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Branda Nowell PhD

Professor

she/her/hers

Caldwell Hall 227

Bio

Dr. Nowell is an organizational and community psychologist who studies the design and governance of networks in responding to complex policy issues.

Publications

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Grants

Date: 09/14/17 - 8/30/21
Amount: $359,310.00
Funding Agencies: Bureau of Land Management

Co‐management of fire risk is both a process and an outcome of negotiation and decision making (Calkin et al. 2015; Thompson et al. 2016). Network governance refers to the forums and institutionalized practices within which co‐management occurs. Understanding effective network governance and the social‐psychological mechanisms through which governance influences co-management outcomes is therefore critical to advancing the science. Ineffective co‐management manifests in conflict and problematic communication and coordination among the variety of stakeholders during an incident, hindering the effectiveness of the incident response network (Nowell et al, 2015). Our project draws from network science to pose the following research question: How do network governance tools, cognitive alignment in risk perception, and value orientations relate to more or less effective co‐management?

Date: 07/01/12 - 9/30/16
Amount: $364,344.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Interior (DOI)

Failures in effective communication and coordination within the network of responding organizations and agencies during a wildfire can lead to problematic or dangerous outcomes. Although risk assessment and management concepts are usually understood with regards to biophysical attributes in the wildfire context, these concepts can be extended to understanding risk for problematic communication and coordination embedded within social and organizational relationships. In this research, we propose leveraging existing network and social coordination theory to investigate how pre-fire relationships and capacities affect both preparedness before a wildfire and inter-agency communication and coordination during a wildfire. This research will not only advance the science of incident management but also provide the empirical foundation for the development of a new set of concepts and rapid assessment tools that we call: Relational Risk Assessment and Management (RRAM).

Date: 08/04/11 - 7/31/16
Amount: $49,112.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA)

Branda Nowell, Ph.D. will assist the team in the design and analysis of the social network component of the project. In year one, she will assist the team in adapting the social network methodology employed by the principal investigator in previous research to develop the network analysis framework and interview guide for use in the case studies. She will then assist the team in data collection during the summer and advise in setting up the database for data entry of all social network data. She will be responsible for all quantitative analysis and visualization modeling of the social network data for each of the five case studies. In Year 2, she will assist the team in developing the social network measures for use in the contractor telephone survey and again be responsible for all quantitative analysis and visualization modeling of the social network data. In year 3, she will assist the team in developing the social network measures for use in the CBO internet survey and be responsible for all quantitative analysis and visualization modeling of the social network data. She will also collaborate on dissemination activities.

Date: 08/01/11 - 7/31/16
Amount: $161,079.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service

This proposed project will assist in the development of a new framework for post-fire research that will facilitate more consistent and rigorous data collection and improve the ability to aggregate lessons across fires. Recent years have seen the costs from wildfires escalating throughout the world, whether in terms of lives and homes lost, dollars spent on fighting fires, or ecological damage and subsequent rehabilitation. As a result, greater attention is being focused on the period following a fire as an ideal time to learn how various factors before and during the fire contributed to or mitigated negative outcomes. Such post-fire follow up investigations can clarify how the complex interactions between decisions made and actions taken before and during the fire, by fire and land managers and members of the public, contribute to better or worse outcomes. While much can be learned from individual studies, more could be learned by aggregating lessons from different fires. In order to do this, a common methodology is needed so that effective comparisons and appropriate conclusions can be made. The project goals are to learn from and build upon existing post-event research efforts, both for wildland fires and for other natural hazards, to develop a standardized post-wildfire research process that can be used by both researchers and land managers to inform common research needs. We will assist in the development of a methodology that can be implemented shortly after a fire with a small number of people and core set of research issues and questions, but that is adaptable (scalable) to allow more specific and local issues and challenges to be addressed. Such a research framework would 1) ensure a base level of consistent data across fires and future research efforts, 2) facilitate effective rapid responses after an event, 3) promote organizational learning, and 4) improve fire programs and policy.

Date: 06/01/15 - 5/31/16
Amount: $16,470.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Health & Human Services (DHHS)

The State of North Carolina Division of Public Health seeks a summative evaluation of the IA Initiative. The primary goal of this evaluation is to communicate the outcomes and impact of the IA Initiative to external stakeholders including policy makers who will make decisions about the continued funding of the Initiative. Formative evaluation activities (continuous learning efforts) are being taken care of by technical assistance providers. The Innovative Approaches Initiative theory of change consists of a suite of strategies that are designed to increase capacity for systems change in six counties; leading to system improvements that ultimately improve outcomes for CYSHCNs. The appended IA Initiative Theory of Change represents my current understanding of the Initiative, its components, and associated relationships (see figure 1). The evaluation scope of work table (Table 1) has been developed in reference to this theory of change. The summative evaluation for this Initiative aims to understand the causal linkages from the IA Initiative strategies to each of these subsequent areas of change (i.e., improvements in system change capacity, service delivery system changes, and improvement in the lives of CYSHCNs). Because these phases of change are serial in nature – understanding the influence of the IA Initiative strategies to changes in the later phases (i.e., improvements in the lives of CYSHCNs) requires an understanding of the pathway to change through the intermediate phases.

Date: 06/01/15 - 5/31/16
Amount: $16,470.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Health & Human Services (DHHS)

The State of North Carolina Division of Public Health seeks a summative evaluation of the IA Initiative. The primary goal of this evaluation is to communicate the outcomes and impact of the IA Initiative to external stakeholders including policy makers who will make decisions about the continued funding of the Initiative. Formative evaluation activities (continuous learning efforts) are being taken care of by technical assistance providers. The Innovative Approaches Initiative theory of change consists of a suite of strategies that are designed to increase capacity for systems change in six counties; leading to system improvements that ultimately improve outcomes for CYSHCNs. The appended IA Initiative Theory of Change represents my current understanding of the Initiative, its components, and associated relationships (see figure 1). The evaluation scope of work table (Table 1) has been developed in reference to this theory of change. The summative evaluation for this Initiative aims to understand the causal linkages from the IA Initiative strategies to each of these subsequent areas of change (i.e., improvements in system change capacity, service delivery system changes, and improvement in the lives of CYSHCNs). Because these phases of change are serial in nature – understanding the influence of the IA Initiative strategies to changes in the later phases (i.e., improvements in the lives of CYSHCNs) requires an understanding of the pathway to change through the intermediate phases.

Date: 06/01/15 - 5/31/16
Amount: $16,470.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Health & Human Services (DHHS)

The State of North Carolina Division of Public Health seeks a summative evaluation of the IA Initiative. The primary goal of this evaluation is to communicate the outcomes and impact of the IA Initiative to external stakeholders including policy makers who will make decisions about the continued funding of the Initiative. Formative evaluation activities (continuous learning efforts) are being taken care of by technical assistance providers. The Innovative Approaches Initiative theory of change consists of a suite of strategies that are designed to increase capacity for systems change in six counties; leading to system improvements that ultimately improve outcomes for CYSHCNs. The appended IA Initiative Theory of Change represents my current understanding of the Initiative, its components, and associated relationships (see figure 1). The evaluation scope of work table (Table 1) has been developed in reference to this theory of change. The summative evaluation for this Initiative aims to understand the causal linkages from the IA Initiative strategies to each of these subsequent areas of change (i.e., improvements in system change capacity, service delivery system changes, and improvement in the lives of CYSHCNs). Because these phases of change are serial in nature – understanding the influence of the IA Initiative strategies to changes in the later phases (i.e., improvements in the lives of CYSHCNs) requires an understanding of the pathway to change through the intermediate phases.

Date: 06/01/15 - 5/31/16
Amount: $16,470.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Health & Human Services (DHHS)

The State of North Carolina Division of Public Health seeks a summative evaluation of the IA Initiative. The primary goal of this evaluation is to communicate the outcomes and impact of the IA Initiative to external stakeholders including policy makers who will make decisions about the continued funding of the Initiative. Formative evaluation activities (continuous learning efforts) are being taken care of by technical assistance providers. The Innovative Approaches Initiative theory of change consists of a suite of strategies that are designed to increase capacity for systems change in six counties; leading to system improvements that ultimately improve outcomes for CYSHCNs. The appended IA Initiative Theory of Change represents my current understanding of the Initiative, its components, and associated relationships (see figure 1). The evaluation scope of work table (Table 1) has been developed in reference to this theory of change. The summative evaluation for this Initiative aims to understand the causal linkages from the IA Initiative strategies to each of these subsequent areas of change (i.e., improvements in system change capacity, service delivery system changes, and improvement in the lives of CYSHCNs). Because these phases of change are serial in nature – understanding the influence of the IA Initiative strategies to changes in the later phases (i.e., improvements in the lives of CYSHCNs) requires an understanding of the pathway to change through the intermediate phases.

Date: 06/01/12 - 5/31/16
Amount: $350,716.00
Funding Agencies: National Science Foundation (NSF)

Community resilience concerns the capacity of a community to minimize short and long-term disruption of fundamental economic, physical, and social infrastructure of the community from a natural or man made hazard. Our understanding of physical designs and technical tools and expertise necessary to protect a community against wildfire have been well-researched and become quite sophisticated. However, these have been argued by many scholars as necessary but insufficient elements of resilience. They have fallen short in creating more resilient communities because they have failed to attend to the socio-cultural aspects of resiliency. The focus of this research aims to advance theory related to the social determinants of resilience in rural communities. Specifically, this study will investigate the role and significance of three aspects of social resilience: 1) bridging social capital, 2) bonding social capital, and 3) psychological sense of community. This research will be guided by the following research questions: 1) To what extent does psychological sense of community influence preparedness behavior and network performance during a wildfire response?, 2) To what extent does bridging versus bonding social capital influence network behavior during response?, 3) To what extent does a wildfire event build bridging ties and sense of community that can serve as a source of resilience for future disasters?

Date: 06/01/15 - 5/31/16
Amount: $16,470.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Health & Human Services (DHHS)

The State of North Carolina Division of Public Health seeks a summative evaluation of the IA Initiative. The primary goal of this evaluation is to communicate the outcomes and impact of the IA Initiative to external stakeholders including policy makers who will make decisions about the continued funding of the Initiative. Formative evaluation activities (continuous learning efforts) are being taken care of by technical assistance providers. The Innovative Approaches Initiative theory of change consists of a suite of strategies that are designed to increase capacity for systems change in six counties; leading to system improvements that ultimately improve outcomes for CYSHCNs. The appended IA Initiative Theory of Change represents my current understanding of the Initiative, its components, and associated relationships (see figure 1). The evaluation scope of work table (Table 1) has been developed in reference to this theory of change. The summative evaluation for this Initiative aims to understand the causal linkages from the IA Initiative strategies to each of these subsequent areas of change (i.e., improvements in system change capacity, service delivery system changes, and improvement in the lives of CYSHCNs). Because these phases of change are serial in nature – understanding the influence of the IA Initiative strategies to changes in the later phases (i.e., improvements in the lives of CYSHCNs) requires an understanding of the pathway to change through the intermediate phases.


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