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#2021APPAM Spotlight: Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy - University of Albany, SUNY


The #2021APPAM Fall Research Conference will feature some fantastic sponsors from across the policy research spectrum. Today we're shining a spotlight on Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at University of Albany, SUNY.

What types of programs does your school offer?

The Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy offers an undergraduate major in Public Policy and Management, a Masters of Public Affairs (MPA) program, a PhD program in Public Administration and Policy, and several professional certificate programs. It offers additional programs through the Political Science department and the School of Criminal Justice.

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

Our MPA is currently ranked the number one Public Affairs graduate program among public institutions in the Northeast, and is ranked 25th in the country out of 285 public affairs programs.

Our PhD students have graduated to pursue prestigious careers, including tenure-track positions in nationally-ranked public affairs schools and senior researcher positions in think tanks and government.

Through our affiliated public policy research centers, including the Center for Policy Research and the Center for Technology in Government, faculty have received competitive external research awards over the past four years of over $17 million dollars.

Why should potential students choose your school or program?

Undergraduate and MPA programs at Rockefeller College prepare students to excel as policy analysts, government administrators, or strategic or financial leaders of public and nonprofit institutions. Within public policy courses, students learn how to use quantitative and qualitative skills to conduct high-impact policy analyses, how to communicate effectively about complex policy issues, and how to navigate the political process as it pertains to policy making. Students complete individualized professional internships to practice applying and honing their new skills within the public or non-profit sector.

Our doctoral program prepares students for a successful research career, by providing advanced education and mentoring in theory-driven interdisciplinary social science. Our faculty are committed to training doctoral students in how to produce original research to help solve systemic public problems. Located in the heart of the Capital Region of New York State, students of all levels have unique access to state government, and access to the many cultural and natural attractions of the surrounding community.

If you are hiring, what makes your school a great place to work?

Our faculty bring diverse approaches to studying critical public policy challenges within the U.S. and internationally. Our department includes experts in health policy, education policy, environmental policy, social policy, digital governance, homeland security, non-profit management, and public management, among other fields. We are located in the capital of New York State, and have opportunities to collaborate closely with state government to conduct publicly-engaged research and policy outreach. As educators at a public university serving a diverse student population, we also have the opportunity to work with highly-motivated students from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Our department values collegiality and inclusion and provides generous support and mentoring to junior faculty.

What is your teaching/research divide?

The University at Albany is an R1 institution, or a doctoral university with very high research activity. Within the university, the Department of Public Administration and Policy is especially active in their engagement with national and international research communities. We also highly value quality teaching in our undergraduate and graduate programs. Most faculty teach a total of four courses per academic year, with the remainder of their time spent pursuing research or engaging in activities in service to the department, university, profession, or community. Informally, this amounts to 50% of time spent on research, 40% on teaching, and 10% on service for tenure-track faculty.

What is your undergraduate/graduate divide?

In recent years, we have on average over 100 undergraduate students majoring in Public Policy and Management, approximately 150 students enrolled in the MPA program, approximately 30 students enrolled in graduate certificate programs, and approximately 35 students enrolled in our PhD program.

Although there are ample opportunities for faculty to teach at the undergraduate and doctoral levels, many faculty spend the majority of their time teaching core and elective courses in the MPA program.

What is an interesting, unique, or fun fact about your school?

In 1985, the UAlbany Student Association organized the world’s largest game of musical chairs with 5,060 students, faculty, and staff participating. This massive game of musical chairs lasted for a total of 4 hours and 35 minutes.

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