Monthly Connect Series

screenshot of zoom call with nine people

The Strategic Partnership Monthly Connect is a series of virtual and in-person (pre-COVID-19) panel discussions on topics relevant to partnerships among state government, research institutions including colleges/universities, philanthropy, and others. The Monthly Connect series is open to anyone interested in attending. 

Below are links to recordings (linked in session titles), presentations, and other resources related to these interactive sessions. 

Sign up to receive NC Office of Strategic Partnerships Highlights (e-news and resources) and Monthly Connect session invites. Click here for past Highlights and scroll down for all Monthly Connect recordings. 

Next Monthly Connect: Check back soon!

Past Monthly Connects

Tab/Accordion Item

North Carolina Evaluation Fund Projects

Speakers described the projects, expected project learnings and outcomes, and how the projects will help to increase the use of evidence in government policy and program decisions. 

  • Advanced Teaching Roles (Thomas Tomberlin, NC Department of Public Instruction; Callie Edwards, NC State University)  
  • Certified Career Pathways (Tracie Ford, NC Department of Commerce; Michelle Bartlett, NC State University)   
  • Early Childhood Longitudinal Data (Jeni Corn, NC Department of Public Instruction; Hayley Young, NC Department of Health and Human Services; Brooks Bowden, University of Pennsylvania)  
  • Integrated Behavioral Health Services for First Responders (Chad Jordan, NC Department of Public Safety; Meret Hofer, RTI International)  
  • NC Integrated Care for Kids (Kathryn Horneffer, NC Department of Health and Human Services; Paul Lanier, UNC-Chapel Hill)  
  • RESTART: Domestic Violence Intervention Programs (Danielle Carman, NC Department of Administration; Deborah Weissman, UNC-Chapel Hill)   
  • Teen Courts (Brittany Schott, NC Department of Public Safety; James Cockerham, Montreat College)   
  • WIC Enrollment (Madhu Vulimiri, NC Department of Health and Human Services; Greeshma James, Duke University)   

Click here for relevant resources. 

North Carolina County Profile Data: Promises and Pitfalls for Collaboration

Speakers provided overviews of the county data profiles from Carolina Across 100 and the NC Association of County Commissioners; highlighted specific examples of how these profiles are helping decision makers, community organizations, and others on-the-ground; shared cautions about county profile data; and discussed opportunities to use these county profiles (and data profiles from other sources) for cross-sector collaboration and decision making. 

  • Anita Brown-Graham (moderator), Director, ncIMPACT Initiative and Professor, UNC School of Government
  • Denise Canada, Fiscal and Policy Research Director, North Carolina Association of County Commissioners
  • Mike Cline, State Demographer, State of North Carolina 
  • Jessica Dorrance, Research Director, ncIMPACT Initiative, UNC School of Government  
  • Eliza Edwards, Deputy Director, NC Office of Strategic Partnerships
  • Alisha Friday, Executive Director, Lincoln County United Way
  • Rebecca McCall, Commissioner, Henderson County

Click here for relevant resources. 

The Role of Intergovernmental Affairs in Increasing and Improving Cross-Sector Collaboration

Speakers discussed the importance of intergovernmental collaboration and how it occurs at various levels of government; shared strategies for engaging with their organizations and for improving intra- and cross-sector partnerships; and highlighted specific examples of successful collaboration between government and non-governmental partners. 

  • Ariel Aponte, Associate Vice Chancellor for Military and Federal Relations, Student Affairs, Elizabeth City State University 
  • Alicia Davis, Director of Governmental Affairs and Policy, NC Department of the Secretary of State 
  • Jim McCleskey (moderator), Director, North Carolina Washington Office, Office of the Governor 
  • Beau Mills, Director of Urban Affairs, NC League of Municipalities; Executive Director, NC Metropolitan Mayors Coalition 
  • Kevin Monroe, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, Office of the Governor 

Click here for relevant resources. 

Increasing and Enhancing Data Access, Sharing, and Use for Research Collaboration

Speakers provided examples of data available from North Carolina state agencies; discussed why the data are important to universities, colleges, and other organizations; shared strategies for effective cross-sector communication about and collaboration around data access, requests, sharing, and use; and highlighted specific examples of successful data sharing within and between government and research partners.  

  • Nitya Ganapathy, Analytics Director, Government Data Analytics Center, NC Department of Information Technology 
  • Andrew P. Kelly, Senior Vice President for Strategy and Policy, University of North Carolina System
  • Nicole Lucas, Associate Vice Chancellor for Institutional Effectiveness, Research, and Planning, Fayetteville State University
  • Betty McGrath, Director of Employment Statistics and Analysis, Labor and Economic Analysis Division, NC Department of Commerce 
  • Jessie Tenenbaum, Chief Data Officer, NC Department of Health and Human Services 

Click here for relevant resources. 

North Carolina's FY 2022-23 Budget: What's New and What Are the Impacts?

Charlie Perusse, State Budget Director, NC Office of State Budget and Management, shared context for North Carolina’s economy today, highlighted a range of investments in the FY 2022-23 budget, provided insight into what this funding means for the State and North Carolinians, and answered the question, “What’s Next?”. 

  • Charlie Perusse, State Budget Director, NC Office of State Budget and Management

Click here for the slide deck. Click here for relevant resources. 

Communicating Research and Policy: Learning from Experts at Government and University Organizations

Speakers shared specific strategies for government and research organizations to improve their communication within and across sectors; described how to identify opportunities for information sharing; and highlighted why government-research collaboration and communication is important for evidence-informed decision making.

  • Karl Bates, Director of Research Communications, Duke University 
  • Matthew Chamberlin, Associate Dean for Communications and Marketing, Gillings School of Global Public Health, UNC Chapel Hill 
  • Beth Gargan, Deputy Communications Director, NC Department of Information Technology 
  • Marie Spear, Government Relations Manager, RTI International
  • Noelle Talley (moderator), Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of Governor Cooper

Click here for relevant resources from the session. 

State Agency Strategic Plans and Their Relevance Across Sectors

Speakers described the components and the development process of their agencies’ strategic plans. They emphasized why strategic planning for state agencies is important and the value of engaging people from a variety of roles, teams, divisions, etc. in plan development and implementation. Explore State Agency Strategic Plans

  • Cara Bridges, Senior Policy and Planning Analyst, Office of Policy and Strategic Planning, NC Department of Public Safety 
  • Jennifer Haigwood, Director of Communications and Policy Development, NC Department of Labor
  • Ehren Meister, Director of Performance Metrics, Office of Strategic Initiatives and Program Support, NC Department of Transportation
  • Sarah Porper, Director of Business Strategy, NC Department of Information Technology

NC Evaluation Fund Grants: Anca Grozav from the Office of State Budget and Management announced the new NC Evaluation Fund, which will provide grants to state agencies to support research projects that inform policy and program decisions. Applicants have access to technical assistance to develop their application and find a research partner. North Carolina state government agencies can apply. Higher education institutions are not eligible to apply directly, but they can be—and are encouraged to be—research partners with an agency applicant. For examples of some types of projects that could be a good fit for this opportunity, see projectportal.nc.gov. OSBM expects to award 5-10 grants over the next six months, totaling up to $1 million. If you have questions about the process or application, email evaluationgrants@osbm.nc.gov.

Engaging Students in Government: From Part-Time Intern to Full-Time Career

Speakers described their government internships, the ways these experiences shaped their career aspirations, and their educational and professional paths to where they are today. Participants and speakers shared numerous tips for students, hiring managers, college/university career services, and others to encourage and enhance student engagement in government. 

  • Catherine Chen, Doctoral Associate, NC Office of Strategic Partnerships, and 2022 PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 
  • Kiya Edwards, Digital Equity Manager, NC Office of Digital Equity and Literacy, NC Department of Information Technology 
  • Bailey Recktenwald, Chief Strategy Officer, NC Department of Environmental Quality

Click here for relevant resources from the session. 

The North Carolina Project Portal: A Tool for Developing and Launching Partnerships with Government

Speakers shared specific examples from the North Carolina project portal. They also demonstrated how government, research, philanthropy, and other partners can use the project portal to share partnership opportunities and bolster cross-sector collaboration.

  • Eliza Edwards, Policy Analyst, NC Office of Strategic Partnerships 
  • John Hardin, Executive Director, NC Office of Science, Technology & Innovation, NC Department of Commerce 
  • Charlotte Hudson, Director, Lenfest Ocean Program, The Pew Charitable Trusts  
  • Tonya Smith-Jackson, Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, NC A&T State University 
  • McKinley Wooten, Assistant Secretary for Research and Equity, NC Department of Revenue 
  • David Yokum, Senior Advisor, NC Office of Strategic Partnerships and Director, The Policy Lab at Brown University

Links to items discussed during the session (Descriptions are paraphrased and come directly from corresponding links as of February 24, 2022.) 

  • North Carolina Project Portal: The NC Office of Strategic Partnerships created the NC Project Portal to share opportunities for partnering with state agencies on their research needs and for people to express interest in pursuing those opportunities. We invite you to explore the Portal and welcome feedback.
  • Lenfest Ocean Program: The Lenfest Ocean Program (LOP) funds research projects that address the needs of marine and coastal stakeholders and supports grantees who will engage with the people most likely to use the results. Click here for the LOP grant-making criteria, which helps outline how to create a co-designed project. 

Using Randomized Controlled Trials in North Carolina to Build Evidence for Effective Policy and Practice

Speakers shared specific examples of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) they have been involved with in North Carolina and the impact these trials have had on policy. The panelists also touched on how RCTs can fit into continuous improvement in government, discussed the ethics of conducting RCTs, and gave practical advice for getting started as a researcher or government agency.  

  • Julie Edmunds, Program Director, SERVE Center, University of North Carolina at Greensboro  
  • Bryan K. Ryan, Senior Vice President, Effectiveness and Innovation, Wake Technical Community College   
  • Nicole Sullivan, Deputy Secretary, Analysis, Programming, and Policy, NC Department of Public Safety   
  • Jeff Grimes (moderator), Evidence Advisor, NC Office of Strategic Partnerships

Links to items discussed during the session (Descriptions are paraphrased and come directly from corresponding links as of January 27, 2022.) 

  • Project COMPASS (Constructing an Online Model to Promote At-Risk Student Success): Wake Tech’s First in the World project leveraging technology and outreach to improve academic outcomes. This site describes the project goal and objectives, the protocols used, results, and the project team. 
  • What Happens When You Combine High School and College?: This policy brief from the SERVE Center discusses the impact of early colleges on postsecondary performance and completion.

  • Brookings blog post on early colleges: This post discusses how early colleges can make us rethink the separation of high school and postsecondary systems. 

North Carolina's Budget: The Process and What's Inside

Speakers gave an overview of the state budget process, shared high level takeaways (including the unprecedented amount of money in the FY2021-23 budget), and outlined what it means for North Carolinians. They also highlighted the state budget document as a resource for anyone interested in learning more about the state’s policy and research priorities. 

  • Charlie Perusse, State Budget Director, NC Office of State Budget and Management
  • Jennifer Haygood, Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer, UNC System

Click here for a list of relevant resources shared by participants and speakers in the virtual "chat."

Building Equity into Partnerships from the Start

Speakers discussed the meaning of equity, why it matters, what it requires, and highlighted how challenging but critical “doing the work” is. They also shared strategies for building equity into research and partnerships from the beginning and ongoing; candid advice for people and organizations that want to do it more and better but don’t know where to start; and personal and professional insight from their experience.

  • Victor Armstrong, Chief Health Equity Officer, NC Department of Health and Human Services
  • Dr. Iheoma Iruka, Founding Director, Equity Research Action Coalition, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute and Research Professor of Public Policy, UNC Chapel Hill 
  • Dr. Julia Mendez Smith, Professor of Psychology and Special Consultant on Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Initiatives for the Division of Student Affairs, UNC Greensboro 
  • Dr. Vivian Tseng, Senior Vice President, Programs, William T. Grant Foundation 

Click here for a list of relevant resources shared by participants and speakers in the virtual "chat."

The Evidence Act and Agency Learning Agendas: What They Are, Why They Matter, and How to get Involved

Speakers shared context for the federal Evidence Act and progress on implementation, including the development (underway) of agency learning agendas at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. They highlighted various ways that researchers, philanthropy, representatives from state and local government, and others can get involved in the process; described challenges and opportunities; and shared resources relevant to using research and evidence to inform government decision making. 
 

  • Katherine Dawes, EPA Evaluation Officer (Acting), Office of the Chief Financial Officer, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 

  • Diana Epstein, Evidence Team Lead, U.S. Office of Management and Budget

  • Jennifer Turnham, Director, Policy Development Division, Office of Policy Development and Research, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 

Click here for a list of relevant resources shared by speakers and participants. 

The Many Roles of Philanthropy in Government-Philanthropy Partnerships

Speakers shared specific examples of government-philanthropy partnerships, insight into building successful partnerships and overcoming barriers, and the value of research in partnerships. They described various roles that philanthropy plays in partnerships, including convening, thought-partnering, funding, information-sharing, and technical assistance. In addition, OSP shared initial results from its recent survey of philanthropy and speakers offered their reactions to the data.

  • Curtis Holloman, Executive Director, The Foundation for a Healthy High Point
  • Jasmine McGhee, Special Deputy Attorney General and Director of Public Protection Section, NC Department of Justice
  • Tara Scholtz, Senior Program Officer, Community Foundation of Western North Carolina

Click for the slide deck and headlines from OSP's survey of philanthropy

NC Office of Strategic Partnerships Information and Resources

Speakers shared an overview of OSP, how state agencies can receive assistance with identifying and pursuing research priorities, insight into conducting outreach to find external expertise for partnership opportunities, the importance of using evidence to inform decision making, and tips for building collaborative networks of government and non-governmental partners. Also highlighted were examples of existing partnerships and efforts underway to enhance how partnership opportunities are presented and shared.

  • Eliza Edwards, Policy Analyst, NC Office of Strategic Partnerships
  • Jenni Owen, Director, NC Office of Strategic Partnerships
  • David Yokum, Director, The Policy Lab at Brown University; Senior Advisor, NC Office of Strategic Partnerships

Maximizing University-Government Talent Partnerships

Speakers shared examples of existing university-government talent partnerships and work underway to diversify NC’s government workforce, highlighted the value of these efforts for students, jobseekers, and employers, discussed strategies for increasing their impact and reach, and provided tips for others who may want to make progress in this area.

  • Nina Barrett, Policy and Research Fellow, office of the Chief Operating Officer, NC Department of Transportation
  • Tracey Burns, Deputy Secretary of Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion, NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
  • Winston J. Holloway, On-the-Job Training Program Fellow, Office of Civil Rights, NC Department of Transportation
  • Susan McCracken, Director of Career Development and Economic Engagement, Appalachian State University
  • Dylan Russell, Executive Director of Lead for North Carolina, UNC School of Government

Click here for a list of relevant resources shared by speakers and participants. 

Understanding the American Rescue Plan

Speakers provided insights and information on the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds coming to North Carolina; an overview of Governor Cooper’s ARPA Investment Recommendations and anticipated next steps; and considerations for local governments. They also answered questions from the nearly 200 participants representing state and local government, colleges and universities, and non-profit organizations including state and national philanthropies.

  • Charlie Perusse, State Budget Director, NC Office of State Budget and Management 
  • Kevin Leonard, Executive Director, NC Association of County Commissioners

Click here for Perusse's slide deck.
Click here for Leonard's slide deck.
Click here for a list of ARP resources shared by speakers and participants. 

North Carolina Boards and Commissions: What they are and how to get involved

Panelists gave an overview of the different types and roles of boards and commissions; their impact and what serving on one entails; the application/recommendation and appointment process; and more. Click here for more information on NC Boards and Commissions.

*FACOG after a physician’s name indicates that he/she has met additional criteria to qualify as a Fellow of The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

 


Government-Research Partnerships and COVID-19

Panelists representing government and research partners gave an overview of the featured partnerships; highlighted the role of data, evidence, and research in these efforts; shared strategies for approaching potential partners from other sectors; launching and sustaining partnerships; how students can be involved; adapting to challenges (e.g., COVID-19); and more. For more information about the three highlighted partnerships, see Finish Line Grants program, Formerly Incarcerated Transition (FIT) program, and NC Wastewater Pathogen Research Network

  • Dr. Evan Ashkin, Founder, Formerly Incarcerated Transition (FIT) program; professor, UNC School of Medicine
  • Rick Bolich, Chief, Groundwater Resources Section, Division of Water Resources, NC Department of Environmental Quality
  • Jessica Englert, Assistant Secretary, Division of Workforce Solutions, NC Department of Commerce 
  • Dr. Audrey “A.J.” Jaeger, Executive Director, Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research, NC State University
  • Dr. Mariya Munir, Co-PI, NC Wastewater Pathogen Research Network; Assistant Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering, UNC Charlotte
  • Lateisha Thrash, Assistant Director, Reentry, Programs, and Services, NC Department of Public Safety

NC Government Data Analytics Center

Featured the NC Government Data Analytics Center (GDAC), which leverages and integrates the state's data assets to solve problems, manage resources, and improve financial programs, budgets, and results. Panelists highlighted specific data efforts underway related to health care, longitudinal and performance, and enterprise entity resolution. Click here for the slide deck. 

  • Christie Burris, Executive Director, NC Health Information Exchange Authority
  • Carol Burroughs, Analytics Director, GDAC Assistant Director, NC Dept. of Information Technology (DIT)
  • John Correllus, Director, GDAC; Deputy State CIO and Chief Data Officer, NC DIT
  • Jackie Keener, Analytics Assistant Director, NC DIT

Research Partnerships Underway and Emerging

Featured state government and research partners who highlighted completed, ongoing, and emerging partnership projects. Panelists also shared tips for successfully launching and sustaining momentum and gave advice to counterparts who may be interested in cross-sector partnerships but don't know how to get started. They also discussed the value of research partnerships for testing new ideas and the important role behavioral science can play in these collaborations. 

  • Brandon Bell, Associate Director of Digital Communications, NC Department of Revenue
  • Nancy Hodges, Eastern Area Consultant, Community Programs – Juvenile Crime Prevention Councils, NC Department of Public Safety 
  • Diana Lys, Assistant Dean for Educator Preparation and Accreditation, School of Education, UNC Chapel Hill
  • Joey Sherlock, Senior Behavioral Researcher, Center for Advanced Hindsight, Duke University

NC Nonprofit Organizations and the Impact of COVID-19

Featured the statewide survey of North Carolina nonprofit organizations and the impacts of COVID-19 launched by the NC Office of Strategic Partnerships and the NC Center for Nonprofits. Panelists discussed the value of the survey, key learnings, and how philanthropy, government, researchers, and nonprofits themselves can use the results for a range of different purposes. Click here for an analysis of the 2,000+ responses, including a link to the publicly available dataset. 

  • Steve Hayes, Executive Director, Guilford Nonprofit Consortium
  • Earline Smith, Housing Program Manager, Cleveland County Community Development Corporation
  • Nancy Taylor, Executive Director, Community Foundation of Burke County
  • David Yokum, Director, The Policy Lab at Brown University; Senior Advisor, Strategic Partnerships

Hometown Strong: Partnerships in Action for Rural NC

Features Hometown Strong leadership and local partners (from Halifax and Madison Counties) discussing existing Hometown Strong efforts and emerging opportunities. Launched in 2018, Hometown Strong leverages state and local resources, identifies ongoing projects and community needs, and implements plans to boost the economy, improve infrastructure, and strengthen North Carolina's hometowns.  Click here for the slide deck.

  • Tony Brown, County Manager, Halifax County
  • Kenny Flowers, Assistant Secretary for Rural Economic Development, NC Commerce
  • Mary Penny Kelley, Executive Director, Hometown Strong
  • Jonathan Szucs, General Manager, Advanced Superabrasives (Madison County)

COVID-19 Response: Government-University-Student Partnerships

Features NC COVID-19 Student Response Corps participants: an Appalachian State University student intern, the Elizabeth City State University career services director, the Beaufort County Economic Development Director, and the Director of Lead for NC, a key partner in the initiative. (Password: Dxj6GkPt)

  • Yolanda Carcana, Interim Director of Career Services, Elizabeth City State University
  • Martyn Johnson, Economic Development Director, Beaufort County
  • Dylan Russell, Executive Director, Lead for NC, UNC School of Government
  • Sierra Watson, Intern, Town of North Wilkesboro; MPA candidate, Appalachian State University

Established Government-Research Partnerships

Features representatives from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC-Chapel Hill, NC Department of Environmental Quality, and NC Department of Health and Human Services discussing different types of government-research partnerships, strategies for initiating and sustaining successful partnerships, and the importance of partnerships during and beyond COVID-19. 

  • Stacey Feken, Policy and Engagement Manager, Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuarine Partnership, NC Department of Environmental Quality
  • Mark Holmes, Director, Sheps Center for Health Services Research, Gillings School of Global Public Health, UNC-Chapel Hill
  • Alexia Kelley, Sr. Director of Research, Research, Innovation and Global Solutions, Gillings School of Global Public Health, UNC-Chapel Hill
  • Leah Devlin, Professor of the Practice, Health Policy and Management, Gillings School of Global Public Health, UNC-Chapel Hill
  • Jessie Tenenbaum, Chief Data Officer, NC Department of Health and Human Services
  • Doug Urland, Director, NC Institute for Public Health, Gillings School of Global Public Health, UNC-Chapel Hill

Strengthening the State Government Talent Pipeline

Features state government HR recruiters and college/university-based career services experts discussing strategies and resources for addressing the related challenges of 1) state government striving to attract needed talent for employment opportunities across the state and 2) talented graduates of NC colleges and universities striving to find and pursue state government employment opportunities.

  • Kelsey Celender, Temporary Solutions Recruitment Manager, NC Office of State Human Resources
  • Nicole Hall, Director, Career and Professional Development, UNC-Greensboro
  • Lynn Kavcsak, Dean, Career and Employment Resources, Wake Technical Community College
  • Sara Royster, Agency HR Consultant III/Critical Needs Analyst and Recruitment Supervisor, NC Department of Public Safety
  • Kristin Siemek, State Talent Acquisition Manager, NC Office of State Human Resources

Identifying Expertise at Colleges and Universities

Features external affairs and government relations staff from Duke University, NC A&T, and UNC-Greensboro sharing insights about the role of external affairs offices, the resources they offer, and the many ways they can be of service to government partners, including to help find the best person on their campuses for research partnerships, collaboration on grant opporutnities, student projects, and more. (Password: Monthlyconnect1)

  • Andrew Cagle, Director of State and External Affairs, UNC-Greensboro
  • Doug Heron, Associate Vice President for Government Relations, Duke University
  • Ray Trapp, Director of External Affairs, NC A&T State University

Developing and Sustaining Government-Research Partnerships

Features representatives from NC State University and RTI International who have helped develop and/or participated in a wide range of partnerships with state government and research institutions. They share strategies for developing and sustaining successful partnerships and addressing potential challenges.

  • Phillip Graham, Senior Director, Center on Social Determinants, Risk Behaviors, and Prevention Science, RTI International
  • Dennis Kekas, Associate Vice Chancellor of Partnerships and Economic Development, NC State

Philanthropy 101

Features representatives from three North Carolina philanthropic organizations discussing best practices for engaging with philanthropic partners, learning about new funding opportunities, writing strong funding applications, and the proposal review and approval processes. 

  • Ret Boney, Executive Director, NC Network of Grantmakers
  • Gladys Hairston, Program Officer, John Rex Endowment
  • Joy Vermillion Heinsohn, Assistant Director, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation

State Agency Research Efforts

Features the North Carolina Department of Transportation Research & Development Office. Includes information about organizing and communicating research and other partnership opportunities, components of the NC DOT research program and examples of past projects, and strategies for starting a new research program. 

  • Curtis Bradley, Research Implementation Manager, NC Department of Transportation
  • Neil Mastin, Research and Development Manager, NC Department of Transportation