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Bentley University Professors Jane Fedorowicz and Christine Williams, and Bentley PhD Student Arthur Tomasino Win Best Research Paper Award from Digital Government Society of North America, May 2010
Bentley University faculty members Jane Fedorowicz, Rae Anderson Professor of Accountancy and Information Systems, and Professor of Government Christine Williams, and Bentley PhD student Arthur Tomasino received a Best Research Paper award from the Digital Government Society of North America. The award, which included a cash prize sponsored by IOS Press, was presented to Williams at the 11th annual international conference on Digital Government Research held May 17 to 20, 2010, in Puebla, Mexico.
The research, "Governmental Factors Associated with State-wide Interagency Collaboration Initiatives," explores the differences among state public safety programs, with emphasis on Public Safety Networks (PSNs) in the United States. PSNs represent a combination of police and other agencies that have joined together at various levels of government to share information and communicate when faced with public safety incidents. The paper is an initial effort to explain differences such as the size and maturity of extant state-level PSNs. It is a product of a larger research project funded by the National Science Foundation.
"Understanding what motivates collaboration among government agencies is of interest to those studying public sector policy-making," Williams explains. "Ultimately, the goal of our larger research project is to make recommendations about when and how these collaborations succeed in a variety of settings and situations."
According to Williams, although government agencies have long recognized the potential value of sharing information and communicating across agency borders, public safety efforts have been refocused as a result of events such as the failure of the U.S. intelligence community to prevent Nigerian national Umaru Farouk Abdulmutallab from attempting to blow up a U.S. passenger plane in December 2009.
"We seek commonalities among public safety collaborations at multiple levels of government, across geographies and across government functions," Fedorowicz notes. "Our study takes a holistic view of design principles in these initiatives, looking for patterns to explain why they form and why they prosper. These patterns can inform similar governmental collaborations, from criminal justice through emergency management and homeland security."
Fedorowicz adds that a unique feature of the study is that it combines extensive archival and survey data for the 50 states and more than 80 PSNs with detailed information about a small subset of individual cases. "To our knowledge, it is the only compilation of U.S.-based PSNs in existence."
In addition to Arthur Tomasino, the project team included five other doctoral students and a number of undergraduate research assistants. Tomasino looks forward to incorporating county level PSNs into his dissertation work.
The Yawkey Foundations have recognized Bentley University’s longstanding commitment to service-learning and awarded the university $500,000 to educate students to effectively lead nonprofit organizations and expand student efforts to help community groups.