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COVID-19 and K-12 Education Recovery from Learning Loss - Noon

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has created enormous challenges for public education. IPPSR’s Nov. 17 Public Policy Forum explores two new reports. The first, from Michigan State University’s Education Policy Innovation Collaborative details the impact of the pandemic on teaching and learning and another from the Office of K-12 Outreach explores strategic uses of additional funding resources, and aims to support students, parents, educators, community members, and policymakers on how they might influence local funding decisions.

See the Agenda (.pdf)

Please complete the Forum Evaluation (Open noon Wednesday, Nov 17, 2021 until Wednesday, Nov. 24th, 2021 at 5:15pm)

Panelist Biographical Information

  • Katharine Strunk, Ph.D, MSU College of Education, Director MSU Education Policy Innovation Collaborative (EPIC)
  • Jacqueline Gardner, Ph.D, Director of Data and Evaluation Office of K-12 Outreach, MSU

See Panelist Biographies (.pdf)


See Katharine Strunk's Presentation (.pdf)


Watch the November 17 Video

In the News

A special appearance by our IPPSR Public Policy Forum speakers on Spotlight in the News, WXYZ TV’s news show with Producer Chuck Stokes.

Additional Resources

Read by Grade Three Law Initial Retention Decisions
Michigan’s 2020-21 Benchmark Assessments A COVID-19 Relief Dollars Process Guide (.pdf)

Boosting Economic Development Through Tax Incentives – Noon

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

In Michigan and across the country, tax incentives to spur job development remain a hot button topic, most recently noted by the Ford announcement to put next generation plants in Tennessee. Would key development projects even be on the drawing board without subsidies to support them? Is it appropriate for government – rather than private industry -- to step in and assure targeted private industry growth, especially in a time whether or not we find ourselves battling COVID-19, a recession, or international business conditions depress more natural growth? Is cash assistance, in the short-run, less costly than long-term tax breaks to specific business? Do nonprofit desires to help communities and citizens depress more than assure government effectiveness? IPPSR’s October Public Policy Forum looks for answers to these broad public policy questions.

Panelist Biographical Information

  • Michael D. LaFaive - Senior Director, Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative, Mackinac Center for Public Policy.
  • Tim Bartik - Senior Economist, Upjohn Institute for Employment Research
  • Sarah Reckhow - Associate Professor, Graduate Program Director, American Politics, Public Policy, Department of Political Science, Michigan State University

See the agenda (.pdf)
See panelist biographies (.pdf)
Please complete the forum evaluation


Sarah Reckhow Presentation (.pdf)
Tim Bartik Presentation (.pdf)


Watch the October 19 Video

The Census: What It Means for Michigan - Noon

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

The United States dates its first census back to 1790 as the country grew and needed more information about its people and its economy. The decennial census -- conducted every 10 years -- gives us valuable insights into our history and our present trends and yields the data necessary to draw the lines for districts from which we elect members for state legislature and the U.S. Congress, as well as calculate distribution of federal funding. This forum will discuss the results of the recent census' value to the state, including but not limited to, the drawing of voting districts currently underway.

Panelist Biographical Information

  • Kerry Ebersole Singh, Office of the Governor, State of Michigan; Former Michigan Statewide Census Director
  • Victoria Kovari, Executive Director, Detroit 2020 Census Campaign and Special Assistant to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan
  • Corwin D. Smidt, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Social Science, Michigan State University

See the agenda (.pdf)

See panelist biographies (.pdf)

Please complete the forum evaluation


See Victoria Kovari's presentation (.pdf)


Watch the September 14th Forum

ARPA Local Government Finance – Michigan Effects Noon

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

The federal stimulus extends $1.9 trillion nationally for COVID-19 relief and economic recovery efforts. Approximately $4.4 billion is earmarked for Michigan’s state government, counties, cities and tribal governments, and predicted to support 43,000 jobs and annual labor earnings of nearly $3.6 million. This is a virtual event, on Zoom, and links will be forwarded on Monday, May 17, 2021 by email to those who register. Please note our May Public Policy Forum is on a Tuesday. How are local governments expected to spend pandemic-relief funds and what community-building effects are anticipated? Our panelists include economists and guest speakers from community frontlines.


Read full panelist biographical information (.pdf)


Watch the May 18th 2021 forum on YouTube


American Rescue Plan of 2021 – An IPPSR Michigan Policy Wonk Blog illuminating how a new COVID-stimulus benefits workers, families, schools, local government and just about everyone.
Biden Stimulus Plan to Aid Michigan Local Finances and Economies – an analysis from MSU Extensions’ Center for Local Government Finance and Policy

K-12 Schools: Moving Past Pandemic Recovery - Noon

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

This spring marks the anniversary when many Michigan schools and their students moved to remote learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As we move past this one-year mark, schools are returning to onsite learning. Teachers, parents and pupils are navigating the challenges of a mid-year transition.

IPPSR’s April 7 Public Policy Forum welcomes Douglas Harris, Tulane University professor of economics and author of the new book Charter School City. He’ll talk about lessons learned in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and lead off a discussion with leading Michigan educational leaders about public schools’ post-COVID recovery.

We’ll be looking beyond the pandemic to ask what challenges are ahead as parents, students and teachers transition to classroom education? What does K-12 education look like in a strong recovery? What changes and new models of learning are in Michigan’s present and future?

Panelist Biographical Information

  • Bryan Beverly, Ph.D., Director, K-12 Outreach, Office of K-12 Outreach, College of Education, Michigan State University
  • Doug Harris, Director, Education Research Alliance for New Orleans, Professor of Economics at Tulane University and Schlieder Foundation Chair in Public Education, Tulane University
  • Paula Herbart, President, Michigan Education Association
  • Nicholas Paradiso, Vice President of Government Relations & Partner Services, National Heritage Academies
  • Andraé Townsel, Superintendent, Benton Harbor Area Schools

See April 7th 2021 Panelist Biographies (.pdf)


Watch the April 7th Forum on YouTube


See Doug Harris' Presentation (.pdf)


IPPSR database of school response to COVID-19
Learning Beyond COVID-19: A Vision for Thriving in Public Education (.pdf) a publication of the American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association
Forum Event flier (.pdf)

When Dams Break: Preventing Water Safety Crises in Michigan - Noon

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

This IPPSR Forum will focus on the recently released report of the Michigan Dam Safety Task Force. The task force was formed after the failure of the Edenville and Sanford Dams in May of 2020. Those failures forced evacuation of nearly 10,000 people and caused $200 million in damage. Speakers will include members of the Dam Safety Task Force who will lead a discussion of the report’s findings and its recommendations.

Panelist Biographical Information

  • Doug Jester – Task Force Vice-Chair, Partner, 5 Lakes Energy
  • Bill Rustem –Task Force Member and Advisor to former Michigan Govs. William Milliken and Rick Snyder
  • Luke Trumble – Dam Safety Unit Supervisor, Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE)

Read the agenda (.pdf)
Read the panelist biographies (.pdf)


See Trumble's Presentation (.pdf)


Watch the March 24th forum (YouTube)

Additional Resources

About the Michigan Dam Safety Task Force
Michigan Dam Safety Task Force Report (.pdf)
Additional information about the Edenville Dam Failure

Extremism in Politics and Its Impact on Public Discourse - Noon

Thursday, February 25, 2021

The January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol is a reminder that America is not the only country where elections can spark violent outbursts. From a comparative perspective, the U.S. can encounter the clash of opinions over policy and political preferences. From research, we have learned that polarized views and inequality breed grievances that can depress civil discourse and embolden civil unrest. Research indicates that violence erupts when citizens distrust the electoral process or disagree with the outcome of the vote. What can the United States learn from the rest of the world? What are the broader effects of these events on our political system? How can policymakers help heal discourse and restore trust? February’s Public Policy Forum will welcome a panel of speakers whose research spans international terrorism, communications and trends in political behavior

Panelist Biographical Information

  • Sam Jackson, Ph.D., assistant professor, College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity, State University of New York at Albany.
  • Jakana Thomas, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Political Science and Faculty Affiliate, Center for Gender in the Global Context, College of Social Science, Michigan State University.
  • Dustin Carnahan, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Communication and affiliated with Health and Risk Communication in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, Michigan State University.

Read more panelist biographical information (.pdf)


See Jackson's Presentation (.pdf)
See Thomas' Presentation (.pdf)
See Carnahan's Presentation (.pdf)


Watch the February 25, 2021 forum on YouTube

Additional Information

House Committee on Energy and Commerce Hearing on Disinformation

Vaccine Distribution: Path to Pandemic Protection - Noon

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

The nation’s first cases of the pandemic coronavirus were first reported in January 2020. Cases quickly spread to Michigan. Now, new vaccines shipments are on their way across the country, and Michigan is seeing its first doses. Vaccines are known to help prevent the spread of disease and death, and IPPSR’s first Public Policy Forum of 2020 will focus on Vaccine Distribution: Path to Pandemic Protection. Michigan State University’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research is inviting health authorities and infectious disease specialists to update state and local efforts to roll out vaccines to the state’s 10 million people.  They’ll discuss guidelines, best practices and the current status of vaccine availability.

Panelist Biographical Information

Read more biographical information (.pdf)

  • Linda S. Vail, MPA, Health Officer, Ingham County Health Department
  • Ruthanne Sudderth, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs and Communications, Michigan Health & Hospital Association
  • Debra Furr-Holden, Ph.D., C.S. Mott Endowed Professor of Public Health, Associate Dean for Public Health Integration and Director of the Flint Center for Health Equity Solutions, Co-Director, Healthy Flint Research Coordinating Center, Michigan State University


Watch the January 27th, 2021 forum on YouTube


See Furr-Holden's Presentation (.pdf)
See Sudderth's Presentation (.pdf)


If you watched or attended this forum please share your feedback it is valuable to us.

Post-Election Wrapup 2020 Polls and Prose Behind the Vote - Noon

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

As election season rolls from candidates to winners, IPPSR is hosting a special Public Policy Forum to share the polls and the prose behind the vote. Two panels – one of pollsters and the other of those who write the prose about the campaigns and their winning ways – are scheduled. This is an online event. Registration is a must. A Zoom link will be sent to all who registered the day before the event.

Panelist Biographical Information

  • Zachary Gorchow, Executive Editor and Publisher, Gongwer News Service
  • Darci McConnell, President and CEO, McConnell Communications, Inc.
  • Kyle Melinn, Editor and Vice President of MIRS
  • Steve Mitchell, CEO, Mitchell Research & Communications, Inc.
  • Bernie Porn, Founding Principal and President, EPIC-MRA
  • Matt Grossmann, Director, Institute for Public Policy and Social Research

Read more panelist biographical information (.pdf)


Watch the November 18th 2020 forum


See Grossmann's Presentation (.pdf)

Other Documents

See Program Agenda (.pdf)
See MPLP's 2020 Election Winners (.pdf)

K-12 Education During a Pandemic

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

The COVID-19 crisis led to a near-nationwide closure of K-12 public schools. Schools are creating in-person, online or a combination of in-person and online education experiences.

IPPSR, in partnership with Michigan State University’s Education Policy Innovation Collaborative are jointly tracking crisis responses across all 50 states, and have constructed a searchable set of data to reflect educational approaches across the nation. As states and educators made fast-moving changes, IPPSR and EPIC began following K-12 response.

Panelist Biographical Information

  • Dr. Katharine Strunk, Faculty Director, MSU Education Policy Innovation Collaborative; Professor of Education; Clifford E. Erickson Distinguished Chair in Education, Michigan State University
  • Dr. Keith Smith, Superintendent, Kingsley Area Schools
  • Dr. Nikolai Vitti, Superintendent, Detroit Public Schools Community District
  • See more panelist biographical information (.pdf)


See Dr. Katharine Strunk's presentation (.pdf)


Watch the October 21st forum here

Critical Questions: Criminal Justice and Police Training

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Across the country, critical questions are being asked about issues surrounding the intense debate and protests taking place. IPPSR’s opening fall Public Policy Forum will explore related issues: Is de-escalation training an answer? What about implicit bias training and crisis intervention approaches?

Panelist Biographical Information

  • Jennifer Cobbina, associate professor, MSU School of Criminal Justice. She is the newly named co-chair of MSU’s Task Force on Racial Equity. Her research focuses on corrections and prisoner re-entry.
  • Scott Wolfe, associate professor, MSU School of Criminal Justice.
  • Jeff Rojek, associate professor, MSU School of Criminal Justice, and director, Director of the Center for Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection (A-CAPP.)

Read more panelist biographical information (.pdf)


Read Wolfe/Rojek presentation (.pdf)


See the September 23rd 2020 forum

Partnership Model for Improving Michigan Schools

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Michigan’s Partnership agreements between Michigan’s K-12 schools and district offices outline strategies for improving the lowest performing schools. The schools’ progress was recently reviewed after one year of implementation. While researchers and practitioners recorded notable improvements, they also observed these advances as difficult to maintain in the longer term. This forum will define the partnership model, take a close look at the review findings, and examine what is most needed to keep test scores rising, teachers remaining, and communication growing between the schools and district offices.

Panelist Biographical Information

  • Venessa Keesler, PhD, Deputy Superintendent, Division of Educator, Student, and School Supports, Michigan Department of Education
  • Bill Pearson, EdD, Director, Partnership Districts, Michigan Department of Education
  • Jason Burns, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Education Policy Innovation Collaborative, Michigan State University
  • Chris Torres, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Administration, College of Education, Michigan State University


See the April 15th 2020 meeting here


See Keesler's Presentation (.pdf)
See Pearson's Presentation (.pdf)
See Burns' Presentation (.pdf)
See Torres Presentation (.pdf)

Making Michigan Supply Chains Sustainable

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Michigan consumers seek products that are sustainably manufactured and designed for sustainable disposal or reuse. Michigan businesses are innovating to fulfill these expectations and improve their supply chains. State and local public policy can accelerate or hinder these efforts. During the March 11 forum, we will hear about best practices for building the sustainable supply chain of the future and related public policy considerations and issues. The aim is to improve public health, environmental stewardship, and economic development as Michigan strives to model statewide sustainability in action.

Panelist Biographical Information

  • Rex Lamore, PhD, Director, Center for Community Economic Development, Michigan State University
  • Vedat Verter, PhD, John McConnell Endowed Chair of Business Administration, Chairperson of the Supply Chain Management Department, Michigan State University
  • Amy Butler, MBA, Campus Sustainability Director, Michigan State University
  • Kris Jolley, Reuse and Recycling Manager, Surplus Store & Recycling, Michigan State University


See LaMore's Presentation (.pdf)

See Verter's Presentation (.pdf)

See Jolley's Presentation (.pdf)

See Butler's Presentation (.pdf)


See the pictures from the March 11th Forum here

Redrawing Michigan’s Voting Districts

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Big changes are in store for Michigan's redistricting process, which sets the state's voting boundaries for legislative and congressional districts. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson will lay out the process for establishing the state's new redistricting commission and the considerations they'll bring to mapmaking. Researchers will review the history and stakes of redistricting for public representation and partisan balance.

Panelist Biographical Information

  • Matt Grossmann, Director, Institute for Public Policy and Social Research (IPPSR), Associate Professor of Political Science, Michigan State University
  • Jocelyn Benson, Secretary of State, State of Michigan
  • Jon Eguia, Associate Professor, Department of Economics, Michigan State University
  • Nancy Wang, Executive Director, Voters Not Politicians


See Grossmann's Presentation (.pdf)
See Eguia's Presentation (.pdf)
See Wang's Presentation (.pdf)


See the January 15, 2020 forum here


See pictures from the January 15th 2020 forum

Additional Resources

GOP Could Hold Thin Edge After Redistricting Commission Redraws Maps – From Gongwer News – Michigan (.pdf)

Didn't Get On the Redistricting Commission? Draw A Map -- From (.pdf.)

Urban Meets Rural, Balancing Human and Environmental Health

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

As residential areas are extended to meet housing and economic development needs, there is more frequent interaction between people, the natural environment, and non-domestic animals. For example, roaming deer as well as garbage invaders like raccoons, once an anomaly when sighted in suburban communities, are common occurrences. Consequential to increased animal- human interaction is an uptick in discussion of related diseases, such as Lyme disease, Rabies, and more recently, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (Three E). Wildlife management strategies and options for keeping both humans and animals healthy as they continue to interact will inform the audience.

Panelist Biographical Information

Read more panelist biographical information. (pdf)

  • Melinda Wilkins, DVM, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor, One Health, Public Health, and Global Health Education, Large Animal Clinical Sciences, Michigan State University
  • Rebecca Malouin, PhD, MPH, MS, Director of Research, Institute for Global Health, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University
  • Adenike Shoyinka, MD, MPH, Medical Director, Ingham County Health Department
  • Chad Stewart, Deer, Elk, and Moose Management Specialist and a Certified Wildlife Biologist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources
  • Kelly Straka, DVM, MPH, State Wildlife Veterinarian and Wildlife Health Section Supervisor for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources


See Wilkins' Presentation (.pdf)
See Shoyinka's Presentation (.pdf)
See Stewart's Presentation (.pdf)
See Straka's Presentation (.pdf)


Watch the November 6th, 2019 forum here


See the November 6th, 2019 forum

Additional Resources

Wilkins - Emerging Diseases
Wilkins - One Health
Malouin - Master of Science in Global Health
Shoyinka - Government Website on EEE
Stewart and Straka - DNR Chronic Wasting Disease

Managing Water Level Change in the Great Lakes

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

As Michigan takes inventory of summer activities, residents who have spent time along the Great Lakes are first to tell you about rising water levels and vanishing shoreline. More commonly noted this year are shrinking beaches, bank erosion and compromised infrastructure, including boat docks and river walks. To what degree have the Great Lakes recently risen? What has been the real impact of rising water levels on Michigan’s natural resources, tourism and infrastructure? How are communities managing the change? This forum will detail the impact of rising water along the Great Lakes shore, and consider further water level changes in the longer term.

Panelist Biographical Information

  • Keith Kompoltowicz, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District Office
  • Charles Nelson, Associate Professor, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dept of Community Sustainability
  • Gail A. Vander Stoep, Associate Professor, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dept of Community Sustainability and Museum Studies Program
  • Ronda Wuycheck, Manager of the Coastal Management Program in the Water Resources Division at the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE)


Watch the October 2nd 2019 forum


See Kompoltowicz presentation (.pdf)
See Nelson's presentation (.pdf)
See Vander Stoep's presentation (.pdf)
See Wuycheck's presentation (.pdf)


See pictures from the October 2nd 2019 forum

Other Documents

See Wuycheck's Handouts (.pdf)

Census 2020, Possible Outcomes for Michigan

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The U.S. Census Bureau is gearing up to surpass previous participation records in order to get an accurate snapshot of people living in the United States. The push for participation has stirred discussion of what census outcomes could mean to Michigan, especially to marginalized communities, in terms of federal dollars for things like social services, and big-ticket items like infrastructure and economic development projects. Census data will also contribute to Michigan’s redistricting process, how school districts are defined, and state representation in our nation’s capital. This forum will lay out how census data may impact Michigan, challenges for data gathering in stressed communities, and best practices for ensuring participation.

Panelist Biographical Information:

See more of the panelist biographical information (.pdf)

  • Marilyn A. Sanders - Regional Director for the U.S. Census Bureau, Chicago Region (additional info)
  • Noah Durst, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor in the School of Planning, Design and Construction’s Urban & Regional Planning Program at MSU (additional info)
  • Joe Scantlebury, J.D. - Vice President for program strategy at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (additional info)
  • Kerry Ebersole Singh is the Michigan Statewide Census Executive Director, Office of the Governor (additional info)


See Sanders Presentation (.pdf)
See Durst Presentation (.pdf)
See Scantlebury's Presentation (.pdf)
See W.K. Kellogg Foundation Video
See Ebersole Singh's Presentation (.pdf)


Watch the September 11th, 2019 forum here


See pictures from the September 11th 2019 forum

Michigan's Response to PFAS

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

PFAS, industrial chemicals and water contaminants, were found in drinking water at twenty times the recommended level in areas of Kalamazoo County in July 2018. A State of Emergency was declared and residents were instructed not to drink the water, cook with it, or expose babies or pets to it while officials flushed the water system and retested its safety. PFAS are a multi-use product commonly used as a fire retardant, for stain protection, and on non-stick pans. They have now been detected in more than 49 Michigan sites and are also problematic in other states. What are Michigan’s remediation and prevention efforts of PFAS-contaminated water? What is the impact of PFAS on personal and environmental health? What research needs are there for further addressing the impact of PFAS? This forum will lay out the problem of PFAS and Michigan’s response to it.

Panelist Biographical Information

  • Lois Wolfson, Senior Specialist, MSU Extension and Fisheries and Wildlife
    Background on PFAS Chemicals in the Environment

    See Wolfson's Presentation (.pdf)

  • Cheryl Murphy, Associate Professor, MSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife
    Ecological Risk Assessment

    See Murphy's Presentation (.pdf)

  • Steve Sliver, Executive Director, MI PFAS Action Response Team (MPART), MI Dept. of Environmental Quality (MDEQ)
    Statewide Study, MPART, Next Steps

    See Slivers Presentation (.pdf)

  • Susan Masten, Professor, MSU Civil and Environmental Engineering, Member
    Remediation Strategies & Research Needs

    See Masten's Presentation (.pdf)

  • Josh Gunn Associate Director of the Community, Food & Environment Institute

    See Gunn's Presentation (.pdf)



Oil Spills on Winter Lakes - Risk Perception, Detection, and Remediation

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The April forum discussion will present preliminary research findings that have implications for identifying best practices and developing spill remediation policy for the State of Michigan. A research panel will report on public perceptions of the risks associated with underwater oil spills based on surveys and modeling. Additionally, the MSU team will provide a research status update on a first-time investigation into how oil accumulates and spreads beneath lake ice in the winter season. The forum will outline considerations such as tourism, employment, revenue, and safe transport of fuel supplies for policy makers striving to maintain the health of the Great Lakes.

Panelist Biographical Information

  • Doug Bessette, Assistant Professor, Community Sustainability, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

See presentation of State of the State Survey of Michigan residents' awareness and opinions related to the Line 5 pipeline.

  • Robert Richardson, Associate Professor and Ecological Economist, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

See  presentation of Estimates of Economic Damages of an Oil Spill in the Straits of Mackinac in Michigan

  • Michelle Rutty, Assistant Professor of Sustainable Tourism, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Volodymyr (Vlad) Tarabara, Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

See presentation of Importance and Implications of Freshwater Ice: From the Straits of Mackinac to the Arctic

See presentation introducing Winter Lakes Forum.

See biographies of IPPSR Public Policy Forum panelists



Statistical Analysis of Straits of Mackinac Line 5: Worst Case Spill Scenarios, University of Michigan, 2016

Oil Spills in Michigan and Louisiana, a panel hosted by Volodymyr (Vlad) Tarabara


First Step Act - Keeping the Ex in ExOffender

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The recent bipartisan passage of The First Step Act has sparked discussion of criminal justice reform at the state and local level. The federal act is viewed as a modest move to ease punitive prison sentencing and provide credits for some federal offenders who avoid disciplinary actions and enroll in skill training. The act also moves to improve federal prison conditions. One intention outcome of this act is to reduce the prison population by increasing an offender’s chances at rehabilitation and enabling their transition into an independent, community life with skills that will keep them permanently out of the prison system. This forum discussion will focus on the likely impact of The First Step Act and its implications for Michigan’s sentencing practices, prison environments, and transitional assistance intended to reduce prison re-entry.

Panelist Biographical Information

  • Jay P Kennedy, PhD - Assistant Professor School of Criminal Justice and Center for Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection MSU
  • Derek Cohen, PhD - Director of the Center for Effective Justice and Right on Crime at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
  • Jennifer E. Cobbina, PhD - Associate Professor in the School of Criminal Justice MSU.



Aging at Its Best: Building Michigan's Age-Friendly Communities

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Our state’s population is “getting up there” with nearly 17 percent over the age of 65, according to the 2017 U.S. Census Bureau. The latest demographics tell us that in just more than five years, we will have more people turning 85 than we do those turning 18. This forum takes an upbeat turn as it suggests how proactive and innovative moves to address issues associated with an aging population might advance the state’s well-being and economic future.

Panelist Biographical Information




Lending Light to Michigan’s Double Crisis – Opioid Use and Suicide

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Opioid overdose and suicide are among the leading causes of death in Michigan. The state’s double crisis will be the topic of the upcoming IPSPR Forum. Professionals who are working with those most vulnerable to such tragic endings, and their families, are eager to discuss possible policy changes that could help curb the continuation of a troubling trend. Panelist presentations will precede audience questions and comments. See photos from this IPPSR Public Policy Forum by clicking here.

See the video of the IPPSR Public Policy Forum on IPPSR's YouTube channel.

Panelist Biographical Information

  • Jennifer E. Johnson, PhD, C. S. Mott Endowed Professor of Public Health; Professor of OBGYN, Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine with the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University

    See Johnson's Presentation (.pdf)

  • Juli Liebler, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Director of Outreach with Michigan State University School of Criminal Justice, Former Chief of Police for the City of East Lansing, and FBI National Academy Graduate

    See Liebler's Presentation (.pdf)

  • Courtney Cuthbertson, Ph.D., Community Behavioral Health Specialist for Michigan State University Extension, Sociologist of Mental Health, facilitates community discussions on opioid use and suicide prevention

    See Cuthbertson's Presentation (.pdf)

Additional Resources

Term Limits Here and Now

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Michigan has held onto the toughest term limits in the U.S. for its elected officials in the House of Representatives, the State Senate, and the Governor’s Office since 1992. The debate on term limits rises up every other election when a good majority of office holders are term limited out of office. This year’s turnover is no different with 70 percent in the Senate and 20 percent in the House finding their time is up, no matter how the public might rate their performance in office. This forum will look at the outcome of term limits, the experience of those in office, and related proposals for the future.

Panelist Biographical Information

  • Marjorie Sarbaugh Thompson, Ph.D., professor of political science at Wayne State University. She has studied the impact of Michigan’s term limits since implemented. Commissioned by Citizen's Research Council to summarize her findings in a co-authored report, Sarbaugh Thompson will open the forum discussion.

    See Thompson's Presentation (.pdf)

  • Ken Sikkema, senior policy fellow at the Lansing-based nonpartisan consulting firm Public Sector Consultants. He served 20 years in the Michigan Legislature, 12 in the state House and eight in the Senate. He served as Republican House Leader and Senate Majority Leader.
  • Sen. Rebekah Warren, an Ann Arbor Democrat, who served in the state House for 4 years before successfully running for the state Senate, must leave the Senate due to term limits. She is now seeking a state House seat, where if successful, she will serve a two-year term.
  • Chuck Hadden, president and CEO of Michigan Manufacturers Association, has experienced term limits both as a lobbyist and a public policy officer while representing businesses from across the state before the legislature and government agencies on numerous issues, including taxation, product liability, employment and insurance.


Watch the November 14th, 2018 forum.


See all the photos from the forum here

Michigan’s Workforce and the Prevailing Wages

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Earlier this year, the Michigan Legislature voted into law three proposals originally destined for the November ballot, including proposals to repeal Michigan’s prevailing wage, set a higher minimum wage and set a minimum sick leave benefit for workers. So now what? This forum will explore Michigan’s Prevailing Wage and looks to human resources and labor relations experts to layout the current law and its impact on employers, skilled trades, and working families. It will observe variations of the law, as in effect in 32 other states, and generate next step scenarios given the repeal and a newly formed lawsuit against the repeal.

Panelist Biographical Information

  • Dale Belman Professor in the School of Human Resources & Labor Relations at MSU and President of the Institute for Construction Economics Research.
  • Neil Parish Assistant Manager at the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).

    See Neil Parish's Presentation (.pdf)

  • Jeff Wiggins State Director of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan (ABC).

See Panelist Biographical Information (.pdf)


Watch the October 17th, 2018 forum here



Related Research

In The News

See Gongwer News - Michigan story about IPPSR Forum.

The Recreational Pot Market - Michigan Voters to Decide

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Come November, voters will decide whether or not recreational marijuana will be legalized in Michigan. While public support for legalizing recreational marijuana appears to be increasing, there are major concerns about managing the outcomes should voters say yes. Having already legalized medical marijuana, the drug is viewed by some as a nonconsequential remedy for pain, insomnia, and anxiety in addition to improved or slowing the effects of advanced illnesses, such as HIV. Given the experience of other states, legal use of recreational marijuana would certainly boost state tax ledgers from what is estimated to be a one billion dollar-plus market in Michigan alone. However, questions loom over the impact of more prevalent drug environments on our state’s already disadvantaged populations, and particularly among adolescents and higher-crime areas. Impaired driving and job performance while under the influence of marijuana are also areas of much-needed research. This forum will provide insight on Michigan’s current take on medical marijuana and considerations to be made as we consider November’s ballot proposal of legalized recreational marijuana.

Panelist Biographical Information:

Biographical Information (.pdf)

  • Ms. Shelly Edgerton - Director for the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).
  • Dr. Jed Magen - Associate Professor and Chair of Michigan State University’s Department of Psychiatry.
  • Dr. Debra Furr-Holden - Professor of Public Health MSU College of Human Medicine Division of Public Health.



Michigan's Foster Care

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

A discussion of Michigan’s Foster Care cannot be had without strong reference to early childhood education, caregiver training, and Medicaid provisions. The most challenging points of contact between foster care professionals and the most vulnerable children are during efforts to prevent system entry; while finding support for caregivers watching over more difficult cases; and thirdly, when transitioning those who are near 18 years of age to move out of existing care. There are policy-relevant best practices in each of these areas. This forum will provide an overview of who is receiving foster care in Michigan, further understanding of what is most needed for foster care children and families to move successfully forward, and specifics of how we might tackle these challenge points at the state and federal level. Joining the discussion as panelists are:

Panelist Biographical Information



Additional Information

Career and Technical Education

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Marshall Plan for Talent is a statewide commitment to invest, develop and attract technical talent in Michigan. Fully supported by Michigan’s top CEOs, the plan calls on tight collaboration between education and business sectors to fill a talent gap found in the Great Lakes region’s leading industries, including manufacturing, energy, and healthcare. Set out to be a national model for innovative approaches in strengthening the talent pipeline, the plan has strong implication for families in Michigan and their economic success. How does the plan impact today’s educators and students? How are current employees being trained and transitioned to information technology jobs, computer science occupations and manufacturing’s high-tech trades? How will the Marshall Plan’s connections between schools and the work place differ from the traditional partnerships? April’s forum will present the Marshall Plan for Talent and review these question prior to audience discussion.

Panelist Biographical Information :

  • Jeremy Hendges, Chief Deputy Director, Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development (TED)

    See Jeremy Hendges Presentation (.pdf)

  • Robert Floden, Dean, MSU College of Education

    See Robert Floden's Presentation (.pdf)

  • Garth Motschenbacher, Director of Employer Relations for Undergraduate Programs, MSU College of Engineering, MSU Career Services Network


Health of the Great Lakes

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funds regional efforts to protect and preserve both the environmental and economic health of the Great Lakes. Threats to continued funding have sparked major concern for the health of the Great Lakes, the largest freshwater resource in the world. Toxic and nutrient pollution, invasive species and habitat degradation threaten our water quality, fishing industry, and recreation along the shoreline. Ongoing research tells us much about the future of the Great Lakes and their connection to human and economic health. The March 28 forum will feature research related to major concerns for the Great Lakes and look at recommendations for continued restoration efforts. 

Panelist Biographical Information

See all the panelist biographical information (.pdf)



Broadband Challenges in Michigan

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Broadband is of primary importance to Michigan’s economic success. Hence, this forum will look at the need to provide innovative digital technologies that connect all of Michigan’s students, teachers and consumers to jobs, life-long learning and a wide range of information. Panel experts for this forum are helping to close the access gap by seeking ways to provide more fiber optic connections, more affordable broadband services, and improved Wi-Fi access.

Panelist Information

See all the panelist biographical information (.pdf)



Voter Redistricting Proposal, Impact of Drawing Lines

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

This forum will focus attention on Michigan's voter districts, how they are determined, and reforms currently being discussed in election circles. States across our nation vary in how they determine voter districts. Both main political parties have previously claimed "partisan gerrymandering" or the formation of districts that lean votes in one party's favor of the other party. This expert panel will consider Michigan's history for drawing district lines, layout proposals for moving our State forward, and provide understanding of gerrymandering practices and their outcomes. Panelists include:

Panelist Biographical Information



Curbing Vaccination Waivers

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Vaccinations prevent the spread of disease and death. Michigan is one of 18 states allowing parents to withhold childhood vaccinations due to non-medical reasons including both religious and philosophical beliefs. In an effort to decrease waivers, a law was passed requiring parents seeking a vaccination waiver to submit a written statement to their child’s school that indicates the reason for opting out. November's panel discussants will review current vaccination waiver practices. .

Panelist Biographical Information

  • Robert Swanson, Director, Division of Immunizations, MI Dept of Health and Human Services
  • Rhonda Lennise Conner-Warren, Assistant Professor, Nursing, Life Sciences, MSU
  • Mark Navin, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Oakland University
  • Terri Adams, Section Manager, Division of Immunizations, MI Dept of Health & Human Services
  • See more of the panelist biographical information (.pdf)




Additional Resources

Putting the American Dream within Reach

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The October IPPSR Public Policy Forum and luncheon discussion is focused on possible strategies to help families rise out of poverty as they reach for the American Dream. Is there a route out of poverty for Michigan residents? Can socio-economic mobility be addressed at the state level? Is the American Dream still obtainable in Michigan? This important discussion is hosted by Michigan State University’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research and made possible by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek.

Panelist and Biographical Info:

  • Jennifer Sykes, Assistant Professor in Social Relations and Policy in MSU’s James Madison College where her work focuses on poverty and inequality on a national level.
  • Erica Tobe will be presenting her work on family financial health and well-being across the lifespan as an Assistant Professor and an MSU Extension Specialist, College of Social Science, Department of Human Development and Family Studies.
  • Bill Hendrian will join the panel discussion as a Finance and Homeownership Educator and Counselor with MSU Extension.
  • Steve Ragan, Senior Vice President, Development & External Relations for Southwest Solutions, will speak with us as a service provider on opportunities and challenges for Michigan individuals to achieve greater economic success
  • See panelist biographical information (.pdf)




Early Education for At Risk Children

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Discussions regarding early childhood education in Michigan are heard far outside of the classroom these days. Legislative deliberations focus on access to early education for the most vulnerable, on funding early education that specifically supports at-risk families, and on raising the bar on quality education as new research directs training for those working with Michigan’s youngest citizens. The stakes are high as decades of research find that investment in childhood development improves young people’s life outcomes and family well-being while saving tax dollars in the long run.

The forum will provide insight into what communities and policy makers should consider as they develop policies supporting early education, particularly for at-risk children. What are the key considerations for providing the best odds for children to succeed in Michigan’s stressed communities?




Michigan’s Move on Immigration

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Immigration has been at the center of a wide range of policy discussions including homeland security, economic and work force development as well as education benefits, health coverage, and driver privileges extended to visitors filling temporary jobs. IPPSR’s May 31st policy forum will look at the impact of more recent discussion of immigration and Michigan’s stance on foreign visitors and immigrants to our State. Particular attention will be on Asian immigrants given that recruitment for IT and tech jobs are mostly conducted among this immigrant group and are said to be most affected by visa reform.

As host of the May forum discussion, the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research thanks Michigan State University’s Asian Studies Center and the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) for their sponsorship.

Panelist Biographical Information:

  • Stephanie Nawyn, associate professor, MSU’s Department of Sociology and co-director of the Center for Gender in Global Context
    Focus: Reasons for migration and immigration, concerns for unauthorized migration and refugee admissions
  • Christine Bargerstock, Associate Director, Office of International Students and Scholars, MSU International Studies and Programs
    Focus: Education as a channel for migration and immigration, current realities of the immigration process
  • Karen Phillippi, Deputy Director, Michigan Office for New Americans
    Focus: Economic impact of immigration, jobs and community integration
  • Bing Goei, director, Michigan Office for New Americans (MONA)
    Focus: Michigan immigration policies and practices, state trends




The Obscurity of Human Trafficking

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

It is known as modern day slavery and an enterprise of buying, selling, and smuggling people second only to the international drug and arms trade economy.

The average age for victims of human trafficking is 12 and the markets are varied – domestic and farm labor, prostitution, begging and even organ donation. As recently as March 2017, such an arrest was made in Michigan’s Capitol City where law officials say simple awareness can help communities further fight against the crime. How are state legislators, law enforcement and human service providers collaborating to combat human trafficking? What are the intervention services, protection and judicial options for survivors? Given an uptick in this crime, how might state human trafficking policies be revised to reduce the incidence of such a horrific crime? IPPSR’s April 19 Policy Forum will address these questions with the help of panelists:

Jane White, Director and Founder of the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force, a non-profit organization through the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University. She has worked with large city governments including police departments and juvenile courts in Michigan, Mississippi, Illinois, Wisconsin, Virginia, Florida, and California to tackle human trafficking. She serves the Michigan Commission on Human Trafficking by appointment of Michigan’s Attorney General Bill Schuette.

Sheila Meshinski, Staff Development Advisor for Henry Ford Health System, and a former emergency room nurse for 35 years, dedicated to educating the public and healthcare community on human trafficking. She belongs to the International Forensic Nurse Association and is a Governor’s appointee to the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force.

Meredith Reese, Vice President of Treatment Programs for Vista Maria, a human services agency provider to victims of abuse, neglect, and trauma. She is a Best Practice Leadership Award recipient from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for her work in planning and implementing residential treatment and foster care programs for those most in need.

Kelly Carter, Assistant Attorney General of Michigan, Criminal Division, Prosecutor for Human Traffickers and expert advisor to House and Senate subcommittees considering legislation involving child sexual exploitation and human trafficking. She trains legal, health and other community professionals throughout Michigan to identify and address human trafficking.

Michigan State University’s Institute Public Policy and Social Research (IPPSR) is the host of this forum. Given Michigan’s international border and the incident of human trafficking across it, we appreciate the co-sponsorship of the Canadian Studies Center, International Studies and Programs, at Michigan State University.



A Fight for Life – Tackling Opioid Addiction

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Opioid addiction in our country has grown to epidemic proportions ending in thousands of Michigan deaths in recent years. According to the Michigan Prescription Drug and Opioid Commission formed by Governor Snyder in June 2016, prescriptions for opioid-related drugs increased from 180 million in 2007 to 745 million in 2014, more than quadrupling our state’s prescriptions for painkillers. In 2016, Michigan and nearly every other state enacted legislation addressing the abuse of opioids, including heroin and prescription drugs.  The March Forum panel will further understanding of the addiction problem, how it is now being addressed, and considerations for further tackling the problem with panelists:

Panelist Biographical Info :

  • David Neff - Osteopathic medical physician with addiction research and a pharmaceutical studies background
  • Jed Magen - Physician and psychiatrist working with addicts and studying the neuro- physiological side of addiction
  • Mike Hirst - Michigan parent who shares a first –hand experience of the impact of this problem on families and communities
  • Lisa Gee-Cram - Detective lieutenant with the Michigan State Police combating the addiction problem through education and enforcement measures
  • See all the panelist biographical information (.pdf)




Related News

Panelists Urge More Attention, Funding for Opiate Addiction, Gongwer Michigan Report March 15th 2017 (.pdf)

Autonomous Vehicles

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Signed legislation allowing testing of automated motor vehicles on Michigan roadways has created a buzz of activity among manufacturers, technology geeks, community planners, transportation professionals and others. Driverless cars are expected on the sales lot in the next five years or so. As this innovation unfolds, what are policy makers, community planners and economy watch dogs to consider while thinking through secure infrastructure as well as a policy framework to support this innovation? What measures are being taken to accommodate this environmental change and cultural shift in our state? The February 15 forum will present where Michigan stands in self-driving technologies and regulation for autonomous vehicles while creating a vision of Michigan’s future with both driver and driverless autos on our roads.

Panelist Biographical Information :

  • Hayder Radha, University Distinguished Faculty Member, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Director, CANVAS
  • Emily Frascaroli, Legal Counsel for Ford Motor Company
  • Elaina Farnsworth, CEO of Mobile Comply and Director of Global Communications for Connected Vehicle Trade Association
  • Matt Smith, Michigan Department of Transportation’s Intelligent Transportation Systems Administrator)



Medicaid Expansion

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Having opened for registration in April 2014, our state’s Healthy Michigan plan or Medicaid expansion plan has served as a model of innovation in health care coverage for income-disadvantaged residents. Moving into its third year of operation, nearly 618,000 low-income Michiganians, including children, elderly, and the disabled have enrolled in Healthy Michigan. Partly supported by the Affordable Care Act -- better known as Obamacare -- continuation of the plan is in question. A new federal administration insists repeal of the American Care Act as the first action of 2017 to be taken in our nation’s capital. This forum will look to a panel of individuals with diverse expertise in health policy to provide insight into possible scenarios for Healthy Michigan’s future.

Panelist Biographical Information:

  • Larry Martin, Professor of Economics, College of Social Science, Michigan State University
  • Steve Fitton, Principal, Health Management Associates and former State Medicaid Director
  • Amy Zaagman, Executive Director, Michigan Council for Maternal and Child Health
  • Tim Michling, Research Associate, Citizens Research Council of Michigan
  • See all of the panelist biographical information (.pdf)




Related News

Emergency Manager Reform in Michigan

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

When cities or school districts fall into fiscal distress, unable to pay bills nor salaries, an Emergency Manager may be assigned by the residing Governor. The role of the Emergency Manager has evolved since it was established through Public Act 101 in 1988. Its goal, however, has remained the same: to assume control, assess and manage financial responsibilities, and bring local governments back in balance before returning them to local control.

In 2011, seven Emergency Managers were active in Michigan. Today, three school districts, but no municipalities, are under Emergency Manager control, presenting for some an image of success. Yet, across the country, there has been mixed review of the effectiveness of Emergency Managers.

This forum, cosponsored by the Center for Local Government Finance and Policy | MSU Extension, will present information on the current role of Michigan’s Emergency Managers and their impact and review what research and experience suggest regarding potential reforms.

Speaker and Panelist Info

  • Eric Scorsone, director for MSU Extension Center for Local Government Finance and Policy, and professor of economics in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics
  • Tony Saunders, former emergency manager for Benton Harbor, now Chief Financial Officer and Chief Restructuring Officer for Wayne County, MI
  • Peter Hammer, director for Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights and Professor of Law, Wayne State University
  • Craig Thiel, senior research associate for Citizens Research Council of Michigan




Access to Mental Health Care

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

The question of adequate access to mental health care across the country often follows today’s headlines speaking of random acts of gun violence, underserved military veterans, and cases of drug addiction. The issue has been paired with conversation at the state level for how best to fund mental health care so that treatment is readily available and afforded by those who seek help or have families who are looking for support. Mental health services have become a mainstay topic for well-being and safety in our communities.

The September 7 policy forum is focused on Michigan citizens’ access to mental health services and possible models for ensuring those in need are readily and properly served. It is cosponsored by the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research and the Sparrow/MSU Center for Research and Innovation.

Panelist and Biographical Information:

  • Sheryl Kubiak, professor of social work, Michigan State University
  • Tom Watkins, president and chief executive officer at Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority
  • Adrian Blow, associate professor of human development and family studies, Michigan State University
  • Joseph J. Ruth, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Sparrow Health System, will deliver opening remarks.
  • See all of the panelist biographical information (.pdf)




Helpful Information/Resources

Renewable Energy Economy: Michigan's Mixed Energy Use Plan

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Michigan’s Governor challenged the State’s energy providers in March 2015 by calling for 40 percent of the state’s power to come from a combination of renewable energy and energy waste reduction. More natural gas use alongside an increase in renewable energy sources is envisioned for Michigan’s energy future. Additionally, there has been much discussion on how these energy goals might be accomplished with emphasis on related technology innovation and economic opportunities. The May 18 forum will consider how emerging technologies, pricing of various fuel sources and new and developing policies are changing the infrastructure and landscape Michigan’s energy supply.

Forum Speakers include Ann Erhardt, Michigan State University's Director of Sustainability. MSU has made significant strides in transitioning its energy use practices and is set on becoming a model of energy efficiency. Also joining the forum is Robert Jackson, Director of the Regional and National Response Division for the Michigan Agency for Energy. Mr. Jackson oversees the State Energy Program and is directly responsible for the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Revolving Loan Program, the Industrial E2 Program, and Technology Demonstration. As a once-visiting researcher at the Energy Institute at Haas at UC Berkeley, a previous staff economist with the White House Council of Economic Advisers, and as a former research assistant at Resources for the Future, Soren Anderson will provide an economic perspective. He is currently an Associate Professor of Economics and Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics at MSU.

Speaker and Panelist Info




Related Article

Gordie Howe International Bridge: Planning for Neighboring Bridge Communities

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The binational agreements are signed and construction on the New International Trade Crossing (NITC), the Gordie Howe International Bridge, is foreseeable. The bridge spans across the Detroit River to connect the cities of Detroit and Windsor – the United States and Canada. This forum will report on research related to the regional impact of the new bridge and policy considerations for a 2020 completion. Less obvious considerations for a unique and sizeable construction like the bridge will be explored and include housing and services for temporary workers, fluctuations in business activity, and trade and industry flow.

Speakers and Panelist Info

  • Andrew S. Doctoroff Special Projects Advisor, Office of Governor Rick Snyder
  • Bill Anderson, Ph.D., Ontario Research Chair in Cross-Border Transportation Policy and Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Windsor.
  • Zeenat Kotval-Karamchandani, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Urban & Regional Planning, Michigan State University
  • Roger Hamlin, Ph.D. Professor of Urban Planning and Public Administration, Michigan State University
  • Matt Grossmann, Ph.D., Director, Institute for Public Policy and Social Research (IPPSR), Associate Professor of Political Science
  • AnnMarie Schneider, M.S., Director for Program Planning & Policy Education, IPPSR




Flint Water System: State and Local Responsibilities

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Cosponsored by Michigan State University’s Institute for Public and Policy and Social Research & Institute for Public Utilities

A decision to temporarily move the city of Flint’s water supply from the City of Detroit to the Flint River led to unsafe levels of lead in Flint’s water supply. The decision was financially based as a temporary solution while a pipeline to Lake Huron was under construction. While the city’s water supply was redirected to the City of Detroit once high levels of lead contamination drew a public outcry, a call for new protocol in the decision process in similar situations was called for. This forum will look at developments since the Flint Water situation and the impact it is having in our communities.


  • Josh Sapotichne, Assistant Professor, Political Science

    Topic: State vs Local Control of Municipalities. A Mott Foundation funded study on the role of state government in Flint management will serve as the basis of his presentation. More information...

    Interview with Josh Sapotichne

  • Janice Beecher, Professor and Director, MSU Institute for Public Utilities

    Topic: A Comprehensive and Integrative Approach to Infrastructure Planning. Leveraging resources and improving infrastructure management and regulation.

  • Mona Hanna-Attisha, Assistant Professor, Pediatrics and Human Development, MSU College of Human Medicine; Director, Pediatric Residency Program, Hurley Medical Center

    Topic: New Collaborative Pediatric Health Initiative. Methods for improving health outcomes for children exposed to high lead levels. More information...



Detroit Public Schools: Quality, Accountability, and Governance

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Co-sponsored by Michigan State University’s Institute for Public and Policy and Social Research & College of Education at Michigan State University

This forum provides policymakers with insights on how research can be used to help urban schools succeed. Current research activity, both domestic and international, helps us to understand what is needed to help principals successfully lead, teachers to effectively teach, and students to highly achieve. Specifically, panelists will explore options grounded in research for empowering Detroit public schools as well as all urban schools to demonstrate how Michigan may serve as a national model for urban education.


  • Kristi Bowman, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Professor of Law, Michigan State University
  • Dan Varner, Chief Executive Officer, Excellent Schools Detroit

  • Gary Naeyaert, Executive Director, of Great Lakes Education Project

  • Sarah Reckhow, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Michigan State University



Thank you to Digital Spectrum Enterprises (DSE TV 96) in West Michigan for providing this filmed version of the IPPSR Forum Discussion on Detroit Public Schools.

Mackinac Policy Conference

September (?) Town Hall, includes a little more specifics, and Q&A


See pictures from the Jan 20th, 2016 forum here

Jan 2016 Forum Panelist Publications Blogs Etc

See Jan 2016 Forum Panelist Publications Blogs Etc... here

Proposal I in Review: Roads for a Better Tomorrow or Tomorrow for Better Roads?

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

The final forum for the 2015 IPPSR Spring Series will bring together a panel to reflect on the process leading up to the May 5 vote on Proposal I and the outcome of the ballot voting results. The proposal is formally noted as the Michigan Sales Tax Increase for Transportation Amendment, Proposal 1. It is less formally noted as the “Road Ballot.” Simply put, the Road Ballot is intended to change the way transportation infrastructure is funded in Michigan. Instead of taking a percentage of the fuel purchase tax and a percentage of the annual vehicle registration fee to pay for our transportation grid, taxes paid at the fuel pump – aside from a federal tax - would go directly to supporting transportation infrastructure needs and maintenance. This would impact how those tax percentages are currently divided up among local governments, public education and the State’s general Fund. For the exact language of the ballot, see the Michigan Secretary of State website.


  • Roger Martin will join us for a debriefing of the campaign. Mr. Martin has 30 years of award-winning news media, public relations and marketing experience. He is the recipient for top regional and national awards — including the PR industry’s coveted Silver Anvil and multiple “Best of Shows” — for writing, research, and campaign planning and execution. He is a graduate of Michigan State University, where he taught journalism for about a decade. While a reporter and bureau chief at The Detroit News, he won three Pulitzer Prize nominations. Mr. Martin specializes in issue management, media relations, crisis communications and community relations. He has provided winning counseling and services to corporations of all sizes, trade associations, coalitions and individuals.
  • Gilda Jacobs has supported Proposal I as director for the Michigan League for Public Policy. She will discuss the vote outcome and options for moving forward. Ms. Jacobs became League President & CEO on Jan. 3, 2011, following eight years as a state senator and four years as a state representative from Huntington Woods. As senator, Ms. Jacobs was the vice chair of Campaign & Election Oversight; Families & Human Services, and Finance and also served on Economic Development & Regulatory Reform; and Health Policy. Prior to serving in the Legislature, she served as an Oakland County Commissioner, and before that, a city commissioner. She had previously served as Development Director for JARC, a Jewish association providing residential care for persons with disabilities, and earlier as a special education teacher. Ms. Jacobs received her bachelor’s degree with distinction from the University of Michigan, and a master’s degree in behavioral sciences in education.
  • Randall Thompson has served as the Executive Director of the Coalition Against Higher Taxes and Special Interest Deals, the lead opposition to Proposal 1 initiated by businessman Paul Mitchell, Chairman of the Faith & Freedom Coalition of Michigan. Mr. Thompson will reflect on the voters’ response, the campaign path and next steps. He previously served as Chief of Staff in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Michigan House of Representatives. Additionally, he served as Director of Communications and Spokesman in the U.S. Congress and to both the Secretary of State and Attorney General of the State of Michigan. He holds a Bachelor of Science from Central Michigan University and a Master of Science in Economics from the University of Detroit-Mercy studying under Professor Harry Veryser concentrating on Austrian Economics.
  • Craig Thiel is a Senior Research Associate with the Citizens Research Council, an observer of Proposal 1, who will offer an explanation of action to follow the voting results. Mr. Thiel joined CRC in 2006 and currently serves as a Senior Research Associate assigned to education matters. Before coming to CRC, He worked for the Senate Fiscal Agency for six years and for the House Fiscal Agency for three years. Previous to his time with the Michigan Legislature, Mr. Thiel held positions with the Michigan Department of State, Office of Policy and Planning from 1995 to 1997 and the United States Environmental Protection Agency in Chicago, Illinois from 1991 to 1993. Mr. Thiel holds a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from Kalamazoo College and a Masters in Public Administration from Wayne State University. He holds positions on various professional, nonprofit, and local government boards/associations.

Citizens Research Council Analysis (.pdf)

The Gray between Mental Health and Crime

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

We see it in the headlines nearly every week. There is a hard-to-define space that often links a person's mental health status with a committed crime. How does Michigan handle such cases? What kinds of diversion programs does the State offer to keep mentally ill citizens out of the criminal justice system? What role do mental health courts play in Michigan crime convictions and sentencing? What has been the impact over the last decade? How do other states manage the question of one's mental health when a crime is committed? What are the models for best practice when an accused person's mental health is questioned? During April's forum, we check in with mental health and criminal justice experts to address these questions.


  • Sheryl Pimlott Kubiak, Professor in the College of Social Science, Department of Social Work, at Michigan State University. Her interests are at the intersections of criminal justice, mental health and substance abuse. She has been a consultant for federal, state and local entities interested in improving service delivery for those with substance abuse and/or mental health disorders. Her priority has been to get individuals with serious mental illness diverted from jail/prison whenever possible. She will talk about mental health screening in jails; mental health courts statewide, and; diversion programs. See the presentation (.pdf)
  • Lois DeMott, a long-time advocate for mentally ill who have wound up in the Criminal Justice System, began her work through a personal journey involving her mentally ill 15 year old son’s incarceration in the adult system. Lois co-founded Citizens for Prison Reform in 2011, a statewide family-led organization. She shed light on the need for reforms in an article published by the Detroit Free Press and then an NBC Documentary in 2012 with Ted Koppel on Juveniles in Isolation across the Nation. She worked for the Association for Children’s Mental Health until awarded a May 2014 Soros Justice Fellowship for developing The Family Participation Program (FPP). See the presentation (.pdf)
  • Candyce Shields is a clinical psychologist at the Center for Forensic Psychiatry in Ann Arbor, Michigan. While psychological assessment is her key area of concentration, Dr. Shields serves as the center’s assistant director and heads evaluation services, a role she has been in for six years. She previously worked as the director of the Work Therapy Program in Ann Arbor’s VA Medical Center, and prior to that, as a psychologist in the Wyoming State Hospital. Her education includes time at Western Michigan University, Chapel Hill at the University of North Carolina, and then, her doctorate degree from the University of Louisville.


Michigan's Connection to Asia

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Michigan is in competition for Asian markets’ direct investment. Our State is calling Asia's attention to Michigan’s automobile exports, agricultural products, and technology innovation, in particular, as well as our natural resources tourism.

Governor Snyder’s fourth trade mission to Asia in Fall 2014 included the signing of a formal agreement between the State of Michigan and the Shanghai Automotive Industry Cooperation (SAIC). SAIC’s US subsidiary announced Madison Heights, Michigan as home to its new $15 million headquarters. The new digs will add onto about 1,100 jobs currently provided in the State by SAIC, China’s largest original equipment manufacturer. Agreements like this are attracting other foreign investors who recognize Michigan as a win-win opportunity.

The March forum will look at the State of Michigan’s business interest in Asia and the impact of a reciprocal interest. It will examine the geographic and political factors influencing our work relationship. Finally, the forum discussion will address the interchange of work culture and education systems.

Specific questions include: What is the outcome of our product and labor exchange with Asian markets? How does Asia's work culture impact our State? How will ties to Asia effect Michigan’s future? Given this deepening connection, are there policy implications to be considered by State legislators?


  • Siddharth Chandra, Professor, James Madison College and Director, MSU Center for Asian Studies, Geopolitical Influence. See the presentation (.pdf)
  • Jeanne Broad, Director of International Trade Management, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Trade Exchanges. See the presentation (.pdf)

The Michigan Perspective - State Priorities for 2015

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Please join us for a discussion of top agenda items for Michigan in 2015. With new policymakers taking seats in both the House and Senate, what will be the approach to raising employment in long-term jobs, enhancing Michigan cities as national and international attractions, increasing rural economic development opportunities, and further developing Michigan’s assets, including the Great Lakes and an international border? In this January forum, the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research (IPPSR) will set focus on "Job One" and priority pieces of the State’s strategy intended to make 2015 a successful lead into Michigan's future.


  • Charles Ballard, Professor of Economics and Director of MSU State of the State Survey, Michigan State University. See the presentation (.pdf)
  • Douglas Smith, Senior Vice President for Strategic Partnerships and Government Affairs, Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
  • Richard Studley, Chief Executive Officer, Michigan Chamber of Commerce.
  • Paul M. Hunt, Senior Associate Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, Michigan State University.

    See the Jan 2015 Speaker Bios Here


Watch the January 21st, 2015 Forum Here

Children of a Hidden Economy: Racial Disparities in Michigans Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Systems

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Troubling new data suggest that racial inequities exist throughout the various stages of Michigan’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems. The finding that children of color are far more likely than white children to enter and languish in the foster care system is recognized as a critical piece of the hidden economy. These inequities can significantly drain our resources, lead to greater homelessness, unemployment and incarceration and deny young people the promise of a healthy childhood.

This Forum closes out the 2014 IPPSR Forum Series with a discussion of policy implications of a recently completed statewide study of Michigan’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

The May Forum is cosponsored by and hosts leaders of the Michigan Coalition for Race Equity with support from Casey Family Programs. Coalition Co-chairs Michigan Supreme Court Justice Mary Beth Kelly and policy advocate former Rep. Lynn Jondahl will introduce the newly completed statewide study and its findings.

The report of the recommendations for policy makers to follow – and for citizens to support – to create a more color-blind and effective system of child welfare and juvenile justice will come before a panel discussion of next steps moving forward. The panel will discuss highlights of the data findings and how they compare with the national perspective. The coalition's recommendations as well as the experience of a pilot project now underway will open the dialogue with audience members.


  • Mary Beth Kelly, Michigan Supreme Court Justice, chair of numerous statewide committees, primarily focused on child welfare and family matters and winner of numerous awards for her work on child welfare issues. Justice Kelly’s presentation: Michigan Race Equity Coalition
  • Former Rep. Lynn Jondahl, whose continuing policy advocacy resonates across social and family issues, responsive taxation and governance, and sustaining environmental and consumer protection measures.
  • Ann Marie Schneider, Director, Program Planning and Development, Institute for Public Policy and Social Research. She leads IPPSR’s program planning and development division and advises the Institute’s communications and marketing strategies.
  • Michael Williams, Chief Executive Officer of Orchards Children’s Services.


Additional Child Welfare Resources


Opening Michigan's Doors to Immigrants

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The university often extends the first welcome to visitors from outside the United States. Visitors come as research scientists, scholars, students, and young professionals wishing to work or study on Michigan’s campuses. Both the State Capitol and the private sector have recently taken an assertive role in retaining and further recruiting this audience. They are inviting visitors to stay in Michigan as employees and employers focused on areas of much-needed talent and expertise. As our universities build world acclaim and as Michigan opens its doors to global business opportunities, more visitors are envisioning making Michigan home for their family and for their business center.

IPPSR’s April Forum will look to a panel with deep knowledge and experience in opening doors to Michigan’s next generation of global leaders. Why has Michigan set a commitment to opening doors to immigrants? What are the real challenges for doing so? What is the perspective of other regions on state immigration? Are there best practices noted for universities, private sector recruiters and policy makers for working together to grow population and diversify the talent base? How might our state become more inclusive toward new immigrants once they are here? How can we assure that immigration in Michigan does not become migration to regions outside of the Great Lakes?


  • Peter Briggs, Director, MSU Office for International Students and Scholars. Briggs has more than 30 years experience in services to international students and scholars.

    Briggs’ Presentation: International Students in Michigan (.pdf)

  • Steve Tobocman, Director, Global Detroit. Tobocman has spent the past three years spearheading a regional economic revitalization strategy focused on immigration and global connections.

    Immigration and Michigan’s Economic Future (.pdf)

  • Karen Phillippi, Deputy Director, Michigan Office for New Americans. Phillippi has worked in immigration law for more than 20 years.

  • Ann Marie Schneider, Director, Program Planning and Development, Institute for Public Policy and Social Research. She leads IPPSR’s program planning and development division and advises the Institute’s communications and marketing strategies.

About Forum Speakers

Learn More about the April Forum Speakers(.pdf) 

Forum Video Presentation

View April 23 Forum

Additional resources on immigration and economic vitality

Today’s economy: high growth, high prosperity, knowledge based

Michigan Office for New Americans

Global Detroit

WE Global Network

Welcome Mat Detroit

Welcoming Michigan

Welcoming America

Global Talent Retention Initiative

Upwardly Global

MI Dept of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

Michigan Imigrants Rights Center


Cultivating Michigan's Innovation Culture

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

At the March Forum, we’ll examine Michigan's culture of innovation. How recognizable is Michigan's culture of innovation? How might we better cultivate innovation in our state? What have others done to build their communities as a hub for new ideas and generate innovation? What are the gains of an innovation culture to the region? What policy considerations are there for building a place where people are encouraged and supported to innovate? IPPSR will bring the innovator's story to the audience to demonstrate how innovation, research and policy might synergize to build the job economy, while addressing practical problems.


  • Brian Abraham, Executive Director, Spartan Innovations
  • Paul Krutko, President and CEO of SPARK, a business incubator.
  • Bob Trezise, President and CEO of Lansing Economic Area Partnership Inc.

About Forum Speakers


What Do State Demographics Say about Michigan's JOB ONE in 2014?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

As we move into the new year, everyone agrees that Michigan is at an important crossroad. Projections for the State's future tend to vary by source.

The January forum will clarify the current course of the Great Lakes state by focusing on its demographics. What do demographics tell us about the direction of Michigan's population, its education, employment, and business climate? What is the call to action for Michigan residents and leaders? The forum will provide demographic information to consider when prioritizing Michigan's agenda in the new year and beyond. In this year-opening Forum, one of Michigan’s leading demographic authorities will share the state’s latest demographic description and point to the themes suggested within these numbers. One of Michigan’s leading economists will remark on the state’s demographic profile and economic indicators. The Forum discussion will focus on critical themes, possible turning points, key policy considerations and will invite audience participation.


Speaker Bios (.pdf)