Meet a Fordie: Darian Burns

Where are you from?

I was born in Detroit, MI and lived in Southfield until I was 7 years old. My family moved to Atlanta, GA which is where I was raised and graduated high school and what I consider my permanent home.

What were you doing before you came to Ford?

Before I came to Ford, I was attending Seattle Pacific University where I studied Urban Studies and Social Justice and Cultural Studies and competed collegiately on their Division II gymnastics team. I graduated in June 2020 and started at Ford later that fall.

Why did you choose Ford?

I had the privilege to participate in the Public Policy and International Affairs Program (PPIA) here at the Ford School from June-July 2019, the summer leading into my senior year of undergrad. This was my first formal introduction to public policy along with a cohort of incredible, policy-oriented students from across the country. I was introduced to Ford’s MPP curriculum and had the opportunity to learn from some incredible Ford School professors and faculty. From then on I knew I’d be coming back to Ford. Covid-19 had a hand in making that happen sooner than originally anticipated, but I’m happy to be here.

What do you want to do with your Ford degree?

I would love to experience work full time and have steady income after being a student for 18 years straight, lol. I’m interested in Education Policy so I hope to join that field after I graduate doing work on initiatives for equitable access to higher education for first-generation, minority, and low-income students.

GRE requirement for 2022-2023 application cycle

GRE scores are optional for applicants seeking admission to the MPP program for the 2022-2023 academic year.

GRE scores are typically required of MPP applicants, as we have found them to be useful indicators of academic preparation for our core curriculum. However, in light of ongoing disruptions caused by COVID-19 to people’s ability to prepare for and take the GRE, the Ford School is extending our policy on optional GRE scores from the 2021-2022 application cycle into the 2022-2023 application cycle.

All masters’ applicants will be required to answer a supplemental question on the application about their quantitative and qualitative skills in lieu of submitting GRE scores. Applications without GRE scores will not be disadvantaged in our holistic application review process. If you choose to submit GRE scores, test scores dated before August 2016 are no longer valid. GRE scores are due the same day your completed application is due (January 15, 2022). Our institution code is 1839.

Students who are applying for a joint degree with another program at the University of Michigan should check with that program about their standardized test requirements. 

Applicants to the Master of Public Affairs (MPA) program: The submission of GRE scores is not required.

As you begin preparing your application, remember to check our master’s application checklist to ensure that you have all the necessary materials and email if you have any questions.

Announcing new professors and promotions

The end of May was an exciting time for the Ford School, as several of our current faculty members were approved for new positions or received promotions, and a new faculty member joined our Ford School community.

National security expert and current Towsley Foundation Policymaker in Residence at the Ford School, Javed Ali, was appointed to an associate professor of practice on the faculty of the University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. Both undergraduate and graduate students will have the opportunity to take courses with Ali in fall 2021 as he will be teaching a Ford School course called “Domestic Violence Extremism: Policies, Threats, and New Approaches” and co-teaching an Engineering/Policy course, “Cybersecurity for Future Leaders.”

On May 20, the University of Michigan Board of Regents approved the appointment of Celeste Watkins-Hayes, Jean E. Fairfax Collegiate Professor of Public Policy; professor of sociology; and a University Diversity and Social Transformation Professor, as the associate dean for academic affairs at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. Dr. Watkins-Hayes appointment will serve a three-year term beginning August 1, 2021. We are looking forward to Dr. Watkins-Hayes’ leadership over the next three years and we thank her predecessor, Dr. Paula Lantz, for her service and incredible leadership over the past five years.

Finally, we are excited to announce that both Natasha Pilkauskas and Kaitlin Raimi have been promoted to associate professor, with tenure, at the Ford School. Read more about Dr. Pilkauskas’s work on her Ford School profile, and more about Dr. Raimi’s work in the Ford School directory. Undergraduate students will have the opportunity to take a course with Dr. Pilkauskas in fall 2021 as she will be teaching a Ford School course called “Evaluating Public Policies.”

If you talk to Professor Ali, Dr. Watkins-Hayes, Dr. Pilkauskas, or Dr. Raimi be sure to congratulate them on their new positions and promotions!