News from the Bush School

Bush School Capstone Team Travels to Austin

September 16, 2010

September 16, 2010

One Capstone group, under the direction of Dr. Sharon Caudle, traveled on September 10, to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) headquarters in Austin to be briefed by a top-ranking DPS official on the topic of Texas security issues. Specifically, DPS tasked the Bush School students with reporting on two areas of utmost importance to the safety and security of Texas residents – “spillover” violence from Mexican cartels and transnational gangs, and violent domestic gang impact and terror linkages.

The Capstone project is an important component of the MPSA and MPIA degrees at the Bush School.  Students give input on some of the most critical policy issues facing the nation and state by working in teams to craft research, make policy recommendations, and present formal reports to client agencies.

At the meeting, it was explained that the level of violence on both sides of the Texas-Mexico border is increasing exponentially, as is the level of gang membership and activity.  However, there is disagreement among various reports on how much of a problem this really is, as well as the various causes of conflict.  The Capstone reports will capture the true picture of domestic gang crime and spillover violence in Texas, and will be an invaluable tool for DPS.

Other MPSA Capstone projects for 2010-2011 include “A Study of the Abriendo Puertas Program,” evaluating the effectiveness of an initiative aimed at reducing the high school dropout rate; “An Evaluation of American Immigration Policy and Recommended Changes”; “Mapping the Nonprofit Capacity-Building Infrastructure in Texas”; “A Review of the 82nd Session Milestones and the Identification and Discussion of Issues on the Horizon for the 83rd Session,” a review of noteworthy shifts in policy relevant to the 82nd and 83rd Texas legislative sessions; and “Post-Secondary Education Policy,” examining current and future educational needs in Texas high schools.