Author of "When a Highway Divides a City:Improving Decision Making in Syracuse, New York," which was a winner in the 2014 Best Teaching Case Competition. This case study engages that challenge by working through the complex social and technical aspects of what to do about an aging interstate running through the heart of downtown Syracuse, NY. Stakeholders and citizens are polarized about what to do, and misinformation and mistrust is rampant. The case presents the issue in detail, before asking readers to develop a project proposal that will depolarize the situation and improve public and stakeholder engagement. Acting on the most vexing public problems requires more than just good social science and hard data. Acting on public problems requires creativity and innovation in how we build, maintain, and strengthen relationships while engaged in problem solving.
Jack Becker is the recent Founder of Grounded Solutions, an independent consultancy focusing on facilitation, advocacy, communications and engagement in the Denver area.
Prior to Grounded Solutions, he worked at Denver Public Schools in the Family & Community Engagement department where he managed systems level change-management initiatives, and the Portfolio Management department where he managed new and existing public school authorizing. He has also worked as a Research Assistant at the Charles F. Kettering Foundation in Dayton, OH, where he supported research and engagement activities with a global network of democratic theorists and practitioners from various sectors.
Jack holds a Master of Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, and a B.A. in Communication Studies and Peace and Reconciliation Studies at Colorado State University where he was also a Senior Student Associate with the Colorado State University Center for Public Deliberation, an impartial democratic resource for improved public communication and problem solving in Northern Colorado.