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Adam Eckerd is an Assistant Professor with SPEA at IUPUI. He conducts research on organizational and individual decision making, particularly as it relates to how risk is assessed and how information is used to manage public and nonprofit programs and policies. Adam’s work investigates issues of environmental justice, public participation, and program evaluation. Adam holds a Ph.D. from the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University, and an M.A. in government from Johns Hopkins University.
Adam is committed to understanding how we, as a society, try to manage our complex policy and social challenges. His research work covers a broad range of topics, with the central theme of considering how individuals and organizations simplify complex problems to the point where decisions can be made.
Sometimes this means balancing competing goals, such as in environmental policy where the balance of risk, cost, return on investment, and social equity rarely offers a simple win-win solution. Other times this can relate to how we know whether or not programs are working. As his previous work in the nonprofit sector taught Adam, determining the "right" measures of social outcomes is inherently difficult—deciding what to measure, how to measure it, and perhaps even more importantly, what to not measure, is part of a political process that has implications for what tasks organizations prioritize.
Adam likes to take these insights outside the classroom as well. He has worked with small nonprofit organizations, and with local governments on their efforts to assess the success of their programs, usually tying these efforts in with his classes so that students can be engaged in dealing with the real-world complexity of public and nonprofit management and policy.