Browsing Master of Public Service Administration (MPSA) Capstones by Title
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Alvarez, Roman; Brennan, Stephanie; Carter, Narietha; Dong, Hsiang-Kai; Eldridge, Amanda; Fratto, Joseph; Harrison, Erin; Ryder, Eleanor; Sanderson, Kathleen; Thorburn, Pamela ( 2009)[more][less]
Description: This Capstone team examined the economic consequences of the high number of high school dropouts in Texas. Their report discusses alternative strategies for measuring the dropout rate, and provides estimates of the dropout rate for different geographic regions and student populations. The team also estimated of the economic benefits and costs associated with reducing the high dropout rate in Texas. Finally, the team reviewed available research regarding dropout prevention programs in order to identify best practices that could be implemented in Texas. One goal of the study was to inform and encourage a broader discussion by the Texas Legislature of the state's high school dropout rate and the societal and economic impact of failing to address the problem.
Files in this item: 3TheABCDsAppendices.pdf (879.7Kb)(more files)
Beifuss, Patricia; Blum, Megean; Broussard, Sarah; Gregory, Heather; Hooper, Erin; Kravitz, Kelly; Mitchell, William; Swanson, Effie; Tolman, Lauren; Valdez, Maritza ( 2011)[more][less]
Description: Abriendo Puertas is a small, education non-profit using parental engagement initiatives to reduce the number of Hispanic student dropouts in Texas. To date, Abriendo Puertas has seen much success - both in recognition by external organizations and in the wide support of its parent participants and volunteers. As such, Abriendo Puertas hopes to expand its program across the state, most notably to the Fort Worth area. The nonprofit is interested in solidifying its current operations in the hope of expanding its impact.
Building upon previous research, an Expansion Management Model (EMM) was produced to guide Abriendo Puertas' efforts. Combining research-based best practices, an analysis of the nonprofit's current practices (based primarily on an internal assessment), and a survey of the parents involved with Abriendo Puertas, the EMM includes tailored recommendations to Abriendo Puertas' needs. The Capstone team made four key recommendations: 1. Solidify the organization's mission; 2. Expand and diversify the board of directors; Complete a strategic marketing plan; and Develop a database to track the organization's parent participants and volunteers. The Capstone report includes the final Expansion Management Model, complete with a full set of recommendations, a description of the Assessment Tool and Survey, as well as a demographic analysis identifying possible expansion points within the state of Texas.
Files in this item: 6ExecutiveSummary.pdf (323.7Kb)(more files)
Flowers, Maggie; Jones, Kimberly; Hilborn, Rachel; Morisseau, Ainsley; Pearson, Kenneth ( 2007)[more][less]
Description: This capstone group conducted an analysis of the nonprofit capacity-building "industry" in Minnesota. (The nonprofit capacity-building "industry" comprises the consultants, private and nonprofit firms, management support organizations, and academic centers that provide technical assistance and leadership training to nonprofits.) It was a replication of studies by Dr. Angela Bies in Pittsburgh during 2004-2005 and of a Central Texas capstone during 2005-2006. This capstone project contributed to a growing interest in measuring the effectiveness of nonprofit capacity-building efforts and the degree to which those efforts influence nonprofit organizational effectiveness. The general purpose of the project was to provide information about effective strategies and interventions to strengthen nonprofit management and organizational capacity, the types of challenges nonprofit organizations and providers face in building capacity, and the degree to which there were unmet needs in the region.
A multi-method approach was utilized including a survey administered to nonprofits by both an online and paper questionnaire; interviews with a representative sample of capacity building providers, policy makers, and funders; and focus groups with nonprofit executives. Results were also compared to the results obtained in the Pittsburgh and Central Texas studies.
This project addressed substantial gaps in both the practitioner-oriented and academic literature because it provided a comprehensive, empirically derived understanding of the link between capacity-building efforts and organizational change.
Files in this item: 1Capacity_Building_Study.pdf (7.748Mb)
Aldape, Nichole; Barker, Carolyn; Beekley, Taja; Brown, Angela Faye; Brown, Erin; Cross, Staci; Ekwurzel, Erica; Garner, Lindsey; Hart, Alison; Jones, Alexis; Juckett, Karen; Kennedy, Chris; Larson, Esther; Lee, Grace; Nedderman, Leah; Pesti, Ilona; Schwartz, Michele; Shaw, Joseph; Sigler, Rodney; Sinatra, Christine; Teleki, Katherine; Terrazas, Erica; Wagner, Elizabeth ( 2006)[more][less]
Abstract: Recent research has identified explosive growth in the nonprofit sector and an increased interest in evaluating and improving nonprofit performance through organizational capacity building. The growing emphasis on capacity-building services for nonprofits nationwide has resulted in the need for better information about support services for the sector. Considering the burgeoning role of capacity building in nonprofit operations, it is important to understand more about the industry that provides support and resources to nonprofits, including in the growing communities located in Central Texas. This report represents the first comprehensive study of nonprofit and volunteer capacity-building activities in Central Texas. The result of a unique collaboration between graduate students at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University and the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin, this study was conducted under the supervision of Dr. Angela Bies at the Bush School and Dr. Sarah Jane Rehnborg at the LBJ School. Twenty-three graduate students in both programs conducted the research and analysis for this report from September 2005 through April 2006. The Bush School and the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service at the LBJ School provided funding for the study. The project also partnered on a pro bono basis with two client organizations, the United Way Capital Area and the Texas Nonprofit Management Assistance Network. The primary research objective was to replicate two recent studies. The first was Millesen and Bies 2004 report for the Forbes Funds, An Analysis of the Pittsburgh Region s Capacity- Building Industry. The second was an examination of volunteer management capacity modeled on a nationwide volunteer management study (Hager, 2004) conducted by the Urban Institute in collaboration with the Corporation for National and Community Service. Because our research took place in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, we also explored nonprofit capacity issues related to emergency interventions, particularly how crises affect organizations needs for and uses of capacity building.
Description: Based on a Collaboration of The LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin & The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University
Files in this item: 1nonprofitvolunteercapacity.pdf (831.6Kb)
Anderson, Luke; Allen, Chris; Elrod, Leah; Forbes, Melissa; Harbin, Hannah; Stromm, Diann ( 2003)[more][less]
Description: This report traces the history of the Big Thicket region and the political process that occurred to establish the Big Thicket National Preserve, identifies the current threats facing the Big Thicket region, and describes a continuum of possible policy solutions that might be applied to the threats facing the Big Thicket.
Files in this item: 1Big_Thicket.pdf (1.955Mb)
Ghosh, Banashwar; Hokom, Meghan; Hunt, Zachary; Magdaleno, Miriam; Su, Baoqiang ( 2008)[more][less]
Description: This capstone team conducted an analysis of bilingual and English as a second language (ESL) practices in the state of Texas. Their analysis has three distinct parts. In the first part, the team developed four indicators of school success with respect to students who have limited English proficiency (LEP). In the second part, they developed a survey of teacher, classroom and program characteristics that they distributed to all elementary and middle schools with at least 30 LEP students. The final part of their analysis examined the relationship between their four measures of school success and the survey responses regarding instructional practices and program characteristics. The team found that there were no school-level differences in performance between teachers in bilingual education programs and teachers in ESL programs. They also found that consistent instruction in one language (either English or Spanish) was more effective for content learning than a mix of instructional languages, and that instructional methods identified as particularly effective by the existing bilingual/ESL literature are widely practiced in Texas.
Files in this item: 2Bilingual_Education_in_Texas.pdf (963.0Kb)(more files)
Brown, William A.; Filene Institute for Credit Union Research ( 2007)[more][less]
Description: This project explored the role of the board of directors in decision-making during mergers and acquisitions. Mergers are a viable and wide-spread growth strategy for many credit unions. The study considered how the board engaged or disengaged in the process of working through issues related to mergers and acquisitions. Merger opportunities are strategic decision opportunities for organizations, and boards are critical to ensuring good decision-making.
The first step was to identify credit unions that had debated merger proposals. It was desirable to identify both credit unions that had completed the process as well as those that had withdrawn from the proposal. Based upon a sample of respondents who met the desired criteria, students conducted interviews with the senior executive and at least one board member.
The project interviewed 15-20 organizations (or about 30-40 executives and board members). Most of the interviews focused on decision-making processes, how opportunities and alternatives were or were not explored, and how member interests were considered. This allowed individuals to effectively describe the decision-making context and how board members were engaged. Decision quality was also considered, although it is very difficult to determine the benefits of a merger that did not take place. Consequently, we asked for perceptions of the decision quality, but quantifiable determination of benefits is probably not available in this research design. A filene research monograph was produced as a result of this project.
Files in this item: 1141_Brown_Board_Mergers.pdf (1.250Mb)
Bakhtadze, Revaz; Ellison, Joel; Jumde, Anushree; Lee, Lexi; McCarty, Jordan; Pate, Aaron; See, Alexander; Xing, Ying ( 2014)[more][less]
Abstract: This report examines human service integration effo rts of the Brazos Valley Council of Governments and what regulations stand in the way o f full integration. Along with the findings from the Brazos Valley Council of Governments, we d eveloped a report of other states’ human service integration attempts. We found that “siloed ” funding streams, restrictions on information systems, and other regulations present significant barriers to the Brazos Valley Council of Governments. We also found that human service agen cies in California, Colorado, and New York provide a model for the Brazos Valley Council of Governments to achieve full human service integration; however, regulations from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will prevent the full integration betwe en all programs offered at the Brazos Valley Council of Governments.
Files in this item: 1BVCOG Service Integration Report.pdf (1.016Mb)
Alford, John; Blackburn, Casey; Holland, Lynn; Rolison, Richard; Schwartz, Andrew; Smith, James; Williams, Erin ( 2003)[more][less]
Description: This report informed the USDA about the status of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) regulatory systems in five Central American countries that are participating in negotiations for a Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) with the United States. To complete the report, the Capstone team sent surveys to the appropriate in-country experts in each of the five CAFTA countries and utilized the Phytosanitary Capacity Evaluation model to measure the level of compliance with international standards.
Files in this item: 1CAFTA_Report.pdf (421.4Kb)
Reed, Johnathan; Harlow, Evan; Dorshaw, Carlie; Brower, David ( 2008)[more][less]
Description: This report was prepared as part of a graduate student capstone project at the George Bush School of Government and Public Service for our client, the Brazos Community Foundation (BCF). We believe the report has implications for the BCF and the broader nonprofit community in the Brazos Valley.
The project team identified ten potential community leadership roles based on best practices in the field and interests of the BCF. Students conducted interviews with 25 local nonprofit leaders, Texas A&M University representatives, as well as other community foundations to inform our recommendations.
After careful evaluation of data the group identified five community leadership roles with the most potential for implementation by the Brazos Community Foundation and the Brazos Valley at large. These roles received wide support, were feasible - based on available resources, and aligned with the mission and purpose of BCF. Students developed a series of action steps to provide guidance for the implementation of these roles. Through the interviews students discovered many opportunities for partnerships in implementing roles.
Files in this item: 32008ComLeadBestPracBV.pdf (228.8Kb)(more files)
Aguirre, Elisa; Gleeson, Thomas; McCutchen, Amanda; Mendiola, Leticia; Rich, Katherine; Schroder, Rick; Stephenson, Megan; Varner, Orie ( 2006)[more][less]
Description: This study provided an analysis of the relative costs and benefits of a high-quality, universally-accessible pre-kindergarten program in Texas. The analysis identified the costs and benefits unique to Texas' population, workforce, economy and existing educational system. It concluded that even when making very conservative assumptions, the benefits of universally-accessible, high-quality pre-kindergarten for four-year-olds in Texas greatly outweigh the costs.
Files in this item: 4(more files)
Current Trends and Future Challenges in the Freight Railroad Industry: Balancing Private Industry Interests and the Public WelfareAllen, Sarah; Kelson, Kendra; Migl, Hayden; Schmidt, Rodney; Shoemaker, David; Thomson, Heather ( 2008)[more][less]
Description: Deregulation has put the freight railroad industry on a more secure financial footing. In general, the transformation of the rail industry since the Staggers Rail Act of 1980 has been viewed by stakeholders at many levels as verwhelmingly positive. Perhaps most important to note is that deregulation has allowed the rail industry to fully realize the benefits of operating as a private business — cutting costs, boosting productivity, eliminating unprofitable lines, and gaining a higher degree of business autonomy. One consequence of this reduction in physical capacity is that often only one railroad company's lines run on a particular route, resulting in monopolistic pricing practices.
Files in this item: 1
Medina, Gabriella; Leichtle, Stephanie; Garraway, Charlotte (May 20, 2015)[more][less]
Abstract: The project is an analysis of Dallas Challenge’s current image through a stakeholder assessment. Following the assessment, we will provide strategies and tactics that Dallas Challenge can incorporate in order to successfully complete the rebranding process. This project is important to our client because they want to remain a competitive service provider in the Dallas--‐Fort Worth area. They want their image to portray their services and mission more accurately so that they can better serve at--‐risk youth. By providing rebranding strategies, Dallas Challenge stakeholders will have a more concrete perception of the client’s identity and the scope of their program services.
Files in this item: 1Dallas Challenge Final Full Report.pdf (5.862Mb)
Calcaneo, Edgar Adrian; Cripe, Ramsey; Davis, Taylor; Gonzalez, Ramon; Grimes, Joshua; Hemby, Olivia; Humphrey, Colby; Keppy, Paul; Surgenor, Ken ( 2012)[more][less]
Abstract: The Development in Rural Texas report provides an evaluation and assessment of economic development recommendations made by the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX). Due to the nature of its work, TEEX seldom has an opportunity to revisit the communi ties it has worked with in the past. In 2011, the Bush School of Government and Public Service was contacted with the opportunity to assist in evaluating several of the economic development recommendations and plans put in place by TEEX. The Capstone group evaluated ten TEEX reports that were written from 2006 - 2009. Their subjects vary between facility development plans to regional economic development strategies. Providing the context for evaluation was essential before any evaluation could take place. Th is Capstone report provides a brief background on TEEX, as well as steps the organization takes during its “community process” of identifying cities and organizations with which to work. The literature review section is broken down into two parts, one focu sing on rural Texas and the other on economic development. The rural Texas literature review provides several historical definitions of rural, while also highlighting demographics and organizations of importance in Texas. The economic development literatur e review offers an academic background of the theory and approaches to local economic development in the United States. This section also addresses the need to bridge the gap between the evidence found in academia with the results of past community develop ment efforts in order to provide a practical blueprint going forward. The methodology section of this report examines the steps taken by the Capstone team to conduct their research. This work included analyzing historical community data, conducting interv iews with public officials and other individuals involved with the TEEX reports, and making site visits. A demographic breakdown is also provided for each community, which includes economic, population, race/ethnicity and education information. Following t his, the TEEX Hearne Report from 2007 is reviewed, serving as a pilot study and introducing the structure of research undertaken in the remaining reports. Nine individual case studies are presented, each evaluating the work done by TEEX in communities thr oughout Texas between 2006 and 2009, asking the central question: What has happened since TEEX delivered its report. The case studies are: • Beeville – Development Market Study • Brazoria – County Fairgrounds & Expo Market Study • Bastrop – Convention a nd Exhibit Center • Canton – Economic Impact Study • Paris – Feasibility Study of Multi - Purpose Arena • Jacksboro – Economic Development Study • Vernon – Community & Economic Development Initiative • Permian Basin – Economic Development Strategy • Pa ris and Lamar County – Baseline Study Following these case studies, this report provides a series of best practices and recommendations going forward. This section is broken down between facility and community reports provided by TEEX. In summary, the Ca pstone group found that the cities and organizations TEEX works with that have local cooperation, effective leaders, and community involvement have a greater chance of moving forward with any projects or recommendations made. However, given the many variab les influencing community and economic development, it is difficult to assert that these variables, by themselves, made the difference. Causation in these cases is hard to establish. In order to improve upon future projects, the organization should work to wards tying the local economic and political conditions of the community with the report, particularly in cases dealing with site - specific development. Additionally, it is recommended that TEEX provide information detailing potential limitations to the rec ommendations given. The Capstone group would like to sincerely thank all participants who offered their time and knowledge as interviewees for this project.
Files in this item: 2FINAL REPORT.pdf (6582.Kb)(more files)
Diversity of Graduates from Professional Degree Programs: The Challenge of Achieving Diverse Applicant Pools and Implementing Successful Recruiting EffortsFoley, Kathryn; Gallagher, Kallie; Manzano, Magdalena; Meyers, Haileigh; Szabo, Szende; Wantwadi, Peggy; Zheng, Yanzhe ( 2010)[more][less]
Description: The capstone team (1) obtained and analyzed information about pools of job candidates from historically under-represented groups in certain disciplines and (2) reported on mechanisms that had proved effective for recruiting and retaining such candidates. The team analyzed trends and characteristics of these potential applicant pools and identified schools that have graduated the largest numbers of candidates from historically under-represented groups in specific disciplines. The report presents a literature review concerning practices of public and private entities to create and maintain workforce diversity by recruiting and retaining persons from historically under-represented groups. The report also summarizes successful recruitment and retention strategies based on theoretical and practical frameworks used by government agencies, non-profit organizations, and the private sector.
Files in this item: 12010EnhancingEthnicDiversityCRS.pdf (2.226Mb)
Bobo, Andrew; Duncan, Cherrelle; Goodman, Cameron; Harris, Jennifer; Jarvis, Staci; Kombos, Thanasis; McDaniel, Torey; Prescott, Jena Overall; Rapini, Sarina; Shafer, Jye; King, Silvia; Zhang, Helen ( 2013)[more][less]
Abstract: Many students graduating from Texas high schools, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, are underprepared for the rigor of college coursework, and they need extra help. Institutions of higher learning across the state have attempted to provide that help in the form of developmental education (DE)- supplemental instruction designed to fill in crucial gaps in a student's knowledge base. Since DE is designed to serve such a crucial function for students who have less than adequate preparation, it is particularly disconcerting news that DE programs appear, in many cases, to be failing those they are intended to serve. The students who are the least prepared and the most disadvantaged languish in college classrooms, taking courses that do not count for credit. More than 70% will never finish their degree. A review of the existing literature revealed that few researchers had talked systematically to students in DE courses about their experiences. That seemed odd, since the students are the customers of the DE process, and the ones most affected by the success or failure of these programs. A mixed methods study of DE students could offer a new, potentially insightful, angle on the problems facing DE programs in Texas. By incorporating student voices and approaching their experience from a variety of research angles, this project seeks to add to the ongoing conversation about appropriate public policy in higher education.
Files in this item: 1
Crady, Kristen L.; Hicks, Sarah K.; Jones, Kami L.; Rhodes, Erica D.; Williams, Elena P.; Pool, Scott ( 2002)[more][less]
Description: This report, which was produced for then-Congressman Bob Riley's office, provided findings regarding the state of emergency preparedness in Calhoun County, Alabama, related to chemical weapons (CW) storage and incineration at the Anniston Army Depot. The analysis addressed the following research question. Given that CW incineration is set to start at the Anniston Army Depot in September 2002, what information would provide the basis for practical dialogue about emergency preparedness in Calhoun County and provide a possible foundation for policy leaders to reach consensus over this critical issue in order to ensure citizen acceptance, understanding, and compliance?
Files in this item: 1Chemical_Weapons_Capstone.pdf (2.043Mb)
Envisioning a Bright Future for New Braunfels Children: A Community-Based Approach to School ReadinessFanomezantsoa, Herilala; Hopkins, Elizabeth; Tooley, Kathryn (May 20, 2015)[more][less]
Abstract: This report provides an overview of a qualitative, participatory study conducted by a capstone team from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. The McKenna Foundation of New Braunfels, Texas enlisted the help of this capstone team in August 2014 to help ascertain how best to support the approximately 5,000 children under the age of 5 in New Braunfels, Texas (United States Census Bureau, 2010), many of whom are not adequately prepared to enter kindergarten. The Morrison Consulting Capstone Group (MCCG) mission was to provide the McKenna Foundation with informed recommendations regarding school readiness, so that they could effectively serve and advance the well-being of the New Braunfels community.
Files in this item: 1
Beauchamp, Krystle; Chavez, Leslie; Dye, Wendy; Lamon, Matt; Mallas, Liz; Stephens, Caroline ( 2007)[more][less]
Description: Congressional Research Service (CRS) requested the assistance of the graduate students at Texas A&M University to evaluate the awareness and utilization of federal programs and policies passed by Congress that are aimed at facilitating the post-Katrina recovery of New Orleans. Federal programs enacted and/or expanded to benefit residents in the New Orleans area post-Katrina include, but are not limited to, tax incentives for businesses to rebuild and hire workers, such as the Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Program; the Stafford Act programs, including FEMA grants and assistance; the Gulf Opportunity Act of 2005 (GoZone); the Katrina Emergency Tax Relief Act of 2005 (KETRA); and the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, which includes the Road Home program. The study will allow Congress to examine the effectiveness of the funds allocated. In addition, students provided Congress with recommendations based on the findings of their research.
The research conducted for this study evaluated the extent to which New Orleans residents were aware of and participated in federal programs created by recent congressional legislation designed to benefit residents in the New Orleans area.
Students prepared a literature review and case study analysis of events similar to Katrina over the past century. Students also conducted in-depth interviews with stakeholders and leaders in the Louisiana recovery efforts, objectively examining the benefits and hindrances of the federal programs. In addition, students surveyed homeowners and business owners about the federal programs, seeking their experiences and insight into how those programs were used and managed and whether citizens were aware of the programs and benefits. Students submitted a final report to CRS in late April 2007, which included the literature review, findings, and recommendations.
Files in this item: 12007FederalFundingHurricaneKatrina.pdf (1.164Mb)
Brown, Sky; Carter, Britt; Collins, Michael; Gallerson, Christopher; Giffin, Grady; Greer, Jon; Griffith, Ray; Johnson, Emily; Richardson, Kate ( 2009)[more][less]
Description: The recruitment and retention of Generation Y, individuals born between 1977 and 2002, concern the federal government and the Congressional Research Service particularly, as the retirement rate among Baby Boomers increases. A clear understanding of this generation's perceptions and expectations about work and career-related issues will assist the federal government in formulating its recruitment and retention strategies. Thus, this study identified and examined career choice factors and public service perceptions among members of Generation Y.
Files in this item: 12009GenerationYintheWorkplace.pdf (814.7Kb)