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University of Nebraska Public Policy Center

Lisa Pytlik Zillig - projects

Budgeting Outcomes and Priorities in Lincoln

The goal of this project, initially launched in the winter of 2008 and completed later in the spring, was to solicit public opinion about how the City of Lincoln should spend its tax dollars. A scientific phone survey of 600 randomly selected residents was undertaken by the Public Policy Center, working with the University of…

Central Great Plains Climate Education Partnership

The Central Great Plains Climate Education Partnership (CGP-CEP) was formed to create a strategic plan for enhancing climate education of three primary target groups: agricultural producers, K-12 educators, and rural communities. The Public Policy Center, High Plains Regional Climate Center, National Center for Research on Rural Education, Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy, KSU Office…

Citizen Input for Budgeting and Performance Management in Lincoln

The long-term goal of this project was to enable public managers and policymakers/elected officials to be intentional and evidence-based in selecting the components of their citizen involvement techniques used in budgeting, performance measurement, and management processes. This will maximize the value for both citizens and managers. As part of our research, we worked with the…

City of Lincoln Satisfaction Survey: “Taking Charge” (2010)

As part of Mayor Chris Beutler’s continuing Taking Charge initiative, a random sample of Lincolnites were surveyed by telephone in early December of 2009 and then an online survey was offered to residents who were not invited to take the phone survey. The results of the surveys were used to inform city budget decisions that…

Civic Health Partnership

The Public Policy Center, as a member of the Nebraska Civic Health Partnership spearheaded by Nebraskans for Civic Reform, have put together the first-ever Civic Health Index for the state of Nebraska. This Index is designed to be an interactive tool with targeted action items for all Nebraska communities to increase civic health and retain…

Developing a MOOCocracy Prototype to Increase Public Understanding of Food Insecurity

As the need to provide public education about food insecurity grows, citizens are increasingly turning to the Internet for information about critical issues impacting their communities, the nation, and the world.  Social networks, distance education courses, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are connecting thousands of people from around the globe about social issues.  Through…

Developing a Social-Cognitive, Multilevel, Empirically-Based Model of Public Engagement for the Shaping of Science and Innovation Policy

Public engagements involving residents, scientists, and policymakers are increasingly being used to shape policy in the US. Despite the attention paid to such engagements, there is a lack of knowledge and theory concerning which forms, features, and contexts of public engagements are meaningful to participants and produce insightful information that is useful to scientists and…

Drought Planning Using Community Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment

This project utilizes climate data from the Platte River basin to develop and implement a decision-support model for drought planning using the Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA) process. THIRA is a Federal Emergency Management Agency-mandated risk assessment process to identify threats and develop capability targets to inform planning and preparedness. The Platte…

Enabling Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Fire Ignitions in Complex Firefighting Contexts

Prescribed fire is critical for reducing catastrophic wildfires and sustaining healthy ecosystems. Yet the technology to support fire ignition and monitoring remains stagnant, risky, and expensive. This project aims to develop the Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) technology that can transform prescribed fire ignition and monitoring by: 1) enabling the communication between UASs and humans by…

Investigating the Role of Distrust in Unauthorized Online Activities Using an Integrated Sociotechnical Approach

Evidence suggests that “unauthorized online behavior” motivated by social, political, economic and cultural conflicts is increasing. Yet research on stemming cyber-attacks has tended to focus on mechanisms and processes of defense, ignoring what determines and prevents the conditions that foster cyber-attacks in the first place. Advancing knowledge about distrust in general and in this specific…

Lincoln Community Energy Conversation

Building off the success of the Taking Charge series of public engagement efforts, the Public Policy Center again worked with the City of Lincoln to gather public input, but his time focused on the City of Lincoln’s energy and sustainability programs. The Center developed an online survey to gain insight from Lincoln residents about barriers,…

Lincoln Downtown Year-Round Public Market

The University of Nebraska Public Policy Center helped develop and administer a survey that was designed to explore the range of possible reactions to a downtown Lincoln “public market” or “local food market” and to provide organizers with additional information on the reasons for different reactions. Read the report below to learn more about the…

Mayor's Challenge Autonomous Shuttle Survey

Lincoln is one of 35 cities selected by Bloomberg Philanthropies as finalists in the 2018 Mayors Challenge, a nationwide competition that encourages city leaders to develop bold, inventive ideas to confront city challenges. The City of Lincoln has partnered with the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center to assess public opinion on the project through a "virtual service journey" survey…

Research and Evaluation of Courts Pilot Public Engagement Projects

The Public Engagement Pilot Initiative is a joint collaboration of the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) and the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center.  The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) is initiating up to six pilot projects to learn more about how courts can best engage the public to overcome social inequities and…

Taking Charge 2011

The Public Policy Center worked with the City of Lincoln to convene a public input process about the City's budget. Members of the public were invited to take an online survey about the budget and city services, and discuss their views with other residents of Lincoln both online and in-person. Public input is particularly important…

Taking Charge 2012

For the fifth consecutive year the Center worked with the City to gather public input about the City of Lincoln’s budget and services. This included an online survey to gain insight from community members about past Taking Charge processes, an online and random-sample City Satisfaction Survey, as well as a budgeting survey for the current…

Taking Charge 2013

For the sixth consecutive year, the Public Policy Center collaborated with the City of Lincoln to gather public input on the City budget. In previous years, thousands of Lincoln residents have participated in online surveys and face-to-face conversations which have had a direct impact on the decision to cut or continue specific City programs. Residents…

Testing a Model of Institutional Confidence Across Branches of Government

Evidence showing the American public losing confidence in its government has been identified as one of the fundamental problems in society today. Social science has an opportunity to make important contributions to this problem by deepening understanding of public trust and confidence in government. The primary goal of our research was to test a model…