Ford School leadership

Dean search update

The Ford School is led by Dean Celeste Watkins-Hayes, Associate Dean Jenna Bednar, Associate Dean Jeffrey D. Morenoff, our academic program directors, and senior staff managing administration, career services, communications and outreach, DEI, development and alumni relations, and student and academic services. 


Celeste Watkins-Hayes headshot

Celeste Watkins-Hayes


Celeste Watkins-Hayes is an author and educator widely credited for her research at the intersection of inequality, public policy, and institutions, with a special focus on urban poverty and race, class, and gender studies. Dr. Watkins-Hayes has published two books, numerous articles in journals and edited volumes, and pieces in the New York Times, The Atlantic, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Chicago Magazine.  Read more...


Headshot of Jenna Bednar

Jenna Bednar

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Jenna Bednar is a professor of public policy and political science at the University of Michigan and a member of the external faculty at the Santa Fe Institute. Professor Bednar's research is on the analysis of institutions, focusing on the theoretical underpinnings of the stability of federal states. Her most recent book, The Robust Federation: Principles of Design, demonstrates how complementary institutions maintain and adjust the distribution of authority between national and state governments. This book makes two theoretical contributions to the study of federalism's design. First, it shows that distributions suggested by a constitution mean nothing if the governments have no incentive to abide by them, and intergovernmental retaliation tends to be inefficient.  The book's second contribution is that while no institutional safeguard is sufficient to improve the union's prosperity, institutions work together to improve compliance with the distribution of authority, thereby boosting the union's performance. Read more...


Headshot of Jeffrey Morenoff

Jeffrey D. Morenoff

Associate Dean for Research and Policy Engagement

Jeffrey D. Morenoff is a professor of sociology and public policy, with an additional appointment at the Institute for Social Research (ISR). Morenoff's research interests include neighborhood environments, inequality, crime and criminal justice, the social determinants of health, racial/ethnic/immigrant disparities in health and antisocial behavior, and methods for analyzing multilevel and spatial data. In 2004, Morenoff won the Ruth Shonle Cavan Young Scholar Award from the American Society of Criminology for "outstanding contributions to the discipline of criminology." In 2019, Morenoff concluded a term as director of ISR's Population Studies Center. He earned an MA and PhD in sociology from The University of Chicago.  Read more...


Academic program directors

Kathryn Dominguez
PhD Program Director

Jonathan Hanson
MPP/MPA Program Director

Paula Lantz
BA Program Director

Senior staff

Marcella Brighton
Chief Administrative Officer

Susan Guindi
Director of Student and Academic Services

Susan D. Johnson
Chief Development Officer

Laura K. Lee
Director of Communications

Peter Vasher
Director of Career Services

Stephanie Sanders
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer/Lecturer III