Recently, CEO Mebane Rash, COO Nancy Rose, and policy analyst Cat Oakar attended the national Governmental Research Association (GRA) Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. The GRA is the national organization of individuals professionally engaged in governmental research. Rash serves as current vice president and president-elect for 2018, and Rose serves as a trustee. The Association holds an annual conference to bring together policy wonks from across the nation to share research, learn from each other, and celebrate our collective accomplishments.
This year’s conference was hosted by GRA member organization Utah Foundation and was attended by researchers, directors, and staff from organizations located across the country. Attendees from Washington State, Utah, Wisconsin, New York, Alabama, Louisiana, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina and others came together to discuss important policy issues facing our states and municipalities.
The conference included a wide variety of topics from healthcare and ACA, K-12 education funding and the teacher pipleline, to pay for success, the minimum wage, and higher education access. Additonal sessions included scenario analysis and modeling for future population change, justice reform and recidivsm, and homelessness. The group also discussed leadership transition and took a look at Balancing Act, a budget simulation tool. Both the Center and EducationNC have used the Balancing Act tool to preview the North Carolina budget.
Not all sessions were held inside. On Monday, conference attendees had the opportunity to take a city bike tour and learn about Utah’s bikeshare program, alternative transportation, and walkability.
The highlight of the conference was a Tuesday evening awards dinner where former Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy served as keynote speaker and awards for Most Distinguished Research, Most Effective Education, and Outstanding Policy Achievement were presented. The purpose of the awards is “to recognize exceptional research and educational efforts regarding state and local governmental issues.”
Congratulations to all the award winners!
The N.C. Center for Public Policy Research (NCCPPR) has been a proud recipient over the years of multiple awards in all three categories – most distinguished research, outstanding policy achievement, and most effective education – on such research topics as high school dropouts, higher education governance, domestic violence, mental health reform, charter schools, financial aid in community colleges and universities, fraud committed against the elderly, and telepsychiatry.
In 2016, just a year after launching, EducationNC received the most effective education award for its work on issues of cross-jurisdictional, statewide importance.
In 2014, former NCCPPR executive director and president emeritus Ran Coble received the Frederick P. Gruenberg award in recognition of his leadership and accomplishments.
Read highlights from the conference: