Aimee Wall

Public Policy and New Role for Aimee Wall

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I blogged earlier about our strategic planning implementation—(1) what resources are needed to implement our strategic priorities; (2) what resources are available ; and (3) in allocating scarce resources, how do we balance our strategic priorities against each other and against other new and existing positions and activities? The Dean’s Advisory Council (DAC) has continued to work through the recommendations from the implementation committees—we are focused now on getting our arms around the resources needed to implement the strategic priorities that emerged through our planning process.

I want to share some recent conversations and decisions related to the work coming out of our public policy implementation committee.  Our planning process resolved the longstanding question of whether we should do more to assist policymakers.  The implementation committee has been focused on how to do it.  I asked the members to address two primary objectives that emerged from our planning.  The first and most immediate objective is to increase the work of the School at the General Assembly by better integrating our existing expertise into policy discussions.  The second, longer-term objective is to help state and local policymakers understand and apply policy-relevant research generated by others at Carolina.

Earlier this fall, the committee submitted a thorough report outlining proposed next steps for developing an Applied Public Policy Assistance Network (APPAN) and for revamping the Daily Bulletin.  The committee chairs, Aimee Wall and John Rubin, presented the report to the DAC and we had an excellent preliminary discussion about the proposal.  They also recently submitted a detailed budget request and, in the coming weeks, the DAC will review that request in conjunction with those from the other implementation committees.  I encourage you to review the full report for all of the recommendations, which I will not try to summarize here.

The proposal envisions building an infrastructure to support SOG faculty and other professionals as they work on complex and important public policy issues facing our state.  It involves hiring policy analysts, managing projects, facilitating and supporting communications, and networking with policymakers. It also involves making some important changes to the Daily Bulletin.  The proposal builds on the School’s strengths—responsiveness, substantive expertise and neutrality—and will allow us to expand our presence in state level policy discussions.  Once APPAN is up and running, I believe that we will be able to increase our impact in Raleigh and across the state, which is exactly the priority that emerged in our planning.

While the APPAN model is still developing, we have been able to take a few important steps forward in implementing it.  First, Aimee Wall has agreed to serve as the Director of APPAN, and John Rubin has agreed to Chair the internal APPAN Advisory Committee and work closely with Christine Wunsche on changes to the Daily Bulletin.  While John will simply be adding to his already substantial workload, Aimee and I agreed that she should shift away from her current substantive fields of work (public health and animal control) to focus on the work of APPAN.  The implementation of APPAN is a major responsibility and it demands someone’s full attention.  Aimee will continue to work with legislators and the legislative staff as a client group and will begin the process of developing a new substantive field focused on state government—especially state constitutional law.

What does this mean for others at the School?  First, it means that Jill Moore will be our one and only public health lawyer.  Jill has been involved in these conversations and has graciously agreed to assume responsibility for much of Aimee’s work in this field.  In the animal control arena, we will no longer have a single “animal control law” person.  Rather, responsibility for responding to questions will be shared between Jill (rabies law), Jeff Welty (criminal animal cruelty laws), Frayda and Fleming (general local government law, such as development of ordinances, public records, and inter-local cooperation).  Thanks to everyone for their willingness to help make this possible.

Aimee will begin transitioning into her new role over the next six months or so.  This reallocation of existing resources—Aimee’s existing faculty field—is critical to implementing APPAN.  She is excited about this switch and I am grateful for her willingness to change gears professionally to make it happen.  Special thanks also for Jill’s her willingness to make it work.

Aimee will be wrapping up some teaching and writing projects and it will be a gradual transition.  We both agreed that it is extremely important to launch this initiative under the direction of someone already familiar with the culture and values of our organization and an understanding of how best to integrate this type of support into our current structures.  You will obviously be hearing more about APPAN in the coming months, but in the meantime, Aimee, John, Tom and I are available to answer questions.  It is great to be making progress at long last on this strategic priority.

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