Dr. Agrawal Cited by Thomas Piketty

November 14 Tuesday 02:29 PM

Martin School faculty member Dr. Agrawal was cited in Thomas Piketty’s November 14th blog post about the crisis in Catalan:


Martin School Director Featured in Education Week Series

November 13 Monday 02:22 PM

In addition to educating students in the classroom, faculty at the Martin School also publish research that impacts current public policy. In fact, Education Week recently published a blog series featuring the research of Dr. Ron Zimmer, Director (and an alumnus) of the Martin School. The series reflects on a recent publication titled “Lessons from Five Years of Research on State Turnaround Efforts” from the Tennessee Education Research Alliance (TERA). As a part of the Peabody Research Institute at Vanderbilt University, TERA has a mission “to provide evidence based from research to inform education policy.” Dr. Zimmer, along with other researchers, has partnered with TERA to analyze Tennessee’s recent school turnaround efforts

In the first post of this series, members of TERA present their perspectives on the research, including a discussion of the outcomes of two primary reform programs, a synthesized retrospective look at previous research, and a plan for future research. According to Dr. Zimmer, the biggest success of this research has been its ability to produce “information that has helped refine Tennessee’s policy to turn around low performing schools.” TERA’s research brief indicated areas of success for these programs as well as various challenges that have impaired the progress of the programs.

The second post features Nate Schwartz, the Chief Research and Strategy Officer for the Tennessee Department of Education. He discusses the successes and challenges of following Tennessee’s school initiative as well as the implications of the findings of Dr. Zimmer and his colleagues. The perspective Schwartz presents highlights the sometimes difficult transition process between research and policy. Yet he also demonstrates how working with TERA and the researchers on this analysis has bettered Tennessee’s education department and its programs. Tennessee’s education department and Dr. Zimmer and his colleagues will continue to monitor the progress of the state’s school initiative.


The original blog posts can be viewed here:


September Feature: Lessons in Compromise

September 7 Thursday 03:11 PM

During the Summer 2017 Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship's College Congress, KET followed five students through the week. The mini-documentary includes individual interviews and filming all over the Lexington area: University of Kentucky, Transylvania University, Three Chimneys Farm, Ashland Henry Clay Estate, and the Campbell House. The Martin School took part in constructing the programming these college students experienced in Lexington and in DC. The episode will air for the first time on KET on Tuesday, September 12th at 9:30pm

What Do Nurses, Barbers, and Truck Drivers Have in Common?

August 16 Wednesday 05:31 PM

Matt Shafer is entering his second year of the MPA program. In this post, he describes one his first projects as a policy analyst at the Council of State Governments.

What do nurses, barbers, and truck drivers all have in common? They need a state issued license to perform their jobs. When implemented properly, occupational licensing can help protect the health and safety of consumers by requiring training and education. However, differences and disparities in occupational licensing laws across states can create barriers for those looking to enter the labor market and make it harder for workers to relocate across state lines.

As an Education and Workforce Development Policy Analyst at CSG, I have spent the summer researching licensing requirements among all 50 states across 34 selected occupations in hopes of compiling a national licensing report by the end of the year. Scouring through thousands of state statutes and administrative rules constitutes the bulk of my research, and as you might expect, the task has been more difficult than initially anticipated. Statutes are confusing to read and vague, occupations are difficult to define uniformly, licensing requirements are cumbersome to obtain, and discrepancies amongst states are massive. Nevertheless, we are on pace to meet our goal and finish our research portion of the report by this fall.

This project is a joint effort between CSG and sister organizations: the National Conference of State Legislatures and the National Governors Association. Together we are looking for solutions to solve problems caused by barriers created through disparities in states occupational licensing laws.

After the report is finished, our team will focus on the next phase of the project. Through a competitive application process, 10 states will be selected to receive technical assistance from all three organizations over the next three years to improve licensing policies. I will be traveling to the selected states to familiarize state leaders with licensing laws and best practices in other states, and begin actions to remove unnecessary barriers to labor market entry and improve portability and reciprocity of licenses.  

I love my position at CSG, and I’m grateful for the Martin School in providing me the resources to succeed there. I look forward to incorporating my occupational licensing research at CSG into my capstone project as I finish my MPA degree next spring. 

MPA Student Explores Professional Interests in Local Government Internship

August 4 Friday 11:34 AM

Paul Kleier is an MPA student beginning his second year this fall. He reflects upon his summer internship experience with the City of Cresview Hills in Northern Kentucky.

When I entered the Martin School last August I knew that my professional interest lay in local government. When it came time to explore internships, therefore, I looked at the possibility of working for a city government. Being a native of northern Kentucky, this search led me to the City of Crestview Hills where I have been interning for the past two months. My experience here has been both educational and eye-opening and included tasks ranging from the more mundane realities of small, local governments to intriguing projects that can shape the future of cities.

Working with Tim Williams, the City Administrator of Crestview Hills, and other staff at the City, has exposed me to a broad array of concerns that local government must attend to. While visiting road maintenance projects with the Public Works Director, I have learned about the many considerations that go into these projects, such having proper signage to denote changes in traffic patterns. By being part of the process to develop a Mixed-Use Zone for the City, I have been able to see the qualities that are important in choosing partners for projects. I have been leading my own project of reviewing and making informed recommendations to improve the aesthetics of the City’s office park. Through this, I continue to realize how much work goes into overseeing a seemingly straightforward task that can lead to contentious interactions with constituents of the City.

Besides the duties that have been assigned to me, I have learned a great deal from observing City Council meetings. Committee meetings are often even more informative, and they tend to be longer and more focused and, therefore, more substantive. The ability to lead a focused discussion, elicit thoughtful and constructive opinions, and be mindful of the various personalities and preferences in a room is very valuable whether the subject of the meeting is the possibility of a financing program to encourage energy efficiency or how to work with the local Sanitation District to address hill erosion.

As the summer draws to a close, I look forward to applying the lessons I’ve learned from my internship with Crestview Hills. I feel confident that this field is for me because it’s the most excited I’ve ever been to go into work, knowing the projects I have in store. After all, it is very reassuring when someone interested in local government spends free time wondering about whether a particular resident would have had to get a permit to construct a detached accessory structure in their yard!