This semester, Associate Professor of Government Gbemende Johnson is working with the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) as a Pracademic Fellow. The Pracademic Fellowship, awarded by the American Political Science Association, places researchers within their agency of choice to gain direct practitioner insight into policy implementation and agency responsibilities. Johnson requested placement with the OGIS.
The Office of Government Information Services, a bureau of the National Archives and Records Administration, assists records requesters through the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process, provides recommendations to improve agency FOIA compliance, and also provides alternative dispute resolution services to help resolve agency-requester disputes.
Johnson is currently working on a NSF-funded research project examining FOIA litigation. She said that “research regularly requires the application of theories to describe and characterize the behavior of government actors. However,” she noted, “practitioner experience provides a source of knowledge and understanding that is not readily conveyed by quantitative data alone.”
As a Pracademic Fellow, Johnson will not only learn directly from FOIA practitioners but will also contribute to the bureau by completing assignments that fall within the bureau’s mission.
Last fall, OGIS staff members visited virtually with Johnson’s American Administrative State class to discuss the roles and responsibilities of the bureau.