University at Albany

Technically Speaking…CTG at Work

Since being created in 1993 by Governor Mario M. Cuomo, the University at Albany's Center for Technology in Government (CTG) has been dedicated to improving government and public services, both nationally and internationally. "CTG was the first of its kind providing an innovative model of public-private partnerships where government, academia and the corporate community could partner on projects designed to explore new and emerging technologies within the governmental context and learn what worked, what didn't, and why," explains CTG Director Theresa Pardo, BA '82, MS '90, PhD '98. The Center's projects, which have focused on information and knowledge sharing, open government and open data, e-government, social media policy, and mobile technologies and human services delivery, have helped state, local and federal agencies increase productivity and coordination, reduce costs, enhance quality, and deliver better services to citizens and businesses.

CTG collaborates with Microsoft and the Kenya School
of Government on the 4Afrika program in Nairobi, Kenya.

Throughout its 20 years, CTG has met its mission by working with a wide variety of public sector organizations, including many New York State agencies and local governments as well as many other governments around the world. Often these projects are partnerships between the government itself and CTG; other times, projects are funded by organizations such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), the World Bank, the United Nations, and Microsoft. For example, CTG received funding from NSF to model the social-technical relationships in information sharing and integration and used this project to create some of the seminal work in interorganizational information sharing in government. In 2009, CTG was funded by NSF to work with the federal government on the implementation of President Obama's Open Government Directive. In this project, CTG worked with the White House Open Government Working Group to help build an analytical tool to maximize the public value being created and while doing so created new knowledge about the process of opening government. In other projects, CTG has received funding to work internationally on problems related to information sharing and integration, open data, and creating new information and communications technologies (ICT) enterprise governance capability.

CTG Director Theresa Pardo, who also holds research associate professor appointments in Rockefeller College and the College of Computing and Information, was recently appointed to a two-year term as a member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Advisory Committee and to a four-year term to the User Working Group of the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC). SEDAC is a data center in NASA's Earth Observing System Data and Information System operated by the Center for International Earth Science Information Network at Columbia University. In addition, she serves as Open NY Adviser to New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo, is a member of the New York State Department of Health's Transparency, Evaluation and Health Information Technology Workgroup, and is president of the Digital Government Society, a global multi-disciplinary organization of scholars and practitioners interested in the development and impacts of digital government. Pardo is also co-chair of the University at Albany President's Forum on Data, which explores data as a resource in the development of new knowledge and economic opportunity and as a tool in policymaking and problem solving. Pardo was recently named one of Government Technology's Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers for 2015.

"Rockefeller College's partnership is extremely important to CTG," says Pardo. "Together we developed a top-ranked government information strategy and management program and provided opportunities for students to participate in cutting-edge and world-class research in digital government. Some of those students are now leading scholars and practitioners here in New York State and around the world.

(From left) Ashraf Abdelwahab, PhD, Microsoft
Corporate Affairs Manager, Egypt & Gulf; Lutz
Ziob, dean of the 4Afrika Academy; Donna
Canestraro, CTG program director; Eng. Sameh
Bedair, National Management Institute (NMI)
executive director; Anthony Cresswell, CTG
senior fellow; and Eng. Walid Al.Engbawy,
Human Capacity Development Department
general manager at NMI

In addition to Pardo's affiliation with the College, CTG's Research Director Ramon Gil-Garcia is an associate professor in Rockefeller's Department of Public Administration and Policy. CTG Senior Fellow and Founding Director Sharon Dawes, BA '72, PhD '91 is professor emerita of public administration and policy and informatics. Pardo and Dawes led the development of Rockefeller's government information strategy and management curriculum, currently ranked third nationally by U.S. News & World Report. Many Rockefeller students work as graduate assistants at the center and use CTG research for doctoral dissertations and master's theses.

CTG is at the forefront of research in information technology and good governance. Current projects include working with the Capital Region cities of Amsterdam, Gloversville, Schenectady, and Troy to pilot an innovative information sharing program to combat urban blight; partnering with the New York State Office of Children and Family Services and Stony Brook University on the National Youth in Transition Database program, an exploration into the future role of public libraries as integral partners in local open government initiatives; and working with an international team of scholars to create a global framework for studying smart cities. CTG recently announced a collaboration with Microsoft Corporation to deliver executive-level training to government leaders in Africa as part of the Microsoft 4Afrika's School of Government (SOG) program. The project seeks to build capacity to formulate and implement information and technology-related policies and programs to improve Africa's global competitiveness. "The 4Afrika SOG provides a forum for government leaders of Africa to appreciate, contextualize, share, and strategize using the principles and best practices in information and communications technologies policy and practice," said Pardo. "The Center's 20 years of working with government leaders to enhance their capabilities to generate greater public value through innovative uses of ICT and collaborations is the foundation for the program."