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Greetings from the Dean, January 2016

January 15, 2016

Dear friends,

The Ford School is, as they say, on a roll.

Take a look at our public events calendar: we’ll host two Cabinet secretaries in a single week in February! Labor Secretary Tom Perez will deliver a Policy Talks lecture on February 8th and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker will be our keynote for a February 11 event in New York City that will honor longtime U-M friend J. Ira Harris. (Both events will be live streamed.)

And our faculty are finding new and creative ways to make a lasting impact on real-world public policy.

Our new associate dean for research and policy engagement, Paula Lantz, launched her Ford School tenure with a major coup: she’ll be the principal investigator for a $1.2 million project funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She and her colleagues from across campus have an innovative and actionable research agenda that will produce real results in population health and health equity.

Sue Dynarski was named one of 2015’s top ten influencers by the Chronicle of Higher Education in recognition of her tireless efforts to shape public policy that would narrow the graduation gap between rich and poor students; create a promising income-based student loan repayment option; and simplify, and even eliminate, the lengthy and complex federal financial aid form.

When the Obama Administration announced plans for a $2 billion initiative to test new approaches to fight poverty in the U.S., a senior White House official pointed to Luke Shaefer’s groundbreaking work as a major inspiration.

On sabbatical this academic year at first the Wilson Center and now American University, Barry Rabe has been very active, working to shape public understanding of climate and energy issues through the media. Barry’s research has been cited widely by influential U.S. and international news outlets including The Guardian, Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, Financial Times, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, and more.

Barry will be our featured speaker at the Ford School’s annual student-alumni networking event in DC on February 4. I warmly invite our DC-area alumni to join us for what promises to be a terrific gathering.

I myself was so pleased to have been elected in December to serve a three-year term on the Chicago Fed’s Board of Directors, after having served three years on the Board for Chicago's branch in Detroit. It’s a critical time for this nation’s monetary policy, and it’s an honor to have a role in the process.

Our alumni have played a big part in the Ford School’s momentum. Your pride in the school and your commitment to giving back are an inspiration and a daily reminder of why our mission is so important Check out our incredible alumni engagement numbers from this past year.

Breaking news that we’ve just announced this morning: we’ve found our new director of development! Sue Johnson will be joining our team on February 9. Sue topped a very strong pool of candidates generated by our national search. It’s a return to the University of Michigan for Sue, who served sixteen productive years in development leadership positions at the U-M, including the Law School, UMMA, and Rackham. For the past ten years, Sue has been Director of Development at Emerson School here in Ann Arbor. She helped build a culture of philanthropy at the school, growing parent giving from 35% to 68% and successfully completing their recent capital campaign a year ahead of schedule.

As I said, we’re on a roll! My thanks for all you do to support the work of the Ford School.

Best regards

Susan M. Collins
Joan and Sanford Weill Dean of Public Policy

View the entire January 2016 edition of "The Ford School Feed"