Professional Update
March / 2018
Celebrating 40 years with the 40 for 40 Fellowship
This year we're doing something different.

In recent years, APPAM has consistently developed more resources and opportunities for our student and younger professional members. To build on that momentum as we celebrate our 40th Annual Fall Research Conference, APPAM introduces the 40 for 40 Fellowship.

This 2018-exclusive program will provide funding for 40 outstanding young research professionals to attend the Fall Research Conference – the premier research conference attracting the highest-quality work on a wide variety of current and emerging policy and management issues.

Join us as we recognize promising talent from individuals just starting their careers. We are thrilled to commemorate the 40th Annual Fall Conference by honoring the contributions of young scholars.
Share Your Expertise at the Premiere Public Policy Conference
Proposals are now being accepted in 15 policy areas. We encourage submissions that discuss how to generate and capitalize on evidence to improve outcomes and inform decision making. We challenge applicants to consider questions like:
  • How can we leverage innovative technologies and techniques, such as rapid cycle evaluation, program dashboards, and data analytics, to improve programs?

  • What challenges do local organizations face while building and making use of evidence?

  • What does effective evidence-based policy look like at different levels of government?
  • How can researchers, policy makers, and program leaders better engage with each other?

  • What factors lead to impacts and how can these elements be extracted, shared, and applied?

  • What tools effectively assist decision making at the ground level and what are we missing?
All submissions are due by Wednesday, April 11, 2018 at 11:59 pm EDT.

Why the gem?
Ruby is the traditional stone to commemorate a 40th anniversary. Known for its vivid red color, rubies can also exhibit secondary shades like orange, purple and pink. They are a desirable stone due to the bold color, hardness, durability, and rarity. You'll notice both the gem graphic and ruby-inspired colors for this 40th anniversary conference.
Institutional Member Forum:
State and Research University Partnerships in the Opioid Crisis
Opioid misuse is a major epidemic across the nation. Local and state officials bear the burden of responses to the epidemic and need assistance coordinating research and resources.

Mark your calendars for May 1st
at the Duke University Penn Pavilion.
Registration will open April 3rd.

This Institutional Forum, held at Duke University, will connect the worlds of research and policy across this escalating public health epidemic, and will be a valuable opportunity for academics, researchers, and policy officials to exchange best practices for research and policy support in the face of this crisis.

Find additional information here.
Host a forum:
Institutional Member Forums were created to help better connect the worlds of research and policy. Review the forum information and submit a proposal here.
APPAM Leadership Blog:
There is No Place Like Home... and Dorothy's Ruby Slippers
by Matt Stagner , APPAM President-Elect

Spring is upon us and that means many things: melting snow, spring training baseball, emerging tulips, and, most importantly, preparing submissions for the APPAM Fall Research Conference! I attended my first APPAM conference in 1985 and it was truly a life-changing event. It connected me to scholars and policy makers who were engaged in work that matters, and it convinced me to continue my education in pursuit of a career in policy research. 

Never has rigorous policy evidence been more important. We need to continue to attract and support young professionals to grow and improve our field. The 40 for 40 Fellowship is one small way to support their work and connect them to the learning network that APPAM provides.

Having spent my childhood in Kansas, I’m all about Dorothy’s ruby slippers. There is in fact no place like home, and I’m proud to call APPAM my professional home for the past three plus decades. Let’s make sure our ruby conference continues to build our membership and puts APPAM at the forefront of connecting research and policy. 

JPAM Featured Article:
The Internal and External Validity of the Regression Discontinuity Design: A Meta-Analysis of 15 Within-Study-Comparisons
Regression discontinuity (RD)is generally acknowledged as the most rigorous non-experimental method for obtaining internally valid impact estimates. The study tests the efficacy of RD by comparing RD causal estimates at the treatment cutoff to those from Randomized Control Trials that are also estimated at this same cutoff. The study identifies 15 previously completed within-study-comparisons that explicitly examined this issue by assuming the RCT results are unbiased and then comparing them to RD results.

Excerpt from the interview:
"Our results suggest that researchers should be particularly careful to avoid two common pitfalls—giving too much weight to individual RD impact estimates that are based on models that use parametric assumptions about the relationship between the running variable and the outcome and relatively small sample sizes (i.e. less than 1,100 observations).

That said, our evidence does suggest that there is little bias associated with using either of these on average so that it would be ok to use such evidence in combination with results from other studies."

Duncan Chaplin, Thomas Cook, Jelena Zurovac, Jared S. Coopersmith, Mariel M. Finucane, and Lauren N. Vollmer

The Wonk podcast:
Duncan Chaplin joined The Wonk, APPAM's policy podcast, to discuss this JPAM article. Listen to this podcast edition here, and review all the APPAM webinars and podcasts here.
APPAM Members in the News
Urban Institute researchers Matthew Chingos (APPAM professional member) and Kristin Blagg (APPAM student member) analyzed travel times between the homes and schools of nearly 190,000 students across five large US cities that offer a significant amount of educational choice: Denver, Detroit, New Orleans, New York City, and Washington, DC. Read the full report here, or read the feature article below.

"In DC, all students can enter a lottery to go to the public school of their choice, regardless of whether it’s their neighborhood school. DC also has a robust charter school system, along with a means-tested private-school voucher program for low-income families.

But new choices can also mean trade-offs for families, and the school that best meets a family's needs might be on the other side of town."
APPAM members Rachel Baker, University of California, Irvine, Thomas Dee, Stanford University, Brent Evans, Vanderbilt University, and June John, Stanford University, examined bias in online classes in their recent paper:

"We test for the presence of race and gender biases among postsecondary students and instructors in online classes by measuring student and instructor responses to discussion comments we posted in the discussion forums of 124 different online courses. Each comment was randomly assigned a student name connoting a specific race and gender. We find that instructors are 94% more likely to respond to forum posts by White male students."

  • Read the twitter thread from Thomas Dee digging into this paper a bit more.
Rachal Dunifon, Professor, and Senior Associate Dean for Research and Outreach at Cornell University, was recently named the interim dean of the College or Human Ecology. Dunifon will succeed Alan D. Mathios, who is stepping down after leading the college as the Rebecca Q. and James C. Morgan dean for two five-year terms. Dunifon will serve until June 30, 2020, at which time a permanent dean will be named.
Have news to share?
We want to feature your work! Email coverage and information to .
Mark Your Calendars for These Important Dates
March 30: DC Regional Student Conference registration closes
Early April: International Conference submission notifications
April 4: International Conference registration opens
April 11: Fall Research Conference submissions close
APPAM Webinars and Podcasts

Interested in hosting a new webinar or podcast? We are always open to ideas and presenters. Guidelines can be found here, or email Meghan Grenda,