Spotlight: University of Minnesota
The mission of the University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs is to inspire, educate, and support innovative leaders to advance the common good in a diverse world. The third-oldest public affairs program in the country, the Humphrey School has experienced a decade of steady growth in program expansion, student enrollment and graduation, excellence, and national reputation.
The Humphrey School is at the forefront of applying interdisciplinary solutions to grand, international challenges. As a vital part of one of the world’s most comprehensive universities, the School has a deep tradition of—and varied expertise in—real-world problem solving. Harnessing technology, bridging disciplines and spanning the government, nonprofit, and business sectors, the School equips students from around the world to explore and rigorously engage in often inter-related local, state, national, and international issues. Faculty members, students, and graduates influence policy throughout the United States and in 49 other countries.
Humphrey creates an engaging community of tenured and tenure-track faculty members, senior fellows steeped in practice, and an exceptional professional staff. And this vibrant community is growing; the number of tenured or tenure-track faculty members has increased by 50 percent and the size of the graduate faculty has doubled in recent years. The School is multidisciplinary, organized into substantive areas of collaboration across eight research and outreach centers. It offers five professional master’s degrees and several certificate programs for 550 degree-seeking students. A Ph.D. program in public affairs will welcome its first students in the fall of 2014.
A School With a Soul
Dean Eric Schwartz explains, “It’s not surprising that a report commissioned by the School about how students, faculty and other stakeholders perceive this institution found that this idea—a school with a soul—prevailed among so many people. The Humphrey School scholarship and service—the culture of our School—reflect the proudest traditions of American public life and are characterized by a commitment to ensuring that the principles of democratic governance inform our scholarship and service.”
The legacy of Senator and Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey is alive in the School’s work to equip students to play key roles in at the local, state, national, and global levels. Students come to Humphrey ready to have an effect on the world and faculty are committed to matching students’ passions with the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to transform ideas into action.
As part of the School’s enduring commitment to Humphrey’s legacy of civil rights and social justice, the School is hosting several events to mark anniversaries of key moments during the Civil Rights Movement, including the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
An Engaged and Diverse Community
The Humphrey School is closely integrated into national and Minnesota business, government, and civic circles through its Advisory Council, a 21-member Alumni Board, and almost 4,500 alumni worldwide. The institution draws students from across the country and around the globe, embracing diversity in its recruitment of students and faculty members, as well as in its programming and course offerings. Humphrey hosts several international fellowship programs that annually bring dozens of mid-career practitioners to campus for professional development and education. The School has annual revenues and expenditures of approximately $22 million, including $3–4 million in external research funding and $18–19 million in core academic operations. The School has a total endowment of about $60 million.
Notable People, Remarkable Work
Yingling Fan studies the health and social impacts of urban land use, growth management and transit improvement. Awarded a McNight Land-grant Professorship for her work on Transforming the Built Environment for Health and Equity: Integrated Socio-Spacial Planning, her overarching goal is to investigate the impacts of spatial planning on human activities and movement. Her research includes designing green spaces in urban areas and developing smartphone applications to capture and analyze travel behavior data.
A former president of APPAM, Samuel L. Myers, Jr. is a MIT-trained economist who heads the Roy Wilkins Center for Human Relations and Social Justice, named for the long-serving head of the NAACP. He is a national authority on the methodology of conducting disparity studies and has served as an expert witness in the groundbreaking federal case of GEOD vs. New Jersey Transit (3rd Circuit Court of Appeals).
Jodi Sandfort specializes in improving public policy implementation. Her current research and practice projects include citizen participation practices and the role technology is playing in professional education. She is the academic director of the Humphrey School multi-media teaching initiative focused on building and sharing multi-media teaching tools, the Hubert Project, and one of several authors of an ebook titled Cultivating Change in the Academy: Practicing the Art of Hosting Conversations that Matter within the University of Minnesota.
Dean Eric Schwartz joined the Humphrey School of Public Affairs in 2011, having served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration where he was the Department of State’s principal humanitarian official. He also served as UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Deputy Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery and, during the Clinton Administration, as Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Senior Director for Multilateral and Humanitarian Affairs at the National Security Council at the White House.
Joe Soss, the Cowles Professor for the Study of Public Service, explores the interplay of democratic politics, socioeconomic inequalities, and public policy. He is particularly interested in the political sources and consequences of policies that govern social marginality and shape life conditions for socially marginal groups. His most recent book, Disciplining the Poor: Neoliberal Paternalism and the Persistent Power of Race (University of Chicago Press, 2011), co-authored with Richard C. Fording and Sanford F. Schram, won both the American Political Science Association’s Caucus for a New Political Science’s 2012 Michael Harrington Book Award and the 2012 Oliver Cromwell Cox Award from the American Sociological Association’s Section on Racial and Ethnic Minorities.
Elizabeth Wilson’s research focuses on the development of energy systems. Recent work examines the social, political, and legal contexts shaping low carbon energy deployment at the state level and the regulatory and legal considerations for deploying carbon capture and sequestration technologies. Several new projects focusing on Smart Grid technologies are underway. Prior to joining the University of Minnesota she worked with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
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Article provided by Andrea Cournoyer, University of Minnesota.