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Education Policy Fellowship Program

The Role of Think Tanks & Policy Centers

November 17, 2003
12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Kellogg Center, MSU

This seminar will focus on two topics. The first part of 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 both public and private sector organizations and analyze how their reports, studies and information are used by business and political leaders in the policy debate. The second topic is designed to advance the development of the EPFP learning teams.


Session A Resource Persons:

Mr. Douglas C. Drake
Associate Director
State Policy Center
Wayne State University
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Douglas C. Drake, of Genesis Consulting, is a semi-retired former state employee.  In addition to his consulting work, he also works three-fourths-time for Wayne State University, and occasionally teaches public finance in Western Michigan University‘s Lansing-based Public Administration Master’s program. He is currently the Associate Director of the Wayne State University Policy Center, which has offices in both Detroit and Lansing.

Mr. Drake was Director of the Office of Education in the Michigan Department of Management and Budget where he was responsible for the development, presentation and oversight of the Governor’s budget for all areas of education from K-12 to Higher Education.  Prior to that he was Director of the Office of Revenue and Tax Analysis where he was responsible for economic forecasting and revenue estimating for the State of Michigan.  He also worked for the Michigan Legislature for 12 years, as Staff Director for the House Taxation Committee and Director of the House Democratic Policy Staff.


Dr. David N. Plank

Director, The Education Policy Center at Michigan State University
and Professor, Department of Educational Administration,
College of Education

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David Plank is Director of the Education Policy Center at Michigan State University and 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. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.


Dr. Douglas B. Roberts
Interim Director
College of Social Science
321 Berkey Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824-1111
(517) 355-6672This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">
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Dr. Douglas B. Roberts has served as the Interim Director of the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University since August 2003. Doug has an extensive background in public policy and economic policy at the state and national levels. For 10 years he served as Michigan's State Treasurer, with responsibilities for economic and revenue forecasting; collecting, refunding, auditing, and enforcing the major tax laws; and all the state's banking functions. In addition, he was responsible for managing and investing the common cash, retirement funds and various trust and agency funds. The Treasurer represents the Executive Branch at the Revenue Consensus Conference, a process Michigan uses to set revenue estimates upon which the annual state budget is based.

He has also served as Director of the Senate Fiscal Agency, the agency responsible for providing the Michigan Senate with technical and analytical support for all bills considered by the Senate. For four years he served as Deputy State Superintendent of Public Instruction in the Michigan Department of Education. He has also held appointments as Acting Director and Deputy Director of the Michigan Department of Management and Budget, Director of the Office of the State Employer, Director of the Office of Revenue and Tax Analysis, and the Chief Aide for the Michigan House of Representatives Taxation Committee.

His private sector experience includes leadership roles as Vice President for Business Development and Vice President for Best Practices for the Lockheed Martin IMS. Dr. Roberts has a BA in Economics from the University of Maryland, and a MA and Ph.D. in Economics from Michigan State University.

Mr. Jeff Williams (EPFP 1997-98)

Vice President for Technology & Public Policy
600 W. Saint Joseph St. Suite 10
Lansing, MI 48933
(517) 484-4954This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">
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Jeff Williams is vice president for technology and public policy at Public Sector Consultants. He advises the firm's clients on technology issues and supervises the firm's internal and external information services and staff. Mr. Williams also conducts research and analysis on health policy and education issues and supervises PSC's public opinion and stakeholder survey research. He has been with the firm since 1991, serving first as an administrative assistant for survey research, then technology consultant, then senior consultant.
Prior to joining PSC, Mr. Williams was a program officer at the Midwestern Higher Education Commission. While at the commission, he provided staff support to the Telecommunications Committee and assisted with management of a nine-state, $18-million distance learning/interactive video equipment purchase program. He also provided staff support to the commission's Risk Management and Academic Course Scheduling Committees.
Mr. Williams holds an undergraduate degree with honors in international relations from Michigan State University and a master's degree in technology and public affairs from the University of Minnesota.

Session B: Establishing Learning Teams

Resource Persons: Coordinators and Fellows

During the 2003-04 program year the Michigan Fellows will participate on one or more Learning Teams and gain experience working in a virtual learning community. The Learning Teams will be responsible for planning a series of future EPFP sessions on a set of topics which have been identified by this year's participants. During this session the Fellows will review and refine the set of proposed topics identified to date, establish diverse cross boundary teams, and develop strategies for effective team participation. Additional Learning Team Information has been posted at here.

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