Communicating management challenges at the National Science Foundation

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Mark Bell, assistant inspector general for audits at the National Science Foundation and Elizabeth Argeris Lewis, communications analyst at the NSF Inspector General Office, discuss their new report on management challenges, and the features that make it more accessible to agency leaders.


This year, the National Science Foundation overhauled their annual report on agency management challenges. The new report is designed to be accessible, with a streamlined visual style and elements that make it easier to read on a screen. Mark Bell, assistant inspector general for audits at NSF, told Government Matters that this revision was an important first step.

“The first hurdle has been made. The director of NSF, France Cordova, loved it. She used it to brief her assistant directors, so that’s my first hurdle. Is the agency going to use this information, use this tool to make themselves better and take action?” Bell said. “From there, it’s how many hits on our website, what public feedback we get, whether others in the IG follow our lead and start to change their reports as well.”

 

Elizabeth Argeris Lewis, communications analyst at the NSF Office of the Inspector General, said that making the report easier to read is vital for communicating the issues within.

“We used to give pages and pages of information. Now this year, we’ve cut down each challenge area to one page,” Lewis said. “Instead of bringing up 10 years’ worth of old reports, we really consolidated it and said ‘Here’s what the challenge is, here’s what work has been done, here’s what work is left to do, here’s some ongoing work that our office is currently doing to move forward and try to address this challenge area.’”