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Adam Eckerd is an assistant professor at the O’Neill School at IUPUI. He conducts research on organizational and individual decision making, particularly as it relates to how risk is assessed and how information is used to manage public and nonprofit programs and policies. Adam’s work investigates issues of environmental justice, public participation, and program evaluation. Adam holds a Ph.D. from the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University, and an M.A. in government from Johns Hopkins University.
Adam is committed to understanding how we, as a society, try to manage our complex policy and social challenges. His research work covers a broad range of topics, with the central theme of considering how individuals and organizations simplify complex problems to the point where decisions can be made.
Sometimes this means balancing competing goals, such as in environmental policy where the balance of risk, cost, return on investment, and social equity rarely offers a simple win-win solution. Other times this can relate to how we know whether or not programs are working. As his previous work in the nonprofit sector taught Adam, determining the "right" measures of social outcomes is inherently difficult—deciding what to measure, how to measure it, and perhaps even more importantly, what to not measure, is part of a political process that has implications for what tasks organizations prioritize.
Adam likes to take these insights outside the classroom as well. He has worked with small nonprofit organizations, and with local governments on their efforts to assess the success of their programs, usually tying these efforts in with his classes so that students can be engaged in dealing with the real-world complexity of public and nonprofit management and policy.
- Ph.D., Public Policy and Management, The Ohio State University, 2011
- M.A., Government, Johns Hopkins University, 2003
- B.A., Government, Shippensburg University, 1998
- Assistant Professor, Center for Public Administration and Policy, Virginia Tech, 2012-2017
- Assistant Professor, School of Public Affairs and Administration, University of Kanas, 2011-2012
- Co-Principal Investigator (with Susan Sterett): Appealing to the Authority of Data: Social Complexity, Fragmented Decisionmaking, and the Politics of Smart Cities. National Science Foundation, 2016-17
- Principal Investigator for Centers for Disease Control project using agent-based modeling in the development of cancer screening policy, 2014-16
- Principal Investigator for Fairfax County (VA) Economic Development Evaluation Initiative, 2016-17
- Principal Investigator for Arlington County (VA) Metrics Initiative, working with Arlington Economic Development on outcome measurement and evaluation design, 2013-15
- Virginia Tech College of Architecture and Urban Studies Excellence in Outreach Award, 2015
Selected Intellectual Contributions
- “Citizen Language and Administrative Response: Participation in Environmental Impact Assessment.” Administration & Society (2017)
- “Designing the Buyer-Supplier Contract for Risk Management: Assessing Complexity and Mission Critically.” (with Amanda Girth) Journal of Supply Chain Management (2017)
- “Institutional Constraints, Managerial Choices, and Conflicts in Public Sector Supply Chains.” (with Stephanie Eckerd) International Public Management Journal (2017)
- “Does the Program Manager Matter? New Public Management and Defense Acquisition.” (with Keith Snider) American Review of Public Administration (2017)
- “Rethinking Environmental Justice in Sustainable Cities: Insights from Agent-Based Modeling.” (with Heather Campbell and Yushim Kim) Routledge (2015)
- “Two Approaches to Nonprofit Financial Ratios and the Implications for Managerial Incentives.” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly (2015)
- “Public Incentives, Market Motivations, and Contaminated Properties: New Public Management and Brownfield Liability Reform.” (with Roy Heidelberg) Public Administration Review (2015)
- “Risk Management and Risk Avoidance in Agency Decision Making.” Public Administration Review (2014)
- “Preserving the publicness of the nonprofit sector: Resources, roles and public values.” (with Stephanie Moulton) Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly (2012)
- “Cleaning up without clearing out? A spatial assessment of environmental gentrification.” Urban Affairs Review (2011)