Project Manager: Jim Wyckoff
Virginia Policy Partnerships Collaborative (VPPC): The purpose of this award is to build research infrastructure to expand partnerships with policymakers across Virginia.
Approved: Summer 2019
Project Dates: 12/01/2019 – 11/30/2024
Funding Awarded: $998,895
Faculty at Batten and Curry school have been working on increasing collaboration and communication between researchers and policy makers, ensuring that policy makers have access to the important research in the field of education they need to make decisions that affect the lives of children and adults on the state and national level. The Virginia Policy Partnership Collaborative (VPPC) has already had success in engaging with public organizations that serve underserved populations. With their award, they plan to expand the VPPC to reach even more.
Current Status: Active
The goal of Virginia Policy Partnerships Collaborative (VPPC) is to leverage the resources of a world-class university in partnership with Virginia State education agencies to produce research that directly informs educational policy and practice. Genuine partnerships of this type are rare and rely on the interests and skills of both researchers and their policy partners. The faculty affiliated with the VPPC have made substantial progress in extending existing and building new research-policy partnerships between School of Education and Human Development researchers and state level Virginia agencies focused on education since December 2019. These efforts have secured over $40 million in new awards and produced more than 19 research papers, 27 memos, and 34 policy briefs that flow directly from partnership activities, while involving 35 students in meaningful contributions to this work. Notably, all of this has been accomplished in the midst of the pandemic.
Moving these partnerships to scale across several faculty and multiple partners is even more unusual and relies on data and communications infrastructure to support and sustain these efforts. We have learned a lot about the design and maintenance of this infrastructure and how to situate it within the performance norms of an academic institution and state agencies. One of the challenges has been finding the best balance between respecting the relationships and work that each PI has developed independently and realizing the gains from integrated efforts that take advantage of common communications and data infrastructure. While we suspect that this balance will shift over time, we have established a strong foundation for the integrated efforts of the VPPC. That foundation is built on an aligned understanding of the key messages across projects, the first iteration of a VPPC webpage, templates for research briefs and email campaigns, and some public news stories highlighting the partnership work, and are in the process of building a list management system of key stakeholders. As we discuss in the Sustainability section of our report, there is much more to be done.
Each of the affiliated PIs has been very successful in individual databases to address specific research questions. In early childhood the early and ongoing efforts of Professors Williford and Bassok have been strongly supported by the Virginia Department of Education. They worked with VDOE partners to create data use permissions that allow for data integration across initiatives. New funding from VDOE will build integrated technology infrastructure of statewide ECE data systems (LinkB5, Virginia Literacy, and VKRP) that will make data integration, sharing, and dissemination easier. In terms of new funding, the senior data systems specialist who we are about to hire will provide the technical skills and high-level perspective to facilitate data integration across projects.