spea magazine

Of Interest

New and Noteworthy

Wish you'd been here

If you weren’t on SPEA’s Bloomington campus this fall, you missed:

  • Mel Foote, founder and CEO of the Constituency for Africa, on why Africa should matter to America, and what students can do to help change public policy. Foote’s conversation with SPEA Professor Osita Afoaku can be heard at: http://homepages.indiana.edu/2005/10-28/story.php?id=152.
  • Bloomington native and MSNBC political correspondent David Shuster, who explained how the media regained its critical voice after Hurricane Katrina. Hear Shuster’s talk at: http://video.indiana.edu:8080/ramgen/ip/iucast/lectures/shuster.rm.
  • Alice Rivlin, Brookings Institution scholar, founding director of the Congressional Budget Office, and vice chair for the Board of Governors for the Federal Reserve System, on “Are We Too Polarized to Make Public Decisions?” Hear her talk at: http://video.indiana.edu:8080/ramgen/ip/iucast/bem/lectures/aliceqa.rm.
  • Shana Weber, SPEA alum and former professor of environmental science at Santa Clara State University, on the Sustainability Initiative for the city of Santa Clara. The event was sponsored by SPEA, the Environmental Literacy and Sustainability Initiative, and the Council for Environmental Stewardship.

And you thought the dandelions in your garden yard were a problem?

SPEA has joined with the Hoosier National Forest as part of the Invasive Plant Control Partnership, a four-year program to control invasive plant species in mid-Indiana. Associate professor Vicky Meretsky is heading up SPEA’s role in the project, in which students will help remove targeted plants such as stilt grass and garlic mustard to reduce the vigor and size of those invasive plant populations in the area. These plants tend to grow quickly and spread rapidly, choking native species out of light and nutrients needed to survive.

“The problems with non-native invasive species continue to escalate and conservation biologists realize that if something isn’t done, many of our native Indiana plants may be in jeopardy,” says Meretsky.

The partnership also includes the development of conservation education for Bloomington residents and a student outreach program for local schools to teach students about invasive plants in the area.
Funding for the program is also going to Luke Flory, a SPEA graduate and doctoral candidate at IU's Department of Biology, to study the effects of stilt grass on native plant communities.

SPEA student receives STAR Fellowship

Jonathan Raff, a doctoral student at SPEA, received a $26,000 STAR Fellowship to study brominated diphenylethers (BDEs) in the environment. The STAR Fellowship is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and will cover his study of BDEs for a year.
The pollutant has been banned but there have not been any significant studies to determine how long these BDEs stay in the environment. In fact, in some cases, the levels of these pollutants rival the levels of PCBs.

Raff first became interested in BDEs when he was a graduate student working in the Ronald Hites laboratory at SPEA. “One gap in our knowledge,” explains Raff, “has to do with how BDEs are transported over long distances through the atmosphere, such as to the Arctic, and what type of reactions they undergo during this process.”

Parliamentary Development Project receives additional funding

The Parliamentary Development Project (PDP) received $500,000 to continue its work on developing a constitution for the former Russian state of Ukraine. The funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is in addition to the nearly $5 million given by the agency to help facilitate legislative reform in that country.

The agreement will target legislation to combat corruption, administrative reform, and local government reform as well as legislation to help the country integrate into international groups such as the World Trade Organization and the European Union.

“This agreement will enhance an already exciting relationship between Indiana University and Ukraine,” notes U.S. Senator Dick Lugar of Indiana. “This partnership provides a wonderful opportunity for one of Indiana’s top educational institutions to share its research and expertise with a burgeoning democratic nation.”

The PDP is a non-partisan organization based at SPEA with offices in Ukraine. It works with members of the Ukrainian Parliament to draft new and reform current legislation that will allow the country to become more democratized.

Fernandez's dissertation wins awards

Sergio Fernandez received the American Political Science Association’s Leonard D. White Award for the best doctoral dissertation in the field of public

APSA’s award com-mittee called his paper, “Analyses of Contracting for Services Among Local Governments,” an ambitious effort and particularly noted the real-world lessons that public managers can learn. Fernandez was also recognized by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration for his dissertation.

Agranoff's scholarship recognized by ASPA

Robert Agranoff, professor emeritus at SPEA, received the Daniel Elazar Distinguished Federalism Scholar Award at APSA’s conference in Washington, DC in September. The annual Elazar award recognizes distinguished scholarly contributions to the study of federalism and intergovernmental relations.