In the Spring of 2007, the University of Minnesota's Office of Service and Continuous
Improvement (OSCI) approved a grant from its Service and Process Improvement Fund
(SPIF) for a grassroots initiative entitled “Emphasizing the "Public" in Public Affairs” (see
Appendix A). The aim of the proposal was to use an already existing university resource
called “UThink” to build weblogs for the various research centers at the Hubert H.
Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs to enable the centers to better publicize their own
research and events and to serve as easily accessible public affairs resources for each
center's particular policy field, policy makers, the blogosphere, the mainstream media,
and elite or otherwise highly engaged publics. At $12,125, the grant was the smallest
approved by OSCI for the 2007-2008 academic year, and was funded primarily due to
the substantial benefit/cost ratio it promised to achieve. Further, the committee which
approved the project included the following affirmation of its merits: “Reviewers
supported this project because it will further develop the Humphrey Institute as an
exceptional organization. It will be a model for other departments to follow and it will
demonstrate what is possible through UThink with a systematic and coordinated
plan” (OSCI, 2007). Most blogs hosted by the UThink system are deployed in an ad-hoc
fashion as personal opinion blogs, collaborative research blogs, or as online
complements to offline, traditional courses taught at the University. The Humphrey
blogging project, by contrast, is an organized institution-wide effort that seeks to
integrate blogs and blogging practices into the core of the organization's academic
research and outreach efforts.
In Partial Fulfillment of the Master of Public Policy Degree Requirements
The Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs
The University of Minnesota
Minnesota's Office of Service and Continuous Improvement
Emphasizing the "Public" in Public Affairs Implementing a bottom-up, blog-centric new media strategy at an institution of public policy.
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