City of Detroit, Office of the Mayor: The City of Detroit faces immense fiscal challenges and is currently exploring ways to raise revenues, streamline operations, and reduce costs, while still providing city residents with adequate essential city services. Students were asked to develop policy recommendations for the mayor on increasing collection of the city’s income tax, evaluating the success of the privatization of city bus services, or improving the cost effective provision of public lighting in Detroit neighborhoods.
Global Detroit: Global Detroit is an effort to revitalize Southeast Michigan’s economy by pursuing strategies that strengthen Detroit’s connections to the world, and that make the region more attractive and welcoming to immigrants, internationals, and foreign trade and investment. Students were asked to assess and measure, using multiple metrics, the contribution of high-skill immigrant workers to the local economy.
Government Accountability Office I: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which is currently up for reauthorization, provides grants to states to serve students with disabilities. For the first time in at least two decades, the percentage of students between the ages of 3 and 21 served under IDEA has declined; however, little information is available about the factors underlying these declines or the disability categories in which these declines are occurring. Students were asked to identify recent trends in numbers and types of students served, the factors that are driving these trends, and the policy implications.
Government Accountability Office II: Within the U.S., a new market is emerging where businesses provide present-day capital to individuals who enter into agreements to forego some (or all) future retirement income. Structured somewhat similarly to reverse mortgages, these plans provide access to funds that are not typically available to participants until they retire. Through these programs, however, participants may be putting their retirement security at risk. Students were asked to identify recent trends in pension plan lump sums and loans and to analyze the policy implications of these trends and their implications for individuals’ retirement security.
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP): ESCAP’s goal is to improve the ability of its member countries to participate effectively and equitably in the global and regional economy and benefit from enhanced global and regional trade and investment flows. For this project, students were asked to conduct an analysis of natural resource-based developing economies in the Asia Pacific region and to identify challenges and opportunities for sustainable development in the region.
University of Detroit Dental Clinic:Noncompliance with treatment recommendations is a consistent problem in health care delivery and health care policy, particularly for the health of low-income, minority, and other vulnerable populations. This is particularly the case for dental care. In an effort to understand noncompliance, especially appointment no-shows at the school's dental clinic, students were asked to conduct a mixed method study of the clinic’s patient population, completing a statistical analysis of patient health records data to determine predictors of noncompliance and a survey of patients to understand their motivations, barriers, and experiences with noncompliance.
Willow Run Redevelopment Project: Framing the future of the Willow Run Airport neighborhood offers an ideal opportunity to provide the state of Michigan with a new model for regional economic development efforts. Containing five active runways longer than 5,000 feet, miles of freight and rail passenger lines, and under-capacity highways and regional roads, the built physical infrastructure of Willow Run makes a variety of industrial related redevelopment scenarios possible. The adjacent residential neighborhoods are among the lowest income communities in Washtenaw County. Students were asked to assist a team of urban planners, local government officials, and engineers in the pre-planning stage of redevelopment efforts by assessing prospects for cooperation and conflict across multiple city, county, and state government entities and providing policy recommendations for developing a planning process that involves effective collaboration between multiple stakeholders, including governments, community members, and businesses.