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#2021APPAM Spotlight: Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin


The #2021APPAM Fall Research Conference will feature some fantastic sponsors from across the policy research spectrum. Today we're shining a spotlight on the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin.


What types of programs does your school offer?

The LBJ School at The University of Texas at Austin is a public policy graduate school nationally ranked at No. 7. Its offerings include a Master of Public Affairs program and a Master of Global Policy Studies program, both of which have an 18-month Washington, DC track. It also offers a Ph.D. in Public Policy program, an Executive Master in Public Leadership program for the career professional, and the nonpartisan LBJ Women’s Campaign School.

What would you list as your school's greatest accomplishments in the last 5-10 years?

The LBJ School's updated academic offerings have adapted to the changing policy landscape and the changing needs of students entering the policy world — including a greater focus on practical experience and skill-building. It strengthened its intellectual leadership with new, cutting-edge research and cross-collaborations not only within The University of Texas at Austin, but also with peer institutions across the public policy spectrum. A new Dean's certificate program in data analysis and public management was introduced in 2020. LBJ launched a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative that touches all aspects of the school from classes to community events. The school built on the work of its research centers and established action laboratories aimed at connecting policy and practice with public, private, nonprofit and educational sectors: the LBJ Urban Lab, LBJ Women's Campaign School, The Impact Factory and the Prison and Jail Innovation Lab. LBJ's community increased community engagement efforts culminated in our 50th anniversary celebration in 2020 — a virtual event featuring 15 forum sessions, four commemorative films, and 30 speakers, including Stacey Abrams, Jamie Dimon, Dr. Lonnie Bunch,
Admiral William McRaven, Pete Buttigieg, Melinda Gates, and others.

Why should potential students choose your school or program?

The LBJ School is the only public policy school tied to a top-tier research university, a presidential library, a state capital and an international border. Its 7:1 student-to-faculty ratio means students get incredible opportunities to interact with world-class instructors, and 12 research centers give students the chance to explore policy research across a wide swath of areas. With 17 dual degrees, portfolio programs, and a variety of specialization options, students can customize their degrees to fit their interests and prepare them for the policy arena of their choice. A yearlong policy research project enables students to gain rich experience working on client-created issues. The school's 18-month DC track, which includes a Policy Apprenticeship, enables students to get out into the policy world a full six months ahead of students in other programs. In addition, the LBJ School features workshops, panels, sessions and VIP guest speakers almost daily throughout the year (what we call the “fifth class”). In addition, LBJ students can participate in endless opportunities on the UT Austin campus to gain real-world experience.

What is your teaching/research divide?

Core to the LBJ School's mission is a balance between scholarly research and learning and practical, hands-on experience. LBJ faculty come from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds: engineering, sociology, economics, history, geography and political science. Many have held senior positions as policymakers at the federal (CIA, Department of Defense, Congressional Research Service, White House, etc.), state and local levels. We engage with relevant constituencies, including scholarly and policy communities, by disseminating the results of research and participating in public debates on these issues.

Is there any other information you'd like to include in your Spotlight?

Location matters when choosing where to study the public sphere, because being up close and personally involved with policymaking is vital. The state of Texas and city of Austin—plus the LBJ Washington Center—provide a complete governmental learning laboratory. As part of a public state school, the LBJ School offers one of the most affordable graduate programs of its kind. In addition, many students are able to secure funding through graduate research and teaching assistantships, student employment, fellowships, internship stipends, awards and more. Graduates join an alumni community of more than 4,500 worldwide.

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