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A Letter from the Dean

News Type Public Address
Dean Trevor Brown, John Glenn College of Public Affairs

When Sen. John Glenn first arrived at The Ohio State University, he would often lament that when important issues came before congressional committees, other senators would call for research studies to be conducted by coastal private universities like Harvard and Stanford. When it was his turn to speak in committee, he’d educate his fellow senators about the academic prowess of universities like Ohio State. “Do you all know that the largest concentration of intellectual power exists in the Midwest’s Big Ten universities?” he’d scold. “We need to find a way to harness that knowledge and put it to use in solving the nation’s problems.” 

Some years later in 2015 when Ohio State University’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to establish the John Glenn College of Public Affairs, one of the primary goals was to create an academic unit that would integrate interdisciplinary research on public sector challenges and connect it with public sector stakeholders. The college affirmed that commitment in our most recent strategic plan, where one of our goals is to “integrate and apply actionable knowledge that supports public and nonprofit decision-making and inspires citizenship across the State of Ohio, the nation and the world.” 

Following Sen. Glenn’s admonition to Congress, we measure value in the Glenn College by the impact we have on vexing challenges in the public sector.  

This month’s Public Address highlights many of the ways the Glenn College’s students, faculty, staff and alumni are impacting public policy issues locally, nationally and globally. 

The primary feature this month covers the role of Glenn College alumni and students in the recent decision by the Intel Corp. to establish two of the world’s largest semiconductor chip manufacturing plants just northeast of Columbus. Now boosted by Congress’ passage and President Joe Biden’s signature of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, the planned public-private investment has significant implications for Ohio’s economic development, the advancement of a new generation of domestic manufacturing and the nation’s geo-political position in a critical industry. Glenn College alums and current students were deeply involved in recruiting Intel to Ohio and in negotiating the state’s package of incentives and inducements and are continuing work to facilitate the company’s economic and social impacts on the region.  

We also highlight a timely research report produced by Bill Shkurti, Glenn College Distinguished Adjunct Professor, and Fran Stewart, Glenn College senior research associate, that identifies questions for this year’s Ohio gubernatorial candidates on potential policies to advance Ohio’s economic development and ensure that the Intel investment delivers on its tremendous promise. 

Glenn College faculty are also deeply engaged in impactful research. Public Address showcases Associate Professor Jill Clark’s study to inform university leadership and researchers about community and neighborhood leaders’ perspectives on Ohio State research and her recent receipt of the 2022 Excellence in Faculty Community Engagement Award from the Engagement Scholarship Consortium; Professor Caroline Wagner’s research demonstrating that China has surpassed the United States in STEM research production, a wake-up call for U.S. policymakers; and Assistant Professors Erynn Beaton and Megan LePere Schloop’s research on the extent of sexual harassment experienced by nonprofit fundraisers and their development of best practices for nonprofits to reduce the risk to their fundraising employees. 

In less than a decade, we’ve made great strides as a college in meeting the expectations of the board of trustees to create knowledge for action and impact in the public square. We’d like to think that Sen. Glenn would be proud.