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Bush School Faculty Collaborations across the TAMU System

May 02, 2016

Faculty members at the Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University, often collaborate with a wide range of departments, colleges, and institutions across the Texas A&M University System. In just the past year, faculty members and researchers from the Bush School have engaged in collaborations with scholars from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Education and Human Development, the College of Engineering, the Texas A&M Law School, the College of Liberal Arts, the Mays Business School, the School of Public Health, and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, among many others.

“We have an amazing range of expertise within Texas A&M University and the Texas A&M University System,” said Dr. Arnold Vedlitz, executive associate dean at the Bush School and director of the Institute for Science, Technology, and Public Policy (ISTPP). “Being able to work collaboratively with our colleagues throughout the University and in the System universities and agencies enables all of us together to address public policy issues from a wider perspective than any of our units could do alone.”

In addition to a myriad of individual faculty relationships that Bush School faculty have throughout the University and System, researchers from the Bush School’s institutes are also very engaged in this collaborative effort.  For example, the Institute for Science, Technology, and Public Policy has worked closely with a number of other institutes across campus as a part of the Nexus Initiatives exploring the connections among water, energy, and food (WEF). The WEF Nexus Initiative, which has already submitted two research proposals to the National Science Foundation, includes researchers from ISTPP and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Engineering, the Texas A&M Energy Institute, the College of Geosciences, the College of Liberal Arts, and the Texas Water Resource Institute.

Last year, the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs launched the Global Pandemic Policy Program through close partnerships with the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, the Health Science Center (including the College of Medicine and School of Public Health), the College of Liberal Arts, and the College of Engineering. The program capitalizes on the resources from these colleges and centers in order to prepare, and hopefully prevent, the next global disease outbreak. In September 2015, the program hosted the Global Pandemic Policy Summit, which brought together some of the top experts in the fields of public health, medicine, homeland security, veterinary medicine, engineering, agriculture, economics, psychology, government, and international diplomacy.

Capstones at the Bush School—team-based, student research projects on behalf of a real-world client—have also provided multiple opportunities for students at the Bush School to collaborate with several departments and colleges throughout the Texas A&M System. Students in Dr. Jim Griffin’s capstone project researching water policy in Texas have collaborated with faculty members from the Department of Agricultural Economics and the Department of Hydrology within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. A Bush School capstone researching the impact of the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal was able to gain valuable insights after working with faculty from the College of Geosciences. The Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service has served as a client for the capstone projects of both Dr. Will Brown and Dr. Ann Bowman.

This past year marked the first joint capstone between the Bush School and the Texas A&M School of Law. The year-long capstone project studied trade barriers in North America and the effects of “Buy America” legislation. Thirteen students—eight from the Bush School and five from the Law School—were led by Dr. Jeryl Mumpower, head of the Public Service and Administration Department, and Executive Professor William Henning of the Law School.

The capstone is one of multiple joint efforts pooling the resources of the Bush School and the Texas A&M Law School. Drs. Raymond Robertson and Jessica Gottlieb have worked closely with scholars at the Law School investigating the intersection of law and international relations. Dr. Kent Portney is conducting research on groundwater management with colleagues from the Law School, the College of Agriculture, and the College of Geosciences. In addition, Dr. Mary Hilderbrand has participated in a number of co-sponsored lectures with the Law School and is currently working on a research project with professors at the Law School. Earlier this year, researchers at ISTPP participated in the annual Water Lecture Series: Perspectives on Law and Policy, co-hosted with the Water Management and Hydrological Science Program, the Texas Water Resource Institute, and the Texas A&M University Law School.

The Bush School has also been deeply involved with several initiatives at the College of Liberal Arts. Several members of both the international affairs and the public service and administration faculty have served on MA and PhD committees. Students from a number of Liberal Arts departments are also Bush School students in the School’s five-year program, which allows students to graduate with a bachelor’s degree from the College of Liberal Arts and a master’s degree from the Bush School. Sharing a building with the Department of Political Science and the Department of Economics has allowed a number of faculty from the Bush School to be affiliated with those departments as well. The close proximity of the Bush School to these departments allows for several research collaborations among faculty and students, enhancing the multidisciplinary approaches to learning and research.

“Since its inception, when the Bush School drew faculty from the departments of economics, sociology, political science, and others, the School has always pursued a multidisciplinary approach in partnering with colleges and departments all over campus,” said Vedlitz. “Our faculty and research institutes have developed strong partnerships with different agencies and departments across the University and the Texas A&M System, and we hope to reap the benefits of these strong partnerships for many years to come.”

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