The FIS model has an extensive track record of successful implementation from the past 3 decades across over 30 states and territories. Findings from qualitative interviews highlight their impact on policymakers’ attitudes about the practical value of research and the approachability of researchers. State legislators commend the model for fostering relationships with their colleagues across the aisle. Legislators express the value of learning from “trusted partners” and rate the relevance and usefulness of seminars very highly. In one study, 79% of the participating legislators reported using research from seminars in their speeches. These seminars have also been linked to proposed legislation.
In an era of polarized politics, the Family Impact Seminars provide a neutral, off-the-record setting for policymakers to discuss issues with their colleagues across the aisle to foster bipartisan relationships and the finding of common ground. This model builds a university-based, team-based infrastructure of researchers and policymakers that allow for sustainable, ongoing policy influence with modest resource expenditures. Faculty serve in the role as Seminar Directors and operate in a hub-and-spoke fashion by coordinating the activities of researchers in response to state legislators’ current interests.