Greetings from the Dean - The Briefing, September 2022

September 12, 2022

Dear friends,

It is my great honor to serve the Ford School as interim dean this year, working alongside our community to further the school’s core mission of advancing the public good as the University conducts its search for the next permanent dean of this outstanding institution. 

This fall, we welcome seven wonderful new PhD students to the school. Our Master’s cohort consists of 12 MPA and 123 MPP students. 28% of our students are international students, hailing from thirteen different countries and from five different continents. We have three Fulbright scholars, eight PPIA alumni, two Peace Corps alumni, five from the U.S. military, three Teach for America alumni, and five AmeriCorps alumni. What an amazing group!

We also welcome 80 undergraduate juniors pursuing our BA major and 25 new students pursuing our BA minor in that program’s third year. I’ve already had the chance to meet many of our new students, and I can’t wait to see how they’ll contribute to and strengthen our community.

In this issue of The Briefing you can read about an incredible group of new faculty members joining us this fall. They bring expertise in social policy, international affairs, political conflict, the judiciary, national security, racial justice, human rights, and more. They include new tenured faculty as well as visiting experts with significant policy and leadership experience who will be on campus to teach and mentor students.

We’ll have a wonderful semester of substantive policy events, many of which are live-streamed. The Center for Racial Justice will kick off its event series on the racial foundations of public policy on September 15, where I’ll be joined by legal scholar Melissa Murray for a conversation on reproductive justice. Other events in the series this fall will address housing, health, and LGBTQ rights. We’ve got two big events on September 22. Our own professor Ann Lin, newly appointed as director of the University’s Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies, will deliver a major talk for her endowed professorship. We’re also co-hosting a panel on the gun violence epidemic with Poverty Solutions that day. I’m especially excited to announce that on November 1 at Rackham Auditorium, I’ll host the amazing journalist and educator Jelani Cobb for a conversation titled, “The half-life of freedom: Notes on race, media and democracy." 

And there’s much more! Also on the books for the fall, we’ve got a Homecoming celebration, a welcome symposium for our Center for Racial Justice Visiting Fellows, an STPP conversation on technology and civil liberties, and more. You can find information about all of our events here.

The first weeks of classes have brought quite a buzz to campus and to Weill Hall. I invite you to be part of the excitement this fall: attend Homecoming, join our events, and support our students!


Celeste Watkins-Hayes