I have been continued working half-time during the past academic year as part of my phased retirement, so my research, service, and teaching are somewhat curtailed; however, it has been a very productive year, and I have had significant accomplishments.
In terms of research, two co-authored pieces were published in peer-reviewed journals. One paper, “Alternative Approaches to Ensuring Adequate Nurse Staffing: A Difference-in-Difference Evaluation of State Legislation on Hospital Nurse Staffing” with Xinxin Han and Polly Pittman was published in Medical Care, a leading health policy journal. This paper, written with one of our recent PhD students and a professor in the School of Health Policy, addresses the important issue of how state nurse staffing laws affect the utilization of nurses in hospitals. The article was summarized in a press release by the publisher of Medical Care (https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/928071) and a review of medical news (https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210910/Study-compares-three-types-of-state-legislations-aimed-at-ensuring-adequate-nurse-staffing.aspx). The second article, written with two colleagues at the University of Wisconsin, is in a special issue of the Annals of Political and Social Science dealing with the recent experiences of the working class.
I also co-authored two chapters in important books during the past year. One chapter titled “Design of Social Security Administration Demonstration Evaluations” was in a volume commissioned by the Social Security Administration to document lessons learned from over 30 years of demonstrations testing alternative approaches to administering programs serving people with disabilities. The second chapter, titled “Recent Developments in U.S. labor policies and programs,” describes labor policies in the United States and how they have changed in recent years. The volume stems from a series of conferences sponsored by the International Labour Organization discussing important labor issues in countries around the world.
My “research in progress” includes a paper co-authored with a faculty colleague and five Ph.D. students that has been accepted by the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, the leading public policy journal. This paper analyzes the mixed methods approach to analysis and develops a canonical approach to high quality mixed methods analyses.
I am conducting two research projects with a former PhD student of mine who is now an associate professor of nursing at GW. The first project, where we have been negotiating for funding, involves estimating the impact of marijuana legalization on health outcomes of pregnant women and their newborns. The second project involves an extension of a paper we published last year on the impact of teams of medical providers on quality outcomes; we have obtained a new database that permits us to test hypotheses on how quality relates to the composition of teams for visits to an emergency room.
An ongoing sponsored research project involves leading the outcomes study for the evaluation of the American Apprenticeship Initiative (AAI). The U.S. Department of Labor funded the AAI in an effort to expand apprenticeship to underserved populations (e.g., women and minorities) and to expand apprenticeships in underserved industries (e.g., health care and information technology). The evaluation of AAI was awarded to Abt Associates, with GWU as a subcontractor. Because there is no available “control” group, an outcome study rather than an impact study is being conducted, and I am the lead researcher on this component of the project. We have completed the draft final report and are awaiting reviews. This project will be useful to the Department of Labor and potential apprenticeship sponsors in efforts to promote apprenticeship, a proven strategy for providing employment opportunities.
I am working with colleagues at the George Washington Institute for Public Policy (GWIPP) to respond to a procurement announcement from the U.S. Department of Labor to establish a $5 million Unemployment Insurance Research Center. Although the funding is not guaranteed, we are prepared to bid if the procurement is issued. We have assembled an excellent team including a major nonprofit (Upjohn Institute) and the association of state workforce agencies, as well as faculty from the Trachtenberg School and the Economics Department at GW. The current plan is for me to be bid as the director of the institute, which would fund me for 20 percent of my time over the next four years.
I have continued my service to the university, the profession, and the community in several ways. I have served as Director of the Ph.D. program at the Trachtenberg School since January 2018. Despite a decline in financial aid packages from 7 when I started to 0 last year and 2 for the upcoming year and the uncertainty generated by the COVID19 crisis, we have been able to meet our recruitment targets. Last year we had 20 students enroll, with several additional students unable to enroll because of unexpected delays by the State Department in issuing visas. We have also done well at recruiting students from underrepresented groups. During the last academic year, I could not meet the first year PhD students in person, but I sent emails to the class every week (or more often if there was a need). More recently, I have reached out to the first and second year PhD students, and I have been trying to meet each of them individually, in person or by Zoom. In addition to the PhD committee, which oversees general policies for the PhD program, I have established a PhD curriculum committee to conduct a comprehensive review of the PhD curriculum. There has not been a comprehensive review of the curriculum in at least five years, so this is important to assure that our program is up to date and reflects the faculty's views on the program.
Service to the professional community includes being Associate Editor for Methods for the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management and Consulting Editor for Evaluation Review; these journals are the premier journals in public policy and program evaluation, respectively. I serve on the Social Security Administration Panel of Outside Scholars and Practitioners for the Retirement and Disability Research Consortium. My service to the community includes serving on the District of Columbia's Youth Apprenticeship Advisory Committee; I was appointed to this statutory body by the Mayor of DC and approved by the City Council, and my appointment was renewed for a second three-year term. In the spring of 2020, I was appointed co-chair of NASPAA’s Doctoral Education Committee. I am an elected member National Academy of Social Insurance and an elected fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration since 2013. I spoke last week to the CEO of NASI, and he asked me to meet with him to find ways I can be more involved in NASI.
Overall, I have accomplished a lot during the past year. I believe my accomplishments are comparable to what would be expected for a full-time faculty member.