72nd Annual Conference of the American Association for Public Opinion and Research
May 17- 22, 2017, New Orleans, LA
In the wake of the 2016 Presidential election, survey practitioners and scholars from across the country search for an explanation as to how so many public opinion polls could have been so wrong in their characterization of the election; many consider the impact of evaluating, comparing and aggregating data from an increasingly wide variety of methodologies. Polling accuracy has been an important research topic since the late 1940’s as the industry looked for ways to avoid another incident like the missed prediction of the 1948 election. The topic became prominent again in 1997 because of accusations by some commentators that the 1996 U.S. presidential election had been a disaster for pollsters exceeding the magnitude of 1948, and remained salient as many 2012 pre-election polls underestimated the Democratic vote share and much of the 2014 presidential election polling overestimated the Democratic vote.
Panel members Chase Harrison, Ph.D., Associate Director, Program on Survey Research at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University; Rich Clark, Ph.D., Professor at Castleton University and Director of the Polling Institute; Stephanie Marken, MA, Methodologist at Gallop and Lydia Saad, MA, Senior Editor at Gallop joined by Jennifer Dineen, Ph.D., Program Director, UConn Graduate Program in Survey Research, participated in a discussion on 2016 Pre-Election Polling: Methods and Accuracy in Context. The panel extended the discussions on pre-election poll by exploring the relationships between survey mode, method of data collection, and sampling frame and the accuracy of the 2016 presidential election poll forecasts. Their diverse set of papers explored the relationship between pre-election polling methods and accuracy across a variety of years, races, and electoral contexts.
UConn Alumni Contributions:
Simply Unpredictable: The Relationship between Methodology and Bias in Pre-Election Vote Share Estimates
Comparing 2016 Election Results from Traditional Phone Studies with Web-based Methodologies
Pre-Election Polling and Sampling Frame Decisions: a Case Study in Vermont
This past academic year, Angelica Daguplo (MPA 2017), chose to work in advocacy and public policy for the YWCA Hartford Region as her Internship and Professional Practice (IPP). Angelica worked directly with CEO Deborah Ullman.
Through her IPP, Angelica crossed paths with a DPP alum of a different stripe, Terry Fitzgerald, Development Events Specialist for the YWCA Hartford Region and 2014 alum of DPP’s Encore!Hartford. Encore!Hartford prepares transitioning corporate executives for careers in the nonprofit sector. Terry came to the YWCA from the corporate media field.
Angelica and Terry worked together on many projects including the YWCA’s presentation of #EqualMeansEqual, as part of the Community Matters series: timely conversations that bring community members together. “It was a pleasure to work with Angelica. I know she will be a true asset to the organizations she moves to as she forwards her career,” states Fitzgerald.
An Evolving Tradition
Over the last three years, the YWCA Hartford Region has consistently sought to bring DPP Master of Public Administration (MPA) students into their work through the IPP second year internship program. Maria Cruz, (MPA 2016) was the first Advocacy and Public Policy IPP intern for the YWCA. Maria has since gone on to a career in the nonprofit sector. She is the Compliance Specialist at The Village for Families and Children in Hartford.
This August, former DPP undergraduate Fast-Track and now second year MPA student, Isabel Blank, will be filling Angelica’s shoes. Isabel will be the 2017-2018 Advocacy and Public Policy DPP IPP intern for the YWCA Hartford Region. This upcoming academic year, 36 DPP students will be interning in 28 Connecticut municipalities, state agencies and nonprofits.
Since 1867, YWCA has consistently responded to the issues that affect women’s lives and their well-being. Increasingly, the goal for every woman and girl to achieve economic security has become the paramount theme of YWCA programs. YWCA serves the greater Hartford area with vital programs, including early learning and school-age childcare; emergency, transitional and permanent supportive housing; youth leadership development; racial justice awareness and financial literacy education. YWCA serves 2,000 people annually.
On Friday, May 5, 2017, the Department of Public Policy proudly honored the accomplishments of our 2017 graduates with a ceremony and reception held at The Front Street Bistro and Spotlight Theatres in Hartford. Degrees were bestowed on fifty-eight graduates with thirty-nine receiving a Master of Public Administration, nine receiving a Master of Public Policy (our newest degree) and ten receiving a Master of Arts in Survey Research.
The event also recognized a number of academic award recipients. The Best Capstone Award in Causal Program Evaluation was a tie presented to Group A – Maria Coman, Timothy Hanser and Thomas Mathews, and Group B – Nicholas Arace, Daniel Gregory and Su-Teng Kuan. The Best Capstone Award in Applied Management Project was presented to the Northwest Community Center team members – Richard Coore, Joel DiLoreto, Brian Luther, Sara Nagle, Carrie Norris, Melissa Sienna and Matthew Streeter. The Mort Tenzer Award, given to meritorious students entering the MPA program, was presented to Austin Murray. Melissa Sienna received the MPA Academic Excellence Award and Kristina Swindell received the GPSR Academic Excellence Award, both awards given annually to a graduating student with proven academic excellence in their chosen field of study. The Albert Ilg Award, given to a student with outstanding dedication and commitment in the area of local government administration, was presented to Brian Luther. Rachna Kaul received the David B. Walker Award honoring a student in the MPA program who exemplifies tireless dedication to public service. Additionally, the twenty-six new inductees of the Pi Pi Alpha Honors Society were recognized for their academic achievement.
Selected by the graduates, the event included inspiring remarks by the 2017 Department of Public Policy Distinguished Professor Awardee, Josh Hyman, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, and Student Speaker, Melissa Sienna, recipient of the MPA Academic Excellence Award. Participating in the presentation of the graduates were Candace Fitzpatrick, MPA 2006; Mark Robbins, Ph.D., Professor and Department Head; Deneen Hatmaker, Ph.D., MPA and MPP Director; and Jennifer Dineen, Ph.D., GPSR Director.
Congratulations to the 2017 Graduates and best wishes as you begin your new careers!
Jason Jakubowski Receives 2017 MPA Distinguished Alumni Award
Jason Jakubowski, Vice President of External Relations, Hospital for Special Care (HSC), was honored with the 2017 MPA Distinguished Alumni Award at a gathering of Department of Public Policy alumni, faculty and staff at Real Art Ways in Hartford, on Thursday, April 6, 2017.
Prior to joining HSC, Jason worked as the Director of Corporate & Community Development at Charter Oak State College, where he still teaches courses in Political Science and Public Administration. He also serves on the adjunct faculty at the Central Connecticut State University.
A New Britain native, Jason holds both a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Master of Public Affairs from the University of Connecticut. He was elected twice to the New Britain City Council and served two terms as City Treasurer. In 2012, he served as one of Connecticut’s seven Presidential Electors for Barack Obama.
Jason is a dedicated supporter and promoter of the MPA program and the work of the Department of Public Policy. He is a longstanding member of the MPA Alumni Council who offers his time to the organization and guidance to MPA students. Jason served as the emcee for DPP’s 40th Anniversary Celebration in 2012, has presented seminars and chaired panel discussions offered to DPP students and participates as an interviewer in our annual Student Mock Interview Night.
In addition, Jason serves as Chairman of the Board at Community Health Resources, Vice Chair of the Board at Leadership Greater Hartford, and he serves on the boards of both the Middlesex County and Greater New Britain Chambers of Commerce. In 2010 he served on the Transition Team for Governor Dannel P. Malloy, and in 2008 he was named one of the region’s “40 Under 40” by the Hartford Business Journal. Jason currently lives in West Hartford with his wife and five children. He is an avid supporter of the West Hartford Public School System and a longtime coach with the West Hartford Youth Baseball League.
Along with celebrating Jason’s honor, event guests had the opportunity to hear from Sean Fitzpatrick, Director of the Department of Development Services for the City of Hartford. Sean spoke of a number of new projects under development in Hartford noting new railway service from Hartford to New York, businesses outside of Connecticut looking to relocate to Hartford and the boom of available apartments across the city. He also spoke about the very exciting opening of the UConn Downtown Hartford Campus in August, the new home of the Department of Public Policy.
Professor Joshua Hyman recently hosted Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, Superintendent of Hartford Public Schools, as a guest speaker during his April 24, 2017, EDLR 6322 course. Please see the Neag School of Education’s article for more information on Dr. Torres-Rodriguez’s visit.
On April 19, 2017, at the Town and County Club in Hartford, Pi Pi Alpha, the honors society for graduate professional students in public administration and public policy, proudly inducted 26 new members. The purpose of Pi Pi Alpha is to encourage and recognize outstanding academic achievement and to support graduate public service education. The honors society hosts and sponsors events that bring alumni and current students together, such as the annual Mock Interview Night, the Faculty/Alumni Meet and Greet for new students and the Annual Induction Ceremony and Business Meeting.
The evening’s special guest speaker was Atty. Eva Jacobson, UConn School of Law 2016 and MPA alumna 2014, from Lawyers Without Borders. Eva has established a career of pursuing and promoting human rights throughout the world. She spoke of her experiences running programs for refugee children from Nepal and Burma, teaching English to children in Thailand and as volunteer and professional legal advocate for immigrants and refugees. She also shared her current work with Lawyers Without Borders where she runs a program training lawyers, prosecutors and judges about human trafficking including her recent trip to Tanzania in this pursuit.
Along with our special inductee, Eva Jacobson, DPP welcomes the following 2017 Inductees:
Congratulations to the Pi Pi Alpha Council 2017-2018:
Twenty students, faculty and staff met for a relaxed, yet informative conversation about “fake news.” The participants first talked about what fake news means to them and who has interest in creating fake news. The group scrolled through President Trump’s Twitter account to see the number of times he called out something as being “fake news.”
Next, the conversation moved to the role of the media and the role of the citizen in presenting, interpreting and collecting data. Ultimately, the group considered the citizen to be the primary shareholder when it came to responsibility. From there, they watched the clip of Kellyanne Conway talking about the Bowling Green Massacre and followed that with a discussion about whether we can forgive politicians for making mistakes. This turned the conversation toward applying education and research while searching for credibility in the news.
Lastly, each participant provided one word or phrase that they believe would combat the issues of fake news. Some answers included: education; censorship; balancing inquiry and advocacy; authenticity; reward good actors; good conversation; read and research; data; respect differences; reason; persistence; understanding and patience.
The GAPPS members thank everyone for attending a great night of discussion. GAPPS will be planning similar forums on current issues.