Empowering Communities, Building Resilience

ResilienceDr. Jennifer Shea, Associate Professor of Public Administration in SF State’s School of Public Affairs & Civic Engagement is the Principal Investigator on the Resilience Leadership Development Program (RLDP) Implementation Project, which is being funded by a $75,000 grant from nonprofit Team Rubicon, Dr. Shea and a team of MPA students are working closely with the Neighborhood Empowerment Network’s Empowered Communities Program, an initiative of the San Francisco City Administrator’s office. The ECP is a leadership development program that organizes communities to work collectively to address neighborhood issues. It combines experiential learning with community organizing methods to advance community resilience. The underlying logic behind resilience is that if social capital and connectivity increase within a community, so too does its overall resilience capacity.

Dr. Shea and her MPA student team – Jeffrey Thorsby, Hafsa Khan & Yoko Shimizu – are conducting applied, community-engaged research to capture the knowledge that has been gained from the ECP’s work. The research will be used to update and enrich the ECP Toolkit, which guides community leaders through a series of events that supports inclusive, culturally competent, community-driven organizing and results in the development of a Resilience Action Plan (RAP). The RAP articulates the community’s vision for building its resilience and identifies a set of goals and objectives whose achievement support that vision. ECP communities assess their progress and revisit the RAP on an annual basis.

Once the ECP toolkit is finished, the team will work with Team Rubicon and ECP staff to model it and assess its effectiveness in San Francisco neighborhoods. Another MPA student, Amanda Trescott, is interning at the ECP and will also be involved in testing the Toolkit. Two other current MPA students – Kristin Barrera and Matt Channing – recently completed ECP internships and have provided the current team with valuable insights about how the ECP works in practice.

This work is rooted in a deep collaboration between SF State’s Institute for Civic and Community Engagement (ICCE), the MPA Program, and the ECP. For the past seven years, Dr. Shea has worked with ICCE staff (including another current MPA student, Jen Gasang) and ECP director Daniel Homsey, to place and advise MPA student interns to work with the ECP. In addition, Dr. Shea has played consultative roles regarding ECP program development and conducted conceptual and empirical research related to the ECP’s work.

You can read more about the project in this article: MPA team working to build resilient communities


Planning, Policymaking and Protest: Strategies in the fight against displacement

policying making and protestSponsored by SF State University’s School of Public Affairs and Civic Engagement

It is impossible to walk around San Francisco or pick up a newspaper without seeing or reading about the influx of new money and development as well as the corresponding rise in rental prices and resident displacement. Hear from advocates on the front-lines of the struggle to preserve and build affordable housing as they discuss various approaches to mitigating the negative impacts of gentrification, what challenges they face, and how they see the road ahead.


Moderated by: Joe Wilson, Community Building Program Manager, Hospitality House

Founding member of the Coalition on Homelessness (in 1987) and co-author of the landmark transitional housing study that was adopted as official City policy, and led to the creation of the Community Housing Partnership in 1989.  Former Associate Director of Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth, former Director of the Child Care Organizing Campaign for AFSCME

Amy Beinart, RAD Strategies Coordinator at Chinatown Community Development Center

Former Housing Director at Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, SFSU MPA Graduate

Fernando Marti, Co-Director of Council of Community Housing Organization

Co- founder of the SF Community Land Trust and UrbanIDEA, Board member of PODER, member of the JustSeeds Artists Cooperative

James Tracy, Director of Community Organizing and Resident Engagement at Community Housing Partnership

Co-Founder and President of the Board of the San Francisco Community Land Trust

Author of Dispatches Against Displacement: Field Notes From San Francisco’s Wars For Home

Saturday, May 2,

SFSU Downtown Campus

835 Market Street, Room 677

San Francisco, CA 94103


For the Facebook event page, go to https://www.facebook.com/events/408744892629959/

MPA students/Graduates Published Online Articles

Two current MPA students and a recent graduate of the program have just published their work through government-related outlets:

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 3.06.22 PMKristen Wolslegel and Jeffrey Thorsby published their analysis of local campaign expenditures in their report titled “Spending to Influence: Campaign Finance and Lobbying in San Francisco in 2014.” The report was prepared for the San Francisco Ethics Commission, and seeks to condense the overwhelming amount of data on the topic into visual information for public use. As they explain, their report “…allows users to make sense of the campaign finance and lobbying data collected by the Ethics Commission and to explore the connections, interests, and financial activity of key City influencers.” The highly visual content in the report was spurred by Dr. Genie Stowers’ class on Data Visualization.

GOV_marc-joffeAlumnus Marc Joffe recently published a commentary in Governing, a leading magazine for and about the state and local government sectors. His piece titled “The Missing Information That Municipal Bond Investors Need” describes the barriers to municipal bond market analyses and how a change in data format might help bring down those barriers. Marc said his essay was “inspired by what I learned about policy entrepreneurship from [Dr. Jennifer Shea] in PA 715.” He has been lobbying for the data format change he wrote about, and expects to see this proposal in a Congressional bill later this year.

MPA graduate selected to the 2015 Presidential Management Fellowship

m_polandCongratulations to recent MPA alumnus Matthew Poland for being named a 2015 finalist for the Presidential Management Fellowship! The PMF is the federal government’s premier post-graduate fellowship in public service. Established by President Jimmy Carter, the two-year program grooms its fellows for leadership positions in federal programs and agencies. Being named a finalist allows Matthew an unparalleled opportunity to work on varied projects and programs while gaining first-class professional development and setting up permanent employment in federal service. We asked Matthew about his career plans:

Why did you apply to the PMF?

            “I’ve spent my entire career so far in the non-profit world and I’ve always had a strong interest in government and public policy.  After reading up about the opportunity and talking to friends who work for federal departments, I decided it was a great way to break into government without having to start at the bottom.  Most everyone I’ve asked speaks highly of the PMF program and agree that it is a fast-track to upper management in most agencies.”  

Which agencies or programs are you interested in?

            “There is a lot of variety in the [PMF] – most federal agencies participate and offer positions both in D.C. and in regional offices.  I’m very interested in working for departments that align with my 12 years in workforce development such as the Department of Labor or Health and Human Services.  On the other hand, the PMF experience allows you to access management positions in agencies you wouldn’t normally be qualified for so, I may also explore working for NASA or the Department of State.  Either way, I’m excited about the many possibilities the program offers.”   

What kind of assignments/postings do you hope to do?

            “I hope to land a position that includes project management, policy analysis/development and leadership of a team.  I enjoy positions that allow me to collaborate with other agencies, contractors, constituents, etc. and offer variety in the assignments as well as interesting challenges.  I would like to further develop my leadership skills and learn about how work is conducted in a government agency compared to a non-profit.  The PMF program has one required rotation in a different agency and I look forward to the exposure I will get from working at a second agency.”  

What are your career aspirations?

            “The MPA program was instrumental for me in choosing a career path.  When I entered the program, I knew I was interested in government and public policy and through the course of my studies, I was able to identify a specific goal within workforce development.  I hope to someday lead a non-profit or government agency that is directly related to workforce development, primarily serving people with barriers to employment and education.”    

Anything else you want to share about your PMF future?

            “Wherever I end up through the PMF experience or otherwise, I intend it to be at a place that values public service and quality work above all else.  You may read about me someday on Politico, but most likely I will remain behind the scenes working hard to effect change for the good of the country, or at least the Bay Area community.”

Matthew is the latest in a long and proud record of PMFs coming from SF State’s MPA program. At least 10 of our alumni have been named to the fellowship in the last 12 years. If you are interested in connecting with Matt, email him your favorite Poltico blog at matthew.a.poland@gmail.com (his is the Morning Shift).