Fall 2015 State & Hill: Motor City Remix - An iconic American city races forward

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From Our Corner to the Four Corners of the Globe FA LL 2015

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Motor City Remix An iconic American city races forward


g e r a l d r . F o r d S c h oo l of P u b l ic P o l ic y


ots of people talk about Detroit’s renaissance or the rebirth of the “D.” To me, those expressions have become a little worn, and seem to imply the city’s demise. It’s true that Detroit has suffered, and that too many of the city’s residents continue to struggle to secure basic needs, but the city is, and has always been, an American classic. And what do you do when in the presence of a classic? You honor it. You pay homage to it. Informed by the glory days of Motown, we’d call that a “remix.” In 1973, faculty members Joel Aberbach and Jack Walker (who directed our policy program from 1974–79) published a book, Race in the City, about black and white attitudes in the wake of Detroit’s 1967 riot. “[I]t was like two different events had taken place in the same city,” they wrote following years of surveys, “one a calculated act of criminal anarchy, the other a spontaneous protest against mistreatment and injustice.” Their policy prescription for the city’s racial tension was to address the underlying social issues that had sparked the crisis—things like unemployment, lack of affordable healthcare, housing discrimination, and more. For decades, Ford School students, alumni, and faculty have been doing just that. Policies, of course, are meant to solve problems. But poorly constructed policies—intentional or unintentional—can just as easily magnify them. That’s why well-trained policymakers are vital as Detroit works to build on its proud history, and create a more equitable and inclusive future.

Inside this issue of State & Hill, you’ll read many stories about faculty members, students, and alumni who are actively engaged with the remixing of Detroit’s socioeconomic and political culture. Some of those stories feature legacy Detroiters; others feature people who had transformational experiences in the city and were drawn there after graduation. In addition to these theme-based stories, I’m very proud to draw your attention to three stories that highlight our Next Century campaign. Our first Gerald R. Ford Presidential Fellow (p. 20); our first Maggie E. Weston Education Policy Fellow (p. 22); and our inaugural Beilein Family Intern (p. 13). As these are all endowed funds that will continue and grow over time, I look forward to sharing the stories of many more student beneficiaries in the years ahead. And while I hold your attention, I’d be remiss not to mention that we’ve included a donation envelope in this edition of State & Hill. Our Next Century campaign is thriving, and we are pleased that so many donors are investing in the future of our school, but we have a special matching gift opportunity: Gifts to the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Fellowship Fund are being matched by the Meijer family, and it’s a wonderful chance to multiply the impact of your giving this holiday season. In the meantime, please accept my best wishes, to you and yours, for a marvelous Thanksgiving. We are so thankful for all you do—an impressive amount, as you’ll see here (p. 22)—for our school.

Susan M. Collins

Joan and Sanford Weill Dean of Public Policy

Ford School Spotlight The Ford School will pilot the new Riecker Michigan Delegation Fellowship , which will send one graduate student to Washington, DC to complete a six-month assignment in the office of a Michigan senator or representative. The first fellowship will be hosted by the office of U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) starting in January 2016. On the web >> fordschool.umich. edu/riecker-fellowship

FALL 2015

& Above: Gabriel Richard Park, the eastern edge of Detroit’s RiverWalk, before (center) and after park improvements (p. 15). Photo: Detroit Riverfront Conservancy On the cover: A child swings in front of a public mural along the DeQuindre Cut during the Detroit Design Festival.

People-centered policy 4 Addell Anderson (MPP ‘80) talks policy, progress, and people

In brief, the history and future of Detroit 6 Ren Farley’s short course on the Motor City

Cover photograph: Michelle & Chris Gerard

Survey says… 8

State & Hill

Liz Gerber’s next-gen Detroit Area Study

Dean: Susan M. Collins Associate Dean for Academic Affairs: Kathryn M. Dominguez Associate Dean for Research and Policy Engagement: Paula Lantz Director of Communications/Executive Editor: Laura K. Lee (MPP ’96) Editor and Lead Writer: Erin Spanier Contributors: Afton Branche (MPA ’16), Erin Flores, Paul Gully (MPP ’16), Cliff Martin, Nicholas Pfost (MPP ’15), Kathleen Sly (MPP ’17) Design: Savitski Design Photographer: Peter Smith Printer: University Lithoprinters, Inc. Tell us what you think: fspp-editor@umich.edu, or Editor, State & Hill, Ford School, University of Michigan, 735 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-3091 Regents of the University of Michigan Michael J. Behm, Grand Blanc Mark J. Bernstein, Ann Arbor Laurence B. Deitch, Bloomfield Hills Shauna Ryder Diggs, Grosse Pointe Denise Ilitch, Bingham Farms Andrea Fischer Newman, Ann Arbor Andrew C. Richner, Grosse Pointe Park Katherine E. White, Ann Arbor Mark S. Schlissel, ex officio The University of Michigan, as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action. The University of Michigan is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions. Inquiries or complaints may be addressed to the Senior Director for Institutional Equity, and Title IX/Section 504/ADA Coordinator, Office of Institutional Equity, 2072 Administrative Services Building, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1432, 734-763-0235, TTY 734-647-1388. For other University of Michigan information call 734-764-1817.

The Magazine of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy

In the mayor’s office and after 9 Ford School students and alums serve, and stay

Laying the foundation 12 Leah Ouellet (AB ’13) and 17 Detroit teens build a Malawi school

Riverfront restoration and instrumental upcycling 14 Mark Wallace (MPP ’04) has made a habit of repurposing in Detroit

My Brother’s Keeper Detroit 16 We all play a role, says Eboni Wells (MPP ‘13)

In addition Post-game analysis: Coach Beilein and Ray Batra on new fund 13 Renewing and strengthening long-term ties to China 18 Beyond Evergreen Road: Introducing Ford Presidential Fellow 20 DiNardo’s ‘defense against the dark arts’ of econometrics 21 First Weston Education Policy Intern tackles NYC education reform 22 New CLOSUP survey examines Michigan public safety 23

Departments Discourse, Ford School Faculty in the News 17 Soundbites, Overheard @ Ford School Events 24 Faculty News and Awards 26 Class Notes 28 The Last Word 30

g e r a l d r . F o r d S c h oo l of P u b l ic P o l ic y

Motor City


Just a 45-minute drive from our home at the corner of State and Hill Streets,

the motor city has long been a draw for the Ford School’s politically, socially, and culturally engaged community. These days, that’s even more true. • Some call it a renaissance or rebirth. In a tip of the hat to Motown, we’re calling it a remix. But whatever name you put on it, Detroit’s momentum is undeniable. In this issue, stories about Ford School community members who are fueling Detroit’s growth.

The best of Detroit Addell Anderson on putting people first By Bob Brustman


ddell Austin Anderson (MPP ’80) was born in Detroit in the 1950s and lived in Black Bottom, a predominantly African-American neighborhood. In later years, her father told her stories about the close-knit community with its many black-owned businesses and about how nice it was to share a neighborhood with many of their relatives.

Elsewhere, however, groups of policymakers saw the area as “blighted” and, perhaps conveniently, standing in the way of transportation improvements. With residents given 30-day vacancy notices, 200 acres were cleared and the highway and mixed-income housing were constructed. Anderson’s own family moved from Black Bottom to the blue-collar Detroit suburb of Romulus.

Stories and a few vague memories are all most of this is to Anderson. When she was just four years old her family was forced to move because their home and much of the neighborhood were determined to be in the way of progress; the buildings were soon razed to construct Interstate 375.

Anderson’s father’s stories left her not only wondering what life would’ve been like if she could’ve grown up in a community like Black Bottom, but the stories also struck her as showing disregard for many of the home and business owners. And by the time Anderson was a high-school student, she knew she wanted to work in public service so she could do her part to ensure government treated people fairly.


To the many who lived there or visited, Black Bottom and the adjacent Paradise Valley neighborhoods were the best of Detroit—in a time before battles for civil rights and desegregation, these were places where black folks could own businesses, shop at African-American-owned stores, and see artists like Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, and Count Basie.

To this end, she earned her bachelor’s degree in business and economics at Kalamazoo College before enrolling in the Ford School’s MPP program. “I knew I wanted to work in government,” recalls Anderson of her time between degree programs, “and, at that time, most people probably would’ve gone for a master’s in public administration. But while looking into the economics program at Michigan, I came across a brochure for the MPP program. I was struck by it being interdisciplinary and more quantitatively based than a public administration program.” But one of her strongest memories from her time at the Ford School wasn’t related to the quantitative core of the

Anderson photo: Mike Morland / U-M Detroit Center


S t a t e & Hi l l


A Detroiters Speak conversation about the city’s water struggles, hosted by the U-M Detroit Center.

policy program—it was related to a course she took with Professor John Chamberlin on “Values and Ethics in Public Policy.” It was a course that affirmed why she had chosen to work in public service: people matter. Chamberlin had put the students in small groups, and asked them to navigate a highly charged policy issue: prioritizing a waiting list for an organ transplant. “We talked about ranking the list one way or another,” she says, “like maybe giving priority to the youngest so that they might live the longest, but in the end our group couldn’t agree on how to do it. So we copped-out and decided on a first-come, first-served list.” “Well, John Chamberlin really let us have it. He told us that what we’d done was irresponsible. Even though this was a classroom assignment, we’d be in the real world someday and it wouldn’t be acceptable to just throw our hands up and take the easy way out. As we work in our jobs, we need to remember, real people matter,” he said. “And we have to take seriously how we will impact people’s lives, as well as those who care about them.” Policymaking is complicated. People hold a wide variety of values and have differing needs and priorities. There are only so many organs to go around, and one person’s home is another’s blighted obstruction to progress. Making a well-reasoned choice when there is no outcome in which everyone benefits is one of the greatest challenges policymakers face.

Photo Top: Michigan Photography. Bottom: Mike Morland / U-M Detroit Center

“People matter. That’s the most important thing I got out of that class and, really, out of my time at the Ford School overall.” These days, as director of the University of Michigan Detroit Center, Anderson serves as a liaison to a wide variety of people across the city of Detroit and at the university. When Detroit schools, community organizations, and city government leaders have a project they think would benefit from university involvement, Anderson matches the opportunities, needs, and resources of the city with those of the university. And equally important, she is there to help the university’s students and faculty access the rich cultural, educational, and civic opportunities unique to the city she loves. ■


he U-M Detroit Center, operated under the Office of the Vice Provost for Equity, Inclusion, and Academic Affairs, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. The center coordinates a wide variety of programs and activities designed to build community, foster discourse, and improve the quality of life. Some programs are cultural; some salute U-M alumni from Detroit; and some, including panels and workshops about city politics, social issues, and police relations, foster important, but sometimes difficult, discussions. “We provide a vehicle for people to share ideas, feelings, and opinions about important issues—to work together to improve the quality of life,” says Anderson. “It’s the idea that we all have something to contribute”

U-M Detroit Center

g e r a l d r . F o r d S c h oo l of P u b l ic P o l ic y

Focus: Detroit

The history and future of Detroit By Erin Spanier


t’s Saturday at 8:30 a.m. when Ren Farley takes a right onto State Street and pulls to the meter in his red Ford Mustang. For the past eight years, he’s been teaching a policy course at the Ford School on “The History and Future of Detroit.” Today, Farley’s sporting a Diego Rivera tie (one of many Detroit-themed ties in his collection) and leading his students on a guided tour of the city. As the tour bus merges onto the highway headed east, Farley fumbles with, and eventually starts, a CD of Motown classics, then passes out the day’s itinerary. It’s chilly with a threat of rain, and Farley’s 25-page handout is somewhat intimidating, but Martha Reeves and the Vandellas soon vanquish the early-morning funk. “15 years ago, few students took jobs in Detroit, but that happens much more frequently now,” Farley tells the class. He challenges students to imagine they’ve taken jobs in the city, and to think about the kinds of policies they might implement, the kinds of programs they might launch, to improve the city he’s grown to love. “Gateway to Freedom” monument to the Underground Railroad on the Detroit riverfront

Detroit divided

When Reynolds Farley earned his doctorate in sociology at the start of the civil rights revolution, he knew that racial issues would be critical to the future of the nation. So after taking a job at the University of Michigan in 1967, Farley soon turned his attention to Detroit where, as he says, “many of the nation’s demographic and racial changes were playing out more vividly than in other cities.” Detroit was the home of the Motown Records label, which had introduced dozens of sensational black musicians to communities all across the nation. Just a few years earlier, Martin Luther King had first delivered his “I have a dream” speech to a packed auditorium in Detroit’s Cobo Hall. Before that, the city had been a major thoroughfare on the Underground Railroad, and a destination city for southern blacks seeking well paid work during the Great Migration. In recent years, Farley has constructed a well trafficked website, Detroit1701.org, that documents this history, and a good deal to spare. It’s a massive compendium covering the city’s architecture, industry, culture, government, and more. But Farley’s particular area of interest has long been racial segregation. Three times, Farley led the University of Michigan’s longstanding Detroit Area Study, and each time, he focused on the causes of segregation. In 2000, that work culminated in the publication of Detroit Divided. Co-authored with colleagues Sheldon Danziger and Harry Holzer, the book explains how Detroit became the least diverse major city in America—more than 80 percent black—and explicates the city’s troubled history of segregation.

Monument photo: Hajee / Creative Commons. Barry Gordy Photo: Motown Museum


Hitting 8 Mile




Detroit’s population loss since 1940 as compared to gains made in the adjacent three suburban counties.


3M 2M 1M


0 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010

History condensed

While Farley’s own research has focused on demographic and racial trends in the city of Detroit, his course—a short one with just four class sessions outside of the trip—is a rapid-fire introduction to the city’s full history. Farley’s first class is dedicated to the events, decisions, policies, and people that led to the city’s rise. Farley, who often refers to Detroit as “the world’s most important 20th century city,” starts his case with the opening of the Erie Canal, which connected Detroit to major markets in the east, and Central Station, which extended those connections to Chicago. But perhaps the most influential moment, Farley avers, was when Henry Ford decided to go against the advice of his financiers and construct a car for the masses, rather than a luxury automobile for the elite. Ford produced and sold tens of millions, creating well-paying jobs that led to immense wealth for parts-manufacturers and others, but also gave birth to America’s blue-collar middle class and its powerful unions. In the wake of this wealth, the city grew rapidly. Not only were thousands of solidly constructed homes built, but also stunning parks, libraries, museums, office buildings, and on and on. Farley’s next class, as it must, covers the policies, and lack of policies, that led to the city’s decline. While many Motor City enthusiasts shy away from discussing the city’s former trials, Farley addresses each in rapid succession. In 1950, he says, Detroit was the most prosperous large city in the nation, but federal housing policies and the construction of new expressways made it easy for Detroit residents to move to the suburbs, which they did in great numbers. “For the most part, those policies benefited prosperous whites,” says Farley. “Discrimination confined blacks to the city, where many of the homes were aging and unattractive.” The city’s tax base declined rapidly as manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers shifted to the suburbs. And as racial attitudes began to shift, middle class black residents moved to the suburbs, as well. “But despite these drastic shifts in population and employment, the state failed to change the system for supporting local governments in Michigan,” says Farley. “Detroit reached a point where it could not pay its bills.”

The bankruptcy followed, of course, and Farley’s third class covers each step in the drawn-out process and introduces students to the macroeconomic trends that today’s city administrators must adapt to if they’re to succeed in their efforts to reinvigorate Detroit’s economy and quality of life. But Farley doesn’t linger on the city’s challenges. Policy prescriptions

Farley’s final class reviews many of the strategies Detroit leaders are employing to reinvigorate the city’s economy. There are placemaking activities that work to capitalize on the city’s many assets. There are reclamation activities that attempt to eliminate, and salvage materials from, unsound structures. There are economic development activities that attempt to attract and retain businesses, as well as efforts to make it easier for small business entrepreneurs to get a start. There’s regional cooperation, urban gardening, education reform, and more. Farley’s last class, in fact, sounds something like a resume book of the Ford School’s student, faculty, and alumni engagement in Detroit. As a result of Farley’s course, nearly 350 Ford School students have developed a deeper understanding of, and a deeper appreciation for, Detroit in the last five years alone. And a good and growing number of those folks, like Leah Ouellet (AB ’13), (p. 12), Heonuk Ha (MPP ’16), and Grace Evans (MPP ’16), are working in the city now, and crediting Farley for the inspiration. ■

Ford School ‫@‏‬fordschool • Oct 7, Ann Arbor, MI @Dynarski honored by @onetoughnerd, @adamzemke & @rebekahwarren for #HAILScholarship efforts http://myumi.ch/6ww2N


g e r a l d r . F o r d S c h oo l of P u b l ic P o l ic y

Detroit Area Study version 2.0 Building a data infrastructure to inform policy in the greater Detroit area


tarting in 1951 and running for more than 50 years, U-M’s annual Detroit Area Study (DAS) helped social scientists better understand the attitudes, views, and lives of Detroit residents. The resulting books, articles, and dissertations provided new insights into the effects of unions, the causes of racial segregation, the lives of immigrants, and more.


In spite of its successes, the DAS came to an end in the early 2000s. Now, Elisabeth Gerber (the Jack L. Walker Professor of Public Policy), Jeffrey Morenoff (professor of sociology), and Conan Smith (Washtenaw County commissioner and executive director of MetroMatters) are working to launch a new version of the DAS: the Detroit Metropolitan Area Communities Survey (DMACS). Like U-M’s original Detroit survey, DMACS will provide academics with a research tool and give graduate students practical experience in survey methodology. But, DMACS is—from its inception—designed to serve an important role beyond academia. “We want DMACS to be a tool for decision-makers, to help them guide place-based investments, policies, programs and resources… in a way that more closely aligns with what people actually want,” says Gerber. “And, after they deploy the resources, to be able to find out what, in fact, were the impacts on the people that they were intended to affect.” Already, the DMACS team has conducted interviews and focus groups with public, private, and non-profit decisionmakers to build the partnerships that will ensure that DMACS data is not only immediately useful, but that there are channels in place for its translation and integration into the public discourse. Unlike U-M’s original Detroit survey, DMACS will be a web-based survey with a representative sample of people in a broader area that encompasses not only Detroit, but also residents of the four-county region of Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, and Washtenaw. This study design will be valuable for comparing changes across the region, but it presents a few challenges. In order to be truly representative, the survey must include proportional numbers of people in hard-to-reach groups, including those with low-literacy, limited computer access, or poor English skills. To achieve this, the researchers will need to recruit people and resources

“We want DMACS to be a tool for decision-makers, to help them guide place-based investments, policies, programs and resources…in a way that more closely aligns with what people actually want,” says Elisabeth Gerber. to help those who aren’t comfortable using the web, who need help with translation, or who require the necessary technology. Once the representative survey sample is in place though, the researchers will be able to follow respondents over time and track changing trends. Moreover, being on a web platform, they will have a nimble information infrastructure that can adapt quickly when opportunities arise. “If, for example, a foundation is making a major new investment in a specific neighborhood, we can oversample that area—either once, twice, or indefinitely into the future—and ask additional questions about that investment” says Gerber. “Survey content will basically be deployable instantly, we just have to program it in and it will be ready to go.” ■

Spirit of Detroit photo: William Stuben, Creative Commons

Focus: Detroit

By Miriam Wasserman

S t a t e & Hi l l

In the mayor’s office and after the mayor’s office Serving, staying, and making a home in the City of Detroit By Jeff Mortimer


was surprised when she attended the fifth annual Worldwide Ford School Spirit Day gathering in Detroit this summer. “When we first did a Detroit event in 2011, there were maybe seven people there,” says the Ford School’s director of graduate career services and alumni relations. “This year, there were nearly 30.” ennifer Niggemeier

That’s just one way of illustrating the rapid growth of both the Ford School’s presence in Detroit and the city’s popularity among students as an internship site. Here’s another: at least 10 of the 90 master’s students who did internships this summer completed them in Detroit. Niggemeier can remember when the norm was two or three. She told some of the alums in Detroit that day that the deepening and broadening relationship between city and school was “a testament to their commitment to Detroit, their encouragement to keep expanding the school’s footprint in the city, and their willingness to help make that happen.” It’s also a testament to the vision of philanthropists. Between 1994 and 2006, roughly two-dozen of the school’s students received support from the Ford Motor Company to intern in the Detroit mayor’s office. When the auto industry redirected its philanthropic investments, venture capitalist David Bohnett (MBA ’80) picked up the torch in 2010 and has already funded close to a dozen mayoral fellows. While the fellowship recipients—all aspiring public servants—have been the direct beneficiaries of these programs, they are far from the only ones. Those who have interned in the mayor’s office have not only contributed to the city’s improvement, but have also fashioned a burgeoning pipeline of successors. “The passion they feel is contagious, and they’re creating ways for it to be contagious,” says Niggemeier. “It’s one thing to say, ‘You should come and do this,’ and another to create the ways in which someone can do that: hosting an intern, opening your network, connecting people, and encouraging more students to get involved.”



g e r a l d r . F o r d S c h oo l of P u b l ic P o l ic y

Focus: Detroit Savic Stella


That’s a two-way street, says Olga Savic Stella (AB ’98, MPP ’99), who interned in Mayor Dennis Archer’s office in 1998 and was recently promoted to chief operating officer of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. “We’ve been pretty consistent in hosting one or two interns from the Ford School every summer,” she says. “One of the benefits is I know we’re going to have highquality, highly skilled students working with us. For a nonprofit like ours, there isn’t a lot of extra time to hold someone’s hand.” And, she says, students bring passion as well as skills to the table. “These students all really express a genuine interest in what Detroit has to offer, not just an internship for an internship’s sake,” says Stella of policy students both from Detroit and coming to Detroit for the opportunity to take part in the city’s future. Like many other former fellows, Stella fits squarely into the latter category. She grew up in suburban Troy, Mich., but has lived in Detroit since her graduation from the Ford School. “I can honestly say the internship directly spurred my economic development career in Detroit,” Stella says. “It really opened the door to a lot of opportunities I would probably not have had otherwise.” (AB ’05, MPP/MSW ’14) interned in Mayor David Bing’s office in 2012. Originally from Canton, she had spent years working as a community organizer in Detroit when she first learned about the mayoral internship opportunity. “I realized that I had a bunch of experience working as an organizer and an advocate from outside, but no experience actually working within government,” she says, “so I thought it would be a good opportunity.”

Stephanie Chang


It was. After her fellowship, Chang campaigned to become state representative for House District 6, which includes Detroit, River Rouge, and Ecorse. In 2014 she won the post, becoming the first Asian American woman to hold a seat in the Michigan state legislature. (AB ’09, MPP/MUP ’13), who interned in the mayor’s office with Chang, took a different path. Flora had already interned for Chang’s predecessor, State Representative Rashida Tlaib, working in her Neighborhood Service Center and, among other things, helping high school students fill out their financial aid applications. She later served as Tlaib’s campaign manager, and knew she wanted to work in government. “There’s something I’ve always loved about working to serve my neighbors,” says Flora, “and I really count everyone in the city as my neighbors.”

Diana Flora

Since then, Flora has won a number of fellowships that have allowed her to continue to serve the City of Detroit. Most recently, she served as project manager for Data Driven Detroit (D3), managing the organization’s contributions to the Motor City Mapping project that employed Detroit residents to photograph and survey all of the city’s 380,000 properties, then created an easy-to-navigate map showing the condition of each. This August, Flora became one of the inaugural Kresge Mayor’s Fellows, tasked with using her data skills to find ways to improve public safety processes and services within the Detroit Police Department. “Knowing that I had already had experience in a public safety department (as a Bohnett Fellow) and understood what daily operations were like, what the back-end data looked like, was appealing to the people who hired me,” says Flora.

Ford School ‫@‏‬fordschool Jun 16 Remember #GivingBlueday? We do. In 24hrs our community raised over $26,000 to support student scholarships & programs http://myumi.ch/Lr8PE




Chang photo: Ryan Southen. Nuszkowski photo: Marvin Shaouni / Model D Media. Falik Photo: Repair the World. Skyline Photo: pfilias / creative commons

“There’s something I’ve always loved about working to serve my neighbors, and I really count everyone in the city as my neighbors.” Brittney Foxhall was majoring in international business at Howard University when her term as student association president lit her public policy fire. “I really loved and enjoyed that experience,” she says, “so I decided to come back and get a master’s in public policy.”

Foxhall, who hails from Detroit originally, chose the Ford School for her studies and interned in Mayor Mike Duggan’s office this summer, assisting a district manager in the mayor’s new Department of Neighborhoods. “It was not an internship where I was sitting in an office from nine to five,” she says. “I spent most of my time in the field, and I think one of the biggest takeaways was learning there are people in city government who are not elected officials but are on the ground and really doing work that affects the people that live in these communities. I always wanted to run for office, but now I know that’s not necessary to effect the kind of change I hope to bring about some day.” Lisa Nuszkowski (MPP ’03) was a mayoral intern during the Kwame Kilpatrick administration, then returned to Detroit after graduation where she’s worked for two city administrations, served as State Representative Steve Tobocman ’s (MPP/JD ’97) chief of staff, and co-directed the Michigan Foreclosure Task Force. “Obviously, Detroit has had a lot of challenges,” she says, “but it also has such great opportunities and such good people doing good work here. I wanted to become a part of it.”

That she has done, and then some. She spent the last three years overseeing projects at Wayne State University designed to help the school be “a good neighbor in a good

neighborhood,” before becoming executive director of Detroit Bike Share this summer. “Detroit has long been known as the Motor City, but we’re also a city where at least a quarter of the population doesn’t have access to a personal vehicle,” says Nuszkowski, so a bike share is “not just a nice amenity to have, but really critical in getting people around.” Ben Falik (MPP/JD ’09), who interned in the mayor’s office shortly after Nuszkowski, has long been involved in connecting student volunteers to meaningful work in Detroit. In 2001, he co-founded the volunteer organization Summer in the City, and these days, he’s deepening those efforts as director of Repair the World’s Detroit headquarters.

Falik believes the city’s “onramps and runways to involvement” have grown substantially since he founded Summer in the City nearly 14 years ago. With increased attention and engagement, he sees the next challenge as “doing with, rather than doing for,” and together tackling “the decades of institutionalized racism and concentrated poverty that have made it really hard for a lot of motivated people to be part of the city’s rising tide.” Thanks to the philanthropic investments of donors and the talent and diligence of alumni, the Ford School has indeed grown its footprint in Detroit. But it is also making an imprint, both on the city and on the students who go there and are captivated by what they find. ■



g e r a l d r . F o r d S c h oo l of P u b l ic P o l ic y

Motor City to Malawi By Julie Halpert for Michigan Today


s the plane hummed on the runway at Detroit Metro Airport, 17 anxious teenagers fidgeted in their seats, peering through the drawn window shades.

illiteracy, and low expectations through service-learning programs. Detroit is one of six urban areas the Connecticut-based organization works with in the U.S.

“Are we in the air yet?”

In July 2015, Ouellet headed to Malawi, accompanied by a diverse group of teenagers (from her own school and others) that she describes as service-oriented, open-minded, and hard-working. She helped some of the students’ parents navigate many of the logistics to clear them for travel with buildOn’s Trek for Knowledge Program, even acquiring luggage and sneakers as needed.

It was the third time Leah Ouellet (AB ‘13) had heard the same question. And though odd, it was understandable. A number of the Detroit-area students traveling with her had never flown before. And now they were embarking on a 29hour journey to Africa, where they would spend two weeks building a village school alongside local residents in Malawi. When the plane eventually did take off, some of Ouellet’s companions could see their own school on Detroit’s southwest side, a sight she describes as “a great metaphor” for the journey to come. Ouellet works at Detroit’s Western International High School as a program coordinator for buildOn, an international non-profit that works to break the cycle of poverty,

“They’re living in extreme poverty in Malawi but there’s extreme poverty here as well,” Ouellet says. Once on the ground in Malawi, Che’Kenya Goodwin, age 16, faced conditions far different than those in urban Detroit. She slept on a thin floor mat in the home of her host family and used an outdoor latrine. And like many of her fellow students, she experienced stomach aches from the strange new foods.

Detroit teens help build a school in Malawi.

Ouellet and Goodwin

But once she saw how “much [education] means to people who don’t have it,” she says, “you don’t take your options for granted. It gave me the strength to keep moving.” By the third day of the build, the American teenager was walking through the work site singing Disney songs exuberantly, a “joyful presence” on the team, says Ouellet. At age 19, just a few years older than the students she now accompanies, Ouellet traveled to Tanzania to work with incarcerated youths. Once she developed an appreciation for Detroit through a Ford School course offered by Professor Emeritus Ren Farley , she found that buildOn offered an ideal opportunity to foster community service both at home and overseas. Many of my students haven’t been afforded the opportunity to travel abroad, let alone outside their state, Ouellet says. “Now they want to travel more, join the Peace Corps, and study abroad in college.” ■ Leah Ouellet is from Lake Orion, MI; she now lives on Detroit’s east side.

Malawi photo: Caryn Bladt / buildOn

Focus: Detroit

Detroit youth join Ford School grad on a trek to Malawi to build a school – and lay the foundation for their own futures.

Dropping a dime From Beilein to Batra Coach Beilein and his family have made a series of gifts to establish the Beilein Family Fund for BA students like their son Andy, who earned his degree in 2012. Here’s Coach B and Ray Batra, the first student to benefit from the fund, with some post-game analysis.

Coach B When Andy told you he wanted to study policy, were you surprised? I was actually aware of the Ford School already. My team captain, CJ Lee (AB ’08, MPP ’10), had studied there, plus I’d always had an interest in both politics, and the history of public policy. I was thrilled that Andy found something he had a passion for.

How’d it go? I interviewed department heads in the mayor’s office, as well as government officials in five other cities, and put together a 10-page report with strategies ranging from enforcement to prevention. At the end of my internship, I presented that to a crowd of almost 200 at a police department meeting.

How’s Andy using his policy training now? Andy works for former Governor John Engler and the Business Roundtable in Washington, DC. The Ford School really helped him become a more profound thinker, and look at the world from a much wider sense.

Slam dunk! What’s next for you? I’d love to return to the mayor’s office, and I’m in discussions with them to see if it can happen. I’m also looking at positions with a few education-focused startups out west and one in India. There are lots of possibilities; it’s an exciting time.

Is there a b-ball analogy for making a gift like this? Absolutely—there’s a b-ball analogy for most things. I’d call this an assist. At U-M, we value assist makers on our team, just as much as we value those who score the points.

Ray Batra Speaking of scoring the points…Ray, how did you use the funds? I interned in the City of Detroit, reporting to the general manager of the Department of Neighborhoods and the chief talent officer. On the talent side, I suggested strategies for connecting with nearby high school and university student talent. Lots of students I know would love to get involved.

Illustration: Mary Rochelle

And for the Department of Neighborhoods? My very first day, I got to sit in on a meeting with the mayor. It came up then, and it continued to come up, that a big problem for the city is illegal dumping—the city spends $2 million a year to clean up, and collects nearly 3,000 tons of illegally dumped waste per month. I offered to do some comparative research.

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g e r a l d r . F o r d S c h oo l of P u b l ic P o l ic y

Focus: Detroit

Reclaimed pine and river views Mark Wallace is putting old Detroit to its highest and best use By Bob Brustman


couple years ago, Mark Wallace (MPP ’04) built two electric guitars. A long-time musician, he had recently taken up woodworking and thought he might give guitar-making a try.

He built two, he says, because he was afraid that one might not work out. And he was right: “One was a disaster,” he says. “But the other one turned out pretty great.” It’s moderately impressive for a hobbyist to be able to make his own guitar; however what’s really striking is the rarity of the wood that Wallace used. Many premium guitars boast of exotic hardwoods. Wallace’s guitar used a softer wood—pine—but a rare type of pine found only in a single place: Detroit. His guitar is made of pine reclaimed from demolished Detroit houses; pine from forests that once stretched the length of Michigan. The story of Wallace’s guitars is emblematic of his work in Detroit. He is a man with a keen ability to see the potential in people, places, and things, along with the drive and knowledge to help attain that potential.


When a friend of a friend first showed Wallace the lumber they were saving from demolished homes, Wallace immediately thought of making a guitar and, on the spot, used his smartphone to find the CAD plans for his guitar design. Not long after his initial guitar-making gambit, he founded Wallace Detroit Guitars and they made over fifty such guitars in their first year of business—all of which have been snatched up by musicians from Detroit, and across the nation. Wallace’s ability to find new ways to improve and enjoy old Detroit isn’t just his hobby, though. It’s also his job. As president and CEO of the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy (DRFC), Wallace is responsible for the stewardship and improvement of five-and-a-half miles of land along the Detroit River. Fifteen years ago, if you tried to walk westward along the river from Belle Isle you would have had a difficult time. You would’ve run into fenced-off private property, deteriorated public property, and a few risks to your personal safety like industrial waste, scrap metal, and broken glass. Established in 2003, the Conservancy was formed to develop public and private partnerships that would create a riverfront area of which the city could be proud.

“Every time I see a bus full of school kids from some part of Detroit or some other part of the state drop the kids off and they go running across the plaza right to the edge of the river, that’s a cool experience. I love that.”

Today, that same stretch (now under the management of the Conservancy) connects some of the city’s historic parks and public spaces and offers new amenities like a wide river walk, wetlands and butterfly gardens, public fishing spots, bicycle rentals, a playground with water features for hot summer days, fountains, a carousel, and delightful views. The Conservancy estimates three million visitors each year.

Guitar photo: www.wallacedetroitguitars.com

While Wallace began his role as executive director of the Conservancy only last summer, he came with a decade of riverfront restoration experience through his work at Hines Interests LP, a real estate development, investment, and management firm. At Hines, Wallace worked on the renovation of the riverfront Renaissance Center and the three-and-a-half-mile stretch known as East Riverfront, which extends from the Joe Louis Arena to Gabriel Richard Park, just east of Belle Isle.

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Projects of the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy works to maintain and improve 5.5 miles of riverfront property extending from the Ambassador Bridge to Gabriel Richard Park. The pictures below highlight a few of the more prominent improvements to date, including the Dequindre Cut Greenway, an urban trail; enhancements to Gabriel Richard Park; and the growing RiverWalk.

While Wallace lives in Corktown and works from an office in a skyscraper overlooking the river, it’s clear that his thoughts are with all kinds of people throughout the city and he wants the riverfront to be accessible and appealing to all.

Detroit photos: Detroit Riverfront Conservancy

“We [the Conservancy] were one of the first organizations in the state to focus on community engagement as a precedent event for construction and new development,” he says. “Today, that’s a very common approach. It was very uncommon at the time we did it.” “The community engagement ranged from a meeting with five people in the basement of a church on the east side to a meeting with a thousand people at the United Auto Workers Center. It covered a really broad spectrum and our basic commitment is that if someone wants us to talk with them or listen to them, we’ll show up.” “We asked questions like ‘what would you like to see? How would you like it to function? What do you want to do on the riverfront? How do you want to get there?’ As a result of these engagements and our work, the riverfront has become a place where everyone has a sense of ownership and belonging.” ■

Belle Isle Bridge

The Dequindre Cut

Detroit RiverWalk

Ford School Spotlight

The Ford School welcomed back nine alumni from the early 1970s this summer, including some of the nation’s first master’s of public policy degree recipients. Those making the trip to Ann Arbor included: Rick Curtis (MPP ‘72), Vic Miller (MPP ‘72), Thomas Linn (MPP ‘72), Roger Short (MPP ‘72), Bill Hughes (MPP ‘72), Pat Keating (MPP ‘74), Marilyn McCoy (MPP ‘72), Emery “Ozzie” Roe (MPP ‘72), and Sherry Suttles (MPP ‘71). On the web >> fordschool. umich.edu/early-mpp-reunion



g e r a l d r . F o r d S c h oo l of P u b l ic P o l ic y

We all play a role Eboni Wells and MBK Detroit



t’s Eboni Wells ’ (MPP ’13) penultimate day at the Skillman Foundation, located on Detroit’s bright riverfront. She’s tying up a two-year public policy fellowship that, for the last eight months, has tasked her with supporting Detroit’s response to the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Challenge President Obama issued to U.S. cities. The title of a March 2014 Detroit Free Press op-ed, penned by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Skillman Foundation CEO Tonya Allen, sets the stage: “Young African American men are not only part of Detroit’s turnaround, they are the key to it.” Wells couldn’t agree more. “Detroit is not a blank canvas,” she says. “Legacy Detroiters need to have a piece of the pie, too.” Wells’ parents are legacies. “They stayed in Detroit when many others moved away,” she says, “because they loved the city and wanted to see it thrive.” But legacies also include Detroit’s young men of color, who have been largely left out of the city’s renaissance. Wells, who grew up with three brothers, takes that personally. After earning her bachelor’s degree at U-M, Wells worked at the all-male Frederick Douglass Academy on Detroit’s west side and has nothing but admiration for the young men she tutored there. “They were respectful, they listened,” she says. “They were into sports, and into academics, too.” Wells remembers walking into school every day just before the final class had been dismissed. “You could hear a pin drop,” she says. When the bell rang, the boys filed out in impeccable uniforms—navy blazers, khaki pants, and striped ties. Wells contrasts those memories with common stereotypes about young black men. “How they’re viewed in society just breaks my heart,” she says. When Wells came to the Ford School to earn her graduate degree, she hoped it would give her an opportunity to do more, to have a larger impact. So when President

“Some feel that because they’re black, they’re automatically not eligible to succeed. That’s very personal to me.“

“We all play a role. It’s not just a black or a white thing. It’s an everyone thing. It’s not just a nonprofit community thing. It’s a private, public, not-for-profit sector thing.” Obama issued the My Brothers Keeper Challenge, and the mayor asked the Skillman Foundation to pull together stakeholders to shape the city’s response, Wells was thrilled. The questions were, which programs and policies were working for young men of color? Which weren’t? And how to move forward? Wells helped Skillman convene focus groups with young men of color, to ensure that youth voices were part of the conversation from the start. Then she gathered data, facilitated early conversations, and sharpened recommendations for three committees tasked with reviewing policies, surveying programs, and refining the city’s plans. On September 22, Wells watched as the city unveiled its MBK plans at a public summit in Detroit. The first few rows at the event were blocked off for young men of color; the Western High School Latin Ensemble sang the national anthem; then the commitments to support the work began, and continued, and continued some more. The program ran over by 45 minutes, but Wells stayed to the end. She walked away feeling great about the city’s direction, she says. “Not because we’re perfect, not because we have every black male engaged, but because we’re putting in place the necessary items to prayerfully and hopefully move the needle on black male achievement.” ■

Broderick Johnson, chair of President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Task Force, will offer a Policy Talks lecture @ the Ford School on Monday, February 1, 2016. View the live stream, visit fordschool.umich.edu/ events/upcoming.

WElls photo: Paul Engstrom / Skillman Foundation. Johnson photo: Elliot Haney / City Year (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Focus: Detroit

By Erin Spanier


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Ford School faculty in the news

“The focus and moral certainty that have fueled the Black Lives Matter movement have opened a rare window of opportunity for real and lasting change.” David Thacher, advocating for a reformed version of Broken Windows policing in U.S. cities, The Marshall Project, September 9, 2015.

“To achieve better health with lower spending, health policy must expand what it includes.” James House highlights the need to focus on socioeconomic and environmental policy, not just on expanding access to insurance, The Guardian, July 6, 2015.

“I think we’re in one of those eras where there’s a lot of policymaking by anecdote, rather than taking into account what we know from all of the research.” Kristin Seefeldt on myths about low-income Americans’ use of welfare, Michigan Radio, April 15, 2015.

“We now understand the quest for human rights to be a continuous struggle. The challenge is to find, and ever renew, appropriate means to carry it forward.” Susan Waltz on Amnesty International’s move to decentralize operations and create new management structures in the Global South, Open Democracy, March 2, 2015.

“Many smart students forgo college in the mistaken belief that they cannot afford it. The financial aid system, which is intended to increase opportunities for low-income students, is largely to blame.” Susan Dynarski on why we should abandon the FAFSA form, The New York Times, August 23, 2015.



g e r a l d r . F o r d S c h oo l of P u b l ic P o l ic y

Upending preconceived notions, renewing and strengthening long-term ties to China Ann Lin on the Ford School’s U.S.-China policy course and trip


ach year, the University of Michigan offers dozens of courses focused on specific countries or geographic regions. Usually, these courses attract students with an ongoing interest in the region. But the Ford School’s U.S.-China policy course and trip are different. “It attracts novices and often, students who have had little opportunity to travel outside their home countries,” says Ann Lin .

Lin should know. She’s accompanied dozens of students on the trip over the last several years, and loves the way it consistently upends their preconceived notions about China.

Beijing •

“Students tend to think about China as this really centralized, monolithic government,” says Lin. “It’s a communist country, so everyone must be poor, but equal. It’s an authoritarian country, so what the government says, goes.”

After seven weeks of class in Ann Arbor followed by two weeks in Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing • Shanghai • and Nanjing, students think differently, says Lin. The stakeholders they meet—government, civic, business, and academic leaders—and their own in-country explorations reveal a China full


of contradictions. A European church façade next to skyscrapers; a café serving Mexican food in a traditional Beijing hutong; NGOs with completely different assessments of the government’s support for a “Third Sector.” (See pictures and stories on the blog, “U-M Ford School in China, at umfordinchina.wordpress.com.) Lin hopes that epiphanies like these will prompt students to return to China throughout their careers. “There’s so much policymaking experimentation going on in China. Whatever one of our graduates is interested in, China probably has a good example or comparison,” says Lin. “And China’s activity around the world is likely to influence their work as our students become leaders in their fields. My hope is that this course gives them a head start in building bridges between countries.” The Ford School has been a pioneer in building those bridges. The school’s first international alumnus— Ernest Zee (MMA ’24)—was from Shanghai. Over the next ten years, three-dozen Chinese students followed Zee, earning degrees in municipal administration. Among them was K.Y. Hsieh (MMA ’27), who led emergency relief and agricultural production activities (and later served as mayor of Keelung, Taiwan); and Yi Yun Chen (MMA ’35), a journalist, feminist, and social and military leader.

Left: U.S.-China policy trip participants

(2015) pose for a selfie in a Shanghai hotel room on the final evening of their tour. right: These scrolls, prominently displayed

in the Ford School’s Towsley Reading Room, celebrate the 10th anniversary of the school’s formal educational exchange partnership with Renmin University’s School of Public Administration and Policy. Where the Ford School has played an important role in the development of public policy education in the United States, Renmin’s School of Public Administration and Policy, located in Beijing, plays a similar role in China. Renmin offers undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral degrees in public administration and policy, as well as specialized in-service training for China’s civil servants and government officials.

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Ford School Spotlight  In August, John and Debbie Dingell (D-MI) joined the Ford School and the U-M’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation for a roundtable event to mark the 50th anniversary of the legislation that created the Medicare system and the 80th anniversary of the Social Security program. John Dingell Jr., who represented southeast Michigan for nearly 60 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, co-sponsored the original Medicare bill and presided over the House during its passage in 1965.


Today, Chinese students still come to the Ford School in hopes that an MPP will help them to serve China better; once here, they find American and international students who understand that learning about China is equally important. Each fall, two professors from Renmin University in Beijing visit the Ford School to teach courses on Chinese economic and foreign policy. And Chinese security, trade, and human rights policies are regular topics in both the undergraduate course, “Systematic Thinking: Problems of the Day,” and the graduate-level comparative politics section of “The Politics of Public Policy.” In Lin’s U.S.-China policy course, students write papers comparing Chinese policies with those of other nations. Recent papers include an exploration of China’s new domestic violence law and similar laws in Taiwan and Mexico, and a comparison of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with the Chinese-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Students then present their findings to public policy students at Renmin University in Beijing and Jiaotong University in Shanghai—both of which train civil servants. It’s an eye-opening experience for everyone, Lin explains. For our students, it’s an opportunity to share policy research with practicing civil servants who may or may not agree with their assessments. And for Chinese students, it’s an opportunity to think about their own policies from a new point of view. ■

 President Mark Schlissel hosted a celebratory reception for U-M students interning in Detroit this summer. The event was held at the historic One Woodward Avenue building in downtown Detroit in late July. The Ford School was well represented. Among those in attendance: Khush Singh (MPP ‘16), Hiroshi “Matt” Matsushima (MPP ‘16), Grace Evans (MPP ‘16), Megan Foster-Friedman (MPP ‘16), Sabiha Zainulbhai (MPP ‘16), Ryan Etzcorn (MPP/MA ‘16), Da “Judy” Zhu (MPP ‘16), and Zach Ormsby (MPP ‘16). Photos: Michigan Photography

 As part of their Welcome Week orientation this September, incoming graduate students took part in an afternoon of service. Students were divided among three local not-forprofit organizations, and spent time lending a hand at the Nichols Arboretum, Community Action Network, and Leslie Science & Nature Center (pictured here).


g e r a l d r . F o r d S c h oo l of P u b l ic P o l ic y

Introducing the first Gerald R. Ford Presidential Fellow

Bilal Baydoun


rom Bilal Baydoun ’s home on the east end of Dearborn, it’s a 15-minute walk to Detroit. But the neighborhood, he says, is something of an anomaly. “It’s overwhelmingly Arab and Muslim— probably 90 percent,” he says. To illustrate, Baydoun describes stepping outside during Ramadan to find scores of neighbors gathering on porches at 4 a.m., waiting to come in for their last meal before sunrise. Baydoun’s family came to the United States from Lebanon. They’d lived through war and military occupation, then fled during the nation’s civil war.

As a U.S. citizen of Arab and Muslim heritage, coming of age in post-9/11 America forced Baydoun to think a good deal about his identity in the American context and about politics overall, which is one reason why he was drawn to study policy. The other reason was socioeconomic. In Lebanon, Baydoun’s father was a teacher—a profession he describes as modest, but secure. “But when he came to the U.S., his training and credentials lost their value,” Baydoun says. “He went from having a secure, public-sector profession to having to work multiple jobs just to care for his family.”

Immigrants, says Baydoun, tend to think that the U.S. is the land of opportunity, but there are many barriers to success. For Baydoun, one of the most difficult was applying to college. Like many other families, Baydoun’s was confounded by the bureaucracy of the college admissions process—from the standardized tests, application forms, and financial aid process to choosing majors, selecting courses, and finding housing. Somehow, Baydoun navigated that system, applied to the University of Michigan, and was accepted. “I was a guinea pig, an experiment,”

O ur world n eeds leade r s


“ t is estimated that by 2030, 40 percent of all Americans

 Make a gift to the Gerald R. Ford

will belong to various racial minorities. Already the global economy requires unprecedented grasp of diverse viewpoints and cultural traditions. I don’t want future college students to suffer the cultural and social impoverishment that afflicted my generation. If history has taught us anything in this remarkable century, it is the notion of America as a work in progress.”

Presidential Fellowship Fund and help the

Gerald R. Ford , New York Times op-ed, August 1999

a better future.

University of Michigan—Gerald Ford’s beloved alma mater—inspire the next century of policy leaders. Every gift and pledge up to $1 million will be matched dollar-for-dollar by a generous donation from the Meijer Foundation, which believes in the legacy of President Ford and in the power of a Ford School education to shape

Betsey Stevenson @CEABetsey • Aug 7 It has been an honor to serve @POTUS and the American people. I am returning to @fordschool and @umichECON.

he says. “My parents were incredibly supportive, but didn’t fully appreciate the benefits of going away to study.”

Books photo: Gioia De Antoniis / Flickr.com (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

As an undergraduate at U-M, Baydoun studied history, and says he is still surprised he was able to get away with it. “Those were lectures I would have gone to in my free time,” he says. “I loved it so much.” But he remembers, too, the culture shock as a first-generation college student from an immigrant community and a working-class family. “[The University is] just 45 minutes down the road from my home, but it’s worlds away,” he says. Baydoun can’t remember having a single white friend growing up, and notes that most of his U-M classmates came from well-off families, were able to take unpaid internships, could travel for enrichment, and more.


Defense against the dark arts (of econometrics) By Miriam Wasserman


ohn DiNardo (AB ’83, MPP ’84) has read J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series in every

language he can comprehend—English, Italian, and French—so perhaps it’s not surprising that when DiNardo had to take time off from teaching to be treated for acute myelogenous leukemia, his students referred to the book in their messages of encouragement. DiNardo’s master’s students Photo-shopped a film poster, casting DiNardo as Snape. His doctoral students, he says, were more likely to cast him as Dumbledore (his definitive preference). Now DiNardo is back in the classroom teaching “Advanced Program Evaluation” to master’s and doctoral students of economics, policy, higher ed, health policy, and other disciplines. As a labor economist with interests in unions and the minimum wage, DiNardo’s approach is unambiguously applied. He shows students how to formulate well-defined questions, how to map them to econometric techniques, and how to translate them into coding commands and apply them to real-world data.

Not wanting other first-generation students to face similar hurdles, Baydoun spent years volunteering for Doors of Opportunity, a studentled organization that serves Dearborn’s Arab community. Over those years, he gave dozens of presentations on financial aid and the college admissions process, and, as he says, “let students know that they aren’t limited—that there’s a world beyond Evergreen Road.”

“Professor DiNardo has a different way of viewing things,” says economics and public policy PhD student Katherine Lim. Many times during the class, she says, he would describe a technique students knew and had even used before and, “a lot of us had a moment where things sort of clicked and [we] thought: ‘Oh! I understand that in a different way!’”

After graduation, Baydoun found work as a business analyst for a small consulting firm in Detroit, collaborating with other analysts and developers to produce effective software solutions for healthcare clients.

The course also has an element of “defense against the dark arts,” a reference to a class taught by Snape (among others) in the Harry Potter books. In that course, Potter and his classmates learn about dark magic—not how to use it, but how to guard against it. For DiNardo, the goal is to teach students to avoid being misled by “sophisticated” techniques.

Together, these experiences led Baydoun to the Ford School, where he hopes to focus on social policy, with an emphasis on inequality and barriers to upward mobility. While he hasn’t yet identified a narrow focus area—maybe healthcare, maybe education, maybe something else entirely—he knows that he wants ”to use policy as a tool to make it easier for people to navigate [social, economic, and political] barriers,” he says, “so that everyone has an opportunity to succeed.” ■

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“You think you know all these techniques you’ve learned,” says DiNardo. “But I’ve found that you don’t really understand them until you are faced with a dataset—a question and a problem—and now you have to use them. Suddenly you appreciate how incomplete your understanding is.”

“When you leave the course, you should never be forced to merely accept the opinion of authorities and say: ‘That technique must work, but it is too complicated for me to understand or challenge the results of’,” says DiNardo. To illustrate, DiNardo describes a paper that attempts to measure the misallocation of housing caused by rent control. The challenge, he explains, is that there aren’t many examples of rent control outside New York City. Nor are there situations in which rent control was eliminated, which would allow you to compare regimes with and without the policy. The authors of the paper, says DiNardo, used “sophisticated” econometric techniques to find significant misallocation of housing due to rent control in New York City, but when they applied the same technique to a city that had never had rent control, instead of finding an effect of zero, they found significant misallocation again. That raised all sorts of questions about the validity of the model, says DiNardo. “One is then forced to reevaluate (or dismiss) the authors’ claims.” ■


“When you leave the course, you should never be forced to merely accept the opinion of authorities”


g e r a l d r . F o r d S c h oo l of P u b l ic P o l ic y

Inaugural Maggie E. Weston Education Policy Intern


atthew Mellon (MPP/MPH ’16), the first Ford School student to receive support from the recently established Margaret E. Weston Endowment for Education Policy, found the perfect internship. He interned for the city with the largest public school system in the world: New York, New York.

Mellon also supported Mayor de Blasio’s commitment to establish 128 new community schools—schools that partner with optometrists, dentists, counselors, wellness coaches, and other serviceproviders to offer the kind of wraparound services children need to thrive both personally and academically.

Mellon conducted policy research for some of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s newest education initiatives— his recently established Children’s Cabinet, his Community Schools Initiative, and his drive to offer free, public prekindergarten programs for any four-yearold in the city: Pre-K for All.

And he supported the mayor’s new universal pre-K initiative. When de Blasio was running his campaign, only a quarter of the city’s four-year-olds were attending pre-kindergarten programs. By the end of Mellon’s internship, some 70,000 families had been paired with free pre-K programs.

Mayor de Blasio’s Children’s Cabinet, explains Mellon, brings together 22 city agencies and offices that serve children and families. The goal: to streamline services, identify service gaps, and launch new programs and partnerships. For the cabinet, Mellon compiled a list of all city services, then conducted research into age-based, developmental milestones for children in the areas of health, education, career readiness, and more. Ultimately, Mellon’s work will inform a simple-to-navigate website that will connect families with city services—from mentoring programs to volunteer opportunities, summer vacation programs, and parenting support.

For the Community Schools Initiative and Pre-K for All programs, Mellon drafted a number of policy briefs reviewing and synthesizing research on the effects of school-based mentorship programs, on developmental standards and risk factors, and on group and individual behavioral and mental health interventions. Mellon, who had worked in federal policy advocacy in the past, had hoped to find in city government a more nimble policy-making environment. He was not disappointed. “Being able to witness the incredible scale of the pre-K expansion was truly energizing,” he says. “It was a thrill to be a small part of the effort.” ■

The Margaret E. Weston Endowment for Education Policy was established by Kate and Larry Weston in memory of their daughter Maggie, a 2008 graduate of the Ford School who passed away in the summer of 2014. The endowment, which has also received contributions from a number of Maggie’s classmates, supports students who share Maggie’s passion for educational equity.

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Latest CLOSUP survey explores Michigan public safety


had to really drum up interest a decade ago; nobody gave a rip,” says David Thacher of his course, “Thinking about Crime.” These days, there’s a lot more interest in public safety—at the Ford School and elsewhere. Reflecting those concerns, the Ford School’s Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP) is dedicating its fall Michigan Public Policy Survey to the topic. “We keep a long list of potential topics, and ask ourselves if the timing seems right to address them,” says Tom Ivacko (MPP ‘93), program manager of CLOSUP. “What’s been happening across the country in places like Ferguson and Baltimore certainly influenced our decision, and we wanted to know if there were any patterns or trends in the types of public safety challenges communities were facing.” The survey, which is being sent to the top elected and appointed officials in each of Michigan’s 1,856 jurisdictions, addresses fire services, emergency response services, and law enforcement services alike.

“It will be interesting to learn how these national incidents are being processed in Michigan,” says Thacher. “Are they shaping thought in Muskegon? What are local leaders doing in response?”

Some of the survey questions assess the basics.

Survey results are expected to be released in January. Questions, results, policy briefs, and data tables will be available at closup.umich.edu/michigan-public-policysurvey. ■

“Public safety is one of the fundamental responsibilities of local government, and makes up a very significant portion of local government budgets,” says Ivacko. So the survey asks jurisdictions if they have sufficient resources for the services they offer, if they’ve tried to raise additional resources, and if they offset any of their service expenses with cost recovery policies or fees. A number of questions focus on fire services, or medical services—which represent big challenges for some local jurisdictions. But about 30 percent of the questions address law enforcement issues, which have become increasingly momentous in the wake of the tragic deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, and others. Leaders will be asked if people in their jurisdictions feel safe, if inappropriate use of force is an issue, if citizens trust their police, if police are overly strict in enforcing the law, if police morale has declined, and more. Mellon Photo: Almond Leaf Studios

Ivacko is interviewed by Tim Skubick

They’ll also be asked if their law enforcement departments have adopted, or are likely to adopt, citizen satisfaction surveys; citizen’s advisory committees; training programs for officers; new surveillance equipment; crime mapping technologies; and other new tools, practices, or policies.

CLOSUP Director Barry Rabe is on sabbatical leave, serving as a Public Policy Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC.


he Michigan Public Policy Survey (MPPS) was launched in 2009 by the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP) at the Ford School. The survey is conducted twice annually in partnership with the Michigan Association of Counties, the Michigan Municipal League, and the Michigan Townships Association.

Surveys investigate local officials’ opinions and perspectives on a variety of important public policy issues and solicit factual information relevant to policymaking. In the past year alone, survey findings from the MPPS have been referenced in nearly 200 stories produced by local and national media outlets.

Andrea Mitchell @mitchellreports • Jun 25 Shout-out to our Sam Gringlas in today’s running of the interns! Today’s quickest! Nice shot from @frankthorpNBC!


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Policy Talks @ the Ford School

“When Social Security was started, the ratio of retirees to working people was one to 15 or something like that. Over the next five or ten years, we’ll go to one retiree for every two folks working. That clearly will have big implications for the economic viability of these programs.” Roger Ferguson, president and CEO, TIAA-CREF, “A conversation with Roger Ferguson, hosted


by Justin Wolfers,” Sept. 22, 2015.

“In our haste to do good work, we sometimes forget that this is their country, not ours, and that we will eventually leave. Will what we leave behind be a mess?” Ambassador Thomas Miller (ret.), president and CEO of International Executive Service Corps,


“The nexus between diplomacy and development: A practitioner’s perspective,” Sept. 11, 2015.

“We find considerable empirical evidence to support the notion that short-term violent victories lay the groundwork for long-term violent societies. And because of that I’m very excited that this century is actually, despite what you read about in the news today, very much Gandhi’s century.” Erica Chenoweth, associate professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies,

Barnes Nosanchuk


“Why civil resistance works: Strategic alternatives to violence in the 21st century,” Sept. 9, 2015.

“It represents the fulfillment of the President’s commitment to conducting important foreign policy issues through diplomacy by bringing the nations of the world together. To put the United States and our standing in the world in a different place than it was when we made the ill-fated decision to go to war with Iraq.” Matt Nosanchuk, White House liaison to the American Jewish community, “Explaining the Iran Deal,” Sept. 2, 2015.

“In many cases, we don’t involve or engage the communities themselves that we say we want to help and to support. We don’t value what those communities can bring to the table, much less the policy making table.” Melody Barnes, former director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, chair of the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions, “Creating opportunity for America’s youth,” Apr. 13, 2015.

Policy challenge, meet your app New apps by Ford faculty, alum Mobile Justice Michigan. This June, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, with the help of Quadrant 2 app developer, launched Mobile Justice Michigan, allowing everyday citizens to record police activity and report suspected misconduct with the tap of a finger. “We believe that accountability is essential to building trust between communities and law enforcement,” says Kary Moss , executive director of ACLU Michigan and a lecturer at the Ford School. ¡Vota! Rey Goicochea (MPP ‘15) announces ¡Vota!, designed to engage Latino voters. With the technical expertise of coder Jose Alvarade and designer Devin Polaski, the app provides easy access to voter registration, ballot, and candidate information by state, and the option to “Get Friends to Vote.” “It is our hope that with this app, progressive candidates and ballot measures working to address issues that will improve the quality of life for Latinos... will be more successful,” says Goicochea.

Ford School Spotlight Harold Ford, Jr. (JD ’96) and Gretchen Whitmer join the Ford School

this fall to serve as Towsley Foundation Policymakers in Residence. Ford, a five-term U.S. Congressman and a current political analyst and contributor for NBC News, is teaching a course on the political, practical, and substantive facets of policy making. Gretchen Whitmer served as the Michigan Senate Democratic Leader and became the first woman to lead a caucus in the state’s history. Her course, “Running, Serving, and Leading,” gives students a practical understanding of what it takes to attain elected office.


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Faculty News Ciorciari

This spring, Robert Axelrod was one of ten distinguished honorary degree recipients at Harvard’s 364th commencement ceremony. The Carnegie Corporation of New York has awarded John Ciorciari its prestigious Andrew Carnegie Fellowship to examine the strengths and shortcomings of shared-sovereignty agreements. Susan M. Collins concluded her two-year term as president of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs. During her tenure, she created three task forces to address timely challenges and opportunities including APSIA’s diversity task force, on which she will continue to serve in the coming years. Paul Courant was mentioned in

a June New York Times article as a contender to replace Library of Congress Chief James H. Billington. Inside Philanthropy interviewed Sheldon Danziger for “Inside the

Russell Sage Foundation’s epic dig into why inequality matters.” The article highlights the foundation’s crucial role in “moving inequality to the center of politics and policy.”

This May, Dr. Matthew Davis joined U-M’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation as deputy director. In September, Matt was recognized with the U-M Regents Award for Distinguished Public Service. Alan Deardorff will take a welldeserved sabbatical break during the winter of 2016 to continue work on his “Glossary of International Economics.” Susan Dynarski was honored with NASPAA’s “Public Service Matters” Spotlight Award. She is a frequent contributor to The New York Times Upshot, where she takes on issues related to improving educational achievement, and continues to consult with federal agencies on higher education finance. The NYT editorial board recently endorsed Susan’s recommendation to dramatically simplify or eliminate the FAFSA. In addition, the Department of Education recently announced a critical change to the FAFSA timeline that Dynarski has promoted extensively. Closer to home, Susan earned a commendation from the state of Michigan for her work on U-M’s pilot HAIL Scholarship program, which attempts to increase the number of undergraduate applications from lowincome, high achieving Michiganders.

Ford School Spotlight Kathryn Dominguez was nominated by President Obama for an open seat on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, pending approval by the U.S. Senate. “Dr. Dominguez has the proven experience, judgment, and deep knowledge of the financial system, monetary policy, and international capital markets to serve at the Federal Reserve during this important time for our economy,” Mr. Obama said in a statement. Hundreds of media outlets around the globe covered the announcement.



Rusty Hills ’ opinion piece, “Wild Idea

to Fix the GOP Debates,” was published by The Wall Street Journal. James House ’s book, Beyond Obamacare: Life, Death, and Social Policy, was published by the Russell Sage Foundation this June.

The Education Policy Initiative (EPI), co-led by Brian Jacob and Susan Dynarski , will receive part of a $1.6 million U.S. Department of Education grant to study the effects of virtual schooling on student achievement in Florida. In partnership with other U-M departments, EPI also received $4 million from the Institute for Education Sciences to establish a doctoral training program. Paula Lantz chaired the planning

committee for “Advancing the Science to Improve Population Health,” a National Academies’ Institute of Medicine workshop, and conducted a national survey of the research needs of health policymakers and practitioners. Paula also co-published “The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program: 25 Years of Public Health Service to Low-Income Women” in Cancer Causes and Control. Melvyn Levitsky presented “Brazil: Still the Country of the Future?” to the Grand Rapids World Affairs Council and “Ukraine, Russia, and the United States: Past, Present, and Future” to the Institute of Retired Professionals. Kary Moss received the Mary Church Terrell Freedom and Justice Award from NAACP-Detroit and the Peter Hammer Justice Award from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee of Michigan. Shobita ParthAsarathy and Susan Guindi , director of student and academic services, are co-chairing the Ford School’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion strategic planning initiative. Launched this September, the initiative




is a top priority for the school and will culminate in a five-year strategic plan to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion at the Ford School. Luke Shaefer ’s book, $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America (with Kathryn Edin), was released by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt this September. Carl Simon has joined the Intelligence

Science and Technology Experts Group of The National Academies, a new committee that provides technical advice to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. He is now on three National Academies committees, and was honored this fall at the annual Midwest Dynamical Systems Conference. Kevin Stange ’s “Investing in schools: Capital spending, facility conditions, and student achievement,” and “A new measure of college quality to study the effects of college sector and peers on degree attainment,” were published in the NBER Working Paper Series. The latter was also highlighted in articles by The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Education. Betsey Stevenson , who has been on

leave to serve as a member of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, has returned to the Ford School. She






discussed the Department of Labor’s June jobs report with news outlets across the country, including Politico, NPR, Market Watch, the Pittsburgh PostGazette, and Bloomberg. David Thacher ’s “Olmsted’s Police” was published in the Law and History Review of the American Society for Legal History. Justin Wolfers , who has been on leave to serve as a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, has returned to the Ford School. He continues to be a regular contributor to the New York Times Upshot. Maris Vinovskis delivered a keynote

address to the International Standing Conference for the History of Education (the speech has since been published in Paedagogica Historica) and gave two interviews on Latvian State Radio. This fall, Maris will be on sabbatical working on his second volume of the history and politics of the Head Start program during the Nixon, Ford, and Carter Administrations. Dean Yang was promoted to professor

of public policy and economics this September. The Economist cited Dean’s work in “Like manna from heaven: How a torrent of money from abroad reshapes an economy.”

Our faculty is growing…

In memory of Robert M. Stern We are deeply saddened that Robert M. Stern, professor emeritus of economics and public policy, passed away this May. Bob was internationally renowned for his expertise in multilateral trade agreements and the economic impact of regional trade arrangements. He consulted regularly for a wide variety of U.S. and international entities seeking to understand and improve trade relations, but was perhaps best known for developing, with Alan Deardorff, the Michigan Model of World Production and Trade.

John Leahy joins the Ford School as the inaugural Allen Sinai Professor for

Economic Policy. His research focuses on the roles that market frictions and imperfect information play in shaping economic outcomes. Natasha Pilkauskas joins the Ford School as an assistant professor of public policy. Her research focuses on the health, development, and well-being of low-income families and children.

The Ford School is pleased to strengthen its relationship with the University of Michigan’s Department of Sociology through courtesy appointments of six expert faculty: William Axinn, Sarah Burgard, Jeffrey Morenoff, Alexandra Murphy, Jason Owen-Smith, and Alford Young . Leahy



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Class Notes Jiao

Bev Godwin (MPP ’82) recently began

Lesley Freiman (MPP ’09) and her husband Derek Narendra (MD ’11) welcomed baby girl Isla Olivia Narendra this June. Isla clocked in at 6 lbs, 9 oz, and 19 inches tall.

a new job as senior advisor in the U.S. Department of State. After 31 years at U-M (two as an MPP student; the rest as a professor of policy, economics, information, and computer science; and the last five as dean of the School of Information) Jeff MacKieMason (MPP ’82) departs Ann Arbor for a new adventure. This fall, he became university librarian and chief digital scholarship officer at UCBerkeley, as well as professor of information science and economics. It was a tough transition for Jeff, who has loved Michigan, but it’s a great professional and family opportunity. And he doesn’t have to throw away any of his maize and blue socks. John Reinemann (MPP ’90) and his

wife Sarah are pleased to announce the birth of their twins, Elisabeth and Theodore. One weighed in at 8 lbs 5 oz and the other at 9 lbs! John is executive secretary of the Wisconsin Higher Educational Aids Board, and has already begun saving for the kids’ college funds. Seth Johnson (MPP ’93) and Kate

Snyder welcomed Woodrow Nelson this May. He’s already thinking about where to go to graduate school. Mark Long (MPP ’96) was elected vice

president of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. Mark and his wife Laura Evans (MPP ’96) are professors at the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. Jeff Rosa (MPP ’96) accepted a new

job in the DC-area as managing director of the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. He previously worked for 18 years for the State of Ohio, including the last 12 as director of the State Physical Therapy Board.


Will Rich (MPP ’09) became the U.S.

While on vacation at Drakesbad Lodge in Lassen Volcanic National Park, Noam and Sara Glick (MPP ’00 and MPP ’01, above, right) met professors Dean Yang and Sharon Maccini by chance; it all started with conversation over Dean’s Dexter-Ann Arbor Run shirt. Danielle P. Turnipseed, Esq. (MPP/

MHSA ’00) was recognized as a “40 Under 40” top attorney by the National Bar Association at its national convention in Los Angeles. Danielle has worked in health policy for more than 15 years, and has practiced law for five. Laura Smith Curry (MPP ’03) and

her family, including big sister Cora, welcomed baby Evelyn Elaine “Evie” this August. They are all adjusting to being a family of four! Daniel Rothschild (MPP ’05) was named executive director of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Previously, he was senior vice president and chief operating officer. Franklin Esson, Jr. (MPP ’08) was recently promoted to executive director of the New York State Senate Higher Education Committee after successfully working to enact bipartisan state legislation on campus sexual assault.

After four years in the private sector, Erik Fonseca (MPP ’09) reenters the public sector as an eligibility worker for the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Social Services (DPSS).

Treasury attaché to the United Arab Emirates and Sultanate of Oman, based at the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi. He is one of 12 Treasury diplomats worldwide and is responsible for a wide range of issues, from finance and macroeconomics to countering the financing of terrorism. Nathan Triplett (MPP ’09) was elected president of the Michigan Municipal League at the organization’s 2015 Annual Convention. Nathan is the youngest president elected to lead the organization since its founding in 1899. He is currently serving as mayor of the City of East Lansing. Matt Johnson (MPP ’10) recently

published his first book, American Hearts, a collection of non-fiction essays on American life, work, dreams, and death. A policy wonk by trade, Matt likes to write in his free time. It’s a skill he claims to have learned at the Ford School. Matt successfully funded the book project through Kickstarter. Colin Lewis-Beck (MA/MPP ’10) took program evaluation with Professor Bob Schoeni during his first semester at the Ford School and got seriously interested in statistics. One of the assigned texts was Applied Regression: An Introduction (1980). A new edition of the book was released this July, which Colin co-authored with Mike Lewis-Beck. Colin lives in Ames, IA, where he’s working on his PhD. Chris Roberts (PhD ’10) was awarded

the 2015 Gordon Hirabayashi Human Rights Book Award by the American Sociological Association. The book, The Contentious History of the International Bill of Human Rights, is based on his dissertation. Chris and Robin Phinney ’s (PhD ’10) son Finn turned one in July.





August 30, 2015 in Southfield, Michigan.

90-some organizations committed to promoting open government and accountability.

Sarah M. Brooks (MPP/MA ’11)

Katie Rodriguez (MPP ’12) and her

recently transitioned from the U.S. government to a job as a human rights advocate with the International Service for Human Rights (www.ishr.ch), an NGO in Geneva. She is responsible for programs and advocacy related to East Asia.

husband Ernesto Falcon welcomed son Gabriel Rodriguez-Falcon this January. Hopefully he will follow in his mother’s footsteps and become a Wolverine and a Fordie!

Shelley Rosenberg (BA ’10) married Daniel Ben-Zadok (MPP ’14) on

Lelia Gowland (MPP ’11) launched

Gowland, LLC, which offers workplace negotiations coaching for women. Lelia counsels women around the country on a range of issues: making the strongest possible case for a promotion, navigating maternity leave, landing a new gig, and more. Rebecca Lopez Kriss (MPP ’11) and her husband Nick Stanley (MSE ’02) welcomed Verbena Ruth this June. She weighed 7 lbs, 4 oz and was born in Philadelphia, in the nation’s first hospital. Christopher J. Murillo (MPP ’11) has

a new job as a Foreign Service officer with the U.S. Department of State. Charles Clark (MPP/MBA ’12) and his wife, Jessica, had a baby girl in July: Charlotte Catherine Clark. Charles also started a new job this year as a collaboration specialist and Presidential Management Fellow with the Santa Fe National Forest. Jesse Franzblau (MPP ’12) began

work at OpenTheGovernment.org. Franzblau will analyze policy, monitor and evaluate federal open government policies, and coordinate a coalition of

Bennett Stein (BA ’12) started a new

job as special assistant with the City of New York’s Board of Correction. The nine-person, non-judicial oversight board regulates, monitors, and inspects the city’s correctional facilities. Ben Lusher (MPP/MBA ’13) welcomed

his second little Wolverine, daughter Eleanor Rose Lusher, this January. #forevergoblue. Rohan Dharan (BA ’13) lives in New

Delhi, India, where he is a FulbrightNehru English teaching assistant. He teaches English to 500-some students in a government-aided school. DJ McKerr (BA ’13) recently celebrated

his two-year anniversary as a healthcare analyst with Huron Consulting Group in Chicago. This September, Daniel Trubman (MPP ’13) began working as a management analyst with the City of Boston’s Office of Budget Management. Will Yates (MPP ‘13) and Janani Ramachandran Yates (MPP ‘13) were

married in June in Washington, DC, where both have lived and worked for the past two years. It was a Ford School-studded

Class of 20??

S t a t e & Hi l l


wedding! Professor Betsey Stevenson officiated. Also in attendance were Ford School professors and alumni Carl Simon, Justin Wolfers , Caroline Meehan (MPP ’13), Cynthia Rathinasamy (MPP ’13), Erica Brown (MPP ’13), Anne Zerbe (MPP ’13), Colleen Campbell (MPP/MA ’14), Kelle Parsons (MPP/MA ’13), D’Wayne Bell (MPP ’14), Lauren Frohlich (MPP ’13), Rayva Virginkar (MPP/MPH ’13), Andrew Bracken (MPP ’13), Naomi Joseph (MPP ’13), and Jeff Kessner (MPP ’13). Amy Jiao (MPP ’14) married Yilun Sun

this May in Ann Arbor. Amy works at the University of Michigan Kidney and Epidemiology Cost Center. Steven Rzeppa (BA ’14) has declared

his candidacy for the 23rd District seat in the Michigan House of Representatives. He urges fellow alums to follow his campaign. He has served on City Council in his hometown of Trenton since 2013. Recent graduate Katie Koziara (BA ’15) is now a program associate at the Partnership for Public Service in Washington, DC. Katie manages social media and event marketing.

Left to right: Eleanor Rose with sister Anna, Finn, Gabriel, Evelyn Elaine with sister Cora, Verbena Ruth, and Woodrow Nelson



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The Last Word A research manager at the Ford School’s Education Policy Initiative (EPI), Mahima S. Mahadevan (MPP ‘11) is leading the implementation of a major study on Michigan’s charter schools. Preliminary findings will be released in early 2016. Mahima has lived in Detroit for eight years.


Your thoughts about the Detroit Public Schools?

Mahima S. Mahadevan: Defunding of schools, population change, joblessness, all these things have made [Detroit’s schools] very vulnerable right now. It’s important to understand that policies played a role.

The changes are happening very rapidly. I think for a lot of people, it feels like they’re being hit from multiple angles. So for example, you had the water shut-offs in Detroit. You’ve got all the foreclosures going on. So these are folks who might already have challenges with jobs, and now they’re losing access to some really basic supports like water, housing, and [with recent school closures] education. Going forward, what I get really excited about is that there are strong, active, loud parents and educators and students that are advocating and fighting for their education. These aren’t policy students or professionals, necessarily. We’re talking about people where this is their life. S&H:

Are you from Detroit?

Mahadevan: No. I grew up outside of Detroit, and had the typical suburban experience of having very little connection to Detroit. It wasn’t until I’d moved to Detroit and been there a long time before I started getting in touch with what it meant to be a person of color, to specifically organize against anti-Black racism.

Detroit has been my fantastic institution of education. I feel like I’ve learned so, so much living there. People there have been very generous with me in terms of all the mistakes that I’ve made (laughs)—people and friends, community members, have been very willing to realize that we need one another. That’s something I feel I could only get in a community such as Detroit. S&H: More alumni now stay in Michigan, and Detroit in particular. Thoughts? Mahadevan: I’m very proud that more students are leaving here considering Detroit, but I feel there needs to be more thinking that it’s not just ‘what do we have to offer to Detroit,’ but also, ‘what does Detroit have to offer to us?’

Students come from Ann Arbor with fantastic skills and the best education. But how do we also find a listening component to policy—to make sure we’re actually able to hear what others are saying versus projecting or imposing what we think. With policy, you have the

potential to make such a dramatic impact; do you have the ability to get input from the people who will be impacted, to hear their stories? S&H: What’s your pitch for graduates to consider the Motor City? Mahadevan: I would sell Detroit as: I have met the most incredible people, folks that are so sharp, have such a strong foundation and history—like a peoples’ history. They have great stories and great experiences. And they’re people that critique the system in a way that we don’t usually hear in a traditional educational setting.

There’s something about the mix of people coming out of the civil rights era—a lot of the elders in Detroit, young people that have been raised with a very strong social justice orientation, and then just superb diversity. But (if you come,) see what’s going on first, because there is a lot going on outside of the traditional development model, a lot going on in terms of, as Grace Lee Boggs would say, ‘reimagining our city’. ■

Mahima visits the Gramlich Showcase of Student Work

Interning near and far Ford School student internships in 2015 Top Row Rasheed Malik (MPP ’16): Center for American Progress; Larry Sanders (MPP ’16): Alliance for Excellent Education; Pete Haviland-Eduah (MPP ’16): Center for American

Progress. With thanks to the Neil Staebler Political Education Fund. Second Row Lora Cirhigiri (MPP ’16) (left): Imaflora, a Brazilian not-for-profit (pictured interviewing farmers in the Amazon region). With thanks to the Annenberg Fund for International Policy Education. Third Row Jennifer Arnold (AB ’16): Political intern, U.S. State

Department, U.S. Embassy in Singapore. With thanks to the Ford School’s Future Leaders Fund donors. Cassandra Baxter (MPP/MAE ’16): Business Management Group intern, U.S. National Park Service, Mesa Verde National Park. Fourth Row Mary Alice Truitt (MPP ’16) (center) at the United Way Leadership Forum to Combat Human Trafficking: United Way Worldwide, Alexandria, VA. With thanks to Ranvir and Adarsh Trehan. Mika Koizumi (MPP ’16) and her five-year-old daughter: Women in Public Life project intern, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Paris, France. Fifth Row Nate Samuelson (MPP/MSEAS ’16) with Fidel Ramos, former president of the Philippines: U.S. Department of State; U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines. With thanks to the Annenberg Fund for International Policy Education. Luis De La Cruz (MPP ’16): Data Center site selection strategy extern, Facebook, Menlo Park, CA. Sixth Row Ruby Kirby (AB ’17) (center): U.S. Department of State, U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Read more about these and other policy-relevant internships at fordschool.umich.edu/careers-internships/field-reports

Joan and Sanford Weill Hall

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAI D Ann Arbor MI Permit No. 144

735 S. State Street Ann Arbor, MI 48109-3091

Printed on paper made from 100% postconsumer waste using biogas energy.

Photo: Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library

Ford Flashback

President Gerald R. Ford speaks with Mayor Coleman A. Young outside Cobo Hall (now Cobo Center) following the Ninth World Energy Conference in Detroit (September 23, 1974)

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For more stories about Ford School alumni in Detroit, visit fordschool.umich.edu/alumni-impact-detroit

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