A webinar from the Ford School. Hear from our leaders, ask questions, and learn about your fellow admitted students.
Welcome, from the Ford School. We are excited to have a chance to spend some time with you today, and hope that you will learn a lot about the program, get your questions answered. It's certainly our goal to give you as much information as we possibly can. My name is Beth Soboleski. I'm the Associate Director of Student and Academic Services, and had a chance to talk to a lot of you and email with a lot of you. Again, we're hoping this will be an open communication for you. We're going to hear from our senior leadership at the school.
We have a wonderful faculty panel coming up, our graduate career services, and in between times, there will be time for you to talk with current students. I just wanted to take a minute to give a shout out to our communications and outreach team. They have been doing incredible guidance and support for us as we move into this virtual world. And I can certainly say for myself, I am not the expert on this. And so, they were helping us all scramble to get on just a few minutes ago. So thank you very much to the entire team in communications and outreach. We really appreciate you. And they did also want me to tell you, should we encounter any unforeseen problems, we would communicate via Twitter. We don't think anything's gonna happen, obviously, but who knows these days, right?
So one of the things that we really love about Spring Preview is the chance to meet you all in person. Obviously, that's not gonna be able to happen this time around, but what we would love you all to do, as you can, is to go into the chat box, tell us where you're joining us from, maybe a little bit about your policy interests, just so we can get a chance to get to know folks a little tiny bit. That would be really terrific. If you have questions, we'll have a question and answer time at the end of this session. You can enter those in the question and answer box. If you would like to ask your question live, just put "live" at the beginning of your message and we will unmute your microphone so you can speak your question. Otherwise I'll just go ahead and pose the question to our panelists. With that said, I'm gonna turn this over to Susan Guindi who's our Director of Student Academic Services to say good morning.
Good morning everybody. Welcome again and congratulations on your admission. As Beth said, I'm Director of the Office of Student and Academic Services, and we're delighted to have you participate in our virtual Spring Preview. It's a whole new world, to be sure, but we're gonna do our best to make you see, hear, and feel why this place is so special. You're gonna get a lot of information, and hopefully you'll get a sense of what the Ford School is. Its mission, its wonderfully diverse student body, and its identity as a small but cohesive unit. You're gonna become part of an invaluable network of alumni, not only of the Ford School, but also as part of the larger University of Michigan community. It's truly a passionate network. And once we can walk down the street or walk on a beach again, with the Michigan t-shirt on, you will discover the bond that connects you with alumni from around the world.
Now, I have the distinct pleasure of introducing our dean, who may I add, has been a caring, trusted, and amazing leader during this crisis. Michael Barr is the Joan and Sanford Weill Dean of Public Policy at the Gerald R. Ford School, the Frank Murphy Collegiate Professor of Public Policy, the Roy F. And Jean Humphrey Proffitt Professor of Law, and Faculty Director of the Center on Finance Law and Policy at the University of Michigan. He is also a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, and previously at the Brookings Institution. He served from 2009 to 2010 as the US Department of the Treasury's Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions, and was a key architect of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. He received his law degree from Yale Law School, a master's degree in international relations from Magdalen College Oxford University as a Rhodes scholar, and his BA summa cum laude with honors in History from Yale University. Michael?
Thanks so much, Susan. And thanks to Beth, thanks to the great communication team working behind the scenes as Beth noted. And thanks to all of you who are joining us. I think we have 127 people joining us for this virtual Spring Preview. It's the first time that we've done it. We're grateful that you're turning in. I hope that you're staying safe and staying healthy. We're really excited that you're considering the Ford School, and wanna learn more about our community. It is a community dedicated to the public good. I wanna take a moment to talk about what's happening in our country because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our population, our healthcare and economic systems, our workforce, housing, even national security will all be affected in ways that we're only beginning to see. The pandemic is also a reminder that although the virus can touch all of us, the most significant indirect impact is often felt by the most vulnerable people in the most vulnerable communities. It's testing leadership at the local level, state, federal government and internationally. And it's highlighting the importance of leadership that's truly grounded in service, decision making that's based on empirical evidence and expert judgment, and communicating and acting based on our shared values and our shared humanity.
Public policy more broadly involves really difficult work. It involves rigorous analysis as well as leadership skills to build teams, navigate politics, advocate informed coalitions, and communicate across differences. It also requires the ability to envision and act to make fundamental change. We know that you're eager to lead, to find creative solutions, to make a big impact in your communities. We hope you come to the Ford school this fall and make it the next step in your journey to do just that. Over the next few hours, we're gonna provide you with a lot of information about our master's programs, and all facets of the Ford School.
We have much to be proud of. Even though we're virtual, I also want you to pay attention to the non-verbal signs on display, to feel the warmth and support that is our community. Look and listen to the connections that are evident between faculty, staff, students, and our alumni. We're an institution of the highest academic quality, and we're equally proud of the community we create and nurture on a daily basis. Amid this COVID-19 crisis, our faculty, students and staff are coming together in many, many ways. Our world-renowned faculty had been working in the media and in Congress behind the scenes to help secure aid funds from Congress. You've heard them on the broadcast news, on NPR, and in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal to name a few.
Luke Shaefer, for example, the Director of our Poverty Solutions Program is advising Michigan's governor on how to reduce the impact of the crisis on low-income families. He successfully advocated to waive work requirements for the federal assistance program TANF, and had put place in eviction moratorium in Michigan. Our research centers are providing resource guides for small businesses and for communities on how they can access help during the crisis. Paula Lantz, who you'll hear from in just a moment, and a team of her MPP students are providing real-time research and policy analysis for the Chief Medical Officer of the state. Our students have jumped in to help local businesses and their fellow students, and one of our student fellows in DC is working around the clock on a congressional aid package as we speak.
Our alumni are making differences in their communities as well. For example, our alumni are providing guidance to state supreme court on debt litigation, developing fintech solutions to create better access to public benefits, and working with private sector partners to deliver millions of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers across the country. I could not be more proud of our Ford School community during this crisis, but I wanna tell you a little bit about the many, many other reasons what you should join us this fall.
We're one of the very best schools in the country on so many measures. For public policy analysis, social policy, health policy, education policy, environmental policy, international policy and so much more. We tackle the hardest problems together, from working on poverty and inequality to helping to strengthen our democracy. I know that many of you are attuned to US News rankings as well, and what you have seen there are consistently top marks across the board. Our curriculum is quantitative as well as qualitative. Our MPP students can declare a concentration if they'd like. And both our MPP and MPA students have opportunities to practice what they're learning in the classroom by engaging in our communities.
We provide ample support that will help students maximize their success, with graduate student instructors, tutors for multiple classes, our amazing, best in the country writing center. And our terrific strategic and graduate career services team that works directly with our alumni relations office to maximize your connections and networking with our alumni. I've already mentioned or amazing faculty. Many of them have served in top jobs and administrations, myself included. They're accessible, easy to talk with, and eager to talk with you about your passion for public policy and provide advice on your career. We pride ourselves on our inter-disciplinary approach and we make it easy for you to take advantage of the incredible strength U of M has across the university, by facilitating your ability to take courses in other units on campus, to be involved in concentrations or certificate programs, or even to develop joint degree programs.
There are lots of exciting things going on right now at the Ford School. We're creating even more opportunities for engaged learning. Our practical policy engagement program, or P3E, is crucial in helping us provide strategic public policy consulting opportunities, internships, and the like. Last fall, we launched our new Weiser Diplomacy Center, and brought in speakers such as Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Samantha Power, and Susan Rice, to name just but a few. We're building on this momentum and offering additional workshops and learning opportunities and experiences in the world for our students interested in international policy and in diplomacy. This fall, we'll host 80 election experts from around the world for a symposium on strengthening democracy in their home countries and here in the United States. And we'll be front and center as the University of Michigan hosts one of the three final US presidential debates this fall.
We're growing our leadership initiative to give students the skills to be leaders and best in their careers, to lead organization, to lead others and to lead themselves. We're working hard to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus. Our master's program is consistently one of the most diverse on campus. And we've had a robust slate of DE&I programming this year, including a public policy and institutional discrimination discussion series, and the launching of a new course on the history of reparations. Our Faculty, Student and Staff Diversity Coalition is in its second year, helping to plan and advise on DE&I-related activities. It's because of these accomplishments that I am so proud to be Dean of the Ford School. We have an exciting afternoon planned for you today to get to know us better. We know you are especially interested as well in networking with current students and with each other. And we have virtual breakout rooms set up between panel discussions for you to do just that.
Next week, we'll also have an alumni panel, on April 7th, at noon Eastern, that I know you won't wanna miss. I hope we'll have a chance to connect soon in person, and in a little bit, I look forward to taking your questions online. Thanks for joining us, and let me now turn it back over to Susan Guindi.
Thank you, Dean Barr. Now, it is my distinct pleasure to introduce our Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Paula Lantz, who was also the James B. Hudak Professor of Health Policy at the Ford School. She holds an appointment, as well, as Professor of Health Management and Policy at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Professor Lantz is social demographer and epidemiologist, who studies the role of public policy in improving population health and reducing social disparities in health. Pretty relevant these days, I would say. She's currently engaged in research, regarding the use of social impact bonds to fund public-private partnerships aimed at improving health in low income populations, including Medicaid beneficiaries. She's also currently working with a team of Ford School students to provide policy analysis and data to the State of Michigan, in their efforts to fight the COVID-19 virus. Professor Lantz.
Thank you. Hello everyone, thanks so much for joining us virtually today. First, I wanna say I hope, very sincerely, that all of you and your families and your communities are staying safe and healthy during this world crisis. I know it's hard for all of us to sort of envision when we might be on the other side of this, and what the world might look like then, but we know that the role of public policy and public service is going to be more important than ever. And we look forward to having you join that important workforce, and more importantly, we hope you get your training or preparation with us here, at the Ford School.
I'm gonna be taking a little time, this morning, to talk to you about academics at the Ford School. I have a little PowerPoint presentation for you. Next slide, please, Chris. Thank you. As Michael mentioned already, our mission at the Ford School is that we are a community dedicated to the public good. Our mission really is to engage in cutting-edge research, teaching, service and policy and public engagement, which are all the cornerstone of what's needed to tackle the world's most complex problems. And we engage in our mission with a set of core values, that we invoke and talk about and try to live every single day. We value community, integrity, respect, service, inclusion, diversity and equity. And we also inspire for all of our work to be excellent, relevant, rigorous, collaborative, engaged and, again, having a huge impact on the world.
So, at the Ford School, in terms of our teaching mission, we offer a number of different degree programs, and you're here today to learn more about our master's degree. We have a Master's of Public Policy and a Master's of Public Affairs, but in addition, we have a BA in Public Policy, and actually, this fall, we're starting a new minor for undergraduates in Public Policy as well. We also have a PhD program in Public Policy, and that's a program that is run jointly with Economics, Political Science, and Sociology. We also, at the University of Michigan, have multiple options for getting dual degrees. We know many of you are interested in this, and have already been accepted into a separate dual degree program. Within the MPP, we have five policy concentrations, that are optional. You don't have to do one, but you can, if you like. And we have many of our students now doing all of these different concentrations. Policy analysis methods, social policy, public and non-profit management, international policy and international economic developments.
So, I'm not gonna get into all the weeds on this, you can see it all online, but I wanna, just at a really high level, sort of re-emphasize what's required in our curriculum for our two different degrees. So, for the MPP degree, that's a 48 credit degree, and it includes required courses in values, ethics and politics of public policy, understanding political institutions, public management, then we have a strong quantitative core. And then, some other sort of applied experiences, and then lots of electives, as well.
Our MPA degree, the Master of Public Affairs, this is a one-year master's degree for people with at least five years of professional work experience. And so, in the one year that our MPA students are here with us, we work them pretty hard. They also take courses in values, ethics and public policy, statistics and economics, but also you see that they have a capstone project, and then, again, a number of electives to take advantage of the wide array of courses, not only in the Ford School, but across the University of Michigan campus.
So, the rationale for the curriculum, in both of our degree programs, master degree programs, is that we think, to best prepare all of you for having that impact in the world and tackling world's complex problems, is that we wanna help you build and even further sophisticate your critical thinking and applied quantitative analysis skills. But also, we know that's not enough. Policy is just not driven by science and data, we know that very well. So, also to have an impact in the policy world and the world of public affairs, you're also gonna need a very in-depth understanding of political institutions and politics, the ability to apply value-based reasoning and ethical frameworks to policy discourse and analysis. And also, an understanding of the real world of policy design implementation and evaluation.
And we also know that even though we think that public policy can be used to address complex problems, and to alleviate inequalities, and to address social concerns, we also understand that sometimes public policy's the root cause of these problems. Policy is not only used for good. Policy, we have to understand, is what's promoting and reinforcing and creating the status quo that needs to be changed. Public policy is responsible for systemic inequality, institutional discrimination, and so we need a very sophisticated understanding of policy and all the ways that it impacts the world, both for good and for not so good. And to be a successful policy and public affairs professional, you also need excellent written and verbal communication skills, the ability to work on diverse teams, you need project and people management skills, and also opportunities for further leadership development in practice.
In addition to our curriculum, which we believe that we're a top ranked policy school at a world class university, we have too much coursework and experiences for you to fill your time with. We also have, in addition to the curriculum, a lot of opportunities for experiential and applied learning, and then many, many co-curricular activities you can get involved with through student organizations, the numerous seminars and workshops and events, etcetera, etcetera, not only in the Ford School, but all across this campus. Honestly, none of us have enough time to take advantage of all the many things that happen on this campus every single day.
And also I wanna take a moment to talk a little bit more about our faculty. And one of the unique things I think is about our faculty roles here at the Ford School. I'm sure as many of you know, faculty everywhere engage in this trifecta of research, teaching and service. That's what faculty do you everywhere. Here at the Ford School, we are very explicit about expectations of our faculty to not only engage in research, teaching and service, but also policy and public engagement is core to what we do. As faculty, we're evaluated on it every year in our annual merit review process. Policy and public engagement are part of what is considered for our faculty in terms of our promotions and awards, etcetera. So, we walk that walk. We again are here as faculty at the Ford School, to make sure that what we're doing has an impact on the world. And to do that, we have to engage with communities, we have to engage with policy makers and find out, "What are their needs? What do they think are the pressing problems? How can we work with them and in service to them to again use public policy analysis and use the policy tools that we have to tackle these complex problems?"
Next slide, please. We also, at the Ford School, as Dean Bar mentioned, have a number of research centers and they are all engaging in cutting edge evidence-based policy work, but really importantly in close partnership with policy communities. I'm not gonna walk through all of these, but again, there's a very, very exciting group of research and action centers here at the Ford School. But also, I'm gonna say a number you might not believe but it's true, there are over 500 research centers at the University of Michigan. And then a number of other research institutes and initiatives. This is a huge university with an incredible array of activities related to research and, again, in public service. And in fact, this one of the strategic initiatives of our presidents right now. We're a public university and, again, we are very dedicated to having all the work that we do here have a public impact.
We also, at the Ford School, have launched a leadership initiative. And what do we mean by leadership? Very simply, our definition of leadership at the Ford School is; having a positive influence on people, organizations and communities. Again, leadership, it's not a hierarchical kind of thing. We think every single person in the Ford School has leadership potential and engages in leadership and, again, that's just having a positive influence and an impact on the people and organizations and communities around you. So within this leadership initiative, we have developed and added a number of new courses to our curriculum. We also have a number of visiting policy makers and practitioners who talk about leadership explicitly and engage with students on their own leadership development. And then we have a number of co-curricular opportunities, a number of leadership assessments and reflection opportunities for students, coaching and seminars and workshops and brown bags, etcetera. We can talk more about that, but we're very excited about how we are being very explicit and very intentional about our students' leadership development while they're here with us.
We also, as Michael mentioned, are very committed to diversity, equity and inclusion. At the Ford School, our strategic plan for DE&I has four pillars: Diversifying who we are, diversifying what and how we teach, promoting an equitable and inclusive climate, and also diversifying our research and policy engagement for optimal impact.
So in supporting your success here at the Ford School, there are a number of people. We are a community. So you not only have your faculty and the graduate student instructors for your classes, but also as Dean Barr mentioned earlier, we have a writing center, we have four writing instructors that all have MFA degrees, and are at your service to help you with any writing that you want to do. They'll help you with your assignments for class, they'll help you with job applications, and in fact they'll help you write love letters or anything else that you would love some assistance in communicating about. We also have, at the Ford School, the most incredible staff. I have worked with many staff over my career, and I can tell you honestly I have never worked with a group of such dedicated, wonderful and inspiring staff. So our staff at Student and Academic Services, and Graduate Career Services, and Communications and Outreach, all the staff of the Ford School are here working hard in service for our teaching mission and the other parts of our mission. We have again our DE&I initiative, student organizations, again, many, many other resources at the Ford School, but also there's a myriad of resources in the U of M community that support your success here as well.
So, I also do wanna take a moment to mention that the last three weeks have been incredibly hard for everyone, and I think you really know the most about an organization or a community in how it responds in time of crisis. And the last three weeks have been very, very difficult but I also have to tell you, I have never been so proud to be part of an institution before. This school has come together in so many amazing and important ways at this time to support our students primarily. They're our number one focus. How are we gonna get our students through the end of the semester and set up for what comes next in their careers? But also we are committed to keeping income flowing for everyone in our community, staff and students. We have a student emergency fund that we've set up.
We're very, very focused right now on not just completing our academic year, but also, "What are the concerns that everyone in our community has, again, facing this crisis in the world?" There are serious mental health concerns, physical health concerns, concerns related to equity and inclusion. So we are really trying our best to address all of these things virtually as they come up before us. And I think the active and transparent communication that our Dean has led us in in this time has really been a hallmark of our success. So our tag line right now is, "We might be social distancing, but we are still close." And that is absolutely the truth. So thanks for your time today, look forward to your questions, and again, we really hope you come and join us here at the Ford School. It is truly a special community, at one of the great public universities in the world, and we would so love to have you be part of our community here. Thank you.
Thanks, Paula. Appreciate it. So we have about 15 minutes to take questions. I just wanted to say thank you guys so much for entering your information into the chat box. We've had folks from New York to California joining us and all across the country. We also have students that are in Mexico and India, China, Oman, and France, so we are a global community here on this webinar today, so that's very exciting. And the slides that Paula presented will be on the admitted student page, our Future Fordies page, along with the videos. All of our webinars are posted on that page, so if you need to hop off at some point, or if you just wanna go back and review, those are all available there. So feel free to check that out.
So the first question is for Michael. So one of our admitted students would like to hear you talk about your path to the Treasury Department and what unexpected or surprising things you learned about public policy from that experience?
Thanks, Beth and thanks for the question. I think that everything is surprising and unexpected on the path to public policy. [chuckle] It's hard to imagine in advance the way that you're gonna be challenged in your work. I started out, I got a master's in International Relations and a law degree after college. And I went immediately after my law degree into working for a judge in New York, I was a clerk, and then for a justice on the Supreme Court, David Souter. And after my Souter clerkship, I got invited to join the Clinton Administration, so this is quite a while ago, by a gentleman who I had worked with many years earlier in a presidential campaign for Michael Dukakis. So my circuitous path into the administration was rooted in the experience I had in politics, and then, helped through my graduate school training. And when I first went into the administration I went to the State Department.
I spent a year at the State Department and then I got invited to become a special assistant to the Treasury Secretary at the time, Bob Rubin, at the Treasury Department. And I got connected to him through a graduate student friend of mine. So, your peer networks matter as much as any other network you create. And the people you go to school with, I have found in my life, are really important to your own career path. And so, one of the things that I always say to students when they're coming into our community is, "Work really, really, really hard and don't be a jerk." [chuckle] The people who are around you are gonna be your friends and your colleagues throughout your professional career and your personal life. And I think it's one of the great things about the Ford School community that it really is a warm and welcoming place for that reason.
So I landed in the Clinton Administration, I joined the Treasury Department. I learned an enormous amount about finance, that I had not been prepared for in advance. And I spent about six and a half years at the Treasury Department. When I left, I then joined the Michigan faculty. And I was on the Michigan Law School faculty, and then I went back into the Treasury Department in the Obama Administration, starting in the 2008 campaign, helping out with financial policy and then joining right after inauguration in the middle of the financial crisis of 2008. I joined at the beginning of that administration and drank from a fire hose. It was a crazy time and a scary and difficult time, and certainly now reminiscent of the time we're in today.
Thank you, Michael. So I think the next question is probably for Paula. So one of our students wants to know if MPP students complete a capstone course? And, if so, how the projects are chosen, and if students are... It's a multi-part question, if students are assigned a faculty advisor, and if you're able to propose a client to work with. That's kind of a lot of questions.
So for the MPP degree, there is no capstone or thesis requirement for that degree. We do really encourage students if they want to do a project like that, they can do a number of things. One, we have a course called Strategic Policy Consulting, where we do have clients and students work on projects for those clients and get course credit along with it. So there's that opportunity as a course. We also have a number of students who sign up for independent studies and do similar consulting, like research analysis for a client, and can still get course credit for it. And then students can also get that kind of experience working in our research centers within the Ford School or anywhere on campus really where they are interacting with clients and producing research and analysis for people who need it outside of the community.
Our Master of Public Affairs degree program, that one year program, does in fact have a capstone requirement. And the students in that program have clients, and they're doing really interesting things. Unfortunately, many of them have been interrupted by the COVID-19 crisis this year, but the MPA students are forging ahead with their capstone projects. And they include a number of really interesting projects. I'll give you just a couple of examples. One of our MPA students is working with Accenture in their public service consulting division with the City of Detroit on some workforce issues. Another one of our MPA students is doing a capstone with a community health center in Washington DC that serves the LGBTQ community, and doing some policy analysis mostly around health insurance reform proposals that are out there, good and bad. So again, the MPA program requires a capstone, the MPP does not, but that does not mean students can't have a similar experience.
Wonderful. So we have a question from Chris McClane who's gonna ask that question of you live. Chris?
This is Chris McClane from Detroit. I was asking specifically about the MPA program and if the policy concentrations apply to the MPA program and how that all works out?
Thanks for that question, and I hope the answer isn't disappointing. But the MPA program, again, is a one-year program, and there really isn't enough time in that curriculum for the students to do a policy concentration. But there are electives within it, and we certainly can advise people how to focus and concentrate their electives if there's some area in which they wanna make sure, upon graduation, they have a deep set of skills in an area that they can promote to potential employers.
So the next question, Paula, I think is probably for you as well, Paula. It's one we hear quite often, I think. Particularly when you talk about the quantitative core. So what type of resources are available regarding mathematics courses for those of us who have not had a mathematics course in six years or longer?
Okay. First thing I wanna say is just deep breaths and don't worry so much about this. We are so committed to every student's success, and so there are multiple resources. So number one, in the summer we'll give you some suggested online resources you might wanna use to refresh your memory on even that high school algebra that might be rusty. But we'll give you some resources to get you starting to think about this and be prepared. We also offer what we call Math Camp, right before the semester starts, where we will have eight fun hours of concentrated refreshment of, again, some of these math concepts, to get you really prepared to do statistics in the fall and somewhat economics, but the math really comes into your Intro Stats class. And then once you're in the class, we have multiple resources. We have terrific graduate student instructors, we have tutors that if people want tutoring for any reason, we provide that to them.
I should say that our faculty who teach these courses are terrific, they understand the pedagogy of teaching subjects where people might have some, I'll just say, not as much self-efficacy as maybe other people do. And so they understand how to do that. And we have many, many other resources. We get you through this, so don't worry. Actually we have so many examples we could give you of the students entering into the quantitative core who were really, really nervous about it, and at the end of it, when they leave here, they're doing the policy analysis concentration, they're wanting to take more courses. They're like, "Give me more Econometrics." So they find out that they're actually quite good at this and it's a useful tool. And, I don't know, I'm just gonna say it again, don't worry.
We say that a lot.
We got your quantitative back. We got your writing back. We got your values and ethics back. We've got your back on all of it.
Absolutely. So I think this is gonna be our last question for this session. And I'd love if Michael and Paula would both chime in on this. I think there's a lot of students asking this question right now. So what is it that distinguishes Michigan and the Ford School from the raft of other top policy schools that students are looking? At Chicago and Harvard and Princeton, and all the other places. So what makes us different?
So let me start in on that. First of all, if you have that range of choices, it's terrific. Let me assure you, you're not gonna make a mistake in choosing among these schools. You're gonna have a good and important career path. I think what distinguishes the Ford School, though, is three things. First is, we have an amazing tight-knit community, but also access to the breadth of excellence at the University of Michigan. So you can be in a community where all your faculty and your staff and students know each other, care for each other, support each other, and also have access to the breadth of resources at the University of Michigan. I don't think anybody has that incredible combination of tight, close-knit community and breadth of excellence.
Even some schools that are part of a larger university, they're not really set up to be truly interdisciplinary, they're not really set up to be welcoming for working across schools and colleges. At the University of Michigan, it really is the case, that if you wanna be in the Public Policy School and also take classes, or be connected, or do concentrations, or do certificates at other institutions, at the law school, or in data science, or in engineering and computer science, or in social work and the like, in public health, we're set up to basically make that happen for you. And I think that's an incredible combination.
The second thing I would say is, it really is an amazing combination here at the Ford School of academic rigor and engagement in community. I think that you have some places that are as academically competent, qualified or excellent as we are. And you have other places that are as engaged in their communities as we are. I do think the thing that is really quite unique when I talk to fellow deans around the country, when I talk to students around the country, is this combination of academic excellence and connection to a community. So I'd say that's a second major factor that I think is really unique at the Ford School. And then the last thing I'll say is really about our wonderful faculty, students and staff and how they work together in advancing the public good. The public good really is front and center in our mission. Everybody takes it seriously, and the community comes together around that. So I think it's a pretty special place. As I said, I'm super proud to be Dean here, and I really love our community.
Thanks, Michael. Paula, things to add?
Well, what he said, first of all. [chuckle] And totally, totally cosign on to all of that. I think I would just add in terms of our academic rigor, I really think our brand and our master's curricula here, both of our degrees is not only strong analytic skills but those writing and communication skills are centric here. We hear from employers of our students all the time how well they write. And they write well, 'cause they can think well, first. The critical thinking, but translating that into clear communication and writing is really one of our specialties. And added on to that, not only quantitative analysis or any kind of analysis is important, but understanding the underlying politics and values debates and dealing with them head on is something we do very well here also. And then leadership, we are so invested in your leadership development, so you can go out and have that positive impact on others, organizations, and communities, because that's why you're investing in graduate school in the first place. Go Blue.
Thanks, Paula. Go Blue, that's right.
So thank you, Michael. Thank you, Paula. Thank you, Susan. We are at the end of our time for this session. It always goes too quickly. Thank you to everybody that attended and submitted questions, and I know we didn't get through nearly all of them, but some of them, I think, probably can be handled by other panelists today and if not, we're happy to answer them individually. Check out the FAQS on the Future Fordies page as well. As I mentioned at the beginning, we have a faculty panel at noon with just a terrific line-up of folks. We will have Graduate Career Services at 1:00.
And right now we're gonna take a few minutes. So there will be some programming on this channel, but if you would like to chat with some of our current students, they are online as well. And the link to that break out room has been posted in the chat. So you're welcome to scoot over to that and chat with some students and come back for the faculty panel. So thank you again for your time, thank you to our panelists, very much appreciate it. And on to the next panel. Thank you.