GAPPS/ICMA Holds Community Service Day
On Saturday, November 17, 2018, GAPPS/ICMA gathered at Keney Park in Hartford for their first community engagement project of the year. Department of Public Policy graduate students worked with park organizers on the Keney Park Sustainability Project, an urban agricultural center educating the public on urban gardening, wildlife preservation, native plant species and aquaponics systems. Working with Park volunteers, students helped to prepare the greenhouses for winter, including moving and replanting, trimming fresh swiss chard, and preparing temperature control blankets to preserve vegetables. Emily Garfinkel, second-year graduate student and Secretary, GAPPS/ICMA noted “It was a great experience to learn all about urban community partnerships, including Knox, a nonprofit organization fostering local community gardens.” In addition, the students heard about volunteer efforts to engage the community in environmental projects. GAPPS/ICMA plans to build more community partnerships during the academic year to engage DPP students in projects throughout Hartford.
Dr. Kerri Raissian, Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Policy, published “Why Low Income Working Parents Need More Than Jobs” on the Scholars Strategy Network. Dr. Raissian addressed how employment can raise the self-esteem of parents and enable them to be positive role-models, but it also has its negative ramifications. Certain kinds of employment can be harmful to the parent’s mental health, and single-parent households need extra support. Dr. Raissian described policy solutions for working parents that would help parents be financially independent, while mitigating children suffering in the process. Read Kerri’s article below on the Scholars Strategy Network:
Why Low-Income Working Parents Need More Than Jobs
Assistant Professor In-Residence, and Program Director of the Graduate Program in Survey Research, Dr. Jennifer Dineen, was featured on UConn 360 to discuss how voters should view polls leading up to elections. Dr. Dineen describes the outcomes of polls to be like taking the temperature of what a race looks like at a particular moment in time, and they do not indicate what the race will be like at the end. Polls are a reflection of likely voters, and participants are carefully selected to reflect a true sample of the population. She discusses that when citizens are reviewing polls, they should pay attention to the body of work that it is reflecting, and not to put too much stock in one poll. Sometimes, poll outliers are an indication of movement, and other times, their estimates are just not close to the final election outcome. Finally, Dr. Dineen concludes that it is important to look at national trends, and the way things are moving in general, not just one poll.
Listen to Dr. Jennifer Dineen on the UConn 360 Podcast: Opinion Polls a Snapshot, Not a Crystal Ball
Dr. David Garvey, Department of Public Policy Director of the Nonprofit Leadership Program presented Key Factors and Lessons Learned in Choosing Strategic Partnerships at the 2018 Annual Conference of the Connecticut Community Nonprofit Alliance, held October 2nd at the Connecticut Convention Center.
In his session, Dr. Garvey presented findings from his research of Connecticut nonprofit strategic partnerships. The study is based on interviews with Connecticut nonprofit leaders who have been identified by their peers as having strong skills in developing and managing strategic partnerships. Those interviewed represented a cross section of Connecticut towns and cities, and various positions held in the state’s nonprofit sector. The core aspect of the finding of the qualitative study was based on two questions asked of the practitioners: 1) describe the dynamics of nonprofit collaboration that you were engaged in that in your opinion worked and explain why. 2) describe the dynamics of nonprofit collaboration that you were engaged in that in your opinion did not work and explain why. The collaborations described by the study participants ranged from nonprofit to nonprofit and cross-sector (nonprofit and government) collaborations. The data from the individual interviews was coded and then aggregated to identify common dynamics that occurred in effective and non-effective strategic partnerships from the study of participants’ perspectives.
The study respondents when describing the dynamics of collaborations that worked consistently noted eight traits.
- Belief in the value of collaboration by all parties
- Trust between partners
- Clarity of purpose of the collaboration
- Equal value of the desired outcome of the collaboration by all parties
- Appropriate voice and power within collaboration
- A mutually agreed and defined governing/decision-making structure for the collaboration
- Diversity of skill-sets and expertise between partner members (organizationally and individual)
- Partners having strong soft-skill sets for team building (collaborative competency)
An additional ninth finding, especially relevant for long-term partnerships between organizations, is the strategy of engaging collaborative partners in the succession planning, when one organization is seeking to fill a position of senior staff, in which that staff role has been intrical to the collaboration.