John Rennie Short, School of Public Policy, in The Coversation, Gives Keynote Address at French Embassy

With the percentage of the world’s population that lives in cities continuing to grow, School of Public Policy professor John Rennie Short published an article in The Conversation examining what cities can do to become more sustainable. In his article, Short looked at three ways to measure the environmental impact of cities: ecological, carbon, and water footprints.

John Rennie ShortShort defined each measure and referenced various studies which compared data among cities. While they are an important starting point, he cautioned the three footprint measures should be analyzed in context.

“These metrics are still in the early stages of development. There are lots of problems, including assessing the leakage of impacts from outside the city’s boundaries; the quality of data, which is too often imprecise and collected at different times for other purposes; and the lack of comparability between studies. The work is more embryonic than definitive. For example, we have yet to agree upon standard protocols for the data used and methods employed.”

To read the full article titled “How green is your city: towards an index of urban sustainability,” click here.

In other news, Short gave a keynote address, “The New Imperative: Green Cities for an Urban World,” at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. on March 6. The event was a forum that brought together mayors from the U.S. and France to kick-start long-term and formal cooperation among officials and practitioners concerned with sustainable urban development in France and the United States. It also aimed at paving the way to the participation of U.S. cities in the December 2015 Paris Climate Conference. For more information on the event, click here.

Laura Hussey, Political Science, and Donald Norris, School of Public Policy, Discuss Anthony Brown’s Decision to Run for Congress

After former Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown announced he was running for the U.S. House seat vacated by Rep. Donna Edwards, reaction came in from across Maryland on Brown’s decision to jump back into politics after last year’s gubernatorial election.

Laura HusseyLaura Hussey, an associate professor of political science, was interviewed for an article in the Gazette about Brown’s decision, saying he is the likely front-runner in the race despite losing the gubernatorial election.

“He’s got name recognition in a huge way,” Hussey said. “Plus he’s in his home territory and he’s going to have more support in that area.” To read the full article with Hussey’s analysis, click here.

Donald Norris UMBCSchool of Public Policy director Donald Norris was quoted in a Baltimore Sun article about Brown’s decision. Norris commented that, “It may be a very good strategic move for him. It will all depend on how he does and what kind of a campaign he runs.” To read the full article, click here.

UMBC Political Science and School of Public Policy Faculty React to Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s Retirement Announcement

After Sen. Barbara Mikulski announced her retirement on March 2, reaction poured in from across the country and state of Maryland. UMBC political science and School of Public Policy faculty were interviewed by several local and national media outlets to provide perspective and analysis on Mikulski’s legacy and what the political future will hold after her seat is vacated in 2016.

Roy Meyers (UMBC)In an interview that aired on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” political science professor Roy Meyers said Sen. Mikulski’s legacy crossed party lines: “Many of the women that came into the Senate and the House, regardless of whether they were Republicans or Democrats, really viewed her as a role model,” he said. Meyers said Mikulski was “a groundbreaker in terms of making sure the voices of women legislators were taken seriously.”

Tom SchallerPolitical science professor Thomas Schaller reflected on Sen. Mikulski’s service to Maryland and the nation in an op-ed published in the Baltimore Sun: “She will leave a legacy as one of the state’s most admired politicians and among the most influential women ever to serve in Congress,” Schaller wrote in his column titled “A lifetime spent in service.”

Schaller was also quoted in a Washington Post article about former Gov. Martin O’Malley’s decision not to run for Mikulski’s seat, saying “I think this makes it pretty clear that he’s going to run for president or at least give it a shot.” Schaller was also mentioned in a Washington Post column by E.J. Dionne on his analysis of the national Republican party in his new book The Stronghold: How Republicans Captured Congress but Surrendered the White House.

Donald Norris UMBCSchool of Public Policy director Donald Norris appeared on WJZ-TV and commented on what could happen in the race to fill the vacated Senate seat: “Who the Republicans field, if they field a very serious, well-funded candidate, the Democrats are going to have to match that. So yes, it could be very expensive,” said Norris. “There could be a huge number of Democrats in the primary,” he added in a Capital Gazette article.

For a list of complete coverage, see below:

Roy Meyers:
Sen. Mikulski, Groundbreaker for Female Legislators, Won’t Seek Re-Election (NPR)

Thomas Schaller:
A lifetime spent in service (Baltimore Sun op-ed)
O’Malley will not run for Mikulski’s U.S. Senate Seat (Washington Post)
The GOP’s big ‘yes’ to ‘no’ (Washington Post)

Donald Norris:
Race to Replace Sen. Barbara Mikulski Wide Open (WJZ-TV)
‘Free-for-all’ expected in wake of Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s retirement announcement (Capital Gazette)

Dave Marcotte, School of Public Policy, in The Conversation

As many states across the country have dealt with significant snowfall over the last two months, school districts have been forced to shut down for several days. School of Public Policy professor Dave Marcotte has conducted extensive research on the impact of snow days on student learning, and published an article in The Conversation about the work he has done with his colleagues.

Dave Marcotte“Research shows that fewer school days do reduce student performance, especially for the more disadvantaged students. Evidence from previous winters also shows that more days in school do, in fact, improve achievement for American students overall, something that has been hard to accomplish in recent times,” Marcotte wrote.

In his article, Marcotte referenced studies in Minnesota, Maryland, Colorado, and Massachusetts that have found in years with especially bad winters, there is a significant impact on scores and pass rates.

Marcotte also discussed why it’s possible decisions haven’t been made in states to increase the length of the school year: “…the most substantial obstacle to extending the school year is money. Re-constituting the school year means re-negotiating teacher and staff contracts, paying for extended use of buses and buildings, and in many cases retrofitting schools to include air conditioning to operate into the hot months of summer. Indeed, these costs led Oregon to repeal the provision to extend the school year of the 1991 Education Act for the 21st Century.”

To read Marcotte’s full article titled “Schools close and kids lose,” click here.

John Rennie Short, Public Policy, in The Conversation

In light of the recent significant snowfall across parts of the Northeast, School of Public Policy professor John Rennie Short wrote an article for The Conversation in which he analyzed the impact of climate change on extreme weather events.

John Rennie ShortIn referencing the 60 inches of snow that fell in 30 days on Boston and parts of the wider region, Short wrote: “This is the new normal for weather in the US. Global climate change increases the chances that the once-a-century event is now a once-every-twenty-years occurrence. The country is now experiencing more severe weather events: long droughts in the Southwest, destructive wildfires in the West, and more intense hurricanes along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.”

In his article, Short discussed urban planning and climate adaptation and the value of publicly funded services, among other topics.

“Immediately after a storm, there is public outcry for more and better emergency responses, but these priorities quickly move to the back of the line of government priorities as the event passes from memory. We are not good at using public monies for extreme, irregular events,” Short wrote. “Major weather events also expose the recurring dilemma of balancing public concerns with private interest. The shift of the past forty years towards private interests is embodied in the desire for small government, reducing taxation and shrinking the public sector.”

To read the full article titled “Extreme weather exposes the vulnerability of our cities to climate change,” click here.

Donald Norris, Public Policy, in the Baltimore Sun and Washington Post

Donald Norris UMBCIn the days surrounding Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s State of the State address, Donald Norris provided analysis on what to expect for the remainder of the legislative session. Norris, professor and director of UMBC’s School of Public Policy, discussed GOP fundraising, the relationship between the governor and legislature, and ongoing discussions over the budget.

Norris was interviewed for several articles in the Baltimore Sun and Washington Post. To read complete coverage, click below:

A GOP governor means new challenges for longtime Md. Senate President Mike Miller (Washington Post)
As budget battle heats up in Annapolis, Democrats rally around school funding (Washington Post)
Hogan, GOP have raised over $2 million since his victory (Baltimore Sun)
Democrats say most of Hogan’s agenda won’t pass (Baltimore Sun)

MPP Information Session (2/9)

Public Policy bldng.Learn about the UMBC Master’s Degree in Public Policy (MPP) at an information session on Monday, February 9 at 7:00 pm in Public Policy Room 438. Enjoy a light dinner and talk with faculty and current students about the field of public policy, career opportunities and how to apply to our MPP program. Those interested in the PhD are also invited to the session.

This event is open to prospective students on and off campus. To register, e-mail your name, year, and major to Sally Helms (helms@umbc.edu).