Auburn University professor receives media award for coverage of drug courts, public policy innovation

Pictured, left to right, Award recipients Moni Basu of CNN, Bill Rankin of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Kathleen Hale of Auburn University. Photo courtesy of the NADCPAUBURN UNIVERSITY – Kathleen Hale, an associate professor of political science in the Auburn University College of Liberal Arts, was recently honored at the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, or NADCP, annual conference in Nashville.

Hale was named one of three recipients of the organization’s media awards, which are given annually to individuals or outlets that have demonstrated outstanding coverage of drug courts or the NADCP. Other recipients included Moni Basu of CNN and Bill Rankin of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“I am honored to receive this prestigious award recognizing my research and its connection to the practical world of public administration and public policy,” Hale said. “The NADCP is a prototypical example of how a nonprofit organization can bring about sustainable change through the kinds of information it develops, the networks and relationships it builds and the institutional infrastructure it creates. The evolution of this organization and its efforts demonstrate how nonprofits can create space for innovation to take hold and flourish. Particularly important, this research demonstrates the critical role of nonprofit organizations in creating capacity for government and communities to meet new challenges.”

Her book, “How Information Matters: Networks and Public Policy Innovation,” published by Georgetown University Press, looks at the NADCP and its work within a national organizational network as an example of how a nonprofit organization can forge successful public and private partnerships that initiate significant policy change and innovation, reflecting a change in approaching public policy decisions and engaging local communities.

The NADCP was critical to Hale’s study, which followed the adoption of drug court programs across the country as a significant policy innovation shaping outcomes for drug offenders. The NADCP began in 1994 with 12 local judges and now includes more than 27,000 multidisciplinary justice professionals and community leaders.

“Hale argues that the combination of a strong local and effective community collaboration and coordinated national leadership from NADCP has led to the sustained growth and success of drug courts nationwide,” said Christopher Deutsch of the NADCP. “But her book also offers a blueprint for future public and private collaboration. Hale demonstrates that the drug court experience provides an important model for future policy design and implementation, and highlights critical linkages between nonprofits, government and policy success. ‘How Information Matters’ is essential reading for policymakers, drug court professionals, elected officials, public administrators and nonprofit leaders.”

Hale joined the political science faculty in 2006. She teaches courses related to nonprofit management and intergovernmental relations and coordinates Auburn’s Elections Administration program with the Election Center of Houston. Her research is making a difference in approaches to the role of government, the role of nonprofit organizations and how the two shape public policy.

The 2012 NADCP Annual Conference was reportedly the world’s largest ever conference on substance abuse, mental health and the criminal justice system with over 4,300 state and federal justice leaders, celebrities, judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, clinicians, police, probation officers, veterans, business owners, drug court graduates and family members from around the world in attendance.

This spring, Hale was also named a College of Liberal Arts Engaged Scholar for excellence in teaching and research related to the college’s Community and Civic Engagement initiative. She is the most recent faculty member to be awarded the appointment, and will serve a three-year term as an Engaged Scholar.

“Dr. Hale’s work and stamina are exemplary,” said Giovanna Summerfield, associate dean in the College of Liberal Arts. “As a member of the executive council of the nonprofit section of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration, and academic coordinator for the Elections Administration program, Dr. Hale is an inspiration not only to peers in her field and in the academia in general, but also to her graduate and undergraduate students. It is not a coincidence that last year she was the recipient of the Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in CCE and that she has mentored some of our CCE fellows.”

(Written by Carol Nelson)

Contact: Vicky Santos, College of Liberal Arts, (334) 844-7186 (, or
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