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Education Policy Fellowship Program

The Role of Think Tanks & Policy Centers

November 7, 2005
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:

Dr. Douglas B. Roberts
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.">
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dr. Douglas B. Roberts has served as the 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.">
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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.

Mr. Douglas C. Drake
Director of Health, Human Services & Philanthropy
Public Policy Associates
119 Pere Marquette Drive
Lansing MI 48912
(517) 485-4477

Douglas C. Drake joined Public Policy Associates in early 2005 as Senior Policy Consultant and director of its Health, Human Services, and Philanthropy business group. In this capacity, Mr. Drake oversees numerous PPA projects. He is currently working on an evaluation of the State of Ohio's faith-based initiatives program and Michigan's automotive workforce needs. In addition, he develops projects in education and public finance. Mr. Drake's career in public service and policy development spans nearly 30 years and is highlighted by his key policy roles and experience in developing and implementing Proposal A, Michigan's school finance reform legislation, and a variety of Michigan's taxation and education policies. He is widely regarded as one of Michigan's top finance experts.

Prior to coming to PPA, Mr. Drake served for seven years as Associate Director of the State Policy Center for Wayne State University, where he coordinated the university's outreach efforts in public policy with state government, particularly with the Legislature. He wrote and edited public policy issue papers and arranged seminars and workshops for legislators and legislative staff. Mr. Drake has also consulted with foundations, school districts, and governmental agencies on policy issues and teaches public finance for Western Michigan University's Masters degree program in public administration. Other positions held by Mr. Drake include director of the state's Office of Education and Infrastructure (DMB), special advisor on economics and revenue to the DMB director, and several other key policy and management positions for the Office of Revenue and Tax Analysis, for the House Taxation Committee, and for the House's Democratic Research Staff. In these roles, Mr. Drake worked on a wide variety of bonding, budget, economic development, and education and tax issues before the Michigan Legislature. He has also worked to increase understanding of policy implications surrounding Proposal A, school funding, and the state budget and tax structure. Moreover, he recently served as the coordinating editor of and major contributor to Michigan at the Millennium: A Benchmark and Analysis of Its Fiscal and Economic Structure.

Mr. Drake is a member of various boards and organizations, including Michigan Health Council, Michigan League for Human Services, State Employees Retirement Board, and the American Education Finance Association. In 2004, he received the President's Award for outstanding service to education and government from the Capital Area Chapter of the American Society of Public Administration. He holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts from Michigan State University and conducted an extensive study of American political and economic history.

Session B: Establishing Learning Teams

Resource Persons: Coordinators and Fellows

During the 2005-06 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 here.

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