Browsing Master of Public Service Administration (MPSA) Capstones by Issue Date
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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)
Ario, Shannon; Elliott, Elizabeth; Gray, Kevin; Hemmeline, Charles; Pomeroy, Dan; White, Andrew; Zurawski, Paul ( 2002)[more][less]
Description: This report analyzed the factors that affect the ability of Texas to attract and retain aerospace-related businesses by considering the following factors: statewide economic development policy, human capital, aviation, space, and military. In addition, the report provided a comparative analysis of ten states with which Texas will be competing for future aerospace-related economic development opportunities.
Files in this item: 1Texas_Aerospace_Industry_report.pdf (883.2Kb)
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)
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)
Bearden, Christi; Cruz, Nelda; Heinsohn, Heidi; Kuzaro, Jami; Norton, Keller; Richardson, Willis; Wood, Meghan ( 2004)[more][less]
Description: This report describes, analyzes, and contains a tool designed to provide local leaders and citizens with a way to assess the status of a variety of elements within their community. The tool, named the Rural Viability Index, offers communities the opportunity to identify possible options for current and future community planning.
Files in this item: 1ORCA_Capstone.pdf (290.6Kb)
Bennett, Jason; Dascaliuc, Svetlana; Grossman, Nick; Hunt, Michael; Kenesson, Laura; Madden, Tara; McWilliams, Austin; Scott, Whitney; Stubbs, Megan ( 2005)[more][less]
Description: This report contains recommendations, analysis, and an assessment tool for the Economically Distressed Areas program administered by the Texas Water Development Board. The purpose of the assessment tool, known as the Applicant Capacity Assessment Tool (ACAT), was to reduce the number of water infrastructure projects running over-budget and over-schedule.
Files in this item: 1TWDB_Capstone.pdf (373.8Kb)
Gray, Jennifer; Gray, Marshall; Hodges, Joshua; Jewell, Jeff; Larson, Marcia; Mitchell, Ryan; Murello, Erin; Murello, Steve; Reeves, Alice; Siddique, Julie ( 2005)[more][less]
Description: In the aftermath of voting problems in the 2000 presidential election, Congress passed legislation seeking to reform how elections were run and what voting technologies were used. Some of the new voting systems selected, particularly electronic voting systems, drew criticism for perceived security and transparency problems. Absent from this debate was any systematic representation of the views of the administrators who actually run these elections. This report presented the results of a survey of over 1400 local election officials from across the country. The survey solicited views on specific election systems and technologies; the factors local election officials consider in determining the appropriate election systems for their specific jurisdictions; the influence of vendors and federal, state, and local officials on the decision making process; the impact of federal reform on state and local jurisdictions; and other topics.
Files in this item: 1VotingSystemsReport.pdf (3.174Mb)
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)
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)
Congressional Research Service ( 2007)[more][less]
Description: After the completion of the highly successful 2004-2005 capstone project, "Voting Systems and Election Reform: What Do Election Officials Think?", the Congressional Research Service agreed with the principal investigators from the school that another study would be useful after the 2006 election. The second study focused on three topics:
1. a follow-up survey on selected questions from the previous study to identify trends relating to issues of interest, such as attitudes toward electronic voting and demographic characteristics of election officials; 2. an examination of selected new questions, in particular the experiences and perceptions of officials about compliance with the requirements of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) that went into effect in January 2006; and 3. an in-depth exploration of selected topics through structured interviews with a sample of election officials. One example is the role vendors play in decisions about the purchase of voting systems — an issue about which the earlier survey provided somewhat contradictory results.
The follow-up study was useful to the relevant congressional committees as they considered possible revisions to the Help America Vote Act in light of experiences in the 2004 and 2006 elections.
Files in this item: 0
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)
Fernandez, Kandyce; Flores, Santa; Huang, Emily; Igwe, Carolyn; McDonald, Leslie; Stroud, Ryan; Willis, Rebecca; Dugat, Amber ( 2007)[more][less]
Description: Policymakers and superintendents have been holding teachers accountable for student performance in Texas public schools. As the interest in results and school accountability has grown, attention has shifted to the role administrators play in creating a successful educational environment. The task for this capstone was to create a set of indicators for what an effective principal might look like. The project focused on three areas: Student Performance, Teacher Retention, and Financial Management, with the understanding that an effective principal would have students who perform well on TAAS/TAKS exams, have acceptable levels of teacher turnover, and achieve these results in a financially efficient manner. Using data from the Texas Education Agency, the project developed indicators for each of these three categories so that it would have a concrete way to discuss a principal's success. After defining what it meant to say a principal is "effective," students also checked to see if a principal's influence was statistically significant controlling for other, non-principal factors such as location, demographics, and school size. Finally, the project looked at various groupings of principals in Texas in order to report on the current patterns of principal effectiveness in the state.
Files in this item: 2PrincipalPerformanceinTexas.pdf (606.2Kb)(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)
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)
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
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)
Christman, Casey; Johnson, David; Rho, Eunju; Stein, Eric; Taylor, Beth ( 2008)[more][less]
Description: A series of tabulations of data contained in a HUD database for Louisiana and Mississippi revealed that prior to Hurricane Katrina, 500 low income tax credit housing (LIHTC) developments (consisting of 24,107 units) were built in Louisiana and 302 LIHTC developments (consisting of 13,970 units) were built in Mississippi between the inception of the LIHTC Program in 1986 and 2004 (when hurricane Katrina hit). Additionally, GIS maps of the same data revealed that, although these developments were scattered throughout both states, they were heavily concentrated in a few major urban areas. Further, a series of regression analyses, revealed a multicollinearity of several factors including ethnicity, education and income. In other words, the regression analyses did not reveal poverty as the main determinant for the location of housing. Moreover, though the HUD data base provided researchers with some idea of the amount of low income housing built in both states since the inception of the LIHTC Program', varying estimates of the amount of housing damaged and destroyed as well as differing reports of amounts housing units "allocated" for rebuilding make it difficult for both state and federal officials to determine the amount of additional federal housing assistance that should be provided.
Files in this item: 1
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)
Gunn, Emily; Moffitt, Jessica; Montemayor, Victoria; Riedel, Sarah; Smith, Bart; Weizel, Daniel ( 2008)[more][less]
Description: From 1990 to 2005, estimates of the unauthorized alien population in the United States have risen from 3.5 million to 11.5 million people, a 325 percent increase. It has been the federal government's responsibility to prevent unauthorized immigration. However, a small number of localities have taken action over the past few years to prevent unauthorized immigration within their jurisdictions by passing a series of ordinances and resolutions. Some of the localities passed ordinances and resolutions targeting the businesses and landlords who hire and rent to unauthorized aliens, while others passed legislation targeting day labor centers, loitering, and government services. Consistent with findings made in other studies, we found that only approximately 100 localities have or are considering legislation that would impact their unauthorized alien communities.
Files in this item: 1CRSImmigrationFinalReport.pdf (203.1Kb)
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)