SPPUA in Action | January 2017
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Dear Friends,

As the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs enters its second decade, we look both back at the great accomplishments of our students, alumni, faculty and staff, and forward to new ways in which we can create lasting impact in Boston and around the world. This issue of our newsletter is solely dedicated to last year’s accomplishments, but they are indicative of the legacy created throughout the last ten years by our various research and education initiatives.
Implementation of our new strategic plan will shape the next decade in which we will continue to innovate on our masters and doctoral programs and further integrate research, education and engagement. I invite you to join us – by visiting with us in Boston, participating in our many activities, or following us on social and other media.
Matthias Ruth
Director and Professor, School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs
2016 in Photos
Reflecting on 2016: The Year in Review
10 years of use-inspired, innovative research, education and engagement

Northeastern University founded the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs 10 years ago to provide a space for applied interdisciplinary research. Since then, the School has created a tradition of high-impact research, education and engagement on urban and economic development, sustainability and resilience, health policy and human services – all in close coordination and collaborations with communities of practitioners in the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

Learn about our service-oriented initiatives and research centers and labs, which have advanced public policy and urban affairs theory and practice not just in Boston, but around the nation and the globe. Read more.
Northeastern was named a Changemaker Campus

After months of rigorous assessments, interviews, site visits, and strategy sessions, Northeastern University joined the Ashoka U Changemaker Campus Network, a consortium of higher education institutions worldwide committed to social innovation education.

Rebecca Riccio, director of the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs’ Social Impact Lab, is one of four “Change Leaders” who were charged with addressing two opportunities that emerged out of the designation process: The need to identify and foster collaboration among faculty and staff across disciplines who are engaged in social innovation, and illuminating the various pathways students can pursue within the university’s social innovation ecosystem. Read more.
BARI administrative home moved to SPPUA

The School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs officially became the administrative home for the Boston Area Research Initiative (BARI), an interuniversity partnership that produces original urban research with an emphasis on novel digital data.

Launched in 2011 at the Academic Ventures program of Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, BARI focuses on three major areas of activity: Pursuing core research-policy partnerships and projects; developing the Boston Data Portal; and convening and supporting Boston’s civic data ecosystem. Read more.
Experiential philanthropy education reached new heights
Thanks to a generous grant from the Khaled and Olfat Juffali Family to establish the Global Philanthropy Initiative, the Social Impact Lab began to share the power of experiential philanthropy education with universities around the world, starting in Saudi Arabia. Read more.
Launch of a new exchange program in Belgium

The School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs launched a new exchange program with the University of Leuven in Belgium.

Each year, two students from any of SPPUA’s Masters programs can participate in a one-semester exchange program with the University of Leuven. Exchange students will be enrolled in relevant Masters courses within the Faculty of Social Sciences. The semester abroad takes place during the second fall semester of a student’s matriculation.

Belgian exchange students Ann-Sophie Vermeersch and Karel Dejonghe, who studied public policy for a semester at SPPUA in fall 2016, documented their adventures. Read their blog, “A Boston State of Mind,” here.
Four leading experts joined our community of faculty

The School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs contributes cutting-edge science and education to pressing and emerging social, economic and environmental challenges in Boston and the nation. In 2016 the School appointed four leading experts and rising stars to its community of faculty.

Jennie Stephens, Dean’s Professor for Sustainability Science and Policy, is an expert on social and political aspects of the renewable energy transition and responses to climate change. Her work focuses on energy system transitions and climate action at local to global scales. Read more.


Assistant professor Laura Kuhl’s research activities are located at the intersection of resilience, sustainability and human security. Read more.

Lydia Ogden, associate teaching professor in the Human Services Program, specializes on aging with serious mental illnesses and on diversity. Read more.

Linda Kowalcky, professor of the practice, served as the Mayor’s Liaison to Higher Education at the city of Boston before joining SPPUA in the summer to contribute courses and engagement opportunities for the School’s graduate programs. Read more.
Our students received prestigious awards

The following students were honored for their achievements in 2016:

• Graduate student Fernando Ayres won the Tufts Energy Conference Energy Policy Challenge with a paper originally developed for his “Economic Analysis for Law, Policy and Planning” course. Read more.

• The Brookline Succession Planning Project, a four-member capstone team representing the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, placed second in the annual MassASPA Keough Best Capstone Competition and Award. Read more.

• Three Human Services students were honored for their academic accomplishments at the sixth annual Academic Honors Convocation in April, including Nina Angeles, Fullbright Fellowship; Esther Laaninen, Fullbright Fellowship; and Océane Langreney, Presidential Global Fellow. Read more.

• Michael Asaro, a doctoral candidate in the PhD in Law and Public Policy, received the 2016 Department of Commerce Bronze Medal Award in Washington, D.C. Read more.

• Vijayeta Singh, a PhD candidate in the Law and Public Policy Program, was awarded the Junior Research Fellowship by the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) to conduct field research for her dissertation on coal mining induced displacement in Jharkhand, India. Read more.

• Tracy Corley, a doctoral candidate in the PhD in Law and Public Policy, received a Deutsher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) academic exchange service grant, which allows her to conduct research in Düsseldorf, Germany. Read more.
Our faculty were recognized for their innovative work and excellence in teaching

• In honor of her continued excellence as a health law jurist and educator, Wendy Parmet, the Matthews Distinguished University Professor of Law, received the American Society of Law, Medicine, and Ethics’ prestigious Jay Healey Health Law Teachers Award. Read more.

• Barry Bluestone, Russell B. and Andrée B. Stearns Trustee Professor of Political Economy, was recognized in November by B’nai B’rith Housing for his commitment to affordable housing in Greater Boston. Read more.

• Lori Gardinier, teaching professor and director of the Human Services Program, won the 2015-16 CSSH Outstanding Teaching Award at the 4th annual College of Social Sciences and Humanities Faculty and Staff Celebration, and Louis DaRos received the inaugural CSSH Outstanding Staff Award. Read more.
Our Advisory Committee member was honored for his tireless advocacy work

Robert Fishman, a member of the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs Advisory Committee, was honored at NAIOP’s “Game Changers Redefining CRE: 2016 NAIOP Annual Meeting” in December.

Fishman was presented with the 2016 NAIOP Champion Award in recognition of his years of tireless advocacy work on issues affecting real estate development. Read more.
Faculty Research
New web tool helps online shoppers detect price discrimination on e-commerce sites

Northeastern University researchers have developed a web tool that could help consumers avoid being the victims of online price discrimination. The researchers—including David Lazer, affiliate professor in the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs—developed an extension designed for desktop users searching in Google Chrome, the most-used Internet browser. Read more.

Guest Column: My first semester of grad school


By Monique Gibbs, a first-year student in the Master of Public Administration

"I know moving to Boston to study at SPPUA was the best decision for my personal and professional growth. My first semester flew by and I know the next couple years will go by just as fast. I am looking forward to new experiences, friendships and the many opportunities to come." Read more.

Student & Alumni News

Human Services trivia night & bowling event

The Human Services Program at the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs held its first ever Trivia Night for students and alumni on Dec. 7.

Human Services students, alumni, faculty, and staff are invited for a bowling and pizza event, Jan. 27, from 6-8 p.m. at Flatbread. It's a great way to meet new Human Services friends, catch up with old ones, bowl, and eat pizza!

Faces of Northeastern

“Next year is going to be very challenging for people who do policy work on environmental issues. But I am glad I am in the law and public policy program because now is the time to really work on stopping climate change.”

Sahar Mirzaee, '17, law and public policy PhD student

SPPUA Update

Faculty produce study of resilience for architects

David Fannon, assistant professor and affiliate professor in the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, and assistant professor Michelle Laboy teamed up to produce a literature review of resilience for architects.

Their paper, “Resilience Theory and Praxis: a Critical Framework for Architecture,” explores multiple competing frameworks represented on the academic and professional literature of resilience; considers their influences and implications for architecture and the built environment at multiple scales; and examines the overlaps with existing discourse on change, architecture and time. Read more.

New book offers unique focus on campus-community partnerships

A new book by Lori Gardinier, director of the Human Services Program, provides a unique emphasis on campus-community partnerships from the perspective of the community.

Published last month, Service-Learning Through Community Engagement: What Community Partners and Members Gain, Lose, and Learn From Campus Collaborations, addresses the impact of a variety of service-learning arrangements on local communities and focuses on the experiences, both positive and negative, of the community organization. Read more.

Professor Aldrich explores social capital and climate change adaptation

Daniel Aldrich, director of the MS in Security and Resilience Studies Program, published a new article on social capital and climate change.

Social Capital and Climate Change Adaptation, published in November in Oxford Research Encyclopedias, serves as a comprehensive literature review of the relationship between social capital and adaptation behaviors in terms of the choices that people make to accommodate changing environmental conditions, as well as an overview of empirical findings to date, and a research agenda for the future. Read more.

Professor O’Brien’s study featured in The American Journal for Community Psychology

A new paper written by Dan O'Brien, co-director of the Boston Area Research Initiative (BARI), was published in the December issue of The American Journal for Community Psychology. The study, titled "Lamp Lighters and Sidewalk Smoothers: How Individual Residents Contribute to the Maintenance of the Urban Commons," uses Boston's 311 data to demonstrate how the efforts of community members, some more active in reporting public issues, others less so, combine to collectively manage the streets, sidewalks, and open spaces of a neighborhood. Read more.

Professor Stephens explores the (mis)alignment of clean fossil and political regimes

Jennie Stephens, Dean’s Professor of Sustainability Science and Policy, is exploring the correlation between societal responses to climate change and technological solutions.

She co-authored, “The political economy of technical fixes: The (mis)alignment of clean fossil and political regimes,” an article published in November 2016 that shows how clean fossil promises have been poorly aligned with the neoliberal regime and explains how they have been moderately stable due to those misalignments. Read more.

Professor Modestino on the importance of middle-skill jobs

Middle-skill jobs are key for the nation and its workforce, says associate professor Alicia Sasser Modestino.

Modestino, associate director of the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy, recently wrote an article, “The Importance of Middle-Skill Jobs,” on the current state of middle-skill jobs and provided projections for future improvements. Read more.

Professor Fitzgerald speaks on climate change

Professor Joan Fitzgerald gave an invited presentation at the University of Illinois Chicago on Dec. 8, 2016. She discussed ongoing research for her next book, Greenovation: Urban Leadership on Climate Change. The talk was sponsored by the UIC Great Cities Institute, the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs and the Office of Sustainability.

Earlier that week, Fitzgerald participated in an E2 New England panel on Dec. 5, titled “How Cities are Changing the World and Leading on Climate Change,” with Jonathan Rose, an affordable green housing developer, and John Cleveland, executive director of Boston’s Green Ribbon Coalition.

Professor Hoff: ‘Medicine is becoming one big cookbook of measurements’

Professor Timothy Hoff was featured in ModernMedicine Network’s most noteworthy physician quotes of 2016. Read more.

Photos: Capstone presentations and holiday party

Two groups of graduate students put their training into practice on real projects for the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and Horizons for Homeless Children. Professor Gavin Shatkin described the groups as strong, independent problem solvers.

The projects were part of the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs Capstone, a semester-long project where student teams work in partnership with local, state, or federal agencies or nonprofit institutions, to assess a problem, produce a thorough policy analysis, and recommend solutions to the client. Read more.
In the Media

The faculty and staff at the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs continue to be reliable sources of expertise on current pressing issues. Click here for a list of articles during the month of December that reference our knowledgeable staff and their research.

Quote of the Month

Upcoming Events

Myra Kraft Open Classroom

In the Spring 2017 edition of the Myra Kraft Open Classroom we focus on the food system, a topic that we last addressed in spring 2012, with great success. This time around, we will tap Boston’s incredibly rich array of individuals and organizations working to make the food system more sustainable, healthier, and fairer for all. In doing so, we will emphasize actions at the front lines, the activities in Boston’s neighborhoods, its universities, service organizations, and entrepreneurial startups. On Jan. 11 we start out with the big picture: “What We Want, When We Want it: An Overview of the Food System,” from 6-8 p.m. in West Village F. Click here for details.

Lives in Law and Policy Speaker Series

We will continue the Lives in Law and Policy Speaker Series with leading figures in the field of law and policy. This semester, our speakers will explore topics including civil rights, federalism, and foreign policy. They include representatives from all levels of government and both sides of the political aisle. Join us Feb. 1 at 6 p.m. at 310 Renaissance Park for a discussion on “Law & Policy Challenges in 2017 & Beyond" with Jennifer Serafyn, assistant attorney in the Civil Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts. Free and open to the public.

The World in Your Cup: Conversations on the Politics and Culture of Coffee

Join us for a discussion on "Why Water Matters & the Chemistry of Coffee" with Christopher Hendon, MIT post-doc in computational chemistry; co-author of the book Water for Coffee. Details: Monday, February 27, 6:30 p.m., location TBD.

The Northeastern Way

Our graduate policy programs create leaders through experiential learning, research and education.

Northeastern Policy School
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Northeastern University School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs · 310 Renaissance Park · Boston, MA 02115 · USA