Faculty Q&A: SPEA Assistant Professor Eric Grommon wins IU Trustees Teaching Award

Eric Grommon

Each year, SPEA IUPUI awards a full-time faculty member the IU Trustees Teaching Award for their positive impact on learning. Assistant Professor Eric Grommon, who joined SPEA in 2012, was selected for the annual award.

In addition to teaching both graduate and undergraduate criminal justice courses, Grommon collaborates with students on a range of community-based projects. One of the most recent projects gave a graduate student the opportunity to co-author reviews of evidence-informed programs and practices in the criminal justice system that was integrated into the recommendations of the 2016 Indianapolis Criminal Justice Taskforce report.

Grommon is a widely published criminal justice scholar whose research focuses on corrections, offender re-entry, and the evaluation of justice system programs, policies, and operations. (more…)

Tom Guevara appointed director of the IU Public Policy Institute

Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs Dean John Graham has announced the appointment of Tom Guevara as the director of the IU Public Policy Institute, located at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Guevara, who earned his Master of Public Affairs with a focus on finance from SPEA, has spent the past six years as deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration. In his role there, Guevara led the federal economic development agenda, promoting innovation and competitiveness to help U.S. workers and businesses compete globally. As the agency’s most senior career officer, he led the Economic Development Administration during the transition of presidential administrations while performing the duties of the assistant secretary for economic development.

Prior to his position at the Department of Commerce, Guevara worked in a variety of state and local government positions in Indiana in addition to a six-year career in the private sector with Crowe Horwath LLP in Indianapolis. Following his graduation from SPEA, Guevara served as the assistant budget director for the Health and Human Services division of the Indiana State Budget Agency and also worked as controller for the city of Bloomington.

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SPEA students serve the city as interns for Indianapolis Mayor’s Office

Since he began attending SPEA IUPUI as an undergraduate in fall 2012, Andre Zhang Sonera has stayed busy participating in student organizations and completing three internships. In fall 2014, he served as an intern for the White House as part of SPEA’s Washington Leadership Program, and in summer 2015, he completed an internship at the New York Mayor’s Office of Operations. He also served as a Bicentennial/Operations intern for Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann in 2015-2016.

Now, as a Peterson Fellow, Zhang Sonera is responsible for coordinating the Indianapolis Mayor’s Office Internship Program for spring 2017. He credits his internship experiences for helping him understand what works well in an internship program.

“I wanted to bring that opportunity and experience to not only the students here at IUPUI but also to students who want to be in local government and gain their first introduction to public service,” he said.

The spring 2017 cohort consists of 10 graduate and undergraduate interns – all IUPUI students. Interns are placed in different departments within the Mayor’s Office, including Communications, the Office of Public Health and Safety, and others. (more…)

SPEA study finds heroin-related deaths may be significantly undercounted

Heroin overdose
A new study published in the Journal of Urban Health could have a significant impact on the way heroin overdose cases are counted and may dramatically increase the number of reported heroin-related deaths across the country.

Researchers at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI analyzed accidental opioid overdoses in Marion County, Indiana, from 2010 through 2015 and discovered that deaths where heroin was present may be significantly undercounted.

During the six-year study period, the IUPUI team examined the death certificates and toxicology reports for 1,199 accidental drug-overdose fatalities in Marion County and classified 455 as heroin-related. During the same time period, the Marion County Public Health Department recorded just 141 deaths caused by heroin.

“What happens a lot of times when people overdose is that they have multiple substances in their system,” said Brad Ray, an assistant professor at SPEA who studies substance abuse. “Because of the use of poly-drug codes to classify deaths when multiple drugs are present, we tend to undercount the prevalence of heroin in deaths because we usually count whether the death was a result of heroin rather than whether heroin was present.” (more…)

PPI study examines two-decade transformation of downtown Carmel

CARMEL – A comprehensive analysis by the Indiana University Public Policy Institute shows how two decades of public investment into Carmel’s central core has impacted the city and its taxpayers.

The benefits by the numbers are detailed in the PPI report, showing more private investment, more jobs, less vacant land, more employed persons, and more taxable assessed value have been realized.

The success of the redevelopment of its central core has helped cement Carmel’s national reputation as one of the country’s best suburbs. However, the PPI report does acknowledge that the project was not without disagreement over the development process and concern regarding Tax Increment Financing as a funding source, among other issues. (more…)