child’s health and wellbeing through rigorous research focused on fathers.
In CFRP’s recent news post, “The Changing American Family and the Evolving Concept of Fatherhood,” they discuss how changing family dynamics have led to a shift in the concept of fatherhood in just the past 40 years and the importance of fathers serving as more involved caregivers.
As views about fatherhood continue to evolve, so does the nature of parenting programs. Today many parenting programs focus specifically on fathers, which in the past were purely targeted to mothers. In “Making Good on Fatherhood: A Review of Fatherhood Research,” CFRP discusses the landscape of father-focused programs and what the current evidence says about them.
Bottom line – when fathers are involved, kids benefit. These benefits range from enhanced academic performance and impulse control to reduced likelihood of having a teen birth or spending time in jail. CFRP’s popular infographic, “The Importance of Father Involvement,” simply illustrates the impact of an involved father on the outcomes of their children.
For more about Dr. Osborne’s research on fathers, please go to http://childandfamilyresearch.org/publications/fathers.
How does an urban city like Austin develop a food systems plan that enables economic development, environmental improvement, and public health– while balancing often-exclusionary concerns of elites? The City of Austin calls upon the graduate students of the University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs, led by CHASP faculty associates Dr. Erin Lentz and Raj Patel, to engage in a Neighborhood Food Planning Process with a goal of developing Austin’s first Food System Strategic Plan. The City will use the team in piloting the program in North Central Austin to inform how to expand the Neighborhood Food System Planning process city-wide.
During this Policy Research Project (PRP), the students in the study will begin to identify ways to support inclusivity in Austin’s Food System Strategic Plan. First, these students will identify and synthesize lessons learned from leading model cities across the US and beyond, about how to create and foster an environment in which bold citizen-driven transformations in the food system can happen. Prof. Erin Lentz emphasized, “…developing a toolkit for the City of Austin is the real goal.”
Second, students will work closely with City of Austin residents, civil society actors, local policymakers, and government officials to generate a tailored set of inclusive policy recommendations that are appropriate to Austin’s unique context. Edwin Marty, the City’s first Sustainable Food Policy Manager, has stressed that that the most vital step here is listening and reaching out to community members about their true needs and wants.
Future years’ topics for the PRP will be driven both by the City’s demands, and those of the City’s residents as revealed in the first year’s work.
UPDATE 3/15/16: Op-Ed in Austin American Statesman: A Word to FLOTUS: Let’s All Move
UPDATE 7/10/16: Op-Ed in Austin American Statesman: Serving Austin’s hungry residents requires listening to them
Please join us Wednesday, March 2nd for the next CHASP faculty brown bag!
Dean Angela Evans
Wednesday, March 2, 2016
12:15pm-1:30pm in SRH 3.124
Limited Seating | Registration at chasp1516-evans.eventbrite.com
Transforming Research and Analysis to Action: Engagement Across the Academic and Political Divide
Dean Evans will discuss the current role evidence plays in bridging the gap that now exists between those who conduct research and those who use that research to inform policy deliberations. She will describe innovative approaches to build and sustain multidisciplinary networks to develop strategies for engaging policymakers, and to craft policy solutions that are innovative and administratively feasible.
Co-sponsored by GPAC
Abigail Aiken is currently a postdoctoral research associate at the Office of Population Research at Princeton University. During the Fall 2014 semester, she was also a lecturer at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. In Fall 2016, she will join the LBJ School as Assistant Professor of Public Affairs and new CHASP faculty associate.
Aiken’s research focuses on reproductive health and spans several disciplines, combining backgrounds in biomedical sciences, public policy, demography, public health. Her current projects include: examining women’s experiences obtaining safe abortion in contexts where legislative barriers prevent access through the healthcare system; evaluating programs and policies designed to increase access to contraception in the postpartum and post-abortion setting; and investigating the determinants and impacts of unintended pregnancies through a health equity and reproductive justice framework.
Aiken’s work has recently been published in the American Journal of Public Health, Social Science and Medicine, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Contraception, and the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, among others. Her research has also been supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Society of Family Planning.
Most recently her paper, Factors Influencing the Likelihood of Instrumental Delivery Success, was cited by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in Practice Bulletin 154 and named one of the top 5 articles in labor and delivery in 2014 by Obstetrics & Gynecology.
In March 2016, Aiken will serve as a social science expert on abortion on the amicus brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the case Whole Women’s Health versus Cole.
CHASP Director Dr. Cynthia Osborne and her research group at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, the Child and Family Research Partnership, and the Texas DFPS’ Prevention and Early Intervention division hosted the first annual “Texas Fatherhood Summit: Building the Evidence Base for Fatherhood Programs” in Austin on February 3, 2016.
The Summit brought together hundreds of leading researchers, policymakers, and practitioners in the field of fatherhood to exchange ideas and assess the state of fatherhood programs in Texas and throughout the country.
National fatherhood expert Dr. Ronald Mincy, Director of the Center for Research on Fathers, Children and Family Well-Being and Social Policy Professor at Columbia University, was the keynote speaker and spoke about the importance of fathers in their children’s lives. Dr. Osborne and other top researchers around the country presented on what the current evidence says about fatherhood programs and the impact on future policy decisions. Fatherhood program providers also shared their work of supporting fathers on the ground in communities.
All event details and helpful links are at www.childandfamilyresearch.org/about/texas-fatherhood-summit-2016.
CHASP faculty associate and education policy researcher, Dr. Paul von Hippel is an expert on a topic that has received little attention from communities, parents, or policymakers — year-round school.
von Hippel’s recent paper, “Year-Round School Calendars: Effects on Summer Learning, Achievement, Parents, Teachers, and Property Values” discusses what the research really says about what year-round school really is and the potential impacts of adopting year-round calendars for public schools.
Over the past three decades, the number of schools using year-round calendars has increased nine-fold, from 410 in 1985 to 3,700 in 2011-12. Over 2 million children now attend year-round schools – as many as attend charter schools – yet year-round schools have attracted relatively little attention from researchers and the public.
In this chapter, I define year-round schools, describe their characteristics, and discuss the educational, political, and financial reasons why schools do or do not adopt year-round calendars. I then review the evidence for the effects of year-round calendars on test scores. Once thought to be positive, these effects now appear to be neutral at best. Although year-round calendars do increase summer learning, they reduce learning at other times of year, so that the total amount learned over a 12-month period is no greater under a year-round calendar than under a nine-month calendar. I also review evidence that year-round calendars make it harder to recruit and retain experienced teachers, make it harder for mothers to work outside the home, and reduce property values. I conclude by discussing the remaining uses for year-round calendars and posing questions for future policy and research.
Year-Round School Calendars: Effects on Summer Learning, Achievement, Parents, Teachers, and Property Values
Paul T. von Hippel
University of Texas at Austin – Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
December 2, 2015
Chapter 13 in Alexander, K., Pitcock, S. & Boulay, M. (eds.). The Summer Slide: What We Know and Can Do About Summer Learning Loss. New York: Teachers College Press, 2016.
- Business Insider: Year-round school doesn’t solve the 2 big problems with summer vacation
We are so excited to announce that LBJ Professor and CHASP faculty associate Angela Evans has been named Dean of the LBJ School of Public Affairs. She is a passionate advocate for the LBJ School, and we look forward to what future greatness comes to the department under her leadership. Her first day as Dean will be January 16, 2016. We also thank Robert Wilson for his service as Interim Dean during the transition.
President Fenves announced to the University community today:
“Angela is the right person to lead the LBJ School. Her deep knowledge of the school provides a strong basis for increasing its impact by educating public affairs leaders through scholarship and research in domestic and international affairs. I am especially excited about her ideas for growing the presence of the LBJ School in Washington, D.C.
Following a long and impressive career of public service to the U.S. Congress, including 13 years as the deputy director of the Congressional Research Service, Angela joined the LBJ School as a clinical professor in 2009. Her years of working directly with members of Congress and their staffs on major legislative deliberations, and supporting them as they confronted our nation’s critical and complex policy problems, offer a unique balance of insight and expertise that will benefit our students, faculty and campus leadership. During her time as deputy director, Angela was recognized for leading major organizational changes that enhanced the research capacity of the Congressional Research Service, as well as improved operations and infrastructure.
While at UT, Angela has earned teaching accolades at the LBJ School and has been the recipient of the Texas Exes Teaching Award. She also has been awarded research grants, including ones from the National Science Foundation and the Dirksen Congressional Center.
Angela continues to be active in the public policy arena, serving as a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. She also has recently served as the president of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management and on the governing board of the Network for Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration.”
Congratulations again to our colleague for the much deserved appointment.
More about Angela Evans.