Community Engagement as a Useful Tool for Seeking Solutions and Actions

What Is Community Engagement and How Can it be a Useful Tool for Seeking Solutions and Actions to Climate Change?

The program will focus on key aspects and practices of community engagement and then delve into how they can be applied for seeking solutions and actions to climate change.

The event’s speakers will provide an overview of the National Academy of Public Administration’s study, “Engaging Americans & Increasing Public Trust: An Agenda for 2021 and Beyond” and the City of Alexandria, Virginia’s community engagement program, What’s Next Alexandria. They will then discuss how community engagement practices and lessons learned can be used to engage people in seeking solutions and actions to climate change. The discussion will include how these practices and lessons learned can especially engage people whose thoughts and needs are often marginalized on topics that have a direct effect on them.



Dr. Carolyn Lukensmeyer, Founding Executive Director, The National Institute for Civil Discourse and Founder and Former President, America Speaks

Carrie Beach, Division Chief, Neighborhood Planning and Community Development, Office of Planning and Zoning, City of Alexandria, VA

Ellen Eggerton, Sustainability Coordinator, City of Alexandria, VA


Register to attend by 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, December 15th to receive the Zoom link at:

20170222 – G. Evans Witt – Election Polling

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Did the Polls Fail in 2016? And What That Means for 2017 ... with guest speaker G. Evans Witt.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 • 5:30 - 7:30 pm

Join ASPA NCAC in welcoming our next guest speaker to talk about the impact and relations of public opinion, polling, and the intersection with public administration.

Witt will be talking about the polls in 2016, their successes and failures and what that means for the use of data in this increasingly fact-free environment.

G. Evans Witt is CEO and principal of Princeton Survey Research Associates International, an independent research firm that specializes in studies of opinion, policy and the news in the United States and around the world.

In more than 18 years at PSRAI, he has led the company in the design and execution of ground-breaking research designs on topics ranging from the impact of the internet to sensitive surveys of the public reaction to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. He has played a major role as PSRAI has led the way in designing and executing surveys on cell phones. He is a long-time consultant to NBC News and sits on the NBC decision desk each election night. He is the president of the National Council on Public Polls.

Witt has played a key role in directing large scale surveys that have laid down the benchmarks for action nationally and at the community level. He directed the Knight Foundation Community Indicators’ surveys, which probed the needs and concerns of 26 communities in multiple survey and with detailed reports for each community. He directed the surveys for the Pew Internet and American Life Project for the last 15 years that are the gold standard for understanding the use of internet in American. For Hofstra University, he designed and executed survey projects that produced the National Suburban Poll series of reports. (bio continued below)

Starting in 1998, he worked with Americans Discuss Social Security, a group dedicated to fixing the Social Security, for a series of polls that served to direct their public efforts and to provide information for the policy makers. He worked with Public Agenda on a variety of their public engagement efforts. And he has worked major public universities in the marketing and message testing surveys.

Witt has specialized in surveys on public policy and politics for more than thirty-five years. In a 22‑year career with The Associated Press, he helped lead the wire service in the use of public opinion polls and social science research methods. He was a co-founder of the AP/NBC News Poll in 1977. He was a national political writer, director of election planning and assistant chief of the AP Washington bureau.

In 1996, Witt directed the creation of two award‑winning political Web sites, ElectionLine and PoliticsNow, for ABC News, The Washington Post and National Journal. He was executive director of Voter News Service from 1997 through 1998.

A Morehead Scholar and graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Witt was a National Endowment for Humanities Fellow at Stanford University in 1981‑82.

Witt is the co-author, along with Sheldon Gawiser, of A Journalist’s Guide to Public Opinion Polls from Praeger Press, and of Twenty Questions A Journalist Should Ask About Poll Results, from the National Council on Public Polls. He has written numerous articles on public opinion and lectured widely on the use of polls by the news media.

20160927 – Don Kettl – Escaping Jurassic Government – booktalk

Escaping Jurassic Government, a booktalk with author Dr. Donald Kettl

Tuesday, September 27, 2016 • 5:30 - 7:30 pm

Learn why big government is not the problem from Professor Kettl and hear strategies to move away from the gridlock fights over government size and scope.

“The Progressive government movement, founded on support from Republicans and Democrats alike, reined in corporate trusts and improved the lives of sweatshop workers. It created modern government, from the Federal Reserve to the nation’s budgetary and civil service policies, and most of the programs on which we depend.

Ask Americans today and they will tell you that our government has hit a wall of low performance and high distrust, with huge implications for governance in the country. Instead of a focus on government effectiveness, the movement that spawned the idea of government for the people has become known for creating a big government disconnected from citizens. Donald F. Kettl finds that both political parties have contributed to the decline of the Progressive ideal of a commitment to competence. They have both fed gridlock and created a government that does not work the way citizens expect and deserve.

Kettl argues for a rebirth of the original Progressive spirit, not in pursuit of bigger government but with a bipartisan dedication to better government, one that works on behalf of all citizens and that delivers services effectively. He outlines the problems in today’s government, including political pressures, proxy tools, and managerial failures. Escaping Jurassic Government details the strategies, evidence, and people that can strengthen governmental effectiveness and shut down gridlock.”*


Dr. Donald Kettl is a professor and former dean of the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.  As an authority on the management of public organizations, he is the author and editor of twelve books, a regular columnist in Governing, appeared on national television shows, and frequently testifies for Congress.  He advised the White House for both Republican and Democrat administrations and consulted for numerous federal agencies.  Dr. Kettl has earned many awards, including recognition for outstanding contributions to research, teaching, outreach, and scholarship within public administration and political science.