College Presidents Should Come from Academia

Dr. Benjamin Ginsberg, Chair of the Center for Advanced Governmental Studies, has a new opinion piece in the New York Times in response to the question of whether university presidents should come from academia or the the corporate world.  Ginsberg, in "College Presidents Should Come from Academia," argues that business people's management style, practical skills focus and customer-centric orientation renders them "unprepared and unqualified to manage a university."  Ginsberg writes:

University professors, conversely, make informed presidents. Indeed, most of the founders of America’s great universities were liberal arts professors. Cornell’s founder and first president, A.D. White, was an English professor. Johns Hopkins’s founder and first president, Daniel Coit Gilman, was a geography professor. The University of Chicago’s founder and first president, William Rainey Harper, was a professor of Greek, Latin and Hebrew.

Not a single one of these entrepreneurial scholars held an M.B.A. degree.

Read the full article here.


Chief Data Officer, HHS OIG Speaks at GAB Forum

This month, we were delighted to hear from Dr. Caryl Brzymialkiewicz, Assistant Inspector General/Chief Data Officer, HHS at the Government Analytics Breakfast Forum.  Dr. Brzymialkiewicz provided insight into how HHS uses analytics to reduce healthcare fraud, waste and abuse.

Perhaps surprisingly, HHS OIG oversees a $1 trillion portfolio.  The office is charged with auditing, evaluating, investigating and providing counsel.  Dr.  Brzymialkiewicz, OIG's Chief Data Officer, relies on data and analytics to assist OIG with advancing its mission.

Dr.  Brzymialkiewicz emphasized the importance of soft skills when conducting analytic work.  She explained that an amazing analysis is worthless if the researcher does not communicate its meaning and implications to varied audiences.  Often the communication of analytic results is greatly enhanced with visualizations.  Mapping data, in particular, is a great way to convey the key takeaway from an analysis in a way that "clicks" with a lot of people.  

Dr.  Brzymialkiewicz also spoke about the impotance of creating communities of practice in which analysts can discuss challenges they're facing and innovations in the field.  Deriving meaningful, actionable results from data requires collaboration and a multidisciplinary approach.  Further, she emphasized the need to speak "truth to power" -- if an analyst uncovers an important truth in the data, she should stand by the findings and communicate them effectively to key decision makers.

A recording of the event can be viewed here.

Please join us for our next event on April 13 featuring Alvaro Bedoya, Executive Director of the Center on Privacy and Technology, who will discuss the government's use of facial recognition techniques.


Ben Ginsberg and the Worth of War

Dr. Benjamin Ginsberg, Chair of the Center for Advanced Governmental Studies, was interviewed by To the Best of Our Knowledge about his recent book, The Worth of War.  You can listen to the interview or download it here

The interview will air on NPR this weekend.  For local listings, click here.


Tom Peterson on COP21


Lisa Danzig Discusses Analytical Challenges in the Public Sector

Lisa Danzig, Associate Director for Performance and Personnel Management at OMB, spoke at this morning's GAB Forum about the ways in which government agencies can use analytics to improve their performance, and some of the challenges associated with data-driven decision making.

Ms. Danzig identified five key types of analysis:

  1. Descriptive Analysis: Used to summarize data.
  2. Relational/exploratory Analysis: Used to identify patterns and relationships in data.
  3. Inferential/hyothesis-driven Analysis: Used to test of theories of change.
  4. Predictive Modeling: Used to forecast the event occurrences and trends.
  5. Randomized Studies: Used to quantify causal relationships.

The determination about which type of analysis to use depends on the particular research question or problem posed.  

In addition to outlining the different types of analyses used in the public sector, Ms. Danzig noted three challenges to conducing quantitative research: (1) getting access to relevant data (and the data collection process used), (2) linking analyses to meaningful outcomes and (3) building up sufficient analytical capacity to conduct meaningful research.  Overcoming these three challenges will allow government agenices to leverage the massive and increasing amount of data that's now available.  

A recording of the event is available here.