In response to the ever-evolving challenges and critical policy questions facing our state, the School has developed an applied public policy initiative called ncIMPACT. This nonpartisan research, data, and analysis tool helps address such vital concerns as health, education, economic development, criminal justice, public finance, and the environment. Supporting ncIMPACT with the necessary funding will ensure that the highest quality information is made widely available to state and local decision-makers as they tackle complex public issues.
THE VALUE OF EXPERTISE
Eddie Caldwell needed a reliable source—fast—and on a Saturday. An uncontrollable forest fire raged in western North Carolina, and local officials needed to understand state evacuation procedures. Caldwell, executive vice president and general counsel for the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association, went to the UNC School of Government website, where he found a blog post on emergency management law by faculty member Norma Houston. Acting on Houston’s expertise, Caldwell delivered the information his sheriffs needed to enforce the evacuation orders.
Our school continues to demonstrate the value our experts bring to the state. With faculty who are recognized leaders in more than 250 topical areas of North Carolina local government law and practice, we are the single trusted resource for the most up-to-date and reliable research findings, conference presentations, blogs, books, programs, and training.
And now we are taking that value another step forward with ncIMPACT. This public policy initiative, built on decades of experience providing real-time information to officials throughout the state, is our response to the rapidly growing challenges they face. By working closely with policymakers and other leaders, ncIMPACT supplies evidence-based options and creative policy insights that inform responses to the most important questions and issues. Currently in its infancy, this unique data and analysis tool has incredible potential but will depend on private funding from donors like you to be successful.
A STRATEGY FOR UNDERSTANDING
As the acknowledged leader in local government information and training, the UNC School of Government is able to offer resources not found anywhere else. For example, School faculty have created two engaging simulation tools applicable to cities and counties—Budgetopolis and Bottom Line! Through collaborative, board game–style play, public officials learn how to make strategic, long-term budgeting choices before having to undertake this important effort in real life. Both tools are a distinctively fun way to educate decision-makers on the complexities and potential consequences of the local budgeting process. High school students and citizen groups who have played the games also report having a better understanding of their communities’ complex budget process and a greater appreciation of the tough financial and service choices their local officials must make.