Greetings from the Dean - The Briefing, May 2023

May 10, 2023

Dear friends,

Our talented faculty and students continue to land awards and recognition for their accomplishments! In March, Earl Lewis, the Thomas C. Holt Distinguished University Professor of History, Afroamerican and African Studies, and Public Policy traveled to the White House to be awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Biden—a first among U-M faculty. Earlier this year, emeritus professor Robert Axelrod was awarded the 2022 Boris Mints Institute Prize, which he generously directed towards the Ford School’s International Policy Center to sponsor a 2023-24 postdoctoral fellowship on modeling and international security.

One of our outstanding juniors, Yasmine Elkharssa (BA ‘24), was named as the U-M’s 30th Truman Scholar. You can watch me surprise her with the news during one of her classes!

And the Ford School is being recognized as well. The U.S. News and World Report named the Ford School as the #4 public affairs program in the United States. We were also top-ranked in several key specialty areas, notably #2 for public policy analysis—the essential element that distinguishes our rigorous social science-based program from competitors in the field of public affairs. The school also earned a #2 ranking in social policy, which has been a core strength of the school for decades, a #2 ranking in health policy and management, and a #5 ranking in environmental policy and management.

This edition of The Briefing includes lots more stories about the great work of our faculty, students, and staff.

I hope you also have a chance to watch inspirational videos from this year’s commencement ceremony, held for the first time at the gorgeous Hill Auditorium. We welcomed Annie Maxwell (AB '00, MPP '02) back to campus as our keynote speaker as we celebrated the Classes of 2023. It was a joyful time!


Signature of Celeste Watkins-Hayes


Celeste Watkins-Hayes,

Interim Dean of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
Director, Center for Racial Justice
Jean E. Fairfax Collegiate Professor of Public Policy
University Diversity and Social Transformation Professor
Professor of Sociology
Research and Community Impact Fellow, Anti-Racism Collaborative