Nick Mader

Senior Researcher

Dr. Nick Mader is a Senior Researcher at Chapin Hall. His work focuses on building integrated, large-scale systems of data analysis and reporting for use by networks of nonprofits and public agencies that serve youth. A central focus is linked administrative data systems that are used to understand how youth experience—and are influenced by—multiple institutions, including the public school, criminal justice, and child welfare systems. This work combines close collaboration with a wide range of staff from these systems to understand practice needs, expertise with legal and technical challenges around securing use of sensitive data, statistical analysis methods drawn from both social and data science, and free and open source methods for analysis, visualization, and reporting.

Mader is the Principal Investigator and Director of the Chapin Hall Collaborative, a research/practice partnership between Chapin Hall and eight youth-serving nonprofits and city agencies that provide programming to more than 55,000 youth in Chicago each year. He is also the Data Architect for Chapin Hall’s Transformational Collaborative Outcomes Management team. In this work, he leads a team to generate open-sourced analytics and reporting for a range of state systems of behavioral health and child welfare. Additional ongoing work involves collaboration with the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services and the Chicago Mayor’s Office to generate estimates of child populations eligible for a range of early childcare and education programs, and interactive visualizations used by city planners to allocate resources across Chicago agencies and neighborhoods.

Mader received a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and Economics from Wesleyan University, a PhD in Economics from the University of Wisconsin, and served as a Postdoctoral Scholar with 2000 Nobel Prize corecipient Professor James Heckman in the Economics Department at the University of Chicago.

PhD in Economics, University of Wisconsin

Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and Economics, Wesleyan University

Mader, N. (2017, December). CANOPY: A Planning Tool for Positioning Human Service Resources to Optimize Uptake. Project proposal presented in plenary and breakout sessions at the MetroLab Network Annual Summit, Atlanta, GA.

Mader, N. (2017, November). Better Decisions by Making the Most of City Data. Roundtable discussion, Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management, Chicago, IL.

Humphries, J.E., Mader, N., Tannenbaum, D., van Dijk, W. (2017, November): Using Linked Data to Advance Evidence-Based Policymaking for Public Programs Serving U.S. Families. Panel presentation, Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management, Chicago, IL.

Mader, N. (2017, January). Data Sharing and Integration: Infrastructure, Standards, and Best Practices. Invited panel discussion, MetroLab Network, Seattle WA.

Mader, N., Sartain, L., Steinberg, M. (2016, November): When Suspensions are Shorter: The Effects on School Climate and Student Learning. Chicago Education Research Presentation Group (CHERP), Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Mader, N. (2016, August): Coordinating Youth Programs with Linked Systems Data. Invited moderated discussion, National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Washington DC.

Mader, N. (2016, July): Anchor Institutions as Crucial Hubs. Invited plenary presentation, Council of Large Public Housing Authorities, Affordable Housing and Education Summit, Washington DC.

Mader, N. (2016, February): Educational Equity & Policy. Panel discussion, University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy & Teach For America, Chicago, IL.

Mader, N. (2015, November): When Suspensions are Shorter: The Effects on School Climate and Student Learning. Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management, Miami, FL.

Goerge, R., Mader, N., Zanoni, W. (2015, November): “The Use of Work Supports and Achievement of Self Sufficiency: Empirical Analysis Using Illinois Administrative Data” panel presentation, Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management, Miami, FL.

Mader, N. (2014, April): A Proposal for a Computer-Assisted Process for Planning Public Resources. Presentation to University of Chicago and Argonne National Labs Workshop on Applied Mathematics and Social Sciences, Chicago, IL.

Mader, N. (2014, March): The Big Data Era and Social Policy-Relevant Research – Invited presentation, Big Data Future Conference, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.

Mader, N. (2013, November): Early Findings from the Chapin Hall Collaborative Work. Invited presentation to senior leadership of the YMCA of Metro Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Mader, N. (2013, September): Administrative Data as the Bridge between Policy and Academia. Invited Presentation to Do Good Data Conference, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Mader, N. (2013, August): Causal Inference Challenges in Big Data Analysis. Presentation – Data Science for Social Good Summer Fellowship, Chicago, IL

Mader, N. (2013, July): Economic Models of Causality. Invited presentation to Data Science for Social Good Summer Fellowship, Chicago, IL.

Mader, N. (2012, October): School Choice, Competition, and Academic Quality: Evidence from the Milwaukee Private School Voucher Program. Paper presentation of Committee on Education, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Humphries, J.E. and Mader, N. (2011, April): Who are the GEDS? And Returns to the GED. Paper presentations for conference for the “Studies of the GED Testing Program” volume, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Mader, N. (2010, July): A Forked Road to Graduating High School. Hour-long call in show, Cleveland Public Radio (WCPN), Cleveland, OH.

Mader, N. (2009, September): The GED. Paper presented at the Meeting on Handbook of Economics of Education, CESIfo, Munich, Germany.

Mader, N. (2008, June): School Competition and Educational Quality: Evidence from Milwaukee. Poster presented at IES Research Conference, Washington, DC.

Descriptive Comparisons and Statistical Analysis (with Emily Wiegand, Kim Foley, Shannon Guiltinan), Chapin Hall Collaborative, quarterly, 2014-present. This series of interactive tables is custom generated for each of the Chapin Hall Collaborative’s eight partners to reflect a range of aggregated linked youth records at custom levels of reporting specificity.

System-wide CANS Reports for the Washington State Behavioral Health System (with Michaela Voit), Washington State Behavioral Health System, November 2017. A series of interactive HTML reports at this link was generated using free and open source tools to show key indicators related to youth recommended for wraparound supports, actionable needs, useful strengths, stability index, and cohort comparisons using Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) assessment data. In addition to a system-wide report, these reports are automatically generated for every agency, county, and region within Washington State. Open source code for data preparation and report generation were shared with the partner, in addition to an instructional video for use.

Chicago Needs Assessment Tool (with Paul Mack), Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS), June 2017. The Chicago Needs Assessment Tool (CNAT, website) is an interactive web application that allow nonprofits in Chicago to identify characteristics of youth that they serve by drawing custom geographies on an interactive map of Chicago. This tool was designed in conjunction with DFSS with the primary audience of agency providers of Head Start programs. The code for this project is open source and available on GitHub.

Exploring Trauma and Resilience in Chicago Youth, Part 2: Markers of Resilience (with Jessica Dargiel and Denali Dasgupta), Chapin Hall Collaborative, May 2017. This series of interactive HTML reports is custom generated for each of the Chapin Hall Collaborative partners, using free and open source tools. The reports reflect ecological exposures to trauma for youth enrolled in partner programs and living in the same neighborhoods as youth served by partner programs.

Exploring Trauma and Resilience in Chicago Youth, Part 1: Exposure to Trauma (with Jessica Dargiel and Denali Dasgupta), Chapin Hall Collaborative, March 2017. This series of interactive HTML reports is custom generated for each of the Chapin Hall Collaborative partners, using free and open source tools. The reports reflect ecological exposures to trauma for youth enrolled in partner programs and living in the same neighborhoods as youth served by partner programs.

System-wide CANS Reports for the Idaho State Child Welfare System, February 2017. An automatically generated/updating system-wide report was prepared using free and open source tools to show key indicators related to youth recommended for wraparound supports, actionable needs, useful strengths, stability index, and cohort comparisons using Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) assessment data.

Analysis Brief and Tables for At-Risk Youth by Violence Prevention Programming, December 2016. Interactive workbooks were generated to compare youth involved with violence prevention programming across time, program types, neighborhoods, and benchmarks (representing noninvolved youth). Additionally, an interactive HTML report was prepared to describe development of a distilled at-risk measure using predictive analytics methods, and interactive visual displays were used to guide Get In Chicago reflection on the effectiveness of its strategy to target youth through various recruitment mechanisms, funding of different program types, and targeting of specific geographies.

Estimates of Young, Program-Eligible Children in Chicago, Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS), annually, 2014-present. This work involves producing estimates of young children eligible for Early Head Start, Head Start, and Illinois State Child Care Assistance Program by Chicago Community Area of residence for use by the Chicago DFSS. This information is hosted in the Young Children in Chicago website, and methodology is described at this link.