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Policymakers in residence

Real-world leaders, teaching and mentoring Ford School students

A diverse array of policy leaders join our faculty to teach and mentor students through the U.S. State Department Diplomat in Residence, Harry A. and Margaret D. Towsley Foundation Policymaker in Residence, and Weiser International Policymaker in Residence programs, and more. These visiting professors have significant policy and leadership experience—in government, non-profits, industry, and elsewhere. They enrich the breadth of our course offerings and link our students and faculty to many policymaking communities. 


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Diplomats in Residence

U-M is one of a very small group of U.S. colleges selected by the U.S. Department of State to host a Diplomat in Residence—a career Foreign Service officer who provides guidance and advice to students interested in exploring careers, internships, or fellowships with the U.S. Foreign and Civil Services. Find out more about engaged learning at the Ford School.

As someone who was younger than most of my peers, and never lived outside of Michigan, having access to the diplomat in residence provided me with the confidence to move forward with a career in the foreign service.

Kristen Grauer (MPP '01)

Towsley Foundation Policymakers in Residence

Since 2002, the Harry A. and Margaret D. Towsley Foundation Policymaker in Residence Program has brought national and international leaders to campus to join our faculty. They teach graduate-level courses ranging in length from six weeks to a full semester; host public lectures; and advise and mentor students.

Past Towsley Foundation Policymakers in Residence

  • Bill de Blasio (2024), former mayor of New York City, 2014-2021
  • Laurel Beatty Blunt (2022-2023), judge for the 10th District Court of Appeals for the State of Ohio
  • Abdul El-Sayed (2021, 2022), public servant, Michigan politician, former epidemiology professor, and medical doctor
  • Hardy Vieux, MPP/JD '97 (2017-2022), chief of staff, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND); former senior vice president, legal, at Human Rights First
  • The Honorable Sander “Sandy” Levin (2019-2022), former U.S. Congressman
  • Bill Bynum (2021, 2022), CEO of Hope Credit Union
  • Broderick Johnson (2020), senior of counsel at Covington & Burling and former assistant to the president and cabinet secretary (Obama White House)
  • Javed Ali (2019-2021), former senior director for counterterrorism on the National Security Council
  • Adrienne Harris (2019), superintendent of the New York Department of Financial Services and former chief business development officer and general counsel at States Title, Inc.
  • Gail Wilensky (2019), economist and senior fellow at Project HOPE
  • Phyllis Meadows (2019, 2021), senior fellow at the Kresge Foundation
  • Dudley Benoit, MPP '96, (2017-2018), former director of community development finance at Santander Bank
  • James Kvaal (2016), Undersecretary of Education, U.S. Department of Education; former deputy director of the White House Domestic Policy Council
  • Harold Ford, Jr. (2015), former Member of Congress from Tennessee
  • Gretchen Whitmer (2015), 49th Governor of Michigan and former Michigan Senate Minority Leader
  • Ruth Browne, MPP/MPH '83, (2015), former CEO Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health
  • Margo Picken (2014), former director of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia at the United Nations
  • Richard Boucher (2014, 2016), former Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs and former Deputy Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
  • Yazier Henry (2007) former director of Direct Action Centre for Peace and Memory 
  • Cecilia Muñoz (2007), former director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, Obama Administration
  • Namanga Ngongi (2003), former UN Secretary General's special representative to the Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Catherine Bertini (2002), former executive director of the World Food Program

Weiser International Policymakers in Residence

The Weiser Diplomacy Center hosts Weiser International Policymakers in Residence, bringing leading experts and decisionmakers, with deep experience in diplomacy and foreign affairs, to the Ford School.