Kevin Desouza named director of Virginia Tech’s Metropolitan Institute – Press Release

Virginia Tech released the following press release on my new role at the University (Click here to access the press release - LINK).

NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION, Aug. 18, 2011 – Kevin Desouza has been named director of theMetropolitan Institute, a center in theSchool of Public and International Affairs in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech.

Desouza was most recently an associate professor at the University of Washington’s Information School and has held adjunct appointments in the university’s College of Engineering and at the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs.

"Dr. Desouza's experience with major international corporations and government organizations on strategic management issues will be a great asset to the college and the university," said Jack Davis, the Reynolds Metals Professor of Architecture and dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies.

Based in the National Capital Region, the Metropolitan Institute fosters basic and applied research on designing, planning, and governing of livable, sustainable,and economically-viable urban spaces. The institute also publishes several publications including the journal Housing Policy Debate.

Desouza’s work is internationally recognized and he has conducted research and lectured across the world. He holds a visiting professorship at the University of Ljubljana and has held past appointments at the Center for International Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science and the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, among others.

In addition to his professorship, Desouza founded two research institutes at the University of Washington, the Institute for National Security and Research, and the Institute for Innovation in Information Management.

Desouza has authored, co-authored, and/or edited nine books and over 90 articles. He has also been invited to advise and consult for several major international corporations and government organizations, focusing on strategic management issues ranging from management of information systems, to crisis management. He has given over 40 invited talks and received over $1.2 million in research funding from both public and private organizations. He is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (UK). Desouza received his Ph.D. from the Liatuad Graduate School of Business at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

In addition to directing the Metropolitan Institute, he will also hold an associate professor appointment at the Center for Public Administration and Policy in the School of Public and International Affairs in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech. He is also serving on the Presidential Task Force working on Virginia Tech's long range plan.

He will be moving to the National Capital Region in August to begin his new position.

Virginia Tech’s College of Architecture and Urban Studies is composed of four schools: the School of Architecture + Design, including architecture, industrial design, interior design and landscape architecture; the School of Public and International Affairs, including urban affairs and planning, public administration and policy and government and international affairs; the Myers-Lawson School of Construction, which includes building construction in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies and construction engineering management in the College of Engineering; and the School of the Visual Arts, including programs in studio art, visual communication and art history.

 

Joining Virginia Tech – Director, Metropolitan Institute; Associate Professor, Center for Public Admin. and Policy, College of Architecture & Urban Studies

After spending over 5 years at the University of Washington, I will soon be making a change. Starting this autumn, I will assume a new role as the Director of the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech. I will also hold an appointment as an associate professor (with tenure) at the Center for Public Administration and Policy within the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. While I am excited to assume my new role and take on different challenges in my academic career, I also recognize that I am leaving an excellent institution. I want to thank all of my colleagues and students at the Information School, Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs, and the College of Engineering, who have been wonderful collaborators and friends. I also want to acknowledge the generous support that I have received from private and government sponsors for my research institutes.

Over the next few months, I will be making the move from Seattle, WA to Alexandria, VA.

Complexity, Policy Informatics, and Public Administration

Erik Johnston (Arizona State University), Qian Hu (University of Central Florida), and I have completed a paper for the Governance of Complex Systems: Challenges of Making Public Administration and Complexity Theory Work Workshop to be held in Rotterdam, Netherlands in June 2011.

How the Application of Complexity and Policy Informatics to Public Administration can Change the Questions we Ask and the Solutions we Discover


We argue for introducing complexity theory to public administration because it allows us to exploit new connections, to raise new questions, and to explore innovative approaches to governance and management. To support more regular, effective, and defensible use of complexity as a contribution to policy-making, public administration scholars must continue to build supporting evidence. In this paper, first, we reflect on why existing analysis frameworks create structural blind spots for understanding governance practice. Second, using examples from our own research and professional experience we demonstrate that a complexity approach allows new questions to be asked that directly connect to policy problems and facilitate decision making in a cost effective manner. Third, we explore a number of factors including practical strategies and ethical concerns that may encourage or preclude the use of a complexity framework and method in policy settings. And finally, this paper calls on public administration scholars to be thoughtfully aware of and ethically responsible for the consequences of the use of complexity methods in research and practice.

Johnston, E., Desouza, K.C., & Hu, Q. “How the Application of Complexity and Policy Informatics to Public Administration can Change the Questions we Ask and the Solutions we Discover,” A Paper for Governance of Complex Systems: Challenges of Making Public Administration and Complexity Theory Work, Rotterdam, Netherlands, June 23-25, 2011.