THE URBAN SCHOLARS PROGRAM: REPORT OF A PLANNING MEETING
This report summarizes a planning meeting held at the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies on May 18, 2000. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the feasibility of a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) postdoctoral program of support for research and publication on urban and regional issues, prospectively called the Urban Scholars Program. Participants included academic researchers, funders, practitioners, and staff of the NRC and HUD (see p. v). Attachment A provides the meeting agenda.
HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research, which sponsored the planning meeting, has a basic mission to provide reliable and objective data and analysis to inform policy decisions (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, n.d.). To achieve this goal, it draws on a range of intellectual resources by means of partnerships with researchers, practitioners, advocates, industry groups, and foundations. One of the office’s activities is the Doctoral Dissertation Grant Program, which both generates data and develops the field of urban research. The program provides 30 scholarships annually for students who are getting their master’s degrees and as dissertation grants for doctoral students. From the group assembled at the planning meeting, the office was interested in learning whether providing similar research support at the postdoctoral and assistant professor level would be useful to the field and, if so, how it should be provided.
This report summarizes the views of the meeting participants; it does not present any consensus agreements or recommendations. The planning meeting itself was informal, and by design exploratory and suggestive, guided by the understanding that HUD would use the discussion to make decisions about a postdoctoral program.
In recent years, the economic and social challenges of urban development have become increasingly significant (Gale and Pack, 2000). Although U.S. metropolitan areas are powerful engines of national economic growth and well-being, many cities, as well as older suburbs, are experiencing well-documented problems of population decline, slow job growth, income inequality, and poverty. Meanwhile, many newer suburbs are showing the strains of development patterns that create commuting problems, traffic congestion, overcrowded schools, and the disappearance of open space (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 1998). In coming decades, understanding the dynamics of American cities and regions will be more important than ever because of the likelihood that problems that are now widespread will become even more severe with time (Gale and Pack, 2000).
Thus, the country will be challenged for the foreseeable future with understanding complicated social and economic processes affecting metropolitan areas, and using this information to guide planning and policies (National Research Council, 1999). The importance of urban research to science and practice was, not surprisingly, an underlying theme of the meeting. This research, using a variety of methodologies and perspectives,
concerns income, health, education, transportation, environment, and other central issues that affect the quality of life for millions of Americans.
There was also frequent reference at the meeting to the intellectual and practical problems that characterize this field. Three, in particular, surfaced repeatedly in the course of the meeting discussions.
First, urban issues are often intertwined to a degree not found in other fields (Gale and Pack, 2000). Participants commented that the complexity of urban research is both a strength and a source of challenge. It requires academicians and practitioners to think and work across disciplines, which can be a source of intellectual and practical creativity and insight. Yet in academic settings in particular, this approach has special vulnerabilities, because universities are not well organized to support interdisciplinary programs. These programs face difficulties developing research paradigms and theories that incorporate disparate perspectives, developing rigorous training programs for undergraduate and graduate students that cover all the basics, and developing crosscutting standards for assessing the quality of research. In addition, it is often harder for people working in interdisciplinary fields to have their research and publications recognized by traditional disciplines and to get their universities to make a sustained and significant commitment to their research and training programs.
Second, there is the problem that researchers who are working on economic, political, or social questions with important urban implications often do not identify themselves with the field of urban research. The failure of these economists, political scientists, and others to associate themselves with the field weakens the vitality of urban research by diverting away valuable intellectual resources and potential avenues of
research support. Systematic theory development and the ability to build on a base of core knowledge are hampered because important work is going on outside the field and is not well connected to it. Furthermore, this lack of connection contributes to the problems of interdisciplinary programs.
Third, there is the problem of the lack of interplay between scholars and policymakers, which poses serious obstacles to the implementation of effective urban research and policy development (Gale and Pack, 2000; Greenstein and Wiewel, 2000). Participants noted that this problem has several dimensions. The point most frequently raised at the meeting was the difference in the questions considered important by researchers and those of priority to policy makers. Research and publications that secure tenure may or may not be relevant to the practical problems faced in the policy world, while community-based work often does not lend itself–in terms of approach or subject matter –to academic publication. As a result, applied researchers often work in physical and intellectual isolation from their academic colleagues. If, as is frequently the case, scholarly work is not informed by real-time policy issues, theory development does not contribute to policy making and best practices. The theory-practice tension, while not unique to urban research, is particularly thorny in this field, participants noted.
At the same time, there are factors with the potential to strengthen the field and improve the quality of research. Chief among them is funding, according to the meeting participants. Sustained research support can contribute substantially to the development of a field of study (National Research Council, 1999). Among other things, it can:
Decisively advance a field and ensure that its progress is robust;
Catalyze group and team interactions focused on topics of noteworthy potential;
Supply high-quality outreach to and interaction with practitioners, policy makers, and other members of the broader community; and
Develop the infrastructure for resources, archives, and tools.
Thus, an Urban Scholars Program, if implemented and sustained, would have the potential to ameliorate some of the problems facing the field, at least for those individuals or universities that participate in it.
HUD’S INTEREST IN EMERGING SCHOLARS
From urban research come hypotheses and findings that both inform policy and point the direction to new areas of needed inquiry. It is believed by many, however, that urban development and housing policy issues do not get sufficient research attention. As Susan Wachter, HUD Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research, stated in her opening remarks, “We simply need a bigger, stronger pipeline.” Without an effective pipeline, HUD finds that the research infrastructure is weak and that the scholarship needed to take on urban issues and contribute to the public debate is seriously lacking.
To remedy this, HUD has already taken steps to increase the number of urban researchers through its Doctoral Dissertation Grant Program. Another element of developing the infrastructure is the proposed Urban Scholars Program. As Norman Glickman, Director of the Center for Urban Policy Research at Rutgers University observed, there is very little research support in the urban area at this level. Therefore, it is an important training gap. In addition to wanting to address this gap, there is also a
sense at HUD that emerging scholars have something important to offer the field in the form of the research techniques they are using, their interest in community research, and their diversity in terms of race and gender.
Through the proposed program, HUD would like to help new scholars overcome the isolation many academic urban researchers now experience. It would help them develop professional linkages across universities and would encourage them to participate in joint and multi-disciplinary research. Furthermore, Victor Rubin, Director of the HUD Office of University Partnerships, said, HUD hopes that the proposed new program could strengthen the connection between institutions of higher education that are receiving HUD support for training or research and the larger national research community and help consolidate research on highly focused local communities into a larger body of knowledge. He speculated that it might also provide professionals who work mainly in the field –as consultants or in community partnerships–an opportunity to write up their work in an academic setting and to build ties with academic researchers.
HUD anticipates that this program could have major significance for policy and for the future of policy-driven scholarship in urban research. It has the potential to advance urban research while fostering a future generation of urban scholars. It could also enhance the ability of the Office of Policy Development and Research to provide information and advice to the secretary of HUD to guide urban and housing policy choices.
Other work confirms HUD’s optimism. A recent NRC study (National Research Council, 1999) concluded that postdoctoral programs have the potential of enabling renowned senior researchers to direct, influence, and mentor younger scholars at crucially
beneficial points in those younger researchers’ careers. In the postdoctoral period, scholars have an opportunity to deepen and broaden their doctoral education. Moreover, the opportunity to associate with important figures in their area of research has often opened vistas that have led to dramatic advances in younger scholars’ careers. The U.S. National Science Foundation (1998), which funds several postdoctoral fellowships, describes postdoctoral fellows as well positioned to assume leadership roles in the nation’s development.
HUD’s concerns going into the planning meeting included these questions:
how to define “new” scholars.
specific research and publication priorities within the broader field of HUD’s priorities that the program should address;
how such a program should be organized and managed;
what the expected output of research might be; and
the level and form of financial support that would yield the most productive results.
In the course of the meeting, there was thorough discussion of these topics. Although it was not a goal of the meeting to reach consensus, the participants were supportive of three basic ideas:
There is a need in the urban field for more postdoctoral research support;
The emerging scholars would be a worthwhile, and rewarding, investment on HUD’s part; and
The grants would build the research pipeline, as envisioned by Susan Wachter, while also enhancing the prestige of the urban field.
Disagreements among participants primarily involved the mechanics of operating the program.
The rest of this report summarizes the main discussions points on these subjects.
DEFINING “NEW” SCHOLARS
How to define eligibility for the program was a complex subject that reflected important underlying issues in urban research. Many of these issues, being fundamental in nature, recurred throughout the day. Discussing the applicant pool for the fellowships, the central question was: Should the program be open only to tenure-track academic researchers, or should it include center-based applied researchers and people working in communities as well?
Several people spoke out in favor of the broader approach. For example, Ned Hill cited the example of his staff, who are applied researchers who do not normally have an opportunity to present their work to broader audiences. He recommended that the program “buy some sabbatical time,” so that nonacademic researchers can write up their experiences and be part of the broader conversations in the field. Along these same lines, Jim Gibson observed that it would be a trap for HUD to get into an exclusively academic orientation with the program, because “increasingly the trend and the momentum are in
the direction of getting more practice-relevant curriculum in professional schools.” Gavin Kearney reinforced this point, saying, “It may be more important to attract people who are involved in urban issues but don’t necessarily fit the categorization of academic scholars.”
In answer to these comments, Victor Rubin responded that HUD uses terms like postdoc and new assistant professor to be indicative, but not exclusive, of the stages of careers it is interested in. He said:
The agency recognizes the permeability of the job market, and the fact that people with these skill are working in a lot of different settings, both within universities and without. Often the people with the most capacity to link applied research to a more theoretical, academic presentation are not in tenure-track positions. So we are of course interested in people in tenure-track positions, but we ’re not talking about that exclusively.
Another important question related to recruitment was whether HUD wants the program primarily to support people already working in the urban field or also to attract researchers to this area. Several participants supported the idea of attracting new researchers. Hal Wolman pointed out that this would increase the capacity to produce knowledge over a long period of time in the area of urban policy and process. He urged that the program be directed in part to academics in some of the traditional disciplines who are not now engaged in urban research. The funding would be an incentive that would draw them into the field in ways that would be productive for the entire urban
community. “We lose an awful lot,” he observed, “by keeping urban research set aside as an inferior arena of study within the academic environment.”
Keith Ihlanfeldt also agreed that HUD would benefit from creating more interest in urban research, using the fellowship as an incentive. Confirming Susan Wachter’s earlier statement, he noted that many major issues that affect the country’s social and economic welfare are not being addressed because of a shortage of researchers who are interested in them. He foresaw that the HUD program could address this shortage and, at the same time, raise the profile of urban research.
James Carr also supported the suggestion that the program be designed to attract new minds and thinking. In addition, he suggested that the recruitment criteria be sufficiently broad to include such nontraditional people as the investment house financial analysts whom the Fannie Mae Foundation has successfully gotten involved in urban economic development.
The initial reaction of HUD staff to these suggestions was positive. Victor Rubin commented that if the agency does not get more emerging scholars focused on urban issues, with the skills and interests to make the work policy relevant, the country, and field, will end up short down the line.
PRIORITIES TO BE ADDRESSED
HUD’s research interests are broadly defined by its long-standing “7 Principal Policy Objectives.”
HUD’s 7 Principal Policy Objectives
Within this overall framework, however, there is considerable flexibility. For example, as a result of Assistant Secretary Wachter’s interests, housing markets, lending, and other economic-related issues have been added this year to the second round of the doctoral dissertation program. Given latitude to interpret HUD’s interests broadly, meeting participants grappled with the question of how–or how much–to define the research interests of the emerging scholars program. Related issues were how much weight HUD should place on the policy relevance of the research and how broad the program could be while still being relevant to HUD’s interests.
James Carr argued vigorously in favor of focusing on the desired outcomes of the program, and using that orientation to drive the research priorities. “Just saying we’re going to fund lots of issues out there that could be studied is an escape from the real hard question, which is what’s the point.” He suggested that rather than itself
identifying specific research issues, HUD should work with senior urban scholars– presumably the selection committee–to identify high priority issues that address the ultimate goals of the scholars program. In addition, he suggested that program applicants be asked to describe the policy relevance of their research on the application. For somewhat different reasons, Keith Ihlanfeldt also suggested that the program not be restricted to HUD’s current research agenda, but that it focus on urban issues in general, in part because this could help reverse the bias against urban issues that he has encountered in universities.
Kathryn Doherty, a past recipient of a HUD dissertation grant spoke in favor of the program’s placing a priority on research that is problem solving and establishing its priorities “with a very policy-oriented sort of view.” In this regard, she also strongly urged that the program be open to nonacademic researchers. Ned Hill suggested an intellectual middle ground, saying that if the program were so abstract that it didn’t relate to HUD’s mission, then it would be the first thing to go in a period of budget cuts. Conversely, he thought that if the orientation were too “nuts and bolts,” the quality of the research would be jeopardized.
Summarizing the discussion of research priorities, Hal Wolman, who had chaired this discussion at the meeting, thought he saw some convergence:
HUD would invite applicants concerned with a wide range of basic and applied urban research and urban issues and give some examples, but make clear that others would not be ruled out. Part of the [program] application could be to
show what the policy implications and real world implications of this research would be, which would not rule out more basic research.
Reacting to the distinction between applied and basic research, Keith Ihlanfeldt observed that it is a difficult one to make in the urban area. Thinking back 25 years, he noted some of the most policy-oriented pieces probably were considered basic [at the time]. But they really had an impact on what we are doing today in terms of a lot of the programs that we have implemented.
Beyond the distinction between applied and basic research, Victor Rubin raised the question of nontraditional research and its relevance for the program. Falling into this category would be multiauthored pieces and interdisciplinary work, first mentioned by Susan Wachter in her opening remarks, as well as research that straddles the line between applied, local research and more conventional academic scholarship. He gave as an example the growing interest in the “scholarship of engagement” or “community-based participatory research,” which he described as writing focused on the practice of being in a community partnership, or writing that describes the experience of being a policy academic involved in local work. Besides being nontraditional in topic, some of this work is also published in journals outside the urban field, such as in education or public health, because of its syncretic, practice-oriented, nature.
David Maurrasse, Hal Wolman, and other participants expressed a concern that researchers who go down this path might have trouble getting tenure. David Maurrasse said that, in his experience, “there is not enough space for assistant professors or younger scholars in general to innovate.” Hal Wolman pointed out that HUD would not want
to encourage young academics to go in directions that turned out to work to their disadvantage. To the contrary, Victor Rubin said that he saw engaged research as playing a reinvigorating role in urban public health and urban sociology. In the end, after much discussion, Hal Wolman and Ned Hill both commented that tenure decisions were a question of both the orientation of a particular department–whether its focus was narrow or broad–and the balance between community engagement-type pieces or coauthored articles and others that are more traditional. Wolman did not see tenure being a problem provided there was a mix of writing.
The meeting participants did not develop a defined list of research priorities for HUD to consider but their informal suggestions included these topics:
community wealth and investment;
gentrification, especially in relation to growth, smart growth, and regionalism;
housing and home ownership affordability;
eliminating discriminatory barriers in housing;
housing challenges for special needs households – e.g., the elderly or homeless;
policing and the criminal justice system;
the impact of information technology on urban form;
urban labor markets;
racial disparities and disparities between cities and suburbs; and
governance of distressed cities.
ORGANIZATION AND MANAGEMENT: PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
All the participants said that the program should find ways to link emerging scholars with established researchers because of the value of this kind of interaction and the limited opportunities for it to occur otherwise. There were several suggestions about how this linkage could be structured. Keith Ihlanfeldt proposed that the young scholars be allowed to go “anywhere” to find someone more established with whom to collaborate. He suggested this kind of flexible arrangement because “a lot of the people [who] might be interested in urban research are not necessarily located [at institutions where there is] direction for the work that they want to do.” Ned Hill pointed out that in mainstream academic departments, researchers interested in urban issues are particularly likely to be isolated.
On the basis of an informal survey before the meeting of the junior staff at the Rutgers Center, Norm Glickman gave similar advice about using the program to link younger scholars with more senior, accomplished people in the field, and linking scholars throughout the country. James Carr described Fannie Mae’s journal review process as a model for achieving this relationship. Fannie Mae achieves the goal of “real engagement
between the referee and the author” by paying the referees and encouraging them to coach the authors rather than simply writing traditional academic critiques.
Several other mechanisms were suggested for linking scholars:
research roundtables, hosted by organizations like Fannie Mae Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, or the National Research Council, that would bring young scholars together with established researchers, funders, and practitioners;
meetings in conjunction with professional bodies like the American Planning Association, the Conference of Mayors, the Urban Affairs Association, and the Association for Policy Analysis and Management; and
meetings with HUD’s Policy Development and Research staff.
No disagreement was expressed with the idea that the scholars program should confer as much prestige on young scholars as possible, whether through the name, the level of funding, association with other organizations, or some combination of these elements. Several people commented that a prestigious program would have multiple positive effects: it would enhance the professional development of the scholars, add to the prominence of urban research, and advance the reputations of the institutions where the scholars are based.
Norman Glickman, Hal Wolman, and others noted that, in addition to fostering scholarly linkages, partnership with organizations like Fannie Mae, the National Research Council, or the Brookings Institution would also lend important prestige to the HUD
program. Hal Wolman pointed out such associations would also enhance how universities looked at HUD scholars, especially if the partnership included the make-up of the scholars’ selection panel. “It then plays better in the evaluation process at the universities, particularly if the selection panel is not made up of HUD civil servants,” he commented.
ORGANIZATION AND MANAGEMENT: A COMMUNITY OF URBAN SCHOLARS
The concept of a “community of urban scholars,” introduced by Victor Rubin, is a large-scale vision of scholarly collaboration that reinforced suggestions participants had made about linking emerging and senior researchers. This ultimate goal was shared by many at the meeting. To achieve it, several advised that HUD think about working in partnership with other funders, scientific organizations, and professional groups, in order to facilitate networking and the participation of the scholars in workshops and conferences. In this connection, Victor Rubin pointed out that HUD’s Office of University Partnerships has historically supported such efforts, and “looked for every opportunity to get the community of scholars within disciplines and across disciplines to look at this work, to share it, and to support it.” He expressed his hope that the emerging scholars program would “create that kind of networking infrastructure to go along with support for individual scholars.”
Norman Glickman suggested that HUD also think of reaching out to other federal agencies, such as the Departments of Labor and Education, as a way of both
strengthening the program and institutionalizing it. In response, Victor Rubin said that this kind of inter-agency work was already taking place on a selective basis, although it did not typically involve research. He described inter-agency activities involving the scholars as “a long-term project.”
James Carr saw partnership–especially a partnership with Fannie Mae–as providing an opportunity to build the urban research community by extending the research of the emerging scholars beyond the period of HUD support:
To the extent the outcomes piece [of the research] is very powerful, it gives us the opportunity to support the program by possibly funding some significant research, which then goes beyond the period of time for the urban scholars program, and as part of that the interaction of more junior with more senior scholars.
David Maurrasse foresaw that partnering the scholars program with the Rockefeller Foundation’s Working Communities program “might be the opportunity to plug in some more research into some of the [program’s] existing partnerships with HUD.” Furthermore, he said, “this kind of program could actually help Rockefeller and maybe other foundations with a focus on urban issues to help clarify some direction.”
PRODUCTS AND AUDIENCE
As in other parts of the meeting, participants’ concerns about the practical or academic focus of the emerging scholars program were reflected in its discussion of the possible products that would be required of the scholars, and the audience for these products. James Carr urged that a product be required, specifically publications. “Being basic research, being research period, it needs to have that kind of a product that is out there for advice into the whole community, and so from that we get our answers.” This comment, like others Carr made during the day, emphasized his belief that no matter how basic the research funded by the program was, it should also be policy relevant. In relation to the final product, he suggested that the scholars be required to describe the “real-world relevance” of their research not only in the application, but also on completion of the project, in their final report.
Hal Wolman recommended, to general concurrence, that “you build in an expectation into the contractual arrangement that whatever comes out of this will be resolved in some publishable material.” However, his second suggestion, that “in addition to what [fellows do] academically, they must write some more accessible product,” was controversial. Keith Ihlanfeldt, based on a survey of his department’s junior faculty, asserted:
One of the things [the faculty] did not want the program to insist upon is a separate report because what you end up doing is you write this journal article. Then you have to rewrite the journal article for the report. Or
you write the report, and then you’ve got to rewrite the report to submit it to the journal. It’s redundant.
The larger question reflected in both Wolman and Ihlanfeldt’s statements was how to communicate the findings of the scholars’ research to the larger world of policymakers. Would publishing in traditional academic journals be sufficient? Should HUD ask for other kinds of work products? David Maurrasse observed, “most academic publications [are not] going to lead to the kind of change we want to bring about.” Many participants agreed with this idea that traditional academic routes would not lead to the audiences HUD wants the emerging scholars’ work to reach. There were several suggestions about how to reach a more policy-focused audience. James Carr proposed the Fannie Mae model as a possible approach. Fannie Mae requires both a final report and a final publishable paper as the products of the research it funds. The final report is expected to be policy relevant, but there is an understanding that the publishable paper is likely to be much narrower and academically oriented. James Carr said that having the fellows participate in workshops at Fannie Mae would be a way to disseminate findings beyond academia. For example, in 1999, Fannie Mae’s urban policy program brought selected fellows together with twenty press people for a three-day discussion of urban policy issues.
FUNDING LEVEL AND PROGRAM SIZE
How much support the program would have to offer in order to be attractive and prestigious, how long the period of support should be, and whether there should be
different “tracks” for academic and non-academic scholars were the major questions raised in the discussion of funding level and program size.
Norman Glickman suggested that the program be a multiyear effort, like the postdoctoral grants offered by the W.T. Grant Foundation and the National Science Foundation careers program. He said multiyear funding would give “faculty members and others who might be fellows the opportunity to play out a full range of research that is of critical importance to HUD and to others, and to carry it all the way through. ” Glickman acknowledged, however, that there were disadvantages to long-term support. For example, the W.T. Grant program’s grants are for five years. It would severely limit the number of grants that could be awarded if HUD used the same model.
Hal Wolman suggested two years as the duration of the fellowship period. Looking at the question in terms of teaching responsibilities and other workload, Ned Hill and Keith Ihlanfeldt suggested that there be enough support to reduce the fellow’s work during the year by at least 50 percent, plus summer support. Hill proposed that the fellowships be for $50,000, which he thought would be an attractive amount and sufficient to free both academic and nonacademic researchers from other responsibilities.
Seconding Ned Hill, Ziona Austrian said that annual support at the level of $50,000 would help assistant professors who need to develop urban research. Meanwhile, for “people in soft money shops” like hers, who are already engaged in research, it would buy time that they could use to write up their findings. She also suggested that the scholars program has different tracks for academics and nonacademics, but this idea did not get a lot of support from other participants. For example, Norman Glickman countered that the applicant pools were not equal. “The number of people
working in soft money shops is small relative to the potential number of people.” Meanwhile, representing HUD’s perspective, Victor Rubin said, “There may be ways to say there are two tiers to this. But it may not necessarily always conform to saying one tier is people who are currently tenure track, and the others are not. It may be more having to do with what kind of work [the fellow would be doing]. ”
In discussing the costs that should be included in the fellowship. Ned Hill suggested the inclusion of “10 percent overhead as [a way] to offset some of [the] accounting and administrative costs.” Others mentioned including research costs, such as database expenses, as well as a travel budget and $5,000 for a senior collaborator. Jane Karadbil asked whether requiring a match from the fellow’s institution would be a good idea, and several people responded positively. For example, Ned Hill said: “Start-up grants could be part of the match. You could say [that the university has] to provide the capital equipment for the start-up grant, and maybe you go 50-50 match on research assistants.”
The question of whether the fellowship should be given to an individual or to an institution was raised during the discussion. Tom Rozzell suggested the latter route and gave the example of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, which makes its grants to the university for the support of the Hughes investigator. Victor Rubin pointed out that this is the approach HUD is already using for some of its grants. Several people noted that this kind of arrangement is attractive not only because it facilitates accounting transactions, but also because it builds more fiscal responsibility into the program.
With relatively little discussion, participants seemed comfortable that the program should start out with 10 to 15 scholars, increasing to perhaps 30 by the second year. As
Norman Glickman observed, “[Ten to fifteen is] manageable. You could bring them together reasonably easily. They can get to know each other if you do that. You can start to build [a] kind of community that way.”
Several people suggested that HUD have a grand vision for developing the scholars’ program beyond the first two years. Jim Gibson described the grants program he managed (in the 1980s) at the Rockefeller Foundation as a prototype:
We put money in for everything, from research assistantships, dissertation support to post-doctoral support. We [had] a minimum 10-year time frame [for the program], so that over time the word got out [that] there was viability about it, and people kind of planned, and there was some career planning that got embedded in it. And we provided support for things like team research, so that you could get senior scholars with junior scholars and a variety of [other efforts] to encourage and support mentors. There were forums and workshops and conferences that included policy people from Washington, as well as practitioners, community level practice people, in the discussions of the work of the scholars.
James Carr described a similar long-term activity at Fannie Mae:
For almost four years [we have been] looking at immigration and its impact on housing affordability, and the community conditions of various immigrant groups. [This has] involved a group of three to four
research institutions working collaboratively for that entire period of time. And every now and then we bring someone in. We add another person to that group. If there were a HUD urban fellow whose research was in line with that, we would like to bring them in as well. We also try and connect institutions together.
The meeting successfully provided the review of issues HUD was looking for, and at this writing the Office of Policy Development and Research has proposed to move ahead with funding for the Urban Scholars Program.
Gale, W., and J.R. Pack 2000 Editors’ Summary. Pp ix-xiv in Brookings-Wharton Papers on Urban Affairs, William Gale and Janet Rothenberg Pack, eds. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.
Greenstein, R., and W. Wiewel 2000Introduction to Urban–Suburban Interdependencies. Pp 1-19 in Urban-Suburban Interdependencies, Rosalind Greenstein and Wim Wiewel, eds. Cambridge, MA: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.
U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development No Moving Knowledge and Policy; Policy Development and Research Date Priorities, 1998-2000. Washington, DC.
1998 The State of the Cities, 1999. Washington, DC.
National Research Council 1999Governance and Opportunity in Metropolitan America. Committee on Improving the Future of U.S. Cities Through Improved Metropolitan Area Governance. Alan Altshuler, William Morrill, Harold Wolman, and Faith
Mitchell, editors. National Research Council. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
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Planning Meeting for the HUD Urban Scholars Program
May 18, 2000
National Academy of Sciences, Board Room
2101 Constitution Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20418
Faith Mitchell, Director, Division on Social and Economic Studies
The Rationale for an Urban Scholars Program
Susan Wachter, Assistant Secretary, Office of Policy Development and Research, HUD
Victor Rubin, Director, Office of University Partnerships, HUD
Discussion (Faith Mitchell, moderator)
Discussion led by Hal Wolman, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
What are the policy research needs (in the sense of emerging issues) that can be met with this type of grantmaking program?
What should specific research and publication priorities be?
Are there particular topics or issues that researchers who are newer to the field would be more likely to be interested in and working on?
Can policy-relevant research also lead to tenure?
Discussion led by Jim Gibson, DC Agenda and Urban Institute
How should we define “new” scholars?
What level and form of financial support would yield the most productive results?
How should the program be organized and managed? Are there are good analogous programs on which it can be modeled?
How much research could the scholars be expected to produce?