From UGA to the Republic of Georgia: Five Researchers Travel to Train Scholars

by Shelby R. Steuart

Several UGA SPIA Researchers are participating in a grant-funded project in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, this month. The goal of the project is to train groups of faculty members, graduate students, and a few federal employees who work for the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA) to conduct American-style public administration and policy research.

The UGA faculty leading the program include Dr. J. Edward Kellough, who specializes in Public Personnel Management, Dr. Jamie Monogan, who specializes in Political Methodology and State Politics and Policy, Dr. Tima Moldogaziev, who specializes in Public Finance and Public Management, Dr. Gene Brewer, who specializes in Public Administration and Public Management, and Dr. Bradley Wright, who specializes in Public Administration.

The five members of UGA faculty are on a state department grant that the Georgian embassy sponsors to fund several educational programs in the Republic of Georgia. This is the second year of the program and the team is currently training their second cohort. Dr. Monogan explains, “With each cohort we spend a month in July training them in methods and research design issues for how to conduct good public ad research then go back in December and have a week long conference where they present their findings from their own research.”

The long-term goal is for American-style social science to become more popular in institutions of higher learning within the Republic of Georgia. “Colleges and universities are in the process of creating a culture of rigorous academic research, like here in the US, the vision is that you would see scholars in Georgia start to research and publish a bit more,” Monogan adds.

The faculty members leading the program are also hoping participants will publish work they’ve done as part of this program. At least one person from the 2017 cohort is now in the process of submitting his work to a journal, and others are in the process. Monogan mentioned that the program is also exploring the possibility of publishing an edited volume that would collect several of the papers that were worked on and published as a result of the program, in hopes of getting some of the studies out that way.