Strategic Consulting (PubPol 578) is a semester-long Master’s level course at the Ford School that engages students in a supervised consulting project with a real-world client and provides them with a valuable, engaging educational and professional experience. Teams of 3-6 students work with a faculty coordinator and client representative to: develop a project work plan; collect relevant materials and information; conduct research and analysis; prepare a written report; and present findings and recommendations to the client. Students are expected to produce professional-quality work at minimal cost to the client. In return, clients are asked to help provide students with a valuable, engaging educational and professional experience.
So my own passion in teaching is engaged learning. So to create opportunities for students to learn in the real world, not just from the instructors and not just from their peers within the university, but also from people and organizations outside of the university. We’re working on challenging public policy problems and questions. The “Strategic Public Policy Consulting” course is a way of bringing that engaged learning experience into the classroom.
Being able to work with a project team and really understand the dynamics was super helpful for me because I really understood the way policy and politics could interact.
It’s different from your other academic courses where you’re studying in the library because you’re actually taking a project that’s going to impact a client and potentially a community.
So I was part of a group that collaborated with Washtenaw Intermediate School District. Specifically we were taking a look at access and equity across their current technical education programming.
We did interviews with stakeholders like principals, students, and counselors as well as looked at some quantitative data.
Today in education, we’re starting to think a lot more about diversity, equity, and inclusion. And for us to be able to work on a project that directly related access and equity in the real world was super special.
The entirety of the course of the whole semester was a genuine pleasure. I think all of us who sign up for this course do so because we want to be able to take the policy issues that all of us care about out of the abstract and to really work directly with partners who are trying to solve problems.