End of the Year Wrap-Up – 2021

With the end of the semester just a day away, it’s time to wrap up another year here at the Ford School. Of course, it goes without saying this year was different than most. Our incredible students, faculty, and staff demonstrated their resilience, creativity, and compassion throughout an academic year conducted in an almost entirely remote capacity.

With more and more people in Michigan and across the U.S. receiving vaccinations, we’re looking forward to next semester when we can once again be together in Weill Hall. 

Despite the many challenges this year posed for our school, city, state, and country, the Ford community remained steadfast in its commitment to the public good and public service. Our research centers continued to produce rigorous, in-depth analyses of our most pressing problems, our faculty continued their field-leading research on a wide array of policy topics, our staff maintained an exceptional level of service for current and prospective students, and Fordies themselves responded to every challenge with positivity and grit.

We’re exceptionally proud of everything Fordies have accomplished in the 2020-2021 academic year. We can’t wait to meet our new cohort in the Fall and welcome everybody back to campus after an exciting summer of policy internships. 

Finally, congratulations to the Ford School graduates of the Class of 2021. Your final year at Ford may have looked different than any of us had hoped, but you finished strong. We know you’ll put the skills and lessons you’ve learned to good use.

Thanks for following us here on “Inside the Ford School.” Stay safe and have a wonderful summer.

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!

Ford Research Center Spotlight: Education Policy Initiative

In addition to Ford’s premier BA, MPP, MPA, and PhD programs, our school is home to fifteen research centers doing critical work on pressing issues facing Michigan, the U.S., and the world. 

In today’s research center spotlight, we’re looking at the Education Policy Initiative (EPI). One of the distinguished faculty members leading EPI, Professor Sue Dynarski, recently teamed up with fellow researchers from Harvard and the University of Virginia to draw attention to the COVID-19 pandemic’s exacerbation of inequities in education. Low-income students’ access to technology and college application resources (counselors, teachers, etc.) have been disrupted, widening the gap in college attendance between low-income students and peers from higher-income households. 

In particular, Dynarski and her colleagues argue for federal intervention to provide the funding and resources needed for schools and students to emerge from the pandemic poised to rebound and thrive.

This is just an example of the incredible work being done at the Ford School. We’re so proud of the faculty and students working to devise innovative solutions to our biggest challenges.

For more on EPI’s research, initiatives, and events, check out the center’s website, and stay tuned for more research center highlights!

Michigan Hockey 101

Athletics may look a bit different this year, as Yost Arena is noticeably empty of fans, but it’s always a good time to root for the Wolverines! Once things start to reopen, you’ll be eligible as Ford students to purchase tickets and attend home games. 

Some UMich Hockey basics:

  • The Wolverines play at Yost Arena in Ann Arbor, a venue with a capacity of 5,800. 
  • Since 2017, Mel Pearson has served as head coach, replacing longtime coach and former NHL player Red Berenson. 
  • Like other UM teams, the men’s hockey squad competes as part of the Big Ten athletic conference.
  • The University of Michigan boasts an elite hockey program with dozens of alumni going on to play in the NHL, including about twenty current players.
  • UM’s main rivals in hockey are the Michigan State Spartans, with whom we play an annual game at Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena, and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. 

It’s hockey season here in Ann Arbor, and our boys in Maize and Blue are off to a roaring start. Currently sitting at 12-8 on the season, the Wolverines have faced off with Big Ten rivals such as Notre Dame, Minnesota, Ohio State, and Michigan State. Most recently, the team split an away series with the Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus, dropping the first game 3-2 while emerging victorious in the second with a score of 6-0. 

Life at the Ford School can be hectic with plenty of assignments, exams, readings, and classes. Because of the fast-paced environment we inhabit, it’s important to take some time to destress. Setting your book aside and watching a hockey game on the Big Ten Network may be just the respite you need. 

Be on the lookout for future posts about life at the Ford School!

Presidents Day 2021: Reflecting on Gerald Ford

This Presidents Day, the Ford School is taking a moment to reflect on the life and legacy of our namesake, 38th U.S. President Gerald R. Ford. His story in many respects embodies the Ford School’s commitment to public service.

A lifelong Michigander from Grand Rapids, President Ford attended the University of Michigan and led the school’s football team to two undefeated seasons culminating in national titles.

After completing his degree at Michigan and receiving his juris doctor from Yale, Ford enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve in the wake of Pearl Harbor and served in the war’s Pacific Theater. Upon his return home, he married fellow Grand Rapids native Elizabeth “Betty” Bloomer, with whom he would raise four children.

In 1948, Ford was elected to represent West Michigan’s fifth congressional district in the United States House of Representatives, going on to hold the seat for twenty-five years. His tenure in Congress saw him serve on the Warren Commission in the wake of the Kennedy assassination and vote in favor of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts. His service culminated in an eight-year stint as House Minority Leader.

The resignation of Vice President Spiro Agnew elevated Ford to the nation’s second-highest office as the Watergate scandal was unfolding. Richard Nixon’s 1974 resignation installed Gerald Ford as the 38th president of the United States, becoming the first commander-in-chief from the State of Michigan. In his first speech to the nation, Ford affirmed his commitment to the values that had guided his life and career, saying “I have not sought this enormous responsibility, but I will not shirk it…It is only fitting then that I should pledge to them and to you that I will be the President of all the people.”

His time in the White House coming to a close in 1977, Gerald R. Ford’s career in public service and elected office was a recurring tale of patriotism, humility, and compassion. His legacy is demonstrative of the University of Michigan’s commitment to civic leadership and serves as a powerful example for policymakers who have followed him. His steady leadership during a period of tumult in America offers a guide for us as we weather the storms of today.

From all of us here at the Ford School, happy Presidents Day.

Meet a Fordie: Jamie Lyons-Eddy MPA ’21

In this installment of our “Meet a Fordie” series, we have one of our MPA students, Jamie Lyons-Eddy, sharing their background and reasons for coming to Ford.

Where are you from?

I’ve lived in Michigan all my life. I was born in Flint, and lived a few places before settling in Troy, where my husband and I raised our kids. We’ve been here for over 23 years now.

What were you doing before you came to Ford?

I was a math teacher with an engineering background, but immediately before coming to the Ford School, I was the Director of Campaigns and Programs for Voters Not Politicians. I was one of the founding members of VNP, the nonpartisan grassroots group that brought thousands of people together across Michigan to put redistricting reform on the statewide ballot in 2018. After the ballot proposal won, VNP went straight to work to support and defend Michigan’s new independent redistricting process, and continues to bring Michigan voters together to fight for structural democracy reform.

Why did you choose Ford?

I was already working for good-government reforms in Michigan, but with my background in math and science, I wanted to build the skills and knowledge to develop policy, analyze complex data, and manage and lead more effectively. I was excited about the one-year MPA program which would allow me to study at the nationally recognized Ford School, which was close to home and wouldn’t require me to take too much time out of my career. Because of the pandemic, I ended up doing all my coursework online, so I could have studied anywhere! But I’m very glad I chose Ford. The faculty is stellar and as a side benefit, I’m learning a lot from my MPA and MPP colleagues.

What do you want to do with your Ford degree?

I’ve already had the privilege of working with thousands of motivated people to bring critical reforms to Michigan’s state government. But there’s much more work to do. At the local, state, and federal level, we must ensure that everyone has access to the ballot, that all votes count equally, and that our elected officials answer to the people. I look forward to getting back to the work of fixing what’s broken in government, and I’m certain that what I’ve learned at Ford will help me be more effective in helping to make positive change.

Be on the lookout for upcoming student spotlights in the weeks and months to come!

February in Michigan: Things to Do

Even in a year without a pandemic, it may seem tricky to find activities to do in Michigan during the cold months of winter. Luckily, the Great Lakes State is filled with natural wonders, exciting attractions, and plenty of other opportunities to experience the crown jewel of the Midwest. Whether you’d rather stay warm or brave the cold, there’s something here in Michigan for everybody.

For Outdoorsy Folks: 

  • Michigan is home to 103 state parks managed by the state’s Department of Natural Resources. Our state is home to numerous miles of hiking trails and breathtaking scenery. Adding to the allure, quite a few of the state’s nature areas are within a short drive from Ann Arbor. Visit the DNR website for more information on MI state parks. Be sure to bundle up!

For Those Looking to Stay Warm:

  • For fans of art, the Saginaw Art Museum, located an hour-and-a-half north of Ann Arbor by car, has an exhibit showcasing African-American fine art. The exhibit, entitled “WONDERFULLY MADE: THE ANTHONY AND DAVIDA ARTIS COLLECTION OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN FINE ART,” allows visitors to view the extensive art collection of Flint natives Anthony and Davida Artis. This collection will be on display through the end of March 2021. Masks and social distancing will be in place to protect visitors and staff. Tickets can be purchased online or upon arrival.
  • The Detroit Institute of Arts is offering visitors a chance to see “DETROIT STYLE: CAR DESIGN IN THE MOTOR CITY, 1950–2020.” This exhibit seeks to showcase the transportation innovation that has set Michigan’s largest city apart. For more information, check out this link.

These are just a few of the activities February in Michigan has to offer. We’re lucky to live in a state with so much to offer. Even while we’re doing what we can to keep everybody safe, Michigan still has plenty of avenues for adventure and entertainment. 

Inauguration Day

Yesterday, we witnessed the inauguration of the 46th president of the United States, President Joe Biden. We also watched as Vice President Kamala Harris, the first woman, first Black person, and first South Asian American to take on the role, was sworn into office. Today we invite you to join University of Michigan community members in upcoming conversations, which will provide post-inauguration reflection and thoughts on what is next for our nation.


The University of Michigan launched a Democracy & Debate Theme Semester in the summer of 2020. The semester afforded students, staff, and faculty many opportunities to explore the intricacies of democracy, at the local, state, and federal levels, during this recent election year. Join U-M for one of the final events of this theme semester, “Kamala Harris and the Reframing of the Vice Presidency: A Conversation on History, Identity, and Politics in Honor of the 2021 Inaguration.” Register to attend here.


For more information about the theme semester and other events, check here.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at the Ford School

Join the Ford School of Public Policy and the University of Michigan today, Monday, January 18, as we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

The Ford School will host moderator Christina Olsen, director of the University of Michigan’s Museum of Art; Mitch Landrieu, former Mayor of New Orleans; Earl Lewis, founding director of University of Michigan’s Center for Social Solutions; and Kristin Hass, Associate Professor of American Culture for a discussion on Public monuments and our histories: Reframing the memories of our nation. Register here for a reminder, and stream the event at 1:00pm ET on January 18.

Earlier in the day, from 10:00-11:30am ET, members of the public will be able to join this year’s University of Michigan symposium, which features speakers Gloria House and Malik Yakini. For more information about the speakers, see their bios here.

We invite you to join us in continuing to honor Dr. King throughout the month of January, with a host of events across the University. The University’s Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives also compiles a list of events that support the mission of the symposium and occur throughout the month of January. Many of these events are open to the public, and we encourage you to participate in as many as you’re interested in.

One event in particular that you may find of interest: U.S. race relations and foreign policy with speaker Ambassador (ret.) Susan D. Page. Register here to join the event at 4:00pm on January 27th.

Exciting Winter ’21 event line-up announced

The Ford School is pleased to welcome distinguished policymakers, writers, and expert faculty for public events in Winter ‘21 on topics ranging from energy policy and leadership, to racial justice and education. For a full line-up, please visit our website or join our events mailing list.

Below is just a sampling of the highlights:

We hope you’ll join us for these virtual events!

We continue to add new speakers each week. Visit our events page for the full Winter ’21 line-up!

Heads up! We will be out of the office from December 23-January 3. If you have questions about your application, please feel free to email us at fspp-admissions@umich.edu, and we will respond when we return on January 4.