Research Center Spotlight: P3E

The Ford School is home to numerous research centers on the leading edge of policy innovation. This week, we’re training the spotlight on the Program for Practical Policy Engagement. That name is most certainly a mouthful, so people usually refer to it as P3E. Led by Director Elisabeth Gerber, P3E works to form a bridge between the research being conducted here at the University of Michigan and the real-world policy arena. At P3E, the goal isn’t to simply study policy issues, but rather to take action to address them.

P3E’s mission revolves around three pillars: engaged learning, policy research, and policy impact. 

  • Engaged learning: P3E provides Ford students with invaluable opportunities to apply the lessons they’ve learned in the classroom to the real world. Students are partnered with community partners and government entities to make a lasting impact. In addition, students are paired in mentorship programs with distinguished policy professionals to receive guidance and support as they work within the community.
  • Policy research: P3E encourages students to utilize their research skills to grapple with and propose solutions to the most pressing challenges facing our state, country, and world. Undergraduate and graduate research fellows work alongside public, nonprofit, and philanthropic community partners to delve into various policy issues. 
  • Policy impact: P3E’s “Getting Stuff Done” workshops bring together Ford School students with dedicated policy professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds to discuss how to put ideas into action. Workshops help students learn best practices for communicating your vision to stakeholders and the media, how to devise effective advocacy strategies, and so much more. All of this programming is aimed at giving Ford students the tools to pursue public policy for the public good.

P3E is at the forefront of policy change here in Michigan and around the country. While there are countless reasons to come to the Ford School, P3E and the other research centers are reminders of the important work being done here in Ann Arbor to make the world a better place.

That’s all for this week from “Inside the Ford School.” Stay tuned for more information about all that’s happening at Weill Hall!

Research Center Spotlight: International Policy Center

Here at the Ford School, we know that effective policy making requires a global perspective. To find real solutions to our most daunting challenges, we have to look beyond Michigan and the United States to draw lessons from around the world. At the International Policy Center (IPC), Ford School faculty and policy experts conduct rigorous, interdisciplinary research on some of the world’s most complex issues. 

Led by Dr. John Ciociari, the IPC’s mission is to foster important discussions about international policy issues. Through seminars, workshops, and experiential learning opportunities, IPC gives Ford students unparalleled insight into the world of international affairs. 

As part of the center’s research, IPC provides Ford School PhD students with Research Scholar awards and other financial support programs to help fund their academic pursuits. In addition, Ford students can take advantage of IPC’s three overseas learning courses. Students travel to China, Costa Rica, and other locations around the globe to better understand the realities of the policy issues they study here at Weill Hall. 

At Ford, we’re extremely proud of our ever-growing network of research centers dedicated to finding innovative ideas to solve seemingly-intractable problems. As the academic year unfolds, you can expect additional research center spotlights that give you a quick overview of the exciting work being done in Ann Arbor. 

There’s always something going on at the Ford School. Keep checking the “Inside the Ford School” blog to stay up to date with the latest events and developments!

Research Center Spotlight: Center on Finance, Law, and Policy

We’re drawing ever closer to the end of the school year here at Ford. With one full week left in the semester, we’re highlighting another one of the research centers found here at the Ford School. This time around, we’re taking a closer look at the Center on Finance, Law, and Policy (CFLP). 

Technically speaking, this center isn’t just a Ford School endeavor. CFLP is an interdisciplinary research center composed of faculty and students from over a dozen different schools and colleges at the University of Michigan, including Michigan Law School, Michigan Ross School of Business, and Michigan College of Engineering. 

At CFLP, researchers conduct “a broad range of research projects focused on creating a financial system that is safer, fairer, and better harnessed to the real economy.” 

In addition to their research, CFLP established the Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project in 2016. The program works with small business owners in Detroit and connects them with law, design, and business students ready to assist with legal and business needs. 

That’s all for this installment of our research center spotlight, but be on the lookout for more content throughout the summer!

Research Center Spotlight: Youth Policy Lab (YPL)

As we’ve discussed in previous posts, the Ford School is home to fifteen research centers where students and faculty engage in in-depth research on our most daunting challenges and potential solutions to social issues. The proposals generated at Ford are data-driven and innovative. 

This time around, we’re highlighting the work of the Youth Policy Lab (YPL). The Lab uses data analysis to identify challenges facing communities in Michigan and develop creative solutions to address them. AT YPL, the aim is to use data for the public good.

In YPL’s own words, their vision is clear: “the University of Michigan Youth Policy Lab helps community and government agencies make better decisions by measuring what really works. We’re data experts who believe that government can and must do better for the people of Michigan.” The projects being carried out at YPL present exciting and desperately-needed answers to complex issues while emphasizing quality, equity, empowerment, partnership, and outcomes. 

From COVID-19 and its impacts on Michigan communities to the diverse needs of students and families in our state, YPL is dedicated to using the knowledge and skills of Ford faculty, fellows, and students to make the Great Lakes State an even better place to live. 

Learn more about the projects being pursued at YPL here. Stay tuned for further updates on the incredible work of Ford’s research centers!


Research Center Highlight: CLOSUP and the Redistricting Process in Michigan

At the Ford School, we’re exceedingly proud of the incredible work carried out by our numerous policy research centers. Critical issues facing our state, nation, and world, are examined thoroughly by dedicated teams of faculty, subject experts, and students. 

This week, we wanted to highlight an upcoming event from Ford’s Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP). 2020, despite the pandemic, saw the completion of the national census. The data compiled will help officials at the state and federal level determine district boundaries for the next ten years. 

In Michigan, 2018’s Proposal 2 created the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (MICRC) to draw district lines. As part of this reform to the state constitution, keeping together Communities of Interest (COIs) is a high priority in redistricting. To help us better understand what a COI is, CLOSUP is hosting a February 25th webinar to provide citizens with the information they need to make sense of the new redistricting process in the Great Lakes State. 

For more information on this and other events happening at CLOSUP, visit their website

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.

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.

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.

Exciting additions at the Ford School

The new school year has begun and we are excited to have both new students and new faculty members joining us. Additionally, we have expanded our research centers and outreach efforts substantially. One new resource for students at the Ford School is the  Program in Practical Policy Engagement.

The Program in Practical Policy Engagement was made possible by a $1.5 million gift from the Power Foundation.

Headed by Professor Elisabeth Gerber and Associate Director Cindy Bank, P3E is a university-wide resource housed at the Ford School, where it can leverage existing expertise and interdisciplinary approach to generate policy-relevant research, analysis and learning, as well as improvements in organizational practice. It has three goals:

  1. Create engaged learning opportunities for students by facilitating collaborations with organizations at the state, local, national and international levels. At its core, it hopes to provide students with a deeper understanding of how their work can add public value.
  2. Support efforts by faculty and students to conduct policy and operational research that is timely, practical and policy-relevant.
  3. Generate policy impact by developing and implementing cutting-edge techniques to translate research into practical policy action.

“The Program in Practical Policy Engagement is just that. It’s practical, as distinguished from theoretical. It’s about public policy, aimed at adding value, and it’s about engagement, providing ways for U-M students, faculty and staff to engage directly in making things better,” said Philip Power, former U-M Regent and longtime university donor. “It’s a direct extension of the obligations of a public university to improve our society. One vitally important aspect of the program is its emphasis on helping students and organizations learn practical ways to get things done—something too often overlooked by purely theoretical approaches to learning.”

P3E programming will focus on helping students through mentoring and networking. This past week they hosted the first student pitch competition, which allowed 2nd year students in the MPP program who had just completed their internship to pitch the highlights of their internship experience to a distinguished panel of judges with a chance to win prize money. If you are interested in watching the pitch presentations, you can find them on the Ford School website. This is the first in many opportunities for students in engage with P3E.

MLK panel photo

In the U.S., Monday was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This federal holiday is set aside to celebrate the life and accomplishments of the great civil rights leader. At the Ford School, we were fortunate to be able to attend a program to look at innovative programs for youth and young adults featuring an outstanding panel of experts.

Broderick Johnson, a former Obama Administration Cabinet Secretary and Director of the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force, Luke Shaefer, Director of Poverty Solutions, and Brian Jacob, co-director of the Youth Policy Lab as well as the Education Policy Initiative, talked about mentoring and summer youth employment programs aimed at low income urban youth.  Although these programs have only been in operation for a few years, the initial evidence indicates that they are having a positive impact on the populations they seek to serve. However, as all of the panelists acknowledged, the programs have room to grow and develop. As a school, we are very proud and excited of the applied research being conducted by our research centers, seeking to make an impact on issues of poverty and inequality.

We were also excited to learn that Broderick will be joining us as a Towsley Policy Maker in Residence for the Winter 2019 semester and he will be teaching a class on mass incarceration. For any of you who are interested in learning more about this panel or exploring issues related to poverty alleviation and social inequality, you might want to take some time to watch the video of the panel.