Updates from the Youth Policy Lab and the Program in Practical Public Engagement

The Ford School is home to a number of excellent research centers. The work done by our various research centers greatly enhances the academic experience of our students. Two of our centers recently shared some updates about their work this past fall semester. Some of the highlights include:

The Youth Policy Lab , a partnership between the Ford School and the Institute for Social Research, seeks to improve the wellbeing of youth, leading to the improvement of families and communities. Directed by Brian and Robin Jacob, YPL has been involved in a variety of projects. Some of the highlights they have listed from their work include:

  • As a part of our Workforce of the Future data partnership with the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Detroit Drives Degrees effort, the State of Education report was launched and is already driving new attention to the issue of post-secondary credential and degree attainment and its impact on the workforce in southeast Michigan.
  • In our role as evaluation partners to the TRAILS program – an initiative bringing effective mental health services into schools – we launched a needs assessment effort for the Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) that included district-wide surveys of instructional staff, administrative staff, support staff, and all students from grades 8 through 12. In addition to these survey data, we will be conducting analyses of administrative data from DPSCD to help inform the implementation of this mental health intervention and to lay the foundation for our multi-year evaluation.
  • Our partners at MDRC released a jointly authored interim report describing the findings to date on the Detroit Promise Path (DPP) program. Among other findings, our qualitative analysis indicated that while DPP college students continue to struggle with financial and other non-academic barriers to persistence, they highly value their DPP coaches and are much more likely than control group students to have a good understanding of college process like financial aid, academic requirements, and course selection processes.

The Practical Policy Engagement Program (P3E) is a university–wide resource housed at the Ford School where it can leverage existing expertise and interdisciplinary approaches to generate policy–relevant research, analysis and learning, as well as improvements in organizational practice. P3E centers around three objectives:

Engaged learning: The P3E Program is dedicated towards providing students with opportunities to learn about and to impact public policy by working with real-world organizations, government entities and individuals outside the University. Students engage in semester–long applied policy seminars, client–led class projects, capstone projects, summer internships, and a wide variety of engaged learning activities.

Policy research: P3E supports research that is timely and relevant to impact public policy. The P3E small grant program for faculty is currently being developed.

Policy impact: P3E emphasizes action as a result of thoughtful research and learning. A central goal of the Program is to translate social science research into policy impact to study that translational exercise for replication and dissemination. The Program hosts workshops, conferences, talks, and teach-outs to ensure that students and faculty able to learn the skills needed to translate their research and learning into practical policy action.

Information about the many opportunities available for students through P3E is available on their website.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the Ford School

Four years ago the University of Michigan began a five year strategic plan to address issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion. The plan has many different parts but the goal is to make the university a welcoming place for people from across a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives.

One of the major pieces of the Ford School plan was the addition of our diversity, equity and inclusion officer, Stephanie Sanders. Stephanie creates programming related to DEI issues and also teaches classes for both the graduate and undergraduate students.

Stephanie also puts together monthly newsletters that detail activities related to our DEI plan. If you are interested in learning more about the ongoing work in this area, all of the newsletters are available at the Ford School website: http://fordschool.umich.edu/tags/dei-updates

 

 

Information Session, fee waivers & WDC

The Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy is a top-ranked policy school located within one of the world’s premier research universities–in one of America’s best college towns. We offer ready access to the world-class intellectual, cultural, and social resources of the University of Michigan and its impressive alumni network–the largest living alumni body in the world.

Our curriculum emphasizes research, analytic, communication and management skills that are highly transferable across sectors, issue areas, and geographical regions—all offered with an applied approach to policy training, providing hands-on learning around real-world problems.

In addition to the outstanding educational environment, the Ford School also host an impressive array of guest speakers, including this fall’s launch of the Weiser Diplomacy Center, which included former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, to name a few.

The Ford School’s mission is to inspire and prepare diverse leaders grounded in service, conduct transformational research, and collaborate on evidence-based policy making to take on our communities’ and our world’s most pressing challenges. We are a community dedicated to the public good.

We will be hosting a graduate information session here in Ann Arbor on Saturday, November 9 from 10am – 3pm, and would be delighted to have you join us! Please RSVP by 11/4/2019 for the graduate information session.

The application is available online through the Rackham Graduate School website, and has a deadline of January 15, 2020 for the Fall 2020 term.

Detailed information about necessary application materials can be found on our application checklist page, as well as information for International Applicants.

Through partnership funding the Ford school is able to provide support to a number of incoming public policy students. In addition to financial assistance, the Ford School also offers application fee waivers.

  • Teach for America
  • Peace Corps (at least three months removed from their service)
  • AmeriCorps (at least three months removed from their service)
  • Active U.S. Military
  • U.S. Military Veterans
  • Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Fellowship
  • Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship
  • Rangel Scholar
  • Truman Scholar
  • USAID Payne Fellowship

To request these fee waivers, complete the Ford School’s volunteer service form.

Ford School Fall Recruiting Events

The master’s application is open, and will have a deadline of January 15, 2020. The application is available online through the Rackham Graduate School website.

Detailed information about necessary application materials can be found on our application checklist page, as well as information for International Applicants.

Ford School representatives attend graduate school fairs across the country each year. If we are in your area, we strongly encourage you to visit us for more information about our programs. We will also be hosting a graduate information session here in Ann Arbor on Saturday, November 9, 2019 from 10am – 3pm. We would be delighted to have you join us!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us by phone at (734)764-0453 or email the admissions mailbox, fspp-admissions@umich.edu.

Fordies in D.C!

This February current Ford MPP/MPA students traveled to Washington D.C to explore internship and career opportunities across a variety of sectors from think tanks to federal agencies. The annual trip is an opportunity for the wider Ford community to come together as Ford alums connect with students through career panels, networking receptions, and lunch and learns.

Current students are busy this month securing internships and leaning on advice shared by the alumni network in D.C. First-year MPP, Taylor Rovin, noted that it was reassuring to hear the alumni network discuss their experience of being in the same shoes as a student and encourage students not to self-select out of internship opportunities. Alumni working in D.C reiterated throughout weekend never to hesitate reaching out to the Ford community for support or guidance when navigating career opportunities or moving to a new city!

 

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Ford students tackle trade policy in the Integrated Policy Exercise (IPE)

2019 is off to a busy start at the Ford School! We kicked off the Winter semester with the annual Integrated Policy Exercise (IPE). The IPE requirement is a three-day simulation requiring Ford students to collaborate, make decisions, and offer solutions to address a real world policy issue. This year’s policy topic was the ratification of the USMCA trade agreement, otherwise known as the “new NAFTA”.

On October 1, 2018, President Trump and heads of state from Mexico and Canada signed the USMCA agreement, which legislative bodies in each country must ratify a final version of the deal. IPE gave Ford students an opportunity to simulate the ratification process for the U.S, which Congress expected to debate implementing legislation for the final agreement early this year.

Back in December, IPE organizers brought Ford students together for a day long briefing  to receive their assigned roles and meet with experts on the topic. About 160 students were assigned roles as elected officials across the three countries, journalists, organized labor, industry associations, and environmental groups. The briefing also included a panel of experts including Bob King, former president of United Auto Workers (UAW), and former U.S Representative Sander Levin (MI-9th).

To aid in the simulation, Ford students utilized ViewPoint, which is a software developed at UM in collaboration with Ford professor, Elizabeth Gerber. The site’s organizational and communication tools enable IPE participants to form coalitions, lobby elected officials, schedule votes, and publicize policy positions. One popular feature among the students and faculty is the pseudo-twitter page, which was heavily utilized by IPE’s President Trump.

After two eventful days of congressional hearings, press conferences, and negotiations among the three principle countries. The simulation ended with U.S Congress voting to pass implementing legislation for the USMCA after pushing through an additional bill increasing job training and negotiating better enforcement for labor protections outlined in USMCA.

2nd year Masters student and IPE organizer, Jack Cumming, recapped the weekend, “Overall, I was very impressed by everyone who participated in this year’s integrated policy exercise. People took their roles very seriously which made the simulation even more dynamic than I had expected. With so many stakeholders and decision makers in one room, the participants demonstrated that legislative compromise at the federal level can be very complicated, especially on an issue like trade that impacts so many communities.”

 

 

You have submitted your application, now what?

Congratulations on submitting your application to the Ford School! After months of researching schools, drafting essays, and studying for exams you’ve officially applied to grad school.

We know this can be a stressful time as you wait for admissions decisions to return in mid-March, and may have some questions about what comes next. Below are a few recommendations to keep top of mind over the next few months.

  1. Submit outstanding application materials: The admissions committee will reach out to you via email if you have any missing documents (i.e transcripts, letters of recommendation, TOEFL exam). Please be sure to email these items to fspp-admissions@umich.edu. Applications missing required documentation, such as GRE scores, will be considered incomplete, but may be reviewed as documents arrive. We welcome your application, but any delay in the submission of documentation may delay its review.
  2. For U.S. citizens and permanent residents, don’t forget to fill out the FAFSA by March 31st. If you intend to apply for federal student loans and other sources of funding, you’ll want to submit a completed 2019-20 FAFSA application by the deadline.

  3. Check out resources to search for scholarships. Pursuing a graduate degree is an investment and can be overwhelming when planning how to finance. There are many resources out there to search for scholarship opportunities – below are a few to kickstart your search:

    • Check out the fellowships offered through the Ford School.
    • University of Michigan Rackham School for graduate studies also offers funding opportunities to Master’s and Ph.D students.
    • Some students find it helpful to subscribe to search engines such as FastWeb and College Board’s Scholarship Search.  *You should never pay a fee in order to compete for a scholarship.  Any group that asks for even a small payment is suspect.
  4. Interested in speaking with a current Fordie? Fill out this survey if you’d like to be virtually connected with a student. They were in your exact shoes not so long ago. Whether you’re curious about what it’s like to attend a football game in the Big House or wonder how the internship process works, it’s always helpful to hear firsthand from your peers.

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact our staff in Student and Academic Services Office by calling 734-764-0453 or by emailing fspp-admissions@umich.edu.

Navigating the Ford School Masters Applications

Credit: Michigan Photography, 4/13/2018

Ford School masters program applications opened back in September, and if you’re considering applying for our Master of Public Policy or Master of Public Affairs degree programs in the next two months, here are some things that might be helpful need to know.

WHICH PROGRAM IS RIGHT FOR ME?

The Master of Public Policy (MPP) program is a two-year, 48 credit program that trains students with a broad range of policy interests for a wide set of jobs – providing a toolbox of research, analytical, and management skills that are highly transferable across sectors and issue areas. And starting in Fall 2019, MPP students will have the option to declare concentrations in five areas: public policy and analysis methods; public & nonprofit management; social policy;  international policy; and international economic development. This program is great for prospective students looking to begin a career in policy or public service.

The Master of Public Affairs (MPA) program is a mid-career program being launched in Fall 2019 for applicants with substantial work experience in the public policy realm. MPA students will take some courses with our MPP students, and will also have several unique learning experiences tailored to their small cohort of accomplished professionals. The 33-credit degree program can be completed in 9 months with a full course of study and is a great option for prospective students with at least five years of experience in government, military, private sector government affairs, or the nonprofit sector looking to continue or advance their career in policy or public service.

WHEN SHOULD I APPLY?

Applications for both degrees opened on September 6th and are open until 11:59PM EST on January 15, 2019. Applicants will then be notified of admissions decisions by mid-March 2019.

WHERE DO I APPLY?

Applications to the Ford School go through the Rackham Graduate School application!

WHAT DO I NEED TO APPLY?

Here’s a checklist of the documents and information you will need to submit for the Ford School masters program applications:

  1. Essays: The Ford School requires two, 500-word essays – the Academic Statement of Purpose and a Personal Statement. Both essays can convey to the Admissions Committee information that cannot be found in transcripts, letters of recommendation, test scores, or resumes. They explain the applicant’s reasons for wanting to pursue a Master in Public Policy or Public Affairs at the Ford School. Applicants should be mindful that the statements are also an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to communicate succinctly and clearly.
  2. Test scores: The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) aptitude test is required for MPP applications only. Students considering dual degree programs may be able to substitute GRE scores with those from another test. Applicants to the Master of Public Affairs (MPA) program may submit GRE, GMAT or LSAT scores if they want (Note: When registering for the GRE or sending additional score reports, applicants should use the University of Michigan code #1839).
  3. Resume or curriculum vitae: We need a current resume or c.v., not to be confused with your personal statement!
  4. Letters of recommendation: The Ford School requires three letters of recommendation that reflect your academic and, if relevant, job capabilities and experiences. We encourage applicants to submit letters of recommendation electronically— please see the online application for instructions.
  5. Transcripts: All applicants should upload an official or unofficial transcript with your online application in ApplyWeb. You may also upload additional transcripts from any other institution you attended.

If you have questions or encounter difficulty with the application process, please contact our staff in Student and Academic Services Office by calling 734-764-0453 or by emailing fspp-admissions@umich.edu. We’re happy to help however we can before January 15th!

Meet the Mentors and Apply for SCPP Pipeline, Round 2!

Every year, the Ford School’s Students of Color in Public Policy (SCPP) organization coordinates a Pipeline Initiative to assist applicants in completing applications for the Ford School’s graduate programs. While the first round has passed, the second round applications for the Pipeline are open until the end of the week!

As you continue your application process, we decided to talk to two former Pipeline Applicants who are now Ford School masters students and current Pipeline Mentors. Check out our conversation with Alex Weaver and Emma Dolce! And at the bottom, check out our instructions for participating in the Pipeline Initiative.


Why did you sign up for Pipeline when you were applying to Ford?

Alex: While I felt I knew the rules of the road for my MBA application, I was relatively lost on how to compose an Academic Statement of Purpose, or a Personal Statement. Good thing I asked for guidance too, because after submitting my draft of my Personal Statement to Pipeline, my mentor (very politely) told me that what I had written sounded like an Academic Statement!

Emma: I signed up for the Pipeline Initiative because it seemed like a good way to get insider help on my application and connect with a current Ford student. Visit days are great but if you can’t make it to campus it can be hard to get “face time” with actual students. My mentor was super helpful in explaining the ins and outs of the program and also giving me and a better picture of the Ford School and greater UM community.

 

What made you decide to volunteer to be a Pipeline mentor?

Emma: I signed up to be a Pipeline mentor because I wanted to give back and help other students with the application process and share what I love about the Ford community. Applying to any kind of grad program is daunting and exhausting and overwhelming and I hope that by being a mentor I can make things just that much easier for another student.

Alex: Paying it forward. I might not be here without the wise guidance of my Pipeline mentor.

 

What do you think makes the Pipeline Initiative important?

Alex: All applicants deserve equality of opportunity, in terms of being armed with the insight to be able to put their best Ford application forward. Pipeline helps with that.

Emma: The Pipeline Initiative is important because it can help people who might not be very familiar with the grad school application process make the most of it. Like I said, applying to grad school is a big undertaking and I think it’s important for programs to make the process as accessible and equitable for everyone as they possibly can. The Pipeline Initiative is just one small piece of that accessibility.

 

What advice would you give to someone who’s applying for a graduate program at the Ford School (or anywhere else)?

Emma: Make a plan and stick to it. I wrote out a little post-it note what I was going to do and when (July- research programs and start studying for the GRE, September- contact references, October- take the GRE, November- write essays etc.) and I stuck it next to my bed so I would see it all of the time (yes, this is super nerd status but I stand by it!). This helped me stay on task and see the bigger picture. I also think keeping your self-confidence high is really important. The application process can be really draining especially when you’re working or also still in school. It’s important to remind yourself you are talented and accomplished and you totally got this!

Alex: If possible, based on your circumstances, visit, sit in on a class, and meet or talk with current students and admissions staff. For any graduate program, online research can only take you so far.


What is SCPP Pipeline?

The goal of the Pipeline Initiative is to help prospective students navigate the application process and to provide the student perspective on being a member of the Ford School community. We particularly welcome inquiries from students of color to help increase the diversity in our programs.

How does it work?

This outreach program pairs a prospective student, like yourself, with a current graduate student who will act as a mentor and provide guidance on the application process. For example, mentors can read through your personal statement and provide feedback on your resume. Current students will be paired with applicants based on a variety of factors, i.e. policy interests, undergraduate institution, career goals, etc.

What’s the timeframe?

Mentors will be provided to prospective students during two submission rounds. All application materials must be received by the application deadlines to be paired with a mentor on the corresponding Match Date. We will do our best to match prospective students who submit their application after the application date.

Pipeline Application Deadline:

Mentor Match Date:

Round 1: Friday, November 2, 2018

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Round 2: Friday, November 30, 2018

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

How do I Register for Pipeline?

1. Complete the following survey to help us pair you with a student mentor:

2018 Pipeline Initiative Registration Form

2. For feedback purposes, submit your personal statement draft as a word document, saved as “FullName_Pipeline_PPS.doc”, to amricha@umich.edu with the subject line: “Pipeline Personal Statement: FullName”.

If you have any questions, please email SCPP’s Pipeline Chair, Audrey Richardson, at amricha@umich.edu.

Please note: The Pipeline Initiative is a voluntary program under the leadership of the Students of Color in Public Policy (SCPP). Participation in the Pipeline Initiative does not guarantee admission into the MPP or MPA programs.

Apply for the SCPP Pipeline!

Every year, the Ford School’s Students of Color in Public Policy (SCPP) organization coordinates a Pipeline Initiative to assist applicants in completing applications for the Ford School’s graduate programs. Post below is this year’s Pipeline Initiative announcement; interested students can apply for the first round by the end of this week or the second round at the end of November!

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Under the leadership of Students of Color in Public Policy (SCPP), we are excited to launch this year’s Pipeline Initiative!

What is SCPP Pipeline?

The goal of the Pipeline Initiative is to help prospective students navigate the application process and to provide the student perspective on being a member of the Ford School community. We particularly welcome inquiries from students of color to help increase the diversity in our programs.

How does it work?

This outreach program pairs a prospective student, like yourself, with a current graduate student who will act as a mentor and provide guidance on the application process. For example, mentors can read through your personal statement and provide feedback on your resume. Current students will be paired with applicants based on a variety of factors, i.e. policy interests, undergraduate institution, career goals, etc.

What’s the timeframe?

Mentors will be provided to prospective students during two submission rounds. All application materials must be received by the application deadlines to be paired with a mentor on the corresponding Match Date. We will do our best to match prospective students who submit their application after the application date.

Pipeline Application Deadline:

Mentor Match Date:

Round 1: Friday, November 2, 2018

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Round 2: Friday, November 30, 2018

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

How do I Register for Pipeline?

1. Complete the following survey to help us pair you with a student mentor:

2018 Pipeline Initiative Registration Form

2. For feedback purposes, submit your personal statement draft as a word document, saved as “FullName_Pipeline_PPS.doc”, to amricha@umich.edu with the subject line: “Pipeline Personal Statement: FullName”.

If you have any questions, please email SCPP’s Pipeline Chair, Audrey Richardson, at amricha@umich.edu.

Please note: The Pipeline Initiative is a voluntary program under the leadership of the Students of Color in Public Policy (SCPP). Participation in the Pipeline Initiative does not guarantee admission into the MPP or MPA programs.