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At Town Hall, Students Hear About Developments at UCLA Luskin

Leaders of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs gathered with students during an informal Town Hall on Feb. 6, 2018, to answer questions posed by students in the School’s master’s and PhD programs. Joining Dean Gary Segura and his support staff were Public Policy chair J.R. DeShazo, Social Welfare chair Laura Abrams and Urban Planning chair Vinit Mukhija. A wide range of topics were covered, including questions that led Segura to offer personal reflections about his first year at UCLA. Among the other topics discussed by the four leaders were recent and pending changes to the School’s academic offerings, a current hiring effort that will add a large number of new faculty members by fall 2018, and what is being done by UCLA Luskin to further promote diversity and inclusiveness.

View a Flickr album of images from the Town Hall:

2018 Town Hall

New Report From the Institute of Transportation Studies

A Fond Luskin Farewell to Dan Oyenoki

A big crowd of staff, faculty and friends gathered Jan. 29, 2018, in the Commons area at UCLA Luskin to celebrate the career of Dan Oyenoki upon his retirement after almost 21 years at UCLA. He spent most of his time in Public Policy before moving over to the Dean’s suite last year. Among those offering words of appreciation about Oyenoki and his countless contributions to the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs for the past 13 years were Dean Gary Segura, longtime professor and former Public Policy chair Mark A. Peterson, and Oyenoki’s most recent supervisor, Hien McKnight. Decorations for the gathering included numerous travel destinations where Oyenoki might spend time as a retiree, but he said his primary hope is to spend more time with family, especially his two grandchildren.

View a Flickr album from the celebration:

Dan Oyenoki bon voyage

Respect for Nature Is Key to World’s Water Problems, Author Says

In the face of extreme weather, polluted aquifers, overconsumption and other urgent threats to our water supply, Sandra Postel has reason to hope. The leading authority on water sustainability has traveled the world seeking out fresh strategies to protect an ecosystem that is under attack. “Yes, the water cycle is badly broken,” she told a gathering hosted by UCLA’s Luskin Center for Innovation on Jan. 25. “But through creativity, through innovation, through some interesting ingenuity, a good dose of courage and some risk-taking … we can fix it.” Instead of trying to tame nature, humans would be wiser to respect its rhythms, says Postel, who lays out her case in the new book “Replenish: The Virtuous Cycle of Water and Prosperity.” At the Luskin Innovators Speaker Series event, Postel was joined by a panel of policy experts and entrepreneurs from across Southern California: Eric Hoek, former UCLA professor and co-founder of Water Planet, which develops advanced water filtration systems; Rita Kampalath, program director for L.A. County’s Chief Sustainability Office; and Omar Moghaddam, who has three decades of experience working with wastewater and renewable resources in Los Angeles. The discussion was moderated by Mark Gold, associate vice chancellor of environment and sustainability at UCLA. Postel stressed that collaboration is key to a more secure water future. A national initiative she co-created, Change the Course, draws together business leaders, conservationists and the public to reduce waste and replenish water in the natural world. To date, Change the Course has restored more than 8 billion gallons to depleted rivers and wetlands, earning it the 2017 U.S. Water Prize for creative water management solutions. “Sounds like a big number,” says Postel. “It’s a drop in the bucket, of course, of what’s needed. But it’s made a difference.” — Mary Braswell

View a Flickr album from Postel’s talk and the panel discussion that followed:

Cycle of Water and Prosperity

‘Catalytic Communities’ with Theresa Williamson

On Jan. 18, 2018, Theresa Williamson shared her experience as an community organizer in Rio de Janerio. In her presentation for the Global Public Affairs program at UCLA Luskin, she spoke of academic and practical ways to work with communities and empower them for positive development and change. Williamson walked through the thinking process and the lessons she learned from founding the organization. Click here to view the slides from her presentation.

View a Flickr album from Williamson’s talk:

'Catalytic Communities' with Theresa Williamson

2018 Activists-in-Residence Welcomed at Reception

The Institute on Inequality and Democracy (II&D) at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and the UCLA Asian American Studies Center welcomed Manuel Criollo and Yvonne Yen Liu as the 2018 UCLA Activist-in-Residence Fellows during a reception held Jan. 11, 2018, at the UCLA Luskin Commons. Criollo is the Irvine Fellow on Urban Life and Liu is the UCLA Asian American Studies Center Fellow for the Winter Quarter. “Manuel Criollo is a legend in the activist and community organizing worlds of Los Angeles,” Ananya Roy, director of  II&D and professor of urban planning, social welfare and geography, told the audience of students, faculty and community partners at the standing-room-only reception. “He has not only tackled urgent racial justice issues but has also built networks of leadership that can in turn build power.” The Activist-in-Residence Program was developed by the two research centers to recognize the work of individuals working on community-led social change and to build stronger links between UCLA and the community. Fellows are encouraged to pursue research or reflect on their community work to advance racial, social and economic equity, as well as encouraging UCLA students to develop or strengthen their own commitment to social justice. During his residency, Criollo will research and document the formation of the Los Angeles School Police Department, create a timeline of community struggles against school policing, and organize an organizers exchange on UCLA’s campus. Liu will explore the history of solidarity economies in the Asian American immigrant and refugee experience to guide future community economic development and forge collective economic agency.

View a Flickr album from the reception:

2018 Activist-in-Residence Reception

Stoll Appointed Fellow of American Institutes for Research

Michael Stoll

Michael Stoll has been appointed a fellow of the American Institutes for Research (AIR), a behavioral and social science research and evaluation organization based in Washington, D.C. Stoll, professor of public policy and urban planning at UCLA Luskin, will add his expertise in areas including poverty, inequality, migration, and crime and mass incarceration to the not-for-profit organization founded in 1946. AIR brings together a distinguished group of U.S. academics and experts in a wide range of fields. “I join AIR with an institute fellow class that includes Claude Steele (UC Berkeley), Marta Tienda (Princeton), Harry Holzer (Georgetown), Camille Charles (Penn) and David Hayes-Bautista (UCLA Medicine ),” he said. Stoll’s past work has included examination of the role in limiting employment opportunities played by racial residential segregation, job location patterns, job skill demands, employer discrimination, job competition, transportation, job information and criminal records. He also serves as a fellow at the Brookings Institution, the Institute for Research on Poverty at University of Wisconsin and the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan, and is a past visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation. The former chair of UCLA Public Policy said he expects his assignments as an AIR fellow will include serving as expert thought-partner on critical AIR projects, providing mentorship to AIR research staff, presenting seminars and developing internal conferences, as well as serving as quality assurance reviewer on high-profile reports. — Stan Paul

Workshop Focuses on Muslim American Scholarship

Scholars from around the United States gathered Dec. 15, 2017, at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs to discuss research on topics such as understanding of Muslim American attitudes, sociopolitical behavior and identity. This was the second workshop — the first was held in 2016 at Menlo College — funded by a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant and organized by independent scholars Brian Calfano, Melissa Michelson and Nazita Lajevardi. The workshop brought researchers together to share, collaborate and exchange ideas on Muslim American scholarship and how to advance research in this multifaceted area. The group also discussed strategies and next steps to expand research such as a national study on Muslim Americans, according to the organizers. UCLA Luskin Dean Gary Segura and Matt Barreto, professor of political science and Chicana/o Studies at UCLA, were among presenters who shared tips and best practices. Segura, who holds appointments in public policy, political science and Chicana/o studies at UCLA, and Barreto are also leaders of the newly launched Latino Policy and Politics Initiative (LPPI) affiliated with UCLA Luskin. “Not only do scholars here examine Muslim Americans in their own work, the Luskin School has demonstrated its commitment to diversity and inclusion,” said Lajevardi, a 2009 UCLA graduate and political scientist set to join the faculty of Michigan State University. — Stan Paul

View a Flickr album from the workshop:

Muslim Life in US Politics Workshop