It is my pleasure to present the Public Policy Center's Annual Report for academic year 2020-2021. Through the tremendous efforts of our faculty, staff, and students, the Public Policy Center's research and engagement activities addressed the most challenging issues of our times, including questions of particular salience, such as the policy implications of the pandemic; issues of social justice; health and environmental disparities; criminal justice topics; and education and social policy. I am very appreciative that our faculty, staff and students have not only continued their research, but pivoted and broadened their scope during this unprecedented and difficult year.
The academic rigor of our policy research programs was again evident with the many publications in the top journals in our fields, including Health Affairs, Military Medicine, Journal of Health Economics, International Studies Review, Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, Journal of Safety Research, and many more.
In fulfilling our campus-wide mission as part of the Office of the Vice President for Research, we had the pleasure of collaborating this year with colleagues from all across campus on the conduct of interdisciplinary research; the sharing of research through engagement activities; and grant development, data collection, and methods workshops through our Iowa Social Science Research Center.
In addition, we have expanded our efforts related to the implementation of the UI's strategic plan to find ways to engage more students in meaningful, policy-related, experiential learning activities. With pilot funding provided by the Provost's office, we spent FY2021 beginning to build the infrastructure for the IowaRISE Initiative – a campus-wide initiative to get more students engaged in Research, Internships and mentoring, Service learning, and civic Engagement activities. In collaboration with the 70+ faculty, staff and students from across campus on our IowaRISE advisory committee and sub-committees, we applied for and received funding from the P3 initiative to continue building and implementing IowaRISE during FY2022. Our Pilot Year IowaRISE report is available here.
Again this year, the ISRC supported a significant number of grant applications (92 proposals) and conducted research-related data collection activities for units across campus. Our commitment to supporting social science research as part of the OVPR is a key part of our mission.
To fulfill our community engagement mission, the PPC hosted virtual events ranging from lectures to symposiums, including a panel discussion on the research around Access to Voting. The PPC co-sponsored numerous events with other campus colleagues, including Nikole Hannah Jones' visit. In December, the PPC's director of the environmental policy research program, David Cwiertny, had a compelling conversation with Erin Brokovich.
Internally, the PPC was committed to using AY 2021 as an opportunity to increase the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion activities within the PPC and learn how our individual thoughts and actions impact others as we strive to move forward to improve racial justice. Issues of importance to the Black community were front and center in our minds, as well as those of other underrepresented groups on campus, such as first-generation students and student veterans, who may need extra support to find their path at Iowa.
Our faculty and staff participated in the United Way's 21-Day Equity Challenge during Fall 2020 – a program that included topics around understanding privilege, housing and redlining, justice system inequities, ally-ship, and much more. Additionally, we created "Brave Space PPC," guided conversations structured around the Scene on Radio podcast series, Seeing White. We continued these efforts by creating Team spaces in which faculty and staff could safely share their thoughts on DEI issues, we entered an immersive partnership with the Multicultural Initiatives Research Team at the College of Education which included workshops and surveys to explore where we are. In 2022, we plan to continue these efforts in collaboration with other units in the OVPR.
I feel privileged to lead the center's dedicated staff, students and faculty and am grateful for the hard work and creativity that leads to our success in generating new knowledge and sharing it with the campus and beyond. On behalf of all of us, thank you for your support, and we look forward to working with you in 2021-2022.