Greetings from the dean, Susan M. Collins, for the fall 2016 'Ford School feed'

October 19, 2016

Last fall, I wrote to you about beginning our strategic planning process for diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives at the Ford School. This fall, I am proud to release our five-year strategic plan, which includes measurable goals for promoting an equitable and inclusive climate while diversifying ‘who we are’, ‘what and how we teach’, and our ‘research and policy engagement’ portfolio.

Last winter, I was delighted to report that Susan Dynarski had been named one of the top ten influencers by the Chronicle of Higher Education—in part, for her collaborative work with U-M administrators to develop the HAIL Scholarship pilot for high-achieving, low-income students. Today, I am pleased to report that U-M has used that scholarship to attract 262 students from 52 counties across the state and that Dynarski continues to be involved in monitoring the pilot to discern its impact on diversifying the undergraduate student body at U-M.

In other big news, researchers at the Ford School (Brian Jacob and Susan Dynarski) and Survey Research Center (Robin Tepper Jacob) have received a $2.6 million grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation to launch a new Youth Policy Lab. This hands-on initiative will provide pro bono technical assistance—including needs and feasibility assessments, program evaluation, policy design assistance, onsite technical expertise, and support from content and methodological experts—to competitively selected government and not-for-profit organizations that work to improve life outcomes for Michigan youth.

A $1.1 million gift from Ambassador Ronald N. (BBA ‘66) and Eileen L. (MMus ‘75) Weiser, part of a $50 million gift the Weiser’s contributed to U-M in 2014, will support international study and travel experiences for undergraduate and graduate students at the Ford School. This generous gift will be used by the Ford School’s International Policy Center over a six-year period (beginning in the fall of 2017) to enhance and expand the school’s global engagement by supporting international policy travel courses, international internships, and student-initiated international programs. 

And last but certainly not least, Luke Shaefer, associate professor of social work and public policy, has been tapped to lead an important multidisciplinary initiative to prevent and alleviate poverty: Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan. Shaefer plans an action-based agenda that will focus on fostering real-world change. This University-wide initiative builds on our long, distinguished history of poverty research; I look forward to sharing more about this vitally important work in the year ahead.

As you may know, I am serving my 10th and final year as Joan and Sanford Weill Dean of Public Policy at the Ford School. Much of my effort focuses on ensuring that the school’s next dean will have the resources, momentum, and infrastructure essential for continued success. The provost has appointed an 11-member advisory committee to conduct a broad search and present an unranked slate of recommended candidates for the post. If you have ideas, questions, or suggestions for the committee, I encourage you to reach out to them at [email protected].

The next month brings so many opportunities to connect and reconnect with the Ford School.

Tomorrow (October 20), the erudite and highly entertaining professor John Leahy will deliver a public lecture that celebrates his appointment as the Allen Sinai Professor of Macroeconomics and Public Policy. This Friday, October 21, we’ll host a Homecoming open house at Weill Hall and on Saturday, alumni will gather to watch the game. On November 8, we’ll co-host with Michigan Public Radio an election-night viewing party, Issues & Ale, at a local pub. On the 9th, we’ll host 2016 Decided, a post-election analysis event at Weill Hall. And on November 16, we’ll host a day-long symposium celebrating the civil rights leadership of Rev. Jesse Jackson, who will deliver what promises to be a memorable and inspiring keynote, live streamed at

If your schedules permit, please considering joining us for any and all of these events. We would love to see you.

Best regards

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


View the entire October 2016 edition of "the Ford School feed"