Welcome to the second installment of welcome week. We’ll be here introducing the Tulsa Initiative team throughout the week and sharing our goals for this blog. My piece is about my research role for TI, so let’s dive in.
When I tell friends and old classmates that I’m a researcher at a local anti-poverty agency, I am given a look that says “Ok? Go on.” I find this a bit unfair (when’s the last time you made your accountant friend explain her job to you?), but the short response is that I do a lot of the same things that our preschoolers are learning to do: I read, write, count, and occasionally color.
But let me be more specific.
TI is committed to developing research- and evidence-based programs that go above and beyond the extremely high-quality early childhood interventions already offered by CAP, and we want to do that by immersing ourselves in new ideas: both from the academic and thinktank world, but also from the community itself. So my role contains both those parts. The “reading” part of my job is to stay current on research, analysis, and evaluations surrounding the Initiative’s (and CAP’s) lines of business. Currently that means trying to tackle early childhood education, workforce development, family financial stability and economic success, parenting skills and involvement, the K-12 system, access to healthcare, organizational innovations, social networking and media, as well as the world of anti-poverty programs and policies in general. So not much really.
When I’m not reading, I play a role as TI’s representative at certain community collaborations (Community Workforce Partners for a time, and most recently the Youth Services roundtable at the Mayor’s office), conduct what I call “lite” data analysis, assist our Acting Director of Program Evaluation (Cindy Decker), conduct certain areas of TI’s strategic planning, lead a working group on tenant turnover at Brightwaters, and learn (i.e. play with) new softwares and technologies. Oh and I blog now.
The hard part of my job is sharing this information overload throughout our agency and with the community. CAP is really fortunate to be able to staff a position like mine (in fact, it staffs 2 of us!), but it doesn’t do anyone any good if I learn a whole lot of stuff that never leaves my brain. Frankly, my experience so far has been that that happens a little too much. So this blog is one channel for sharing lots of the things I’m reading, seeing, hearing, and thinking. But I thrive on other people’s thoughts (that’s part of the reason I enjoy this job!), so I need other people to find this forum just as valuable as I do. I need your thoughts, no matter how half-baked (as are many of mine) and I need them often!
So comment on this post and let me know what you want to see and what kind of research you’re interested in. And if you ever see a really great article that you want to share with others – but you don’t just know how – come here and add a comment to a post, or email me at mkordsmeier at captc dot org and I’ll let you write your own guest post.
Oh and in case you were wondering, I’m a 2007 graduate of the University of Tulsa, where I earned a BA in economics and political science (with a side of Spanish and a dash of international studies). Someday I’ll go to grad school where I can pay others to let me do what I do here, but for now I’m happy taking pay to do research from the cozy confines of my CAP cubicle. (Did I mention I’m fond of alliteration?)
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