Christine A. Rowett
When Lester Salamon arrived at Hopkins in 1987, he took over
the university's Center for Metropolitan Planning and Research,
which was renamed the Institute for Policy Studies. There were
four full-time staff members; the office was housed in the
basement of Shriver Hall on the Homewood campus.
Today there are more than 45 full-time IPS employees; the institute inhabits the fourth floor of the Wyman Park Building at Homewood.
And after 10 years at the helm of IPS, Salamon will step down as head of the institute, effective on or about July 1.
"After 10 years of service, I feel a need to devote myself more fully to my own research and programmatic activity," Salamon said. "There are lots of mixed emotions, but my feeling is I have taken this about as far as I can."
IPS is involved in a variety of policy research, implementation and training activities locally, nationally and internationally. Its goal is to help policy makers in the public and private sectors improve the quality of life and solve pressing public problems. The institute has regional offices in Budapest and Moscow and administers a master's degree program that enrolls 20 students per year.
"We've designed both a research program and a teaching program that are at the cutting edge of our fields," Salamon said. "It's not simply that we created something; we created something that is very distinctive, that is known throughout the country and throughout the world."
Salamon is especially pleased with the growth of the master's program at IPS.
"We compete very effectively with the best schools in the country; we win some and lose some to Harvard, Princeton, Berkeley, Duke," Salamon said. "In record time we've become a player in the whole policy studies teaching field."
Salamon, the institute's first and only director, has focused his work on the role and contributions of private, nonprofit organizations in the United States and abroad. One of his early projects was a study of the Baltimore nonprofit sector. More recently, he has been involved in the Hopkins Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project, which examines the role and the scope of nonprofits in 26 countries. The project, now in its second phase, is one of the largest and most complex social science research studies of its kind.
Salamon said his decision to step down came at "the right moment." There are opportunities arising, he said, that he would not be able to pursue while acting as an administrator.
"It takes a good chunk of my worrying time," Salamon said. "There's never a moment when you think you have done all that you could do."
After stepping down as director of IPS, Salamon will continue with his research and the related training work for nonprofit leaders. He will also remain director of the Center for Civil Society Studies at IPS, which he established within the institute a year ago.
University Provost Steven Knapp praised Salamon and his accomplishments.
"He has turned IPS into a nationally recognized center which focuses not only on urban policy but has an international scope," Knapp said. "He has been a very strong leader."
The university will most likely convene a team of visiting scholars from similar institutions to act as consultants about Salamon's replacement, Knapp said.
Last week Salamon addressed the Council on Foundations with a discussion on the state of the nonprofit sector at a meeting in Honolulu. He recently published "Holding the Center: America's Nonprofit Sector at a Crossroads," in conjunction with the Cummings Foundation.
"I'm very satisfied with what we've been able to achieve," Salamon said. "I also think that there are incredible opportunities within an entity like ours that we really haven't seized yet."
Prior to heading IPS, Salamon was director of the Center for Governance and Management Research and of the Nonprofit Sector Project at The Urban Institute in Washington, D.C. Before that he served as a deputy associate director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.
For online information about IPS, point your browser to http://www.jhu.edu/~ips/.
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