Diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives at the Ford School (summer 2016 - spring 2017)

April 19, 2017

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  • The Ford School welcomed its 2016 PPIA fellows and celebrated the 35th anniversary of the Public Policy and International Affairs program this summer. The 18 fellows spent an intensive seven weeks at the Ford School preparing for graduate school and leadership roles in public service. The PPIA program aims to promote diversity in public service and to prepare students from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in the public sector for leadership roles.
  • The Ford School and the University of Michigan hosted the tenth biennial “Graduate Horizons” program in July. Run by College Horizons, a non-profit organization, the program supports American Indian, Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian students preparing to apply to graduate school. Students interacted with faculty and staff mentors in their fields of interest and refined their graduate school application materials.
  • In July 2016, three Ford School students were awarded the David Bohnett Foundation Leadership and Public Service Fellowship to contribute their public policy training to the City of Detroit. Abess Makki, Mary Naoum, and Mariah Van Ermen will serve in the Mayor’s Office for their summer 2017 internship. Previous Bohnett Fellows have worked on urban agriculture, sustainability, housing, public lighting, and other policy issues.
  • In its pilot year, the Detroit Data Fellowship, a two-year full-time post-graduate fellowship, placed its first fellow, Reid Wilson, in the Detroit Police Department. The program takes graduates with strength in quantitative analysis, puts them through a one-week “boot camp” to bolster their skills, and assigns them to a U-M faculty member for mentorship. Fellows are then placed in a City of Detroit agency to help address social problems. The fellowship will be accepting applications for the next fellow until May 1, 2017.
  • On August 3, 2016, Betsey Stevenson facilitated a panel at the White House on how companies can best reduce gender and racial pay gaps. In the same month, Stevenson helped the newly-formed Employers for Pay Equity consortium design its mission and goals.

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  • Brian Jacob, co-director of the Ford School’s Education Policy Initiative, published new research showing that students of color are disproportionately exposed to larger class sizes in Michigan. In addition, the research finds high-poverty schools are more likely to have larger core class sizes.
  • Bankole Thompson’s "Redline," a public affairs radio program, broadcast live from the Ford School on October 7. Topics for the day’s program included the experience of black students on campus, U-M’s $85 million investment in diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, and the Ford School’s five-year strategic plan for diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • U-M announced a new Poverty Solutions initiative, which will be directed by Luke Shaefer (public policy and social work). The initiative will explore and test models to ease the effects of poverty and broadly share that knowledge, working with community groups and supporting active-learning options for students.
  • Faculty from the Ford School and Survey Research Center launched a new Youth Policy Lab to improve the outcomes of Michigan youth by identifying effective public policy interventions. Led by Brian Jacob, Susan Dynarski, and Robin Tepper Jacob, the lab will provide free technical consultations to Michigan agencies and organizations, drawing on data from education, health, criminal justice, and social welfare to provide a more complete picture of Michigan youth and effective policy interventions.
  • The HAIL Scholarship pilot, developed by U-M in collaboration Susan Dynarski of the Ford School, enrolled 262 HAIL Scholars from 52 Michigan counties in its first year. A two-year pilot, the program is testing a new approach to reaching and enrolling high-achieving, low-income students from across the state. The pilot initiative is part of U-M's overall diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic plan.
  • Ford student groups Students of Color in Public Policy (SCPP) and Out in Public (OIP) hosted a Día de los Muertos ofrenda, or offering, and a vigil to honor victims of systemic violence and to stand in solidarity with communities battling oppression.
  • The University of Michigan honored Rev. Jesse Jackson at a symposium entitled, "50 years of civil rights leadership." Rev. Jackson's keynote, "What's next for us: Hope and reflection," drew nearly one thousand people. The symposium also included two panels on "the enduring significance of Jesse Jackson for President" and "A dialogue across decades of student activists at Michigan," and featured performances by students and faculty from U-M's School of Music, Theater, and Dance.
  • Kristen Seefeldt (MPP '96, PhD '10) penned an op-ed for Newsweek on December 9, 2016 to talk about "the real 'left behind' voters" in the 2016 election: black women. In her piece, Seefeldt lists a number of policies that could help “both less-educated white men and lower-income black women” enter the middle class: an increased minimum wage, financial industry regulation, and increasing resources for high-quality education that will lead to employment rather than debt.
  • Dean Yang conducted a randomized controlled trial to test the efficacy of using fingerprinting to help farmers in Malawii repay microfinance loans, finding that fingerprinting significantly increased repayment rates from risky borrowers. Making this a large-scale practice could allow borrowers in developing countries to build credit, secure lower interest rates, and increase their incomes.
  • Michael Barr, faculty director of the Center on Finance, Law, and Policy, and Alicia Alvarez, director of U-M's Community and Economic Development Clinic, worked with other U-M faculty to create the Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project, an organization aimed at helping Detroit business leaders with incorporation, intellectual property concerns, purchasing and leasing facilities, and more.
  • Paula Lantz co-authored an article on the Pay for Success program effects on population health, finding that it has significant potential for bringing private-sector funding to health interventions. It was published in the November 2016 edition of Health Affairs.
  • John Ciorciari co-authored an article addressing the opportunities and challenges for victim testimony in international courts, paying particular attention to the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), a UN-backed hybrid court established to address crimes of the Pol Pot era.
  • Dean Susan Collins, a former president of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA), signed a "Commitment to Diversity" statement released by APSIA's executive committee. The statement reacted to the U.S. Executive Order signed by President Donald Trump on January 27 and reaffirmed APSIA's commitment to diversity, policy, and service.
  • Ford School students engaged in political activism following the presidential inauguration, participating in Women's Marches across the country, joining protests at the Detroit airport, and starting educational initaitives and giving groups like the High Five Fund.
  • Tom Ivacko published an op-ed in the Detroit Free Press, calling on the state legislature to fix the state's emergency management laws to avoid future crises like those seen in Flint, Michigan. Ivacko pointed out that most Michiganders want local leaders to be accountable at the ballot box.
  • Cortney Sanders was awarded the Michigan Difference Student Leadership Award for "Graduate Student of the Year" in recognition of her outstanding achievements in academics, leadership, and service. As an undergraduate at The University of Texas at Austin, Sanders employed her leadership skills to file an amicus brief with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund on behalf of the Black Student Alliance in the Fisher vs. University of Texas Supreme Court case.
  • On March 10, the student group APPLE organized the Public Policy Connects conference. The conference brought 29 high school students from the Detroit Leadership Academy and Washtenaw International High School to the Ford School to learn about careers in public policy and to challenge them to think about issues in their communities in a policy-oriented way.
  • The Ford School has hired two new assistant professors who will begin this coming fall. Tamar Mitts specializes in comparative politics and international relations, with a focus on political violence, conflict, radicalization and extremism. Fabiana Silva studies the mechanisms that perpetuate or mitigate group-based inequality in the labor market, with a focus on social networks and employer discrimination.
  • Dean Susan Collins and professors Alan Deardorff, Brian Jacob, Bob Schoeni, Jeff Smith, and Dean Yang signed on to an open-letter by 1,470 economists, describing the broad economic value of immigration. The letter urges Congress “to modernize our immigration system in a way that maximizes the opportunity immigration can bring, and reaffirms continuing the rich history of welcoming immigrants to the United States.”
  • With support from the Gilbert S. Omenn and Martha A. Darling Health Policy Fund, the Ford School hosted "Sexual assualt on U-M campus: Challenges, policy, and prevention," on February 16. The panel provided a 360-degree view of the issue of sexual assault and misconduct on college campuses.
  • The Ford School hosted Kristin Seefeldt for the release of her new book, Abandoned Families: Social Isolation in the 21st Century. In her policy talk and book, Seefeldt shows how many working families have access only to a separate but unequal set of poor-quality jobs, low-performing schools, and declining housing markets which offer few chances for upward mobility.
  • Kevin Stange gave a talk as a part of the Causal Inference in Education Research Seminar (CIERS), where he discussed "Disparities in school resources across districts and time."

Know of other Ford School initiatives that should be added to this list? Email fspp-editor@umich.edu.