What We Do

The Public Policy Center is a university-wide, multidisciplinary research and outreach unit committed to addressing complex issues by linking academic research, stakeholder perspectives, and practical experience through innovative and creative solutions. Our mission is to link policy with research, process, and practice by working with researchers, policymakers, and stakeholders to actively inform public policy.

Fieldset:
Civil & Government Systems
Our work includes program evaluations and data analysis related to government systems planning, processes, and communication. Related to Center public engagement and emergency response consultation, Center staff have facilitated multi-agency efforts to develop and present more effective messaging. Center projects focusing on civil and government systems include work with various agencies to improve processes and enhance accessibility.
Fieldset:
Community Engagement
The Public Policy Center's work in public engagement is focused on helping policymakers, community organizations, and individuals make informed decisions based on data and research. Researchers focus on a variety of topics, including: institutional trust and confidence, dispute resolution, public perceptions of new technologies, environment and natural resources policy, and community improvements. Center staff are engaged in multiple projects facilitating research related to public engagement and behavioral aspects relating to various aspects of environmental policy.
Fieldset:
Disaster & Emergency Planning
The University of Nebraska Public Policy Center works with local, state, and federal agencies on a variety of projects relating to disaster and emergency planning. In addition to program coordination and evaluation, and trainings in emergency and disaster preparedness, our role includes fostering links between mental health and substance abuse resources with public health systems, healthcare networks, emergency management, and first responder groups.
Fieldset:
Education & School Safety
The Public Policy Center's work in education research is focused on the issues of school safety, threat assessment, and emergency planning and preparedness. The Center has provided extensive support for state and national efforts to assist with implementing threat assessment and other prevention strategies to educational settings. Recent projects include: Nebraska K-12 Threat Assessment and Emergency Planning for Schools.
Fieldset:
Health & Behavioral Health
The Public Policy Center works with local, state, and federal agencies on a variety of projects relating to public health and behavioral health for the state of Nebraska. In addition to program coordination and evaluation, our role includes fostering links between mental health and substance abuse resources with public health systems, healthcare networks, emergency management, and first responder groups. The Center has also performed national and statewide consultation in various areas of disaster behavioral health planning.
Fieldset:
Violence & Suicide Prevention
The Public Policy Center is working to prevent acts of violence and decrease the suicide rate in Nebraska with various initiatives on violence prevention, suicide prevention, threat assessment, and school safety. Center staff facilitate the development of threat assessment capabilities to enhance law enforcement, educational, and behavioral health professionals’ abilities to address various aspects of targeted violence (e.g., stalking, school violence, extremist violence).

Building Building Civil & Government Systems

Fieldset:
Civil & Government Systems
Our work includes program evaluations and data analysis related to government systems planning, processes, and communication. Related to Center public engagement and emergency response consultation, Center staff have facilitated multi-agency efforts to develop and present more effective messaging. Center projects focusing on civil and government systems include work with various agencies to improve processes and enhance accessibility.

People People Community Engagement

Fieldset:
Community Engagement
The Public Policy Center's work in public engagement is focused on helping policymakers, community organizations, and individuals make informed decisions based on data and research. Researchers focus on a variety of topics, including: institutional trust and confidence, dispute resolution, public perceptions of new technologies, environment and natural resources policy, and community improvements. Center staff are engaged in multiple projects facilitating research related to public engagement and behavioral aspects relating to various aspects of environmental policy.

Stopwatch Stopwatch Disaster & Emergency Planning

Fieldset:
Disaster & Emergency Planning
The University of Nebraska Public Policy Center works with local, state, and federal agencies on a variety of projects relating to disaster and emergency planning. In addition to program coordination and evaluation, and trainings in emergency and disaster preparedness, our role includes fostering links between mental health and substance abuse resources with public health systems, healthcare networks, emergency management, and first responder groups.

Education Education Education & School Safety

Fieldset:
Education & School Safety
The Public Policy Center's work in education research is focused on the issues of school safety, threat assessment, and emergency planning and preparedness. The Center has provided extensive support for state and national efforts to assist with implementing threat assessment and other prevention strategies to educational settings. Recent projects include: Nebraska K-12 Threat Assessment and Emergency Planning for Schools.

Head icon Head icon Health & Behavioral Health

Fieldset:
Health & Behavioral Health
The Public Policy Center works with local, state, and federal agencies on a variety of projects relating to public health and behavioral health for the state of Nebraska. In addition to program coordination and evaluation, our role includes fostering links between mental health and substance abuse resources with public health systems, healthcare networks, emergency management, and first responder groups. The Center has also performed national and statewide consultation in various areas of disaster behavioral health planning.

Protect Protect Violence & Suicide Prevention

Fieldset:
Violence & Suicide Prevention
The Public Policy Center is working to prevent acts of violence and decrease the suicide rate in Nebraska with various initiatives on violence prevention, suicide prevention, threat assessment, and school safety. Center staff facilitate the development of threat assessment capabilities to enhance law enforcement, educational, and behavioral health professionals’ abilities to address various aspects of targeted violence (e.g., stalking, school violence, extremist violence).

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What do you do at the PPC?

Center researchers team with policymakers and other stakeholders to bring expertise in the following areas: strategic consulting and planning, communications, data collection and analysis, evaluation, events and seminars, facilitations, grant writing, project management, research, and surveys. Our researchers are not involved in policymaking, but their data-focused approach helps inform public policy decisions. Visit our services page to see a full list of the services we offer, or visit our focus areas page to learn more about our work in specific areas.

 

How do I learn about conferences, trainings, or events?

To find out about upcoming trainings, conferences, or events, join our Policy Talk newsletter or follow us on Facebook and Twitter. We regularly host virtual and in-person trainings in a variety of areas, including: behavioral health, suicide prevention, disaster preparedness, threat assessment, school safety, and public policy. Many of these items will also be posted on our events page.

If I want to collaborate with you, how do I do that?

To work with the Public Policy Center, call 402-472-5678 or email us at ppc@nebraska.edu. We can direct you to a staff member working in your specific area, or you can visit our staff directory for more information on a specific staff member.

 

How do you work with government and policymakers?

We collaborate in grant writing, project management, and research to inform policymaking. Our researchers are not involved in policymaking, but their data-focused approach helps inform public policy decisions. We link local, state, and federal policymakers to academic and scientific resources and approaches to address important public policy issues covering a wide range of content. Learn more about some of this work on the focus areas page under Civic and Government Systems and Community Engagement.

What types of projects do you work on?

We take on a wide variety of projects, including those needing help with program design and evaluation; conferences, trainings, and seminars; grant development and management; project management, strategic consulting and planning; scholarly research; and stakeholder and community engagement and outreach. For examples of specific projects, visit our focus areas page. 

Where do you get your funding?

Center researchers garner both public and private funding at the local, state, and national levels, for both applied and research grants, as well as through contracts and donations. For a list of some of our recent funding sources, visit our funders page.

Who do you work with?

The Public Policy Center has had the privilege of working with many well-known organizations, both locally and nationally, over the years. We collaborate with government agencies, legislature, non-profit organizations, educational organizations, and more. Our staff have also worked with over 100 faculty from over 50 departments across all NU campuses. Visit our partners page to see a list of some organizations we have worked with recently.

Do you only work in Lincoln/Omaha?

No, we work all across Nebraska, but our work extends nationwide and around the globe. Our staff have consulted with organizations around the country, collaborated on research and projects around Nebraska and across the country, and presented in national and international trainings.

Are you part of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln?

The Public Policy Center was established in 1998 by the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska. The Center is a University-wide unit that resides institutionally within the UNL Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. Our official name is the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center, which emphasizes our system-wide status. 

Services

Conferences & Training

For many of our active projects, our staff plan and execute conferences, workshops, and seminars of all sizes, virtual and in-person. This includes event management, technology recommendations, graphic design, communications, and accommodations for in-person and remote-hosted events. Additionally, staff are experienced in managing all logistics for virtual and in-person events. The University of Nebraska Public Policy Center is an approved continuing education sponsor through the American Psychological Association (APA). This means we can facilitate psychologists’ access to continuing education that meets APA standards.

Grant Development & Management

We pursue and manage funding opportunities to support policy-related initiatives. Center researchers garner both public and private funding at the local, state, and national levels for applied and translational research grants. We work closely with partners to identify funding opportunities, develop grant and contract proposal narratives, create budgets and timelines, execute agreements, manage grant funds in accordance with funder requirements, and submit required fiscal and programmatic reporting.

Program Design and Evaluation

Center research staff routinely conduct program evaluations in partnership with stakeholders to define questions, plan activities, interpret results, and use findings to recommend and implement changes. We use quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods techniques appropriate to the project. Our programmatic capabilities include survey design, interviews, focus groups, mapping geographic data, overall data analysis, and report preparation.

Project Management, Strategic Planning & Consulting

Our researchers bring high-level management expertise to projects for all kinds of organizations. We bring research-based insights to executive decision-making, develop organizational structures to achieve desired results; assist with communication planning, agenda setting and creating necessary informational materials; implement research plans; and guide open communication among stakeholders. Our researchers are trained in facilitation and regularly lead stakeholders through strategic planning, problem definition, and consensus-building, as well as discovering organizational priorities, setting goals, and creating action plans.

Scholarly Research

Our approach is rooted in academic-oriented inquiry and investigation. We provide basic research products for partners such as high-quality and easy-to-understand literature reviews, white papers, and briefing papers. Our researchers come from diverse disciplines, including: Business, Economics, Family and Consumer Sciences, Law, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology. 

Stakeholder Engagement & Outreach

We work with stakeholders to design and execute customized frameworks. This includes determining the breadth, length, location, and timing of facilitated events; identifying participants; collecting data from participants throughout the planning or engagement process; creating opportunities for feedback and debriefing; and producing draft and final products based on results. In addition, many of our staff consult with outside organizations and conduct professional presentations on a variety of issues.