College of Education Sitemap
Skip to Main Content

Education Policy Fellowship Program

The Role of Think Tanks
and Policy Centers

December 11, 2000
12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Kellogg Ctr., MSU

This session will explore how public policy is shaped by think tanks and other organizations which work at the intersection of research, policy and politics. We will examine the work of one public and three independent private sector organizations and analyze how their reports, studies and information are used by business and political leaders in the policy debate.


Session A Resource Persons:

Mr. Joseph Overton
Senior Vice President
Mackinac Center for Public Policy
140 West Main Street
P.O. Box 568
Midland, Michigan 48640
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Joseph Overton is Senior Vice President of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, an independent, non-profit research and educational organization located in Midland, Michigan. At the Center, Mr. Overton directs research projects, staff operations and strategic planning. 
He has also written a variety of Center studies and commentaries.

Mr. Overton holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Michigan Technological University and a Juris Doctor degree from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School. He is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, and was appointed by Governor John Engler to the Michigan Appellate Defender Commission upon recommendation by the Michigan Supreme Court. He currently serves a term expiring in 2003.

Before joining the Mackinac Center, Mr. Overton held a variety of positions at The Dow Chemical Company, including Electrical Engineer, Project Manager, and Quality Specialist. Mr. Overton has been involved in studying and promoting free market principles for over a decade. His work has taken him to Poland, Nicaragua, the People's Republic of China, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Colombia, Malawi, Mozambique, Greece, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia.

Dr. David N. Plank
Director, The Education Policy Center at Michigan State University
and Professor, Department of Educational Administration,
College of Education, Michigan State University
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

David Plank is a professor of educational administration specializing in the areas of educational policy and educational finance. He has conducted research and served as a consultant in these areas in the United States, Africa, and Latin America. His research interests focus on the relationship between democratic governance and policy change in educational systems. He is co-investigator on three studies of school choice and school reform in Michigan. The first, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, explores the enactment of competing reform strategies in professional development schools and charter schools. The second, funded by the Spencer Foundation, investigates the ecological effects of expanded opportunities for school choice in metropolitan Lansing. The third, funded by the Michigan Legislature, compares the impacts of school choice in Lansing, Detroit, and Grand Rapids.

Mr. William Rustum
Senior Vice President & Senior Consultant 
for Environmental Policy and Economic Development
Public Sector Consultants
600 West St. Joseph
Lansing, MI 48933
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

William Rustem is senior vice president of Public Sector Consultants and senior consultant for environmental policy and economic development. Before joining the firm, Mr. Rustem was Gov. William G. Milliken's chief staff advisor on environmental matters and interim director of the Toxic Substances Control Commission. Following his service with the State of Michigan, Mr. Rustem became the first executive director of the newly established Center for the Great Lakes in Chicago and then joined the Michigan United Conservation Clubs as director of development. In these positions, Mr. Rustem acquired special expertise in issue campaigns. He coordinated the petition drive and campaign in 1976 for the Michigan "bottle bill," co-chaired the 1980 campaign to shift education funding from the property tax to other sources, and coordinated the 1984 statewide campaign for the constitutional amendment creating a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.

In addition to his work with the firm's clients on environmental and economic development matters, Mr. Rustem is the principal coordinator of PSC's work with a major foundation in its national project to assist its grantees in responding to the devolution of authority for domestic programs from the federal to the state governments. He has been with the company since 1985. Mr. Rustem was educated at Michigan State University, holding a B.S. in social science and an M.S. in resource development.

Session B: Learning Teams Planning Activity

Resource Persons: Coordinators and Fellows

During this session we will also debrief the 2000 IEL Leadership Forum experience and provide time for the EPFP Learning Teams to meet.


Back to the Monthly Meetings Calendar