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Spotlight: George Mason University

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Not too far away from the 2012 Fall Research Conference in Baltimore, Maryland is the George Mason University (GMU) School of Public Policy. An APPAM institutional member, the school is recognized as one of the largest and most respected public policy programs in the United States. With six master’s degrees and a doctoral program, GMU offers students and working professionals a comprehensive education that integrates real-world experience, problem-solving, and applied knowledge.

The school was founded in 1990 and housed in trailers on GMU’s main campus in Fairfax, Virginia. It is now housed in a brand-new seven-story building in Arlington, minutes from the downtown core of Washington, DC. Today, more than 60 full-time faculty educate the nearly one thousand full- and part-time master’s degree and doctoral students enrolled at the school.

Because solving complex policy challenges requires an interdisciplinary approach, faculty at the school have a wide range of backgrounds, including economics, political science, anthropology, and law, and represent expertise in diverse topic areas including transportation, economic development, national security, ethics, health care, global trade, education, governance, and technology.

The Program

The GMU School of Public Policy’s mission is to educate the new generation of leaders for the 21st century—men and women capable of shaping a global community with vision, justice, and clarity. The school also strives to maintain an international reputation for superior education and public service that affirms its role as the intellectual and cultural nexus in Northern Virginia, the nation, and the world.

Students can pursue a master’s degree in one of the following areas: Public Policy (MPP), Health and Medical Policy, International Commerce and Policy, Organization Development and Knowledge Management, Peace Operations, and Transportation Policy, Operations and Logistics.

The school has developed substantial analytical capacity regarding the northern Virginia/Washington, DC region. The skills and insights derived from such knowledge and modeling of this region allows the school not only to assist in solving regional problems but also to probe other areas around the world.

A similar focus is on national security, intelligence policy, and peace building. This is not simply securing a nation against military attack, but safeguarding individuals and communities from the range of threats and fears that interfere with their fullest, most complete development. Courses of study examine personal liberty, human rights, and political and economic rights; ensuring economic stability and growth in a globally-interdependent world; protecting against transnational crime, corruption, and terrorism; and addressing global health and environmental concerns.

GMU considers itself the nexus of science, technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Sustainable increases in productivity—upon which the solutions to all other problems hinge—require improved understanding and better implementation of policies that encourage individuals, groups, and institutions to create, adapt, adopt, and employ new knowledge.

Finally, GMU’s public policy programs have a strong focus on transportation and infrastructure policy. Technology continues to transform how people, things, and ideas move—or might conceivably move—both locally and globally. The economic, political, social, and cultural implications are enormous, posing both challenges and opportunities for public policy, challenges and opportunities that need to be understood both in themselves and in the context of interlinked public policy questions.

The school ultimately looks to prepare highly qualified, astute policy professionals who move rapidly into leadership positions in the private sector, not-for-profits, state and federal governments, and international organizations. Graduates possess the methodological and communication skills needed to design and promote effective policies in virtually any subject area. They’re trained to undertake positions in policy analysis, program management, leadership roles, and organizational consulting.

GMU’s programs emphasize problem solving, research skills, familiarity with economic concepts, and ethical considerations. Graduates are taught to think comparatively and globally about policy processes and problems and are better prepared when they enter the professional policy arena.


School faculty are distinguished by their excellence in teaching as well as their research, publications, and public service. Faculty include:

Mark J. Rozell, Acting Dean

Mark_RozellMark J. Rozell is the Acting Dean of Mason’s School of Public Policy. Rozell is the author of nine books and editor of twenty books on various topics in U.S. government and politics including the presidency, religion and politics, media and politics, and interest groups in elections. He has testified before Congress on several occasions on executive privilege issues and has lectured extensively in the U.S. and abroad.

Acting Dean Rozell writes frequent op-ed columns in such publications as Roll Call and Politico. He is often asked to comment about his areas of expertise for television and in publications such as The Washington Post and TIME Magazine.



Audrey Kurth Cronin, National Security and Public Policy Area of Emphasis

AKC_picture_Feb_11_NWCDr. Audrey Kurth Cronin has had a combination of academic positions and practical U.S. government service throughout her career. She joined GMU as a tenured senior faculty member in September 2011. Prior to that, she was a faculty member and director of the core course on military strategy at the U.S. National War College. Dr. Cronin was also Director of Studies for the Oxford/Leverhulme Programme on the Changing Character of War at Oxford University (Nuffield College). She continues to be a non-residential Senior Research Associate at Oxford.

Dr. Cronin advised members of Congress in the aftermath of 9/11 as a Specialist in Terrorism at the Congressional Research Service. She has also served periodically in the Executive Branch, including in the Office of the Secretary of Defense/Policy, where she drafted portions of the Secretary's strategic plan; the Office of the Secretary of the Navy, where she wrote speeches for John Lehman; and the American Embassy in Moscow, where she worked in the U.S. Commercial Office during the Cold War. She regularly consults with agencies in both the Executive and Legislative branches.

While on the faculty at Oxford, Professor Cronin completed How Terrorism Ends: Understanding the Decline and Demise of Terrorist Campaigns, published by Princeton University Press and named a Choice Outstanding Academic title for 2010. She also wrote Ending Terrorism: A Strategy for Defeating Al-Qaeda, a policy-oriented Adelphi Paper published by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (London). She has a longstanding interest in the question of how conflicts end and wrote her first book on the negotiations over Austria following the Second World War (Great Power Politics and the Struggle over Austria, 1945-1955). Other recent notable publications include the upcoming "American Grand Strategy and Counterterrorism" in the Spring 2012 Orbis, and articles in International Affairs, International Security, Parameters, and Survival. Major studies written for Congress include Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations, Al Qaeda after the Iraq Conflict, and Terrorists and Suicide Attacks. Recently, Dr. Cronin published Attacking Terrorism: Elements of a Grand Strategy, an edited volume that examines the full range of policy instruments for effective counterterrorism.

Dr. Cronin holds a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University. She won a Marshall Scholarship (similar to a Rhodes) to Oxford University, where she studied with Michael Howard, Hedley Bull, and Adam Roberts, and captained the first women's rowing team for St. Antony's College.

Stephen Fuller, Regional Economic Development Policy Area of Emphasis

Dr. Stephen Fuller joined the faculty at George Mason University in 1994 as Professor of Public Policy and Regional Development.  He served as Director of the Ph.D. Program in Public Policy from 1998 to 2000 and again from 2001 to 2002. He also serves as Director of the Center for Regional Analysis. In September 2001, the GMU Board of Visitors appointed him University Professor and in 2002, named him to the Dwight Schar Faculty Chair.

Prior to joining the Mason faculty, Dr. Fuller served on the faculty at George Washington University for 25 years, with 9 years as Chairman of the Department of Urban Planning and Real Estate Development and serving as Director of Doctoral Programs for the School of Business and Public Management for a year.

Dr. Fuller has authored more than 500 articles, papers, and reports in the field of urban and regional economic development including monthly reports on the Washington metropolitan area and Fairfax County economies.

His research focuses on the changing structure of metropolitan area economies and measuring their current and near-term performance. Dr. Fuller has developed a monthly series of indicators to track the current and near-term performance of the Washington area economy and also leading and coincident indices for Fairfax County. His research includes studies on the impacts of federal spending, the hospitality industry, international business, and the building industry on the Washington area economy. His international assignments include Kazakhstan, Georgia, Hungary, and China as well as ongoing projects in Portugal.

In August 2006, Governor Kaine appointed Dr. Fuller to the Governor's Advisory Board of Economists.  He had previously served on this Board under Governors Warner, Allen, and Wilder. In 2003, he was a member of Governor Warner's Tax Reform Working Group and is currently a member of the CFO Advisory Group of the District of Columbia. Additionally, Dr. Fuller has served on numerous industry boards and has been an economic advisor to Fairfax County in Virginia for nearly 20 years.

In 1996, he was honored by the Economic Club of Washington as Educator of the Year and in 1997 was selected for the Richard T. Ely Distinguished Educator Award by Lambda Alpha International, an honorary society of land economists. He served as President of the Washington Chapter of Lambda Alpha from 1998 to 2000 and is a member of the Urban Land Institute's Washington District Council. In 2001, he was selected by NAIOP as a Distinguished Fellow, an appointment that extended through 2007.

David Hart, Science and Technology Policy Area of Emphasis

David_HartDr. David Hart has made it his business to understand how public policy influences scientific knowledge and technological innovation. By setting developments in science and technology in their broader social, political, and economic context, he provides insights to practitioners, scholars, and students about how to manage change for the greater benefit of society.

Dr. Hart taught for a decade at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University before taking up his present position as a tenured professor at GMU. He is an award-winning teacher, offering general courses on policy-making and political strategy as well as specialized courses dealing with technological innovation, governance, and the global knowledge economy. Dr. Hart's students have gone on to influential positions in government, academia, industry, and the non-profit sector.

With research focusing on how private and public actors craft policies together, Dr. Hart is currently working on major projects in the areas of high-skill migration, energy technology, and entrepreneurship.  His work reaches the policy community as well as scholars, appearing in such venues as Nature, Issues in Science and Technology, and the Congressional Quarterly Press. Journalists frequently draw upon Dr. Hart’s expertise; his quotes are in The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Science, National Journal, and The Boston Globe, among others. He has worked with an array of public and private organizations in the U.S. and abroad, including the U.S. National Research Council, the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, the National Natural Sciences Foundation of China, and the U.K. Treasury Department.

Dr. Hart regularly organizes programs and panels for the school and directs several major conferences. He is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Political Science Association, the Business History Conference, the Midwest Political Science Association, the Organization of American Historians, and the Society for the History of Technology.

General Information

The George Mason University School of Public Policy is located at 3351 Fairfax Drive, MS 3B1 in Arlington, VA. For more information about the programs offered through the school, visit their website or email

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