Portrait of Dean Barr Ford School of Public Policy Logo

Michael S. Barr

Joan and Sanford Weill Dean of Public Policy, Frank Murphy Collegiate Professor of Public Policy, Roy F. and Jean Humphrey Proffitt Professor of Law
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy

It’s been a year unlike any other at the Ford School. The spring and summer challenged our community in many ways. It’s been great to be together again this fall, online and in person, to continue our work and focus on the possibilities of the future. The global pandemic, the continued fight for racial justice, and a contentious national election have shown that preparing the next generation of passionate, diverse, data-informed leaders is as important as ever. We remain fully committed to serving the public good through excellent teaching, research, service, and policy engagement, and I am proud to share a few of our community highlights from this year. 

In March, we were once again recognized as one of the top-ranked policy schools in America, ranking #1 in social policy and #2 in policy analysis, among other top rankings.

This is only possible with our exceptional faculty. Two of our faculty, Susan Dynarski and associate dean H. Luke Shaefer, were selected from hundreds of nominees for the prestigious Carnegie Fellows program–a deserving recognition of their high-caliber scholarship. Over the summer, we also welcomed an incredible group of new faculty members. They are experts and leaders in a wide variety of fields. Among them is Ambassador Susan D. Page, as our first professor of practice in international diplomacy, and Celeste Watkins-Hayes, a renowned sociologist with expertise in racial, class, and gender inequality.

We ran the PPIA Junior Summer Institute (JSI) virtually for the first time, and students from all five JSI schools participated in a new virtual policy simulation led by the Ford School. In August, 25 students joined our community via our newly launched Minor in Public Policy program, bringing a diversity of interests, training, and backgrounds.

We have grown our Leadership Initiative, increasing the number of students who have access to leadership coaching, assessments, and workshops. We have also developed new programming to help our students navigate remote networking and internships, and to encourage self-care during this challenging time.

Our PolicyTalks event series has successfully transitioned online, bringing together students, alumni, and friends, regardless of proximity to Ann Arbor. This fall, we hosted Governor Larry Hogan, former director of the White House Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz, and two senior political reporters, Jane Coaston of Vox and Daniel Strauss of The Guardian, to name a few. In July, we celebrated a virtual Worldwide Spirit Day with 150 alumni, students, faculty, and staff for a discussion to better understand and take action on issues of racial justice.

We continue to serve communities beyond campus. This summer, we partnered with NAF and Michigan Engineering Zone, with generous support from Joan and Sandy Weill, to make a two-week virtual camp on STEM possible for more than 50 high school students in Detroit. Our community was deeply engaged in the recent election, offering insight on key policy issues, getting out the vote, and advancing voter access. Faculty, staff, and students alike are also continuing to address the broader, unequal impacts of COVID-19 on businesses, families, and children through policy engagement, research, and applied learning opportunities.

Despite the current challenges and uncertainties, our community remains committed to educating exceptional, civic-minded policymakers and conducting research for the public good. I am so appreciative of the tremendous support we have received from our alumni and friends this year. In giving to the Ford School, you help us innovate and prepare for the continued challenges and opportunities of providing a first-rate policy education.

Thank you, and Go Blue!

With gratitude,

Michael S. Barr
Joan and Sanford Weill Dean of Public Policy
Frank Murphy Collegiate Professor of Public Policy
Roy F. and Jean Humphrey Proffitt Professor of Law

P.S. For more information on our students and their work, visit the Ford School’s new website at fordschool.umich.edu

In March, we were once again recognized as one of the top-ranked policy schools in America, ranking #1 in social policy and #2 in policy analysis, among other top rankings.

This is only possible with our exceptional faculty. Two of our faculty, Susan Dynarski and associate dean H. Luke Shaefer, were selected from hundreds of nominees for the prestigious Carnegie Fellows program–a deserving recognition of their high-caliber scholarship. Over the summer, we also welcomed an incredible group of new faculty members. They are experts and leaders in a wide variety of fields. Among them is Ambassador Susan D. Page, as our first professor of practice in international diplomacy, and Celeste Watkins-Hayes, a renowned sociologist with expertise in racial, class, and gender inequality.

We ran the PPIA Junior Summer Institute (JSI) virtually for the first time, and students from all five JSI schools participated in a new virtual policy simulation led by the Ford School. In August, 25 students joined our community via our newly launched Minor in Public Policy program, bringing a diversity of interests, training, and backgrounds.

We have grown our Leadership Initiative, increasing the number of students who have access to leadership coaching, assessments, and workshops. We have also developed new programming to help our students navigate remote networking and internships, and to encourage self-care during this challenging time.

Our PolicyTalks event series has successfully transitioned online, bringing together students, alumni, and friends, regardless of proximity to Ann Arbor. This fall, we hosted Governor Larry Hogan, former director of the White House Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz, and two senior political reporters, Jane Coaston of Vox and Daniel Strauss of The Guardian, to name a few. In July, we celebrated a virtual Worldwide Spirit Day with 150 alumni, students, faculty, and staff for a discussion to better understand and take action on issues of racial justice.

We continue to serve communities beyond campus. This summer, we partnered with NAF and Michigan Engineering Zone, with generous support from Joan and Sandy Weill, to make a two-week virtual camp on STEM possible for more than 50 high school students in Detroit. Our community was deeply engaged in the recent election, offering insight on key policy issues, getting out the vote, and advancing voter access. Faculty, staff, and students alike are also continuing to address the broader, unequal impacts of COVID-19 on businesses, families, and children through policy engagement, research, and applied learning opportunities.

Despite the current challenges and uncertainties, our community remains committed to educating exceptional, civic-minded policymakers and conducting research for the public good. I am so appreciative of the tremendous support we have received from our alumni and friends this year. In giving to the Ford School, you help us innovate and prepare for the continued challenges and opportunities of providing a first-rate policy education.

Thank you, and Go Blue!

With gratitude,

Michael S. Barr
Joan and Sanford Weill Dean of Public Policy
Frank Murphy Collegiate Professor of Public Policy
Roy F. and Jean Humphrey Proffitt Professor of Law

P.S. For more information on our students and their work, visit the Ford School’s new website at fordschool.umich.edu

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