Ford School again ranked #1 in Social Policy by U.S. News & World Report

It’s been a challenging year for universities across the country and world as we’ve grappled with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the uncertainty and obstacles the past year has presented, we’re pleased to report that the Ford School has once again topped U.S. News & World World Report’s rankings of social policy graduate programs. 

We’re incredibly proud of Ford’s status as one of America’s premier public policy schools and it’s an honor to once again receive a distinction we’ve held for nearly a decade.  

At the Ford School, we’re committing to training the next generation of diverse, innovative, and service-driven leaders in public policy. Our rigorous curriculum provides our students with the tools they need to address our most complex and daunting challenges. 

It’s been an amazing year at Ford. As we head into the final month of Winter Semester, we’re looking to close out strong. 

Stay tuned for more updates from “Inside the Ford School!”

Michigan Basketball 101

As March comes to a close, the NCAA Women’s and Men’s basketball tournaments are well underway. Our very own Michigan Wolverines have taken both competitions by storm. 

In the men’s tournament, Michigan entered as the #1 seed in the East region. The team went on to defeat Texas Southern in the opening round of 64 before sending the Louisiana State Tigers home in the round of 32. On March 27th, the Wolverines will face off against the Florida State Seminoles in the Sweet Sixteen. 

In the women’s tournament, the Wolverines came in as the #6 seed. They defeated Florida Gulf Coast University by 21 points in the first round before upsetting the #3 seed Tennessee Volunteers in the second round. Coming up, the women’s team will play the #2 seed Baylor Bears on March 27th. This marks the first time in program history that the women’s team has advanced to the Sweet Sixteen.

Now that we’ve covered March Madness, let’s go over some quick facts about UM’s basketball programs to help you navigate conversations about the Maize & Blue!

  • Michigan’s basketball teams, like the school’s other athletic programs, compete in the Big 10 Conference. This conference includes 14 teams (and two affiliates) from across the Midwest.
  • The Wolverines play their home games at the Crisler Center, a 12,707-capacity arena in Ann Arbor.
  • The men’s team is currently coached by former UM player Juwan Howard (of 1991 Fab Five fame), while Kim Barnes Arico is in her ninth season as head coach of the women’s squad. Coach Barnes Arico is the winningest coach in program history. 
  • The men’s team has historic rivalries with the Duke Blue Devils, the Michigan State Spartans, and the Ohio State Buckeyes. The women’s team has a storied rivalry with Michigan State. 
  • The Michigan men’s team has won the NCAA tournament once in program history (1989). The women’s team has not yet won a national title, but has appeared in nine NCAA tournaments. 

That’s all for this crash course on Michigan basketball! As we watch this season wrap up, we’re looking forward to being back in the Crisler Center to cheer on our teams in the future!

Meet a Fordie: Alex Baum (MPP ’22)

In this installment of “Meet a Fordie,” we’re spotlighting one of our 2022 cohort members: Alex Baum!

Where are you from? Ann Arbor, Michigan. I’m grateful for this chance to return to my hometown for the MPP program!

What were you doing before you came to Ford? I spent the past five years living in New York City, collaborating one-on-one with university professors to design online versions of their graduate courses. I had been steeped in the world of digital education long before the pandemic, so it’s been fascinating to experience it now as a student.

Why did you choose Ford? I knew that Ford provided the best of everything I was looking for: world-class training in policy analysis, a brilliant faculty and student body, and a welcoming community I’ve known and loved my entire life. Despite the pandemic, this first year at Ford has exceeded my high expectations! I’m beyond excited for our cohort to spend next year together in person.

What do you want to do with your Ford degree? I plan to continue reducing barriers to education for underserved communities. In the short term, I’d love to gain some public sector experience (hopefully at the Department of Education). In the long term I’d love to tackle these challenges while working at a foundation.

That’s all for this edition of “Meet a Fordie!” Stay tuned for more updates on life at the Ford School!

MPP & MPA admissions decision release

We have released decisions to students who submitted their completed application for the Master of Public Policy or the Master of Public Affairs program on January 15, 2021. We thank you all for considering the University of Michigan as your next home in your academic journey, and for sharing your stories and your commitment to public policy with us.

Please check your emails for your decisions, and carefully review the messages that you receive for further information about how to accept your offer and upcoming opportunities to connect.

Congratulations! We look forward to welcoming the class of 2021 home to the Ford School!

New Faculty Addition: Morela Hernandez

The Ford School is home to distinguished faculty with years of experience in a wide variety of policy disciplines. This past month, the Ford faculty gained another member with Morela Hernandez’s appointment as a Professor of Public Policy being approved by the University of Michigan’s Board of Regents. 

Professor Hernandez, previously of the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, brings her expertise in organizational psychology and behavioral science to Ann Arbor. At Ford, she’ll serve as faculty director of the Ford Leadership Initiative and will teach courses on the intersection of diversity and leadership. 

Hernandez will officially join the Ford School faculty on August 31st, 2021. We can’t wait for Ford students to learn from her this coming year. 

Learn more about Professor Hernandez’s career and background here.

Stay tuned for further hiring announcements and other updates on life at the Ford School!

Ford School DEI Strategic Plan

As part of the University of Michigan’s commitment to making our campus a welcoming place for all, the Ford School launched our five-year strategic plan for diversity, equity, and inclusion in October 2016. 

The Ford DEI plan focuses on four central goals: 

  • Diversifying who we are
  • Diversifying what and how we teach  
  • Promoting an equitable and inclusive climate  
  • Diversifying our research and policy engagement

Since beginning this process, Ford has created a permanent DEI officer position on our senior leadership team. To ensure input from every part of the Ford community, our DEI coalition consists of faculty, staff, and students (both graduate and undergraduate). Student representatives serve one-year terms. The student perspective is invaluable to our efforts to make the Ford School as inclusive as possible. If you think you might be interested in serving in this capacity, be on the lookout for announcements regarding next year’s DEI coalition. 

To stay informed on the progress of the Ford DEI plan, be sure to check out our monthly updates


Meet a Fordie: Priyanka Panjwani (MPP ’22)


It’s the start of a new month, which means it’s time for another installment of our “Meet a Fordie” series! This time around, we’re introducing Priyanka Panjwani, a first-year MPP student here at the Ford School.

Where are you from?

I grew up about 20 minutes outside of Chicago, in the Western suburbs. I’ve been in the Midwest my whole life: I attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Go Badgers!), and then lived on the North Side of Chicago for 2.5 years post-undergrad.

What were you doing before you came to Ford?

I was an Economics Research Analyst at Northwestern University, where I worked mostly in Stata and R conducting econometric analyses for professors at NU, working on literature reviews, and assisting with papers/presentations. I worked on a wide range of topics, from the economic history of immigration in the U.S., to the effects of marijuana legalization on recidivism rates. After developing my research skills, I was eager to apply them to policy areas I care about, which is why I pursued policy programs.

Why did you choose Ford?

I felt that Ford complemented my interests really well, being the top Social Policy program in the country. I am specifically interested in the social determinants of health, public assistance programs, and food policy. Professors such as Paula Lantz and Luke Schaefer are amazing resources to have in my area of interest. Additionally. I was impressed by the amount of research centers housed at Ford: Poverty Solutions, the Youth Policy Lab, the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy. I’ve taken advantage of these opportunities, and last semester worked as an RA for YPL and CLOSUP. Finally, I am interested in applying data analytics to policy solutions, and Michigan offers a graduate certificate in data science, for which I have been taking Python courses in the School of Information.

What do you want to do with your Ford degree?

Right now I’m not completely sure which sector I want to work in after graduating. I hope to use the summer internship to explore the public sector, through state or local government. What I am certain about is that I want to apply data analytics to evaluate solutions to health disparities and promote health as a human right.

Stay tuned for more spotlights of our incredible students here at Ford!