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[ stories from the UALR Institute of Government ]

iography Issue 1




August 2013


New Faces


Dr. David Sink Retires

07 MPA Student wins award at the 2013 UALR Student Research and Creative Works Expo 08 Featured Alumni 11

Alumni Activities


Survey Research Center

13 MPA & GCNM Recognition Ceremony



A newsletter from the UALR Institute of Government


Pi Alpha Alpha


Program Graduates


MPA Program Update


Notable Accomplishments and Events


Recent Research

Cover photo: the Arkansas state capitol at sunrise by Larry J. Rhodes

FROM THE DIRECTOR Welcome! I want to welcome you to iography, our twist on what we will call our newsletter to get the word out about what we do. Welcome, and welcome back to the Institute of Government. While we are still on the Sixth Floor (of Ross Hall, where the Institute is housed), many things are the same, but a lot of things have changed. I invite you to come and visit with us to see how we’ve changed and grown. Our door is open to you, the people we serve, so please do drop by - whether vicariously through an email, or literally coming and talking with us in our offices, please make it a point to visit with us – we want to meet you, see how you are doing, and learn what we can do to assist you. We are here to help, just give us a call and let’s talk.

Director Hunter Bacot,

As one of the several new faces at the Institute, I would like to take time to introduce myself to you. A native Tar Heel (yes, two words), I welcomed the opportunity to come to Arkansas and take advantage of all the great folks and great things going on here. I have worked in state government, attended public schools, have testified in court as an expert in survey research, worked in local government, refereed High School basketball, attended two Olympics – Lake Placid & Atlanta, asked people unsolicited questions as a survey researcher, and have taught public administration and public policy for about 20 years. I love what I do and appreciate having the opportunity to help others achieve their goals. This respect and fondness for governments and nonprofits – through this opportunity to lead the Institute of Government – is what brings me to Arkansas. The Institute is a perfect match for me, as it allows me to be engaged in the community through our outreach efforts and keeps me in the classroom teaching the next generation of public servants.

Contributing Writer/Interviewer Jason Boullie, Graphic Designer/Photographer Larry Rhodes,

Like many other undiscovered gems in this great state, the Institute of Government is a hidden asset that offers much to area governments and nonprofits. We are a valuable resource waiting to be tapped, so please call on us to assist you with your next project, or to learn about furthering your academic credentials through one of our academic programs. Please feel free to explore all we have to offer by visiting our website at

Hunter Bacot


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NEW FACES IOG welcomes the newest additions to its faculty and research family.



The Institute of Government reorganized a bit last year to

make room for two highly qualified Research Associates who joined our team. Dr. Youngme Seo, who has her Ph.D. from Cleveland State University, comes to us well versed in geospatial analysis of residential activities in urban environments. Dr. Seo has been quite active since her arrival and is currently leading

A newsletter from the UALR Institute of Government

an evaluation of the state’s tobacco cessation efforts for special populations. Also, joining us last year is Dr. Christopher Diaz. Though most recently of the Florida Legislative Research Service, Dr. Diaz has roots south of us (Texas); he received his Ph.D. from Texas A&M. Dr. Diaz has been busy with a few projects for area nonprofits and work with area local governments. Both Dr. Diaz and Dr. Seo are tremendous assets to the Institute and we are fortunate to have them with us.

The MPA program would like to welcome Dr. Vickie Edwards and Dr. Michael Craw to UALR and Little Rock. Dr. Edwards, who recently received her PhD from the University of Georgia, joins us as the Coordinator of the Center for Nonprofit Organizations and a faculty member in the MPA program. Dr. Craw, who received his Ph.D. from Indiana University, joins us from Michigan State University; he coordinates the Center for Public Collaboration and currently serves on the editorial board of Urban Affairs Review. iography

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After teaching in the program

since 1991, Dr. David Sink retired this summer (2013). Dr. Sink has taught several courses throughout his tenure, including courses at the undergraduate level. Throughout his years at UALR, David has been a capstone advisor, an organization theory professor, a professor for nonprofit volunteer management, and a professor for the undergraduate poverty studies program. However, David has been much more than a professor – he has been a driving force in expanding the role of the University within the community and combining academic literature with application in public service. Since joining UALR from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Dr. Sink has been dedicated to community engagement, service learning, and involving


DR. DAVID SINK RETIRES Professor and senior research specialist retires after more than 20 years of service.



students in applied service work. Since 1992, he has played a vital role in fostering relationships between the university and Little Rock community. David has been heavily involved in community outreach, including the founding of the University District. He also played a critical role in forming the Neighborhood Resource Center on 12th Street, which serves as a training and resource

A newsletter from the UALR Institute of Government

facility for the city. Throughout his career, David has focused his research on poverty, including serving on the Mayor’s Commission on Homelessness; as well, David has served as the program coordinator for the Shepherd poverty studies program, which also further demonstrates his commitment of service-learning experiences for students.

and will retain his office on the 6th floor of Ross Hall – we just couldn’t let him get away completely. We wish him all the best!

Aside from his strong dedication to the academic community, Dr. Sink is also a diehard UALR men’s and women’s Trojan basketball fan. He is committed to cheering on the Trojans and during the season he schedules about everything around Trojan basketball games. This dedication to UALR basketball is only matched by his love of the Cincinnati Reds.

He has been a driving force in expanding the role of the University within the community.

Fortunately for all of us, we will still have Dr. Sink around to some degree. David was granted professor emeritus status


Lori Goldman’s research on sexual assault in the military earned her an award in this year’s University research competition. Student researchers were judged on “how clear and novel their approach, how well they created perspective, and how apt they were at briefly “pitching” their work

to convey what they are doing.” Ms. Goldman placed second in the Graduate category with her research project entitled, “Outside the Band of Brothers: Female Military Personnel and Sexual Assault.” Congratulations Lori! Click here to see the article on UALR’s site.


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Photos courtesy

FEATURED ALUMNI Meet some of our former students who have gone on to do great things.

With our newsletters, we hope to make this “Featured Alumni” section a regular feature, so let us know where you are and what you are doing. We have many alumni and we will feature as many as we can.

Given the focus on Arkansas legislative matters this year, we decided to feature two alumni in the middle of it all. In this newsletter, our featured alumni are Finos “Buddy” Johnson, 08


A newsletter from the UALR Institute of Government

the House parliamentarian for the Arkansas General Assembly, and Brandon Sharp, administrator for the Arkansas budget. Both alumni graciously shared their experiences in the program and in their careers. Their stories can serve as guidance for students currently in the program, or for potential students who are considering the MPA program, as well as those wishing to advance their careers, or embark on a new career path. The Institute of Government wishes to thank both Mr. Johnson and Mr. Sharp for sharing their stories with us.

Buddy Johnson Buddy received his bachelor’s degree in journalism and spent 10 years with y of Buddy Johnson and Brandon Sharp the Arkansas House of Representatives as the House information director before exploring a graduate degree to enhance his career opportunities. His wife, Elizabeth Shores, received a Public History master’s degree at UALR, so he looked for a similar program more closely related to his current career. According to Buddy, “What I found in the MPA program was a curriculum perfectly suited for my career, a faculty highly qualified to deliver it and a schedule that accommodated my work and my family.” Buddy enrolled in a program that he felt was high quality, rigorous, and beneficial. Buddy atBRANDON SHARP

tributes the high quality education to a faculty that genuinely cared about their students and to his fellow students, who were “motivated and in sync in our common pursuit of strengthening our career positions and ultimately advancing the progress of public administration.” Completing the program provided Buddy the tools and “a tangible credential” for career advancement in the public sector and fit perfectly with his career path. Since graduating from the program, Buddy has had the opportunity to move into legislative administration as Coordinator of Legislative Services and as the House Parliamentarian. Buddy commented, “It is a tremendous honor to work for 100 elected representatives and to be part of a team that delivers representative democracy for the people of my home state.” Buddy’s advice to current and future students is to “have faith that the work you’re putting into your degree will benefit you more than you can now imagine. A graduate degree cannot confer guarantees, but it can confer opportunities that otherwise may not have been available.” Brandon Sharp Brandon is a second generation budget analyst with a passion for government and law. He received his bachelor’s from UALR with a major in political science and a minor in legal studies. After his undergraduate degree, Brandon went into the private sector but worked closely with and made professional contacts with people working in government, especially governmental regulatory agencies. Brandon commented, “By the time I was ready to go back to school, I had already made some great contacts, knew exactly what I wanted to do, and iography

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Their stories can serve as guidance for students currently in the program.

the MPA degree was what I needed to get there.” Brandon identified three specific classes that he found particularly helpful and interesting. He felt Politics & Bureaucracy was especially important into learning about the “structure and motivations of public organizations.” In addition, “classes in Budget and Human Resources Management were particularly helpful for my specific field.” Overall, Brandon believes that the dedicated staff and faculty, the small class sizes, and the opportunity to network through research projects are truly an advantage of the MPA program. Within 8 years, Brandon has been promoted from a entry level budget analyst to the state’s budget administrator; he believes that his credentials and training allowed him to advance faster through the ranks. Brandon has two pieces of advice for MPA students. First, Brandon advises 10


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that MPA student should have some idea where they want to end up after graduation. Second, he advises that students should take every advantage of networking opportunities. Brandon believes that “the MPA program is tailored to allow you to do research and make connections in the real world.” With that in mind, career goals and connections can lead you to a new career or promotion after the program. We are proud to have both Buddy and Brandon as part of our MPA family. We look forward to featuring other alumni in future newsletters, so let us hear from you. MPA & Nonprofit Alumni can contact us at

ALUMNI ACTIVITIES As our Alumni are vital to our continued

success, we enjoy recognizing the many success stories in which we have been fortunate enough to play a small part. Though in the past we have not been as active in sustaining our relationships, we plan to change that this fall. Please make sure we have your correct contact information so that we can invite you to a social we are planning for our alumni and students later this fall. To feature other alumni in future newsletters, we need you to let us know where you are and what you are doing. Please keep in touch! Email us at

SURVEY RESEARCH CENTER As many of you are likely aware, the In-

stitute is proud to have as part of our engagement efforts the services of our Survey Research Center. Though a bit more down to earth – they are located on the 4th Floor of Ross Hall – they remain a vital part of the Institute of Government. For more than 30 years, the Survey Research Center has been a force in survey research in Arkansas. Under the gifted direction of Cindy Bennett, the Survey Research Center is sustaining its impeccable reputaiography

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Photos courtesy of Naomi Petrash

tion by staying abreast of the latest innovations in survey research as well as being at the forefront of cell phone only integration in its survey samples. Few survey organizations are as advanced and respected in their sampling practices when it comes to the incorporation of cell phones into survey samples as is our Survey Research Center. Cindy and her staff are ready and willing to work with you on your next project. The Survey Research Center has extensive experience in advising clients on research strategies and conducting research for a host of local, state, and national government and nonprofit agencies. With their knowledge and expertise in all phases of survey research – sample design, questionnaire construction, project implementation, and analysis and reporting – why try this on 12


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your own? Contact the folks at the Survey Research Center to assist you with your next project. Please visit their site at for more information.

The Institute is proud to have as part of our engagement efforts the services of our Survey Research Center.

MPA & GCNM Recognition Ceremony The Master of Public Administration program recognizes and congratulates this year’s recipients of its awards and scholarships. As we do every spring at our Honors and

Award Ceremony, the MPA and Nonprofit program faculty recognized their scholarship and award recipients. These programs bestow several awards and scholarships on deserving students. We also recognize those students honored by acceptance into Pi Alpha Alpha, the national honor society for public affairs and administration. These honors, scholarships, and recipients for this year are as follows: Carl Max Milam Scholarship The Carl Max Milam Scholarship is awarded in memory of Max Milam, the former Chair of the Department of Political Science at UA-Fayetteville and founding director of the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration. The scholarship was created by the Milam family in honor of his service through his daughter, Sherry Dahlstrom, a one-time instruc-

tor and employee in the Institute. The award is typically for $1000. This year’s winner was Mindy Wirges. Cy and Betta Carney Scholarship The Cy and Betta Carney Scholarship is awarded in their name, as both were strong patrons of professional public management in the State of Arkansas. Their son, Cy Carney, is a former City Manager of Little Rock and their daughter is a graduate of UALR’s MPA program. The scholarship is for $1000. This year’s winner was Julie Tabor. Public Administration Alumni Scholarship The Public Administration Alumni Scholarship is awarded each year to a deserving student. This scholarship is sponsored jointly by the UALR and MPA Alumni organizations. The MPA Alumni organization is one of the largest alumni groups on campus. This scholarship is normally made for $1000. This year’s winner was Anna Beth White. iography

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Henry Alexander Scholarship (also known as the Arkansas City Management Association [ACMA] scholarship) The Henry Alexander Scholarship is awarded each fall by the ACMA at its annual meeting. The scholarship is named after the University of Arkansas faculty member who started the MPA program at Fayetteville. Preference for the award is given for students interested in urban government, especially city management. Award amount varies; this year it is for $1000. This year’s honoree was Jason Boullie. Outstanding MPA Student of the Year The Outstanding Student award is presented to a student who is recognized by the faculty of the MPA program based upon criteria such as GPA, collegiality, classroom performance, research quality, excellence on examinations, and overall performance in the program. This year’s honoree was Lori Goldman.



A newsletter from the UALR Institute of Government

PI ALPHA ALPHA Pi Alpha Alpha is the national honor

society for public affairs and administration. The purpose of the society is to recognize outstanding scholarship and accomplishment, as well as foster integrity, professionalism and effective performance in public affairs. Membership in Pi Alpha Alpha is limited to persons who demonstrate academic achievement in public affairs and administration in NASPAA member schools and/ or outstanding public service, and who meet the following criteria: completed 18 MPA hours; achieved a cumulative GPA of at least 3.7; and, nominated by faculty member. Each nominee then must be approved by a majority of the MPA faculty. Induction into Pi Alpha Alpha takes place each spring.

Pi Alpha Alpha Student Initiates Maegan Clark Lori Goldman Billy Parrish Julie Tabor Micha Woods

PROGRAM GRADUATES This year’s graduates of our academic

Pi Alpha Alpha Honorary Initiates

programs are:

Each year the MPA program recognizes commitment and dedication to public affairs and public service in the community. This year’s honorees demonstrate their commitment to public service and the university in their daily duties as public servants here at UALR. This year’s honorees are:

Master of Public Administration

Bill Walker – Vice Chancellor of University Advancement Joni Lee – Associate Vice Chancellor of University Advancement Also, for those of you not aware of it, Bill Walker retired this summer and Joni Lee was appointed Interim Vice Chancellor of University Advancement by the Chancellor.

Michelle Barnes Anita Bucur Cory Davis James Fisher Becky Flynn Xianchen Guo Jeremy Haggard Jessica Kelton Jessica Key Barbara McCrory Billy Parrish Kristin Stuart Jon Vannatta Rachel Watson Morgan Weaver Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management Thomas Pope Bimal Poudel

This year’s honorees demonstrate their commitment to public service and the university. iography

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MPA PROGRAM UPDATE In operation for over 30 years and the first nationally accredited program in Arkansas, the MPA program enjoys a proud reputation in central Arkansas and around the state.

The program is currently fully engaged in the self-study portion of the reaccreditation process by the national accrediting body (NASPAA). The self-study report is due in August and, if the report is reviewed favorably, the accrediting agency will arrange a site visit in the spring of 2014. The UALR MPA program will be among the 16


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first programs to be reviewed according to NASPAA’s newly developed competencies. As a program, we must address these new competencies through “new” assessment measures, which require our faculty to review assessment maps and adapt new course maps for these new competencies. Let us know of your interest in assisting us during the site visit, as we will need alumni support of our efforts. Also, as you’ll read elsewhere, Dr. Wigand stepped away from her duties as MPA Coordinator in May; she will remain as a member of the MPA faculty. Dr. Bacot will be coordinating the MPA program on an interim basis, or at least through the accreditation process.

The program remains quite active and robust. We have about 50 students in the program and have survived the economic downturn fairly well in comparison to some programs at other universities. As always, let others know of the program and please feel free to let us know if you think of someone who may be a good candidate for the program!

NOTABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND EVENTS All members of the Institute consider pub-

lic service and outreach part of their DNA. From our administrative support staff, who regularly contribute to the life of the university and community, to our professional research staff, who provide invaluable expertise and consulting services throughout Central Arkansas, we continue to be quite active in our research and applied work. Here are just a few of the recent accomplishments of our faculty, researchers, and staff.

Survey Research Center Cindy Bennett, Director of our Survey Research Center, reached a major milestone in the SRC’s history – the $1 Million mark. The center, which offers excellent survey research services, reached over a million dollars in contracts and grants from July 2011 to December 2012. Congratulations Cindy!


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you may have noticed that Dr. Wigand was not around as much last spring. Dr. Dianne Wigand concluded her research sabbatical last spring, then surprised us with news that she was stepping down as MPA Coordinator after a seven year run in that position. She will be back this fall as a regular member of the MPA faculty. Water, Water Everywhere… In June 2011, Dr. Roby Robertson was reappointed as commissioner of the Central Arkansas Water Commission for another seven year term.

IRS Workshop for Nonprofits Dr. Vickie Edwards organized an IRS workshop for small and medium-sized nonprofits, which was conducted in partnership with Arkansas DHS Division of Community Service and Nonprofit Support and the Arkansas Coalition for Excellence. Over the two-day period, December 4th-5th, the workshop welcomed 192 people to campus. The event was very well received by all who attended. Way to go Vickie! Dr. Wigand returns to Faculty after Sabbatical For those who recently registered for spring 2013 classes or just spend all their available free time in the MPA offices, 18


A newsletter from the UALR Institute of Government

RECENT RESEARCH Through all the change and activity going on at the Institute, the Sixth Floor has remained active and prolific on the research and service front. Here are some examples of the research everyone has been doing recently . . . Dr. Hunter Bacot, Director “Establishing Indicators for Evaluating the Performance of Choice Neighborhood Initiatives,” (with David Sink) Southeastern Conference on Public Administration, October 2012.

Dr. Michael Craw, Assistant Professor “Neighborhood Stability and Self-Governance.” (with Louise Jezierski) Paper prepared for the American Political Science Association, September 2012.

sas Nonprofits on the State’s Economy, 2006-2010.” (with Christopher Diaz & Youngme Seo) IOG technical report, December 2012.

Chris Diaz, IOG Research Associate “Site Selection Considerations for Urban Research Parks” IOG technical report. “The Benefits of Doing Good: the Structure, Contribution, and Impact of Arkansas Nonprofits on the State’s Economy, 2006-2010” (with Vickie Edwards & Youngme Seo) IOG technical report, December 2012. Youngme Seo, IOG Research Associate “The Benefits of Doing Good: the Structure, Contribution, and Impact of Arkansas Nonprofits on the State’s Economy, 2006-2010” (with Vickie Edwards & Christopher Diaz) IOG technical report, December 2012. Dr. Vickie L. Edwards, Assistant Professor “Pathways to Participation: The Influence of Civic Orientation on Volunteerism and Community Engagement.” Paper prepared for the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA), November 2012. “The Benefit of Doing Good: The Structure, Contribution, and Impact of Arkan-

Dr. Dianne Wigand, Associate Professor, MPA Coordinator “A Framework for Citizen-Centric Government Web Sites.” In E. Downey, C. Ekstrom, and M. Jones (Eds.), Government Websites Development: Future Trends and Strategic Models. Hershey, PA: IGI Global. “Gov 2.0 and Beyond: Using Social Media for Transparency, Participation and Collaboration.” In S. Fong et al. (Eds), Networked Digital Technologies (NDT), CCIS 136, Heidelberg, Germany, Springer. 2011


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Research, Technical Assistance, and Outreach Our researchers are well versed in the issues relevant to public affairs and can help provide solutions to such issues through data-driven decision making using evidence-based techniques. We offer years of experience with program evaluation and policy analysis across a host of policies and issues. We have a vast toolkit from which to draw – organizing stakeholders in public, nonprofit, and private organizations, conducting spatial analyses of data using GIS, establishing performance measures, leading program evaluations, writing grants, facilitating strategic planning, providing performance assessments – and we look forward to discussing with you how we can be of assistance to your public or nonprofit agency, division, or organization.

Our comprehensive list of services includes: • Performance Measures & Benchmarks • Survey Research • Program Evaluation • Policy Analysis • Evaluation & Outcome Reports • Strategic Planning • Facilitation Services • Budget & Financial Analysis • Citizen Satisfaction Studies

Find out more at 20


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IOGraphy Issue 1 August 2013  
IOGraphy Issue 1 August 2013  

Stories from the UALR Institute of Government.