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Education Policy Fellowship Program

The Role of Think Tanks & Policy Centers

November 19, 2007
12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Kellogg Center, MSU

During the first part of this session we 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 this year's EPFP Learning Teams.


Session A Resource Persons:

Mr. Joseph G. Lehman
Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer
Mackinac Center for Public Policy
140 West Main Street
P.O. Box 568
Midland, Michigan 48640
(989) 631-0900

Joseph G. Lehman is executive vice president and chief operating officer for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, an independent, nonprofit research and educational institute. He oversees research, strategic planning, and operations.  Mr. Lehman joined the staff in 1995 to direct the Mackinac Center’s publications and media outreach. He later became vice president for communications at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C. In 2000 he returned to the Mackinac Center as its executive vice president.  Mr. Lehman is the author of numerous public policy articles and is a commentator on free-market policies. His remarks have been broadcast by National Public Radio and published in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, National Journal, National Review, Investor's Business Daily, Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, and nearly every daily Michigan newspaper.  He has addressed audiences at the National Conference of State Legislatures annual meeting, the Detroit Regional Chamber's annual Mackinac Conference, the African Leadership Conference in Nairobi, and the Asian Resource Bank meeting in Hong Kong.  Through the Mackinac Center's biannual Leadership Conference, he has trained more than 400 think tank executives from 44 states and 35 countries in strategic planning, communications, and fundraising.  He is a director of the Chicago-based Sam Adams Foundation, the Legislative Education Action Drive Foundation which studies school choice, and USA Votes, a firm that provides public access to legislative data.  Prior to his public policy career, Mr. Lehman was an engineer and project manager for nine years at the Dow Chemical Company. He is an engineering graduate from the University of Illinois and a registered professional engineer.

Mr. Earl Ryan 
Citizens Research Council of Michigan
38777 Six Mile Road, Suite 208
Livonia, MI 48152-2660
(734) 542-8001

Earl M. Ryan became the fifth president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan in November 1994.  He had been the first president of the Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute, which he headed from 1987 to 1994.  Prior to that, he was president of the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana (1984-87). Mr. Ryan began his career with CRC in 1967 in its Lansing office.  From 1970 to 1977, he worked in program evaluation for the State of Michigan, both for the executive branch and the legislature.  He returned to CRC in 1977, becoming research director in 1979. From 1985 to 1986, he was president of the Governmental Research Association, the association of organizations across the nation similar to CRC.  In 1991, he received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Graduate Program in Public Administration, Department of Political Science, Wayne State University. Mr. Ryan was born in Michigan and received degrees in political science from the University of Michigan and Wayne State University.

Ms. Ann Marie Schneider, M.S.
Director of Program Planning & Development
Institute for Public Policy & Social Research
312B Berkey Hall
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI  48823
(517) 353-1738

AnnMarie Schneider is director of programming, planning and development for the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research (IPPSR)at Michigan State University. The Institute connects academic and policymaking communities through applied and survey research, public policy education and political leadership training. Ms. Schneider is responsible for creation of public policy initiatives, including educational programs and publications. She advises and implements communications and marketing strategies for IPPSR-sponsored special programs, including the Legislative Leadership Program, the annual Forum Series, and the Urban Research Interest Group, among others. In addition, she administrates Michigan Applied Policy Research Grants and helps spearhead business development for the signature State of the State Survey conducted by IPPSR’s Office for Survey Research. Ms. Schneider has more than 20 years experience in communications, public policy and government relations, focusing on forging expanded awareness and understanding of public policy within local, state and national arenas. Prior to her work at IPPSR, she directed communications, public education and outreach efforts for numerous state departments including Commerce, Natural Resources, Social Services, the Cabinet Council on Human Investment and the Governor's Office.  She has also worked with several professional associations. She earned her B.A. from Bellarmine University and an M.S. in Speech and Communication from the University of Louisville.

Mr. Jeff Williams (EPFP 1997-98)
Vice President for Technology & Public Policy
Public Sector Consultants
600 W. Saint Joseph St. Suite 10
Lansing, MI 48933
(517) 484-4954

Jeff Williams is senior 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, and 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 completed an undergraduate degree with honors in international relations from Michigan State University. He holds a master’s degree in technology and public affairs from the University of Minnesota and is certified by the Project Management Institute as a Project Management Professional (PMP).

Session B: Establishing Learning Teams

Resource Persons: Coordinators and Fellows

During the 2007-08 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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