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!”

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


Integrated Policy Exercise

2021 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, Fordies tackled the issue of climate-induced migration on the international stage in a simulation spearheaded by Professor Ann Lin. Participants assumed the roles of nations, non-governmental organizations, and media outlets as they worked to build consensus and determine the best approach for addressing climate change and responding to its impacts. 

Over winter break, students prepared policy memos and other documents to accurately represent their stakeholder’s views during the simulation. During the three-day activity, participants met with regional coalitions to discuss policy priorities before breaking off into negotiated task forces of like-minded nations and NGOs. 

At the conclusion of the event, students in the “UN General Assembly” approved three resolutions affirming the need to address climate change and proposed the convening of another conference to discuss the legal status of climate refugees. One resolution, championed by several nations focused on preserving state sovereignty, was defeated. 

The Ford School’s Integrated Policy Exercise gives students the chance to take a hands-on approach to the policy ideas they’ve discussed in their studies. It’s one of numerous ways the Ford School program provides students with the tools to become effective policy professionals. 

Stay tuned for more information on life here at the Ford School!

New webinar recording available!

Missed our latest webinar? Visit our website to watch recordings of all our previous webinars including:

November 19 | Why Now? Why Ford School?
Hear from the Ford School’s associate deans on how a Ford School master’s degree can help you make an impact on the public good at this critical time. This session features Luke Shaefer, director of Poverty Solutions and associate dean of policy engagement, and Paula Lantz, the James B. Hudak Professor of Health Policy and associate dean of academic affairs.

December 3 | Tools for influence and action
With a firm grounding in social science research and quantitative analysis, real-world policy issues are woven throughout our rigorous, hands-on curriculum. In this webinar, learn about opportunities to practice these skills in and out of the classroom and how they provide a toolbox of research, analytical, and management skills that are highly transferable across sectors and issue areas.

December 10 | Hands-on, practical experiences
We believe in an applied approach to learning, including interactions with people and organizations outside the university actively working on public policy. In this session, learn about the wide range of opportunities for students to engage with real-world policy issues in the classroom and through research, activities, and workshops.

Interested in learning more about the Ford School? Register to attend our upcoming webinars here, and sign up to receive more information from us here.

Explore Ford School courses and programs

We know you are passionate about public policy and committed to a successful career of real impact for the public good.

Ford School faculty are distinguished teachers and experts who care deeply about the impact of their work. Our curriculum is rigorous, interdisciplinary, and hands-on. Our students are diverse leaders who share a commitment to the public good. Our university is one of the best in the world.

Our top-ranked graduate programs include

  • Master of Public Policy: a renowned 2-year program recognized for its excellence in analysis, social policy, leadership development, diplomacy studies, and more.
  • Dual masters degrees with Business, Law, Education, Social Work, or another of the dozens of top-ranked University of Michigan programs.
  • Master of Public Affairs: a powerhouse 9-month mid-career degree focused on analysis, communication, and leadership.

Register for an upcoming information session:

  • December 3: Tools for influence and action w/Professors Lantz, Jonathan Hanson, and Brian Jacob
  • December 10: Hands-on, practical experiences w/John Ciorciari, Elisabeth Gerber, Shobita Parthasarathy, and Luke Shaefer
  • December 16: Careers in public policy with careers director Jennifer Niggemeier and Ford School alumni
  • January TBA: Final Q&A and meet Dean Michael Barr

Sign-up here to receive a special weekly admissions email.

NOTE: This announcement was released on November 24, 2020.


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.”