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Spotlight: University of Maryland, Baltimore County

January 1, 2011 01:00 PM

UMBC_Public_Policy_BuildingThe School of Public Policy (formerly the Department of Public Policy) at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County includes the master of public policy (MPP) and PhD degree programs, and the Maryland Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (MIPAR). Established in 1974, the School celebrated its 40th anniversary in fall 2014.

The mission of the School of Public Policy is to provide quality education for a diverse range of students, both full- and part-time. The School welcomes students who have recently completed their undergraduate education or master's degree, and are interested in pursuing careers in policy analysis, management, or research, as well as mid-career professionals who want to improve their abilities and qualifications.

The Maryland Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (MIPAR), with $23 million in active research grants, links the analytical resources of the University with policymakers in the state and region, conducting opinion research, policy analyses, and program evaluations on a variety of topics. MIPAR activities are supported by federal, state, and local governmental agencies, foundations, and corporations.


Interior lobby of the UMBC Public Policy building (Photo courtesy UMBC)

The Program

The MPP and PhD degree programs are distinguished by interdisciplinarity, location, outstanding faculty, and the multiple opportunities for student research.

The public policy program is interdisciplinary, allowing students to examine public policy using theories and concepts drawn from economics, sociology, political science and policy analysis. The program is noted for the emphasis on evaluation and analytical methods in all policy areas.

UMBC’s proximity to federal and state government offices provides an ideal setting for training, internships, and employment opportunities. A 500-acre suburban campus in Catonsville, Maryland, UMBC is 10 minutes from downtown Baltimore and 45 minutes from both Washington, DC and Annapolis, Maryland. The School works with its Public Policy External Advisory Board, consisting of civic, nonprofit, and business leaders in Baltimore, to build bridges between students, faculty, and senior policymakers in the region.

The School of Public Policy has nine nationally recognized full-time core faculty. The program also includes over 35 faculty members from other social science departments on the UMBC campus: economics, education, history, political science, psychology, and sociology.

Students have the opportunity—and are in fact encouraged—to work with faculty on research projects. Faculty research complements the school’s educational mission in the classroom, providing funded research opportunities for graduate students and support for dissertations. MPP students without relevant work experience are required to complete an internship. This is so students can apply the methodological and analytic skills acquired in the classroom in a real world setting.

UMBC’s programs do more than confer a graduate degree: they shape tomorrow’s policy leaders. Students are driven not only by an interest in public service and community involvement, but also by a desire to use qualitative and quantitative tools to analyze and find solutions to the essential problems of society. The federal government is the largest employer of UMBC’s public policy graduates. Alumni influence government policies at the state and local level, conduct research in prestigious corporations, consulting firms and think tanks, play key roles in foundations and other nonprofit organizations, and teach in secondary and higher education institutions.

Well-known alumni include Jamie F. Chriqui, Professor and Senior Research Scientist, Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago; U.S. Fulbright Core scholar Thomas J. Vicino, Associate Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Master of Public Administration program at Northeastern University, and Sherece West-Scantlebury, President and CEO of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation.

Photo by Jeff Kubina (under Creative Commons license)


The program's core curriculum provides students with an understanding of the policymaking process, the forces affecting it, and the basic tools and concepts for analyzing public policy. Public Policy students also choose a concentration in a specific policy area: educational policy, evaluation and analytical methods, health policy, public management, urban policy, economics or policy history.


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

Timothy J. BrennanBrennan

Tim Brennan is a professor of public policy and economics and a senior fellow with Resources for the Future (RFF). During 2006, he held the T. D. MacDonald Chair in Industrial Economics at the Canadian Competition Bureau. In 2014, he was the Chief Economist for the Federal Communications Commission. Professor Brennan’s research has addressed topics in antitrust law and policy, regulatory economics, electricity markets, telecommunications and broadcast policy, copyright and intellectual property, and the philosophy of economics. Journals publishing his research include the Journal of Law and Economics, the Journal of Regulatory Economics, the Antitrust Bulletin, and numerous law reviews. He has co-authored two books on electricity deregulation, A Shock to the System (RFF, 1996) and Alternating Currents: Electricity Markets and Public Policy (RFF, 2002). He is a recipient of the Public Utility Research Center Distinguished Service Award.


Lauren Hamilton Edwards


Lauren Hamilton Edwards is an assistant professor of public policy in the public management concentration. Her research interests include nonprofit and public management, strategic management, planning and performance, public participation and coproduction, program evaluation, and diversity and gender issues. She has published in journals such as Public Administration Review and Public Performance and Management Review.


George R. La NoueLanoue

George La Noue is professor emeritus and research professor of public policy and political science. His research has focused on education law, civil rights law, and public policy. He has published four books, including Academics in Court: the Consequences of Academic Discrimination Litigation (University of Michigan Press, 1987), and The Politics of School (D.C. Heath Co., 1973). He has also published numerous law review articles as well as many other articles in political science, public administration, and history journals on various aspects of civil rights policies. A frequent witness in Congressional testimony, Professor La Noue is also a well seasoned trial expert in more than thirty civil rights cases in federal courts.


Dave E. Marcotte

Dave Marcotte is a professor of public policy in the education concentration. His fields of interest include social policy, employment and training policy, education, mental health, and labor economics. He has published in journals such as the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, the Southern Economic Journal, Economics of Education Review, and Social Science and Medicine. He also is co-editor of a book, The Economics of Gender and Mental Health (Elsevier-Science, 2004). His current research includes various projects on mental health, suicide, and education at community colleges.




Marvin Mandell

Marvin Mandell is a professor of public policy in the evaluation and analytical methods concentration. His research and teaching center on the application of quantitative methods to policy analysis, examining the role of various forms of policy research in the policy process. Co-author of Social Experiments and Public Policy (Urban Institute Press, 2003), Dr. Mandell’s work has also appeared in such journals as the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Management Science, Location Science, Evaluation Review, and Socio-Economic Planning Sciences. He is a past president of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA).

Nancy Miller

Nancy Miller is a professor of public policy in the health policy concentration, and an affiliate professor in the Doctoral Program in Gerontology. She has conducted interdisciplinary health policy research, first through her work at the Health Care Financing Administration (now the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and most recently as a faculty member in public policy. Her research interests are focused on chronic disease, disability, and long term care, with particular concerns toward access to care. Her work has been published in Medical Care Research and Review, the American Journal of Public Health, and The Gerontologist. She is a recipient of the University System of Maryland Regents Faculty Award for Excellence in Mentoring.


Donald F. Norris, Director

Donald F. Norris is professor and director of the School of Public Policy. He is a specialist in public management, urban politics, and the application, uses and impacts of information technology (including e-government) in public organizations. Dr. Norris has authored four books, including Government and Governance in Metropolitan America (Ashgate Publishing Ltd., forthcoming 2015), and published extensively in journals such as Public Administration Review, the Journal of Urban Affairs, Government Information Quarterly, and Information Polity. He authored an op-ed on the importance of public policy graduate education that was published in the Baltimore Sun.


David Salkever

David Salkever is a professor of public policy in the health policy concentration. He also serves as a Research Associate in the National Bureau of Economic Research. He has conducted research on a wide variety of topics relating to health policy, including the determinants and regulation of hospital cost inflation, access to health care for the urban poor, economic impacts of children's disabilities, charity care and other public benefit activities of non-profit hospitals, and the costs and effectiveness of treatment and rehabilitation interventions for severe mental disorders. His research has been published in the Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics, the Journal of Behavioral Economics and Research, and Environmental Research.

John Rennie ShortShort

John Rennie Short is a professor of public policy in the urban policy concentration. He has received research awards from the National Science Foundation, Environmental Protection Agency, National Geographic Society and the Social Science Research Council. His research interests are in urban issues, environmental concerns and cartographic representation. He is author of 37 books and over 40 papers in such journals as Area, City, Environment and Planning, Geoforum, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Journal of American Planning Association and Urban Studies. His most recent book is Human Geography: A Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2014). His 2003 book, The World Through Maps, was recognized by Discover Magazine as one of the outstanding science books of the year.

General Information

UMBC is located at 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, Maryland 21250. For more information on the Department of Public Policy and the graduate degrees offered,visit the website or email

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