2018 Spring State & Hill: Public engagement

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gerald r. Ford School of Public Policy

and the Stamps School of Art & Design, the Michigan team is providing pro bono marketing, legal, accounting, design, and other services to the fledgling business. In return, they get the world as their classroom. Together, Jones and the students are bringing jobs and life to the great city of Detroit.


can scarcely believe that my first academic year as dean of this great school is drawing to a close. Soon, the faculty will don their robes, the band will strike up Pomp and Circumstance, academic honors will be recognized (some in Latin), and diplomas delivered. At Michigan Stadium, in the University’s main Graduation Exercises, our own BA student Nadine Jawad will deliver one of just four student speeches to the assembled graduates, families, and deans. The end of the school year, in short, will be chock full of academic traditions and rituals. I love those traditions! They connect us with each other and with decades of precedent.

In our teaching, our research, and our work to translate that research into action we’re collaborating and engaging with community leaders to improve the quality of lives. Most days of the school year, however, the eyes and minds of the Ford School are squarely focused on the future—and on the wide world around us. In our teaching, our research, and our work to translate that research into action we’re collaborating and engaging with community leaders to improve the quality of lives.

There are more stories of engagement in this edition as well. You’ll learn about a partnership that Brian Jacob and the Youth Policy Lab have struck up with a program in Detroit that connects young people with summer jobs. Jacob and his students bring expertise in data analysis, the city brings the good work and the data. Together, the partners ask good questions and pursue useful answers. You’ll hear from the amazing and resourceful Susan Dynarski , who credits the changes she’s brought to the federal student financial aid form in part to her stubbornness: she’s been sharing her research findings with whomever will listen since she wrote her dissertation in 1999. You’ll hear from the dedicated poverty researcher Luke Shaefer . His research and analysis—and his own upbringing—have convinced him that a universal allowance for children is the best route for ending child poverty in the U.S. He knows it’s not politically viable—for now. But he’s willing to wait—and most importantly, to work for the idea, to put his expertise and connections to use building the case. As my first academic year at the helm draws to a close, let me thank and recognize the good work, help, and support I’ve gotten from so many colleagues, alumni, donors, students, and staff. This place is even more amazing than I’d thought. Here’s to another year of pulling together to make our world a better place. Sincerely,

In this edition of State & Hill, we present just a handful of the policy engagement stories we’re authoring with the world each day. You’ll meet an entrepreneur from Detroit, Ascha Jones, who has an enormous work ethic, a lot of experience, and a really good idea: she’s launching a ‘bustaurant’ that each day will bring Detroitsourced ready-to-eat food to manufacturing and industrial parks located in neighborhoods with no restaurants or grocery stores. You’ll meet, too, some of the students and faculty who are Jones’ eager collaborators. Based in the Ford School, the Law School, the Ross School,

M i ch a el S . B a rr Joan and Sanford Weill Dean of Public Policy Frank Murphy Collegiate Professor of Public Policy Roy F. and Jean Humphrey Proffitt Professor of Law

S pr i n g 2 0 1 8 The Magazine of the Gerald R. Ford School Naidoo “Policy Talks” Corcoran to retire


of Public Policy

P u llin g together

Growing community businesses in Detroit 4 The Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project expands

Summers of opportunity 6 State & Hill Dean: Michael S. Barr Associate Dean for Academic Affairs: Paula Lantz Associate Dean for Research and Policy Engagement: Elisabeth Gerber Director of Communications/Executive Editor: Laura K. Lee (MPP ’96) Art lead: Nicholas Pfost (MPP ’15) Contributors: Jacqueline Mullen (MPP ’18), Christie Baer Class Notes Editor: Elisabeth Johnston Production Coordinator: Erin Flores Photographers: Peter Smith, Austin Thomason, and Meghan Rowley Design: Savitski Design Printer: University Lithoprinters, Inc. Our thanks to long-time S&H editor Erin Spanier, for her foundational work on the magazine and for the research she did for this edition. 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 On the cover: Ford School BA students studying ecotourism and forestry in Monteverde, Costa Rica. Photo by Meghan Rowley.

Regents of the University of Michigan Michael J. Behm, Grand Blanc Mark J. Bernstein, Ann Arbor Shauna Ryder Diggs, Grosse Pointe Denise Ilitch, Bingham Farms Andrea Fischer Newman, Ann Arbor Andrew C. Richner, Grosse Pointe Park Ron Weiser, Ann Arbor Katherine E. White, Ann Arbor Mark S. Schlissel (ex officio)

Youth Policy Lab supports programs for low-income young people

Stubbornness pays off 8 Dynarski on what moves public policy

Nurturing the future 10 Shaefer builds the case for universal child allowance

Truth decay 12 PhD alum tackles fake news

In addition Barry Rabe on feasibility and durability of carbon pricing 16 A force of nature: Mary Corcoran retires from the faculty 18 Betty Ford at 100 20 Photo spread: First BA policy/study trip 22

Departments Soundbites, highlights from Policy Talks @ the Ford School 13 Discourse, Ford School faculty in the news 15 Faculty Findings 24 Faculty News and Awards 26 Class Notes 28 The Last Word: Liz Gerber on policy engagement 30

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.

gerald r. Ford School of Public Policy

World-class academic researchers, bright and talented students, and dedicated public leaders and entrepreneurs . . . . Those building blocks make for powerful teams—teams that ask the right questions and deliver fresh and creative answers.

Here, we present tales of policy engagement— highlights from among the many ways in which Ford School learners and researchers are eagerly partnering with public leaders to strengthen communities and improve the quality of lives.

Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project Expands By Leanna Campos (LSA ’21)


nder the high ceilings of a University of Michigan Stamps School of Art & Design classroom, surrounded by a semi-circle of design, accounting, and law students from U-M, entrepreneur and lifelong Detroiter Achsha Jones is reviewing dozens of sticky notes with name suggestions, and sorting them into “yes,” “no” and “maybe.”

Lunch Brake owner Ascha Jones gives U-M students a tour of her future “bustaurant”

The students have absorbed Jones’s vision for her “bustaurant”—the 44’ commercial transit bus she bought last year to bring Detroitsourced ready-to-eat food to the workers of Detroit—and they think she needs a new name for her company. The new name should still hint at the essence of what the business does, but should communicate more of Achsha’s

warmth and personality, Stamps School professor Hannah Smotrich suggests. The bus is central to Jones’s plan to deliver a taste of Detroit to the city’s manufacturing facilities and industrial parks located in Detroit suburban food deserts, where workers’ only choices are to brown bag it, eat from a vending machine, or rush to buy fast food. Jones’s previous corporate career with Cintas has given her the contacts, knowledge, and experience to set up the routes and vendor relationships—but first she faces the seemingly insurmountable hurdle of preparing the bus. To be able to franchise the concept later, it should not be a Detroit-centric name. The law students chime in from time to time to vote down names that would not be protectable as trademarks. One of the accounting students asks how much the quote was for the wrapping of the bus, and then suggests the students freehand it instead. It is not an entirely selfless offer: the design students have wanted to get their hands on that bus since they first heard of it. Over the course of the afternoon, Jones narrows the choices to four, which the law students vet; a few weeks later, Jones reviews her studentadvisors’ recommendations and makes a choice. Lunch Brake (formerly Lunch Stop) is born. Meanwhile, in Detroit’s Bagley neighborhood, Detroit Sip’s colorful coffee tables paint the

Photo: Prerna Dudani


backdrop to a warm coffee shop and community space. Jevona Watson, the owner, built the shop with her neighbors in mind, focused on providing the kind of community gathering place she enjoyed studying in as a law student. Initially, Watson organized ‘speakeasies’ and facilitated community discussions, filling the building with life even before it was open for business. When Detroit Sip held its grand opening in November 2017, the mostly-invisible fingerprints of University of Michigan students were all around—from the posters and tables to the carefully-researched point of sale system used to accept credit cards and the pricing of the food and adjoining conference room space. Although they don’t get national headlines, neighborhood-based businesses in Detroit— such as Lunch Brake and Detroit Sip—have been fueling the city’s rebirth. But intersectional barriers such as lack of access to credit or capital for low- or moderate-income business owners have limited some areas of innovative growth in the city, especially for minority-owned businesses.

Photos: left: Prerna Dudani, Center and right: Jordan Poll / Michigan Law

Enter the Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project (DNEP), which pairs Detroit small businesses with teams of students from the Law School, Ross School of Business, Stamps School of Art & Design, and the Ford School to help businesses overcome barriers to growth and profitability. “The Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project is collaborative, interdisciplinary, engaged learning” explained Ford School Dean Michael Barr . To launch DNEP, Barr worked with a team of faculty from across the University, including Stamps Professor Hannah Smotrich, Michael Gordon of the Ross School, and Alicia Alvarez from Law, soon bringing in other key faculty that have strengthened the program. Barr has researched issues related to minority entrepreneurship, banking law, and financial inclusion for more than 25 years. “Entrepreneurs allow Michigan faculty and students access to the inner workings of their businesses, while faculty and staff reciprocate with pro bono legal, accounting, business, and design services.”

“Both sides benefit,” Barr notes. “The businesses experience improved operations, customer targeting, and profitability. And students emerge with a more nuanced understanding of the systemic barriers minority entrepreneurs face, the difficulties of launching and operating businesses in Detroit, and direct experience in working with entrepreneurs.”

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Left Brainstorming business names Center Revealing prototype signage for Detroit Sip Right Detroit Sip owner Jevona Watson

This partnership has been a dream come true for Achsha Jones. “I feel like I won the lottery,” she said, “I am pretty competent, but I can’t do everything by myself.” University of Michigan Center on Finance, Law and Policy assistant director Christie Baer , who serves as DNEP’s program director, underscores the point: “As a former entrepreneur from a low-income family, I can attest that it doesn’t matter how smart you are, or how hard you work: if you don’t have the money to hire professional advisors and to hire the help you need, it’s easy to get swept into the daily grind of working in your business instead of working on your business.”

“Both sides benefit. The businesses experience improved operations, customer targeting, and profitability. And students emerge with a more nuanced understanding of the systemic barriers minority entrepreneurs face . . . ” Dean Michael Barr Now in its third semester, DNEP has begun integrating Ford School of Public Policy students into the program. Over the last year, Anna Zinkel (MPP ’19) conducted an evaluation of Detroit’s entrepreneurial ecosystem to identify gaps where small business owner needs are not being met. The results of that work helped lead to an expansion of DNEP to include two new initiatives: a workshop series on legal issues for small business owners, and free accounting walk-in hours at the U-M Detroit Center on Fridays, staffed by U-M accounting students. “I came to graduate school to develop a deeper understanding of workforce development and social policy, and so I am thrilled to be able to work on DNEP,” says Zinkel. “Having the chance to contribute to the growth of a program that provides direct assistance to residents of my home state is one of the reasons that I love the Ford School.” ■



gerald r. Ford School of Public Policy

Summers of opportunity The Youth Policy Lab helps grow programs for Michigan’s young people By Anna Zinkel (MPP ’19)


he team at the University of Michigan’s Youth Policy Lab (YPL) is hard at work on exciting new projects to support Michigan’s low-income youth.

The Lab is a partnership between the Ford School and the Survey Research Center at the Institute for Social Research. Co-directed by Professors Brian Jacob and Robin Tepper Jacob, the Lab advances the work of nonprofits, agencies, policymakers, and philanthropists by working collaboratively to help those partners make decisions based on best practices, applied research, and real-time feedback on program impact. Current projects range from investigating low take-up of home visiting programs by Medicaid eligible women to working to increase college completion rates in Detroit. And, for the past year, the Lab has teamed with Connect Detroit and the Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation to evaluate a program called Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GDYT), the City’s summer employment program for youths aged 14-24.

GDYT participants with Mayor Mike Duggan at Detroit’s Cadillac Urban Gardens

Cities across the country have promoted and sponsored summer youth employment programs for decades, arguing that these programs will reduce juvenile crime, increase academic success, and enhance job opportunities for the young people who participate. GDYT was founded eight years ago by the Detroit Youth Employment Consortium (DYEC) in an effort to advance Detroit youths’ educational and career development through increased access to quality employment opportunities. In 2017 alone, over 15,000 young people applied to the program. GDYT was able to hire and subsidize positions for 5,200 youths, and affiliated companies hired another 1,923 into fully-funded positions. So where does the Youth Policy Lab come in? The YPL team has been providing technical assistance to GDYT, helping the program’s leadership use existing administrative data to better understand the demographics and circumstances of the young people who applied and participated.

“It is exciting to see a program like this grow and evolve here in our own community. We’re working with Poverty Solutions to track the outcomes for the young people who participate, and our goal is to improve service delivery and program design through our data analytics.” Brian Jacob After a year of extensively analyzing data from 2015–2017 GDYT participants, the Youth Policy Lab team is ready to release initial findings— and the results are encouraging. Brian Jacob says that the analysis “shows positive outcomes for GDYT participants, including declining absentee rates and increasing graduation rates.” Perhaps most compelling is the finding that program participants were found to be 5 percentage points more likely to graduate high school within two years of participation than were applicants who weren’t selected for the program. A full policy brief detailing these initial outcomes will be available on the YPL website on April 26. These initial results are exciting, and U-M is committed to further developing research around projects like these, so that summer youth employment programs play an integral role in the national conversation about workforce development policy. In 2016, the Youth Policy Lab partnered with University of Michigan Poverty Solutions and the Ginsberg Center to launch the on-campus Summer Youth Employment Project at U-M. The on-campus program is part of Washtenaw County’s Summer Youth Job Program, which includes support from 26 employers across the county.

Photos: Michigan Photography

The program is one of the first of its kind to be directly conducted by a major university, and is unique because impact and best practice evaluations were built in from the start. In summer 2017, the first group of program participants were matched with summer jobs in various departments across U-M, and also took part in weekly enrichment sessions designed to prepare them for future career opportunities.

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Above Summer Youth Employment Project match day

Says Jacob of the initiative: “It is exciting to see a program like this grow and evolve here in our own community. We’re working with Poverty Solutions to track the outcomes for the young people who participate, and our goal is to improve service delivery and program design through our data analytics.” The program will continue in summer of 2018. ■ To stay up to date on the projects taking place at the U-M Youth Policy Lab, visit youthpolicylab.umich.edu and sign up for the newsletter, follow on Twitter at @YouthPolicyLab. You can also contact them directly with questions or comments at youthpolicylab@ umich.edu or 734-615-2321.

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Smoking hot This year we built warm community at the Ford School in time-tested fashion— with good food and steaming coffee. Food trucks and pop-up coffee stands appeared throughout the year, providing hot spots for conversation and connections.


gerald r. Ford School of Public Policy

Translating research into policy Lessons from simplifying access to financial aid

By Miriam Wasserman


ne lesson that Susan Dynarski has learned from her long-standing campaign to simplify financial aid is that stubbornness—and a willingness to say the same thing over and over again—is critical to moving public policy. “As academics we are not trained to do this; you write a paper and then you move on,” says Dynarski, professor of public policy, education, and economics. But, in order to impact policy, you need to keep hammering at it. That is just what Dynarski has been doing. Her target: the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as FAFSA. Any student who wants a federal loan or Pell grant to help finance a college education has to file this form.

But FAFSA’s length and complexity make it a formidable barrier. The problem is greater for those the form has the most potential to help: students who come from low-income families, those who are first generation college-goers and whose parents have difficulty helping with the form, or those who face language or cultural barriers. Starting with her doctoral dissertation in economics at MIT in 1999, Dynarski has been among a cadre of researchers working to show that the relative complexity of programs matters. Dynarski applied those notions to education finance, thinking that the complexity of financial aid programs could have an important impact on their effectiveness. She had been exposed to this first-hand. Being the first in her family to attend college made Dynarski particularly attuned to the barriers many students like her face. Difficulties in her family with filling out the FAFSA form had a negative impact on her financial aid. In 2006, Dynarski wrote a paper specifically on the FAFSA with Judith Scott-Clayton, who was her student at the time and is now tenured faculty at Teachers College,


Illustration: John S. Dykes / theispot


Columbia University. In the paper, they provided a quantitative view of the unnecessary complexity of the FAFSA, documenting the sheer number of questions and showing that the vast majority of them did very little to select the students most Scott-Clayton likely to benefit from financial aid. In fact, they found that if you asked just four questions—including one on income and another on family structure— the answers could explain 90 percent of the variation in financial aid eligibility.

After President Obama came into office, some legislative progress on FAFSA simplification was made. Several questions were knocked out of the form but, as can happen in the legislative process, a few were added as well. As the legislative progress stalled, most of the action moved to the regulatory side. The Obama administration made the online version of the form easier, introducing a tool that allowed linking applications to Internal Revenue Service data so that tax information could be automatically filled in. In addition, they moved the application date earlier so that prospective students can now have more information about funding before they decide where to apply for college.

The paper left an impression that went beyond academia. “Literally the thing that had the greatest impact was showing that there were more questions in the FAFSA than in the 1040 Tax form,” says Dynarski. “That idea stuck.” As a result, they were invited by the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project to write a policy proposal to remedy the issue.

Dynarski and Scott-Clayton, together with Mark Wiederspan at Arizona State University, have periodically re-run their original analysis to see how those changes have impacted the application.

The proposal went viral in policy communities and generated many news articles. The notion of simplifying or eliminating the FAFSA was picked up by political campaigns on both sides of the aisle during the 2008 presidential election. In part, the bipartisan appeal of the proposal was a result of a conscious effort to try to narrow the range of disagreement. The papers focused on how to distribute the existing level of aid in the most effective way possible. “Some call that marginalism and don’t like it because it is insufficiently ambitious,” Dynarski says. “But small things matter.” In fact, researchers Eric P. Bettinger, Bridget Terry Long, Philip Oreopoulos, and Lisa Sanbonmatsu have since demonstrated just how much they matter. When they offered a randomly selected group of low-income students help with filling out the FAFSA, they found that making the process easier resulted in an 8 percentage-point increase in low-income students going to college and completing two years of college education.

Scott-clayton photo: Brookings

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And they continue to press the issue. Dynarski has been writing on the economics of education for the New York Times where her articles have become a powerful platform to promote simplification of financial aid, even receiving the unexpected support from the Times editorial board. Both Dynarski and Scott-Clayton recently testified before the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, as it considers simplifying financial aid along the lines they had suggested in their initial policy paper as part of the Reauthorizing Higher Education Act. “It has been a little bit frustrating that the federal policy hasn’t changed more than it has,” Scott-Clayton says. “At the same time, it is very encouraging to see how much the conversation around the country and on the ground has changed. Institutions, new scholarship programs, and advocacy organizations are all doing their part to help ameliorate the barriers that students are dealing with. Even if the federal policy isn’t radically different yet, I do feel like there is more support for students to navigate the process than there was 10 or 15 years ago.” ■

“[T]he thing that had the greatest impact was showing that there were more questions in the FAFSA than in the 1040 Tax form.” Susan Dynarski



gerald r. Ford School of Public Policy

Nurturing the future Luke Shaefer builds the case for a universal child allowance By David Pratt


aising kids is expensive!” says H. Luke Shaefer , Associate Professor of Social Work and Public Policy, and director of the University of Michigan’s Poverty Solutions Initiative.

So what would be a quick, easy way to help parents and kids? Most likely, the much discussed, much debated child allowance, a monthly cash stipend for families, particularly those with low or middle incomes. Monthly cash payments of $250 per child have been floated. It’s a policy form getting increasing attention by policy makers in the U.S. Why? The New York Times bluntly states that the United States has a higher proportion of poor children than Russia. According to LIS, an international data tracking center in Luxembourg, one in five American children is poor (the international definition of poverty is one-half the income of a family on the middle rung of the income ladder). Can we not afford $3,000 per year for these children? Many other industrialized countries have a child allowance, including 19 European nations and Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, and Canada; there is a precedent in the U.S. in the IRS’s child tax credit and earned income tax credit; and we have a delivery mechanism in place thanks to Social Security. It’s simple, it’s easy. And yet… “As a universal program,” Shaefer acknowledges, “the child allowance is expensive; it would take a lot of political will.” And Shaefer cites

one more sticking point. “Historically,” he explains, “there has been difficulty in the U.S. with providing cash assistance to the poor that’s not connected to work. Something ingrained in our society hesitates to give cash unless a family is meeting goals that we think Shaefer make them deserving. We can be proud of the EITC, but you have to be working to receive it, so it’s not a “safety net” in that it doesn’t catch you when you fall. The program that provides cash to families at the very bottom is only getting smaller and smaller.” A growing body of research, however, indicates that cash may be the most efficient and effective way to help struggling families. Political analysts and researchers across the spectrum have long advocated for a child allowance. In the wake of his award-winning $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, Shaefer’s collaboration with Kathryn Edin (now at Princeton University), Shaefer and a team of colleagues decided to write a paper developing their own case for a child allowance. Recently Shaefer interviewed with State & Hill, and he spoke, too, about what drives his scholarship: “I grew up in a low-income family, but my extended family had means,” he says, “so I have had a long-time interest in thinking about how to bridge divides between parts of society. Researching $2.00 A Day I got to know not just the data, I got to know poor families and

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Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

“Historically there has been difficulty in the U.S. with providing cash assistance to the poor that’s not connected to work. Something ingrained in our society hesitates to give cash unless a family is meeting goals that we think make them deserving.” H. Luke Shaefer their day-to-day experiences. Doing that work enriched my understanding of what poverty really looks like, and deepened my knowledge base to address it.” Of the child allowance, Shaefer, himself a father of two, says, “Society has a stake in making sure kids get the nurturing they need to be healthy and productive citizens, and this is a simple way to do it. Every family would get a small cash stipend to put toward the cost of raising kids. Our suggestion of $250 per child per month is in line with other countries that have this allowance. There has been a rise of in income volatility. We think this simple universal policy is the way to deal with that.” At a recent Brookings Institute conference, Shaefer and colleagues vigorously aired pros and cons of the allowance and generated coverage in the New York Times and Vox. They attracted Senator Michael Bennet’s (D-CO) attention, and, in October 2017, he and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced The American Family Act, a version of Shaefer and company’s policy in which payments were phased out for higher income families. It’s the furthest that major policymakers have ever gone in terms of introducing a child allowance in Congress.

Photo: CQ/Roll Call

Shaefer notes that many influential political thinkers are talking about the child allowance with a new urgency. Jared Bernstein, chief economist and economic advisor to Vice President Biden, said the allowance should be part of a package Democrats should consider in the near future. Jason Furman, chair of President Obama’s Council of Economic

Advisors, recently advocated for an expansion of the child tax credit to $2,000, to include families no matter their income. There is pressure from Republicans, too, and Sam Hammond, a poverty and welfare analyst at the libertarian Niskanen Center in Washington, DC, is also a strong advocate of an expanded child tax credit. Shaefer says, “I don’t think we will see a bill become law in the next two years. But I am thrilled that, over the long term, there is so much growing interest. It’s very exciting.” ■

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Civil discourse Our efforts to promote constructive dialogue across political differences received a boost from U-M President Mark Schlissel in December. He hosted michael Barr —an Obama Administration appointee— and former U.S. Congressman Dave Camp (R-MI) in a substantive conversation about the then-pending federal tax reform proposals.



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Truth decay PhD alum Jennifer Kavanagh explores the rot that threatens the marketplace of ideas By David Pratt


ake news!” Left and right raise the cry, and often, both are at least partially correct. But what is the source and substance of the fakery? And why is there so much of it now?

Alumna Jennifer Kavanagh (PhD ’10) and her colleagues at the nonpartisan RAND Corporation would have us know that “truth decay,” as they call it, is systemic, and that we, as consumers of the news, are a part of that chaotic and dysfunctional system. We may enable or disable fake news by how we read and listen, by what we choose to question and choose to ignore, and by the critical, deconstructing eye we cast (or not) on print and broadcast outlets, their methods, and their people. In 2016, RAND CEO Michael Rich asked Kavanagh to join him in researching populist responses to gaps between political institutions and the needs of the electorate. “Populism and truth decay go together,” Jennifer explains. “Trends and drivers that motivate the current populist resurgence in the United States are similar to drivers of truth decay.” Thanks to Kavanagh’s research, RAND identifies four trends that characterize the dissemination, processing, and consumption of today’s news: disagreement over basic facts and data, blurring of the line between

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Momentum We were proud to be heralded as the #5 public affairs program in America this spring in rankings published by U.S. News and World Report. We have five specialty areas ranked in the top 10: we continue to be ranked as the #1 program for “social policy,” we’re #2 in “public policy analysis,” #5 in “health policy and management,” #6 in “environmental policy and management,” and #10 in “urban policy.”

fact and opinion, increasing relative volume and influence of opinion and narrative over fact, and declining trust in once-respected sources of information. Kavanagh points out that information is indeed at the heart of three of these trends and insists that, although “changes in the information system—cheap, easy dissemination and increases in speed and volume” have many benefits, we must also be aware of their sometimes negative impact on information quality and accuracy. Drivers of the trends above include cognitive bias, the rise of social media and electronic news, political and social polarization, and an educational system that lacks the resources to teach students to evaluate information sources or how to synthesize information from those sources deemed reliable. RAND is currently researching how media literacy education can be improved. The task is formidable for us all, regardless of age, because, as Kavanagh points out, “the scale and scope of (continued on p.14)

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Soundbites Policy Talks @ the Ford School

Brother’s Keeper Task Force. “Innovative programs for youth and young adults,” January 15, 2018.

“I’m a deep believer that our country, our communities are much better off when you have two strong, healthy parties courting our support, earning our support, earning our respect, debating policy, offering solutions, addressing national issues. And right now we don’t have two healthy parties. We’ve got one that’s weak and we’ve got one that’s broken.”


Broderick Johnson, former Obama Administration Cabinet Secretary, and chair of the My


“[T]here are millions of exceptional young people of color that we just don’t notice for their talent, we don’t invest in. So we’ve got to change that.”

Ana Navarro, GOP strategist and political contributor to CNN, ABC News, and Telemundo.

era,” February 21, 2018.

“We have a wholly inadequate system for dealing with those people who are left behind when their job goes away. And we need to have a system that promotes lifelong learning and more flexibility to be able to invest in that.” Penny Pritzker, former U.S. Commerce Secretary; founder and chairman of PSP Partners and its affiliate, Pritzker Realty Group. Inaugural Vandenberg Lecture: “America’s economic future,” March 9, 2018.

“[T]hose of us who have had the privilege of education, like you are receiving at this world-class institution, also have a moral obligation to continue to push and fight, and persevere until those injustices or challenges are eradicated.” Kumi Naidoo, the next Secretary General of Amnesty International. “The imperative of creative maladjustment in an unjust, unequal, and fragmented world,” March 22, 2018.

Naidoo Pritzker

John R. Beyrle, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia. “Russia 2018: Preparing for the post-Putin

“[What’s required, above all, from all of us in this room and from all Americans who care as we do, is a better understanding of what a complex place Russia is, and a steady resolve to stay engaged, and to support the institutions and the individuals in Russia who want to see their country as a respected member of the international community.”


February 19, 2018.


gerald r. Ford School of Public Policy

In 1910, critics taking aim at fake news ridiculed the “Yellow Press”

“The scale and scope of information we have available is different from previous historical periods. There’s more noise, and that means more blurring of facts and opinions. We can’t have reasonable discussions because we can’t agree on facts.” Jennifer Kavanagh information we have available is different from previous historical periods. There’s more noise, and that means more blurring of facts and opinions. We can’t have reasonable discussions because we can’t agree on facts.” “When you lack a set of agreed-upon facts,” she explains, “it is difficult to outline policy choices and consequences and to compromise. Everyone has their own narrative, creating chasms between cultural groups. The result is political paralysis and a collapse into fighting and nastiness.” There is no longer a marketplace of ideas, that cherished democratic ideal. Instead, there is erosion of civil discourse, alienation of individuals from political and civic institutions, and uncertainty, at home and abroad, about U.S. policy. Kavanagh contrasts all this to her graduate education. “At Ford I learned how to have conversations and debate policies,” she

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Service In December, Ford School alumni elected six representatives to serve on the Alumni Board through 2020. They are: Menna Demessie (PhD ’10), Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (re-elected); Naomi Goldberg (MPP ’08), Movement Advancement Project; Veronica Gonzales Stuva (MPP ’13), Stuva Consulting Services, LLC; Sean Jones (MPP ’00), United States Agency for International Development; Olushola Samuel (BA ’10), University of Michigan Health System (re-elected); and Lynn Vendinello (MPP ’89), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (re-elected).

says. “We had facts at hand. At end we could go out and have dinner together.” Strikingly, RAND declares truth decay a bipartisan issue. “Disagreement over facts goes back for years,” Kavanagh says. “We can’t tie it to any party.” She points out, however, that humans have always been liable to reject information that doesn’t conform to previously held opinions and personal ways of evaluating. Individual biases are encouraged by systemic factors, such as the need for media outlets to create revenue. One way for them to do so, according to Kavanagh, “is to exaggerate content—misleading headlines that don’t match a story and ratcheting-up of cable news; ‘breaking news’ can be anything.” And while programming is now 24/7, the amount of news has not increased, so “there is a shift toward commentary in lieu of more expensive investigative journalism.” ■

Book: L.M. Glackens / Library of Congress



Ford School faculty in the news

“[A] growing body of evidence shows that overall, college students learn less when they use computers or tablets during lectures. They also tend to earn worse grades.” Susan Dynarski on banning electronics in the classroom. New York Times, Nov. 22, 2017.

“You look around and you don’t see a lot of women, and it sometimes makes you think, ‘Do I belong here?’ It’s why having Chair Yellen has been so important, and the less remarkable it becomes to have women in these positions, the better.” Betsey Stevenson on Janet Yellen breaking a glass ceiling. Wall Street Journal, Feb. 2, 2018.

“By and large, the steps taken post-crisis are working. . . Yet, the Trump administration and many congressional Republicans seem all too eager to return back to the days when government turned a blind eye to recklessness in the private sector, which could sow the seeds of the next financial crisis.” Michael S. Barr (with Joe Valenti of the Center for American Progress) on “how the CFPB fight is a sign of the next financial crisis.” Fortune, Dec. 6, 2017.

“That pattern would be disturbing in any academic field but because economics has an outsize influence on public policy, it means that many important debates are likely to be dominated by men’s voices for years to come.” Justin Wolfers on the flatlining share of women in economics. New York Times, Feb. 2, 2018.

“[Michigan is] one of the most gerrymandered states in the union.” John J.H. “Joe” Schwarz on a 2018 ballot initiative to end gerrymandering. Battle Creek Enquirer, Dec. 7, 2017.

“[T]oday the choice between satisfying shareholders and serving a public service should be an easier one for most companies. That’s because the biggest companies in the U.S. are sitting on a record pile of cash and making some of the biggest profits on record.” Marina v.N. Whitman on “thinking about more than just profits.” The Conversation, Feb. 14, 2018.


gerald r. Ford School of Public Policy

Can we price carbon? Barry Rabe talks political feasibility and durability of a key tool for reducing emissions

By Anna Zinkel (MPP ’19)


rofessor Barry Rabe is a national thought leader in environmental politics and policy. Rabe has received three American Political Science Association awards for his research in this area and was the first social scientist to receive a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Climate Protection Award for his use of scholarship to advance policymaking. We asked him to tell us a bit about his latest book, Can We Price Carbon?

Q: When did you start writing this book? A: I started writing in 2015, but I started

thinking about it more than a decade ago. Q: Can We Price Carbon? has been described as the first major political science analysis of the feasibility and sustainability of carbon pricing. Tell us about that. A: How do we best reduce carbon emissions

to mitigate future climate change threats? Economics has weighed in for decades on this question, endorsing such market-based policies as carbon taxes or cap-and-trade. But the book considers political experience over a period of nearly two decades, examining the United States but also many other countries. Carbon pricing is actually among the least likely policies to be adopted, and it is among the most likely to be reversed or watered down once launched. That said, a few important cases have demonstrated that it can be adopted, prove durable, and perform effectively. So I try to come to terms with the question of political feasibility in a case


abe’s book is available for purchase through the MIT Press, Amazon, and in bookstores across the country. Rabe will be discussing his book on April 24 at the Wilson Center in Washington DC, and on October 1 at the Ford School in Ann Arbor. Follow Rabe on Twitter at @BarryRabe for more.

where the economic argument is compelling but doesn’t self-implement. Q: Who is your intended audience for this book? A: I want to engage with political scientists

and other scholars, but also a broader audience on the question of whether we can design, implement, and sustain viable climate mitigation policies going forward. That includes the growing networks engaged in North America but extends to other continents. Increasingly, I find myself in conversation with scholars and policy makers from every corner of the globe who are raising similar questions. Q: Are there examples of governments that have been successful in pricing carbon? A: Success stories of the past decade include British Columbia, American northeastern states, possibly California, and several EU nations. Earlier role models include the Nordic countries, including Norway, which combines high carbon prices with high standards to minimize methane emissions from extensive oil production. But these are all relatively small jurisdictions, and most do not produce fossil fuels. Other larger nations, such as China, are entering this field but it remains unclear whether their policies are serious or symbolic.


Q: Has a country with partisan divides on the existence of climate change like the U.S. been able to create a sustainable carbon pricing policy? A: A decade ago, it was common to see more

bipartisan support for carbon pricing, both in Congress and many states. Consider John McCain and Mitt Romney. That has largely disappeared, with only modest exceptions among some coastal states. But we also see partisan divides on carbon pricing elsewhere, including Australia and Canada, where there have been some policy reversals following adoption and possibly more to come. This isn’t easy anywhere. Q: What can government officials do to

implement successful policies to reduce carbon emissions, generally speaking? A: Think near-term feasibility and long-term

durability. Develop a clear plan from the outset on how to allocate carbon price revenues—

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Photo: Jennifer Heffner / Vita Images

Networked Forty three masters students spent early February in DC, networking with and learning from our incredibly engaged DC alums and their colleagues. A record 145 people turned out for the evening reception and Q&A with michael Barr and Alumni Board Chair Keith Fudge (MPP ‘09).

and then deliver on that promise. Consider management and policy adjustment systems that can navigate inevitable bumps and surprises. Explore every possible way to make the pricing system work politically and expand supportive coalitions over time. Q: What advice do you have for policy students who are interested in entering the world of environmental policy? A: This is an inherently interdisciplinary field.

No single discipline owns it. At their best, our students ask tough questions that push the boundaries of individual fields, while in Weill Hall and beyond. While I was in DC writing this book, I routinely ran into former students who have launched careers of meaningful public service doing just this, including remarkable work on the carbon front. ■

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gerald r. Ford School of Public Policy

A force of nature Mary Corcoran to retire this spring

By Olivia Lewis (MPP ‘18)


eing a tough editor… helping find financial resources needed to stay in school… lending support and encouragement: as a mentor Professor Mary Corcoran did all of that and more for the lives and careers of hundreds of alumni. Now, as she prepares to retire from the University of Michigan, Corcoran’s students and colleagues praise her academic rigor and her warm (and often hilarious) personal support. Sitting in her pleasantly-cluttered Ford School office, a maze of papers, books, and photos of her beloved children and grandchildren (about whom she shares stories with her students and anyone else willing to listen), Corcoran is asked to reflect on her career and the decades of students she’s taught. Corcoran laughs and refers to her time at Michigan as “Mary’s greatest hits.” Education was always a priority for Corcoran. Her mother earned a college degree in the mid-1900s, a rare feat for women at the time. Admitting to naiveté while pursuing her PhD in education and social policy from the Massachusetts Institute for Technology in the 1970s, Corcoran said she originally wanted

to focus on poverty and “do good” by studying the impact of poverty on children. “It was a time when people were saying poverty would be eliminated by 1980,” she says now, shaking her head. The issues, of course, were far more challenging than scholars or politicians anticipated. Corcoran began digging deeper, eventually focusing her research on a narrower slice of the problem: why women were earning so much less than men in the labor market. When Corcoran joined the Ford School’s faculty in 1976, she was one of few women professors in the social sciences at U-M. With appointments in Women’s Studies and the Institute for Social Research, her research was interdisciplinary and important—particularly in debunking myths surrounding women’s work histories and salaries. “I was one of the first to have work histories for women and I could actually measure how much

historical differences accounted for the gap in men and women on average,” Corcoran said. “I found out they were important.” She collected data, too, to determine whether where a person started financially impacted their overall financial wealth. At the time, Corcoran says society had “greatly underestimated” the correlation between parental income to a child’s potential financial well-being. Paul Courant , Harold T. Shapiro Collegiate Professor of Public Policy and Senior Counselor to the Provost, wrote about a half-dozen papers with Corcoran, mostly on relationships between gender, pay, and other labor market outcomes. They studied the effects of working part-time to care for children on the lifetime income status of high-status professionals and also explored relationships between gender and pay of faculty at U-M; their work had an effect on University practice and policy.

“She was always really excited about the work and pushing students to be inquisitive and embrace the work, to see what’s there.” Dudley Benoit, MPP ’95

Corcoran and Airan Liu (PhD ’17)

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(PhD ’05) was an inaugural member of the PhD program in public policy and sociology at U-M. Now a full professor of sociology at Duke, Harris identifies Corcoran as the first professor at U-M to provide him with serious mentorship, and he credits her guidance for his 2005 Horace H. Rackham Distinguished Dissertation Award. Angel Harris

Courant says that working with Corcoran was “one of the great pleasures of my life at Michigan.” “Mary was part of a very strong group at Michigan, with Sheldon Danziger and others, who made the Ford School a major center for the study of poverty, gender, and race,” Courant said. “The work was important, her standards were high, the students who worked with us were terrific, and a good time was had by all.” For all of Corcoran’s academic accomplishments, former students would make a case for her teaching and mentorship as central to her legacy. Dudley Benoit ,

MPP ’95, currently serving as a Towsley Policymaker in Residence at the Ford School, said Corcoran’s passion inspired students in the classroom and beyond.

Calendar photo: Bentley Historical Library

“She was always really excited about the work and pushing students to be inquisitive and embrace the work, to see what’s there,” he said. “She encouraged great conversations in the classroom, not just in the material, but how she teased it out of us and really encouraged people to think and converse.” Mary Noonan (MPP ’97), associate professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies at the University of Iowa, still remembers making the decision to attend the Ford School for her masters degree. Noonan says Corcoran called her at home, and the pair spent an hour on the phone discussing her research and listing reasons why the other

schools Noonan was considering were not as good as Michigan. “Not only does she have superior methodological skills, but she is also able to communicate complex ideas in an easy-to-follow narrative,” Noonan says. “On top of all that, she is just a very nice person!— with a great sense of humor and a charming personality.” While Noonan pursued her PhD in sociology and well into her career, Corcoran remained a mentor, guiding her in professional development and negotiation strategies. “Once I started my job as an assistant professor at the University of Iowa, Mary did not forget about me,” she says. “It was at this point that I realized how truly lucky I was to have someone like Mary in my corner.” In 2002, Corcoran led the launch of the Ford School’s outstanding joint doctoral program—a pioneering model in which students earn a PhD in public policy alongside a disciplinary degree in sociology, economics, or political science.

“She has advised me more than any other faculty member at any level,” Harris notes.” She made me feel like a valued member of the Ford School, which became the primary place for my growth as an academic.” Alexandra (Sasha) Killewald (PhD ’11) is now a professor of sociology at Harvard University. She said Corcoran made students feel like she believed in their work, even as she offered constructive criticism.

“Mary had the unique ability to be your biggest cheerleader while saying you simply had to cut two pages of your paper because it was really boring, and no one would care,” Killewald said with a laugh. Decades of Corcoran’s former students and colleagues will smile at that— and will hear Corcoran’s warm laugh joining in. ■ Greg Duncan and Mary Corcoran, ca. early 1980s

(PhD ’12) arrived to Michigan in 2009 to work on her PhD in sociology, but mentioned to Ford School Professor Ann Lin that she was also interested in public policy.

Anju paul

“She promptly marched me over to Mary’s office to introduce me to her,” Paul said. “Mary was a force of nature…Half an hour later, I walked out of the Ford School as a joint PhD student. That short meeting changed the course of my future career.”

Mark Your Calendars


e’ll host a retirement party in Mary’s honor on Thursday, September 27, 2018. Alumni and friends are welcome to attend. Look for more information soon.

gerald r. Ford School of Public Policy

Betty Ford at 100 Still passing it on By Jacqueline Mullen (MPP ’18)


n 1994, former White House photographer David Hume Kennerly asked former First Lady Betty Ford if he could publish a photo he had taken on her last day in the White House. In the photo, Ford was posed atop the Cabinet Room table. As Kennerly recalls in a 2008 Smithsonian Magazine article, President Gerald R. Ford hadn’t seen the photo, and was surprised when he did.

“Well, Betty, you never told me you did that,” Gerald said, according to Kennerly. “There’s a lot of things I haven’t told you, Jerry,” Betty quipped.


isa McCubbin’s forthcoming biography, Betty Ford: First Lady, Women’s Advocate, Survivor, Trailblazer will be published on September 11, 2018 by Gallery Books/ Simon and Schuster.

The co-founder and longtime chair of the Betty Ford Center was well known for her sense of humor, as well as her determined activism, openness, and compassion. On April 8—what would have been her 100th birthday—we celebrate the legacy of Betty Ford, and remember the profound impact she had on so many lives. Betty Ford found herself thrust quite reluctantly into the national spotlight when her husband, Gerald R. Ford, became President of the

United States. Less than two months after entering the White House, Betty Ford was diagnosed with breast cancer—at a time when stigma was strong enough to keep the disease in the shadows. As would become characteristic, Ford chose to speak publicly about her struggle, boosting awareness in the media and saving countless lives as thousands of women across the country were encouraged to get breast examinations. Just like that, Ford recognized the power that came with her position— and she never looked back. It was an “aha moment,” says Lisa McCubbin, author of a forthcoming biography about Betty Ford. “She went, ‘Wow, I have this platform, and people will listen to me.’” Next, Ford set her energy on supporting another policy topic she felt strongly about: the proposed Equal Rights Amendment, which

would have explicitly guaranteed equal civil rights to all, regardless of gender. “She started calling congressmen and senators and urging to get it passed. And that was something First Ladies hadn’t really done,” says McCubbin. Susan Ford Bales, daughter of Betty and Gerald, remembers her father’s chief of staff asking Betty to stop making the calls from inside the White House. He believed the calls should be made from an outside line. “So my mother had an outside line put in so she could still make the calls from her office,” Bales says. “She wasn’t going to let somebody stop her from doing something she truly believed in.” What Ford is perhaps most remembered for, however, was her decision to turn her personal battle with alcohol and drug abuse—again, a battle she courageously shared

Photo: Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library


At Bethesda Naval Hospital after Mrs. Ford’s double mastectomy

Photo, above left: Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library. above right: The Carter Center

with the public—into a lifelong campaign to support others facing addiction. The cause took her from researching and helping to develop treatment programs at the Betty Ford Center, which opened its doors in 1982, to testifying before Congress in support of health care insurance coverage for addiction treatment. Before she died in 2011 at the age of 93, Ford received multiple awards for her advocacy work, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, the Susan G. Komen Foundation Award, and induction into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame. By all accounts Betty Ford had the courage to bring her unapologetic self—her struggles, her integrity, and her advocacy—to the public eye. In a country where breast cancer was only whispered about, views on gender were stubbornly old-fashioned, and a harmful stigma shrouded alcohol and drug

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Former first ladies Rosalynn Carter and Betty Ford testified before Congress in support of inclusion of mental health and substance abuse treatment benefits in the national health care reform plan.

addiction, Betty Ford “challenged all that,” says Mike Ford, the Fords’ oldest son. Speaking out also meant “she took a lot of negative feedback, especially as First Lady,” Mike adds. “But that didn’t deter her; she wanted to champion others, and she kept doing that until her final breath.”

Ford’s determination to utilize her platform to address social issues. “Betty Ford represented a new era of fierceness. Her courage to speak up, despite social norms deeming her voice unacceptable, is inspiring to women all across the world fighting every day to find their voice and gain the right to use it,” Jawad says.

On her 100th birthday, the success of Betty Ford’s efforts can be measured in terms of the thousands of people who have faced breast cancer or substance addiction and found the hope and help they needed. Ford’s legacy is also seen in the activism she inspired for those working toward women’s rights. And her legacy is here at the Ford School, in the example she sets for today’s students and alumni as they aim to become policy leaders.

What advice would Betty Ford give us if she were here today? Lisa McCubbin, Susan Bales, and Mike Ford offer some ideas: Stick to your principles. Strive to be an informed and fully engaged citizen. Find your ‘thing’ and stand behind it. Respect those who disagree with you. Don’t dwell on the past. Find the humor in everything. Use your power to help other people. Be compassionate. Pass it on. ■

Nadine Jawad (BA ’18), who is slated to speak at the Ford School’s April 13 celebration of Betty Ford’s 100th birthday, says she admires

View photos from the Ford School’s event on April 13 honoring Betty Ford’s 100th birthday at fordschool.umich. edu/betty-ford-at-100 .

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Leadership for the common good Nadine Jawad (BA ‘18) has been awarded one of the world’s most prestigious

graduate fellowships, the Rhodes Scholarship. She will join 32 students from across the United States and 60 international students—all pursuing graduate studies at the University of Oxford. Rhodes Scholars are chosen for outstanding academic achievements, and for their character, leadership potential, and demonstrated commitment “to others and to the common good.” Jawad fits all of those criteria. Nadine was chosen to be one of four student speakers at the U-M’s spring commencement ceremony on April 28, 2018.



gerald r. Ford School of Public Policy

Thinking globally

“Everything we did was informative and educational. I felt privileged to meet with the people [we did.] I also appreciated the time allotted for debrief and discussion (much of this was on the bus), [and] firsthand experiences of policy project areas.”

opportunity to our BA students: a seminar punctuated by a study trip to Costa Rica. ♦ The new course and study tour were designed to

expose Ford School undergraduates to important policy questions addressed by other countries and challenge them to think outside the framework of U.S. policy. ♦ In the classroom, students immersed themselves in the history, economics, and political structures of Costa Rica. They worked intensely on policy projects

Students spent two days in the cloud forest of Monteverde investigating eco-tourism, forestry and immigration policies at local businesses. Next, they brought their findings to the capital city of San José to broaden their perspective with visits to NGOs, government agencies, business, and non-profit organizations. 


his winter, we offered a groundbreaking new international

that were organized around three broad areas: eco-tourism, forest management, and immigration—synthesizing the policy issues and preparing questions for experts they would later meet in country. ♦ Then on February 24, as many of their U-M peers hit the beaches, PubPol 480 students departed for Costa Rica to spend their Winter Break learning and engaging with policy stakeholders.

“The hard work the students did on the front end enabled them to ask informed questions and engage Costa Rican leaders about different aspects of the three policy issues the course covered. Because students had steeped themselves in the issues during the preparatory phase, they were poised to recognize and assimilate relevant information even when it popped up in unexpected places. It was a very rich experience.” Susan Waltz, professor of public policy, scholar and practitioner in the field of international human rights

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 The students spent half a day participating in a policy simulation at INCAE, arranged through Professor Alberto Trejos, formerly a Ford School Towsley Policymaker in Residence. To explore the full impact of immigration policies, the group engaged with the migrant community of El Triángulo, north of San José. They REC EL NIÑO Y L A BOL A EL NIÑO Y LA BOLA were led by Really Experience Community, a nonprofit that promotes local development and crosscultural understanding.

“I absolutely loved the itinerary in Costa Rica—especially how diverse the experiences were. I think it was a great mix of culture and interactions with government stakeholders.”  The students visited the home of former president of Costa Rica and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Óscar Arias, who had worked with Susan Waltz for many years on the International Arms Trade Treaty.

 A visit to a coffee farm in Monteverde presented opportunities for students to inquire about immigrant labor as well as forest protection policies and eco-educational tourism.

 The trip itself was co-led by Professor Susan M. Collins. The seminar was conceived and launched under Collins’ leadership as dean of the Ford School, and she’ll teach the course next year, taking a new group of undergraduates through this immersive educational experience.

“This course was made possible by a generous donation from Regent Ro n We i s e r and the Weiser Family Foundation. In addition, the gift enhances resources for the International Economic Development Program and China Policy Course, establishes IPC Awards for students pursuing international internships and research, and helps IPC fund student-led initiatives. Our students are more equipped than ever before to practice engagement with policy stakeholders in a global context.” Cliff Martin, global engagement program manager, International Policy Center (IPC)



gerald r. Ford School of Public Policy

F a c ult y fi n di n g s Inequality

Dean Yang on immigration as a coping strategy after hurricanes hit

Natasha Pilkauskas on household asset inequality during the Great Recession

By creating a hurricane severity index and comparing it with restricted-access U.S. Census data, Dean Yang and Parag Mahajan (PhD candidate, public policy and economics) are able to precisely analyze bumps in immigration to the United States from countries recently hit by hurricanes.

It’s probably not surprising that higher levels of unemployment during the Great Recession coincided with declines in home and car ownership. After all, the two household assets are considered important markers of economic well-being, and it’s expected that families will struggle more during a recession.

The researchers found that immigration does play a role in helping disaster victims cope with negative shocks, but migration is more common from countries which have larger communities already inside the United States. As global climate change is expected to increase the severity of hurricanes, policymakers should be aware of the inequality in opportunity, for disaster victims who do not have close connections to the U.S. “are not so lucky, and must find means of coping with the aftermath.” Read “Taken by storm: Hurricanes, migrant networks, and U.S. immigration” in the National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper Series.

But Natasha Pilkauskas and coauthors decided to explore the relationship one step further: were there types of families, they wondered, that struggled more than others? The researchers found that families of certain structures (cohabitating families and single parents) and ethnicities (Black and Hispanic) had lower levels of home or car ownership. In comparison, they observed no change in either asset ownership for married families and White households. In other words, the Great Recession may have increased inequality across family structures and ethnicities, exacerbating the cycle of poverty, the coauthors report. Read “Assets among low-income families in the Great Recession” in PLoS ONE.



Inset Photo: Marissa Luna

By Jacqueline Mullen (MPP ’18)


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Read more about these “faculty findings,” and many others, at fordschool.umich.edu/faculty-publications.

Richard Hall on promoting health equity as a policy concern

Betsey Stevenson on gender inequality in economics textbooks

A growing number of policy practitioners have embraced the Health in All Policies (HiAP) approach to policy making. The concept integrates health considerations into all policy decision making, with the understanding that policy areas outside the traditional health sphere can have a large impact on public health outcomes.

Representation in textbooks is important, say Betsey Stevenson and Hanna Zlotnick (MPP ’19) in their analysis of gender bias in real and made-up mentions of people in eight economics textbooks. The researchers found men make up an astonishing 77 percent of all mentions. Even in made-up examples, women take fewer actions and are more likely to be involved in fashion or household tasks, while men are more likely to be in business or policy. Moreover, the researchers found that mentions of real-world economists, business leaders, inventors, and policymakers all under-represented the true proportion of women in the fields.

By breaking down barriers between sectors, some stakeholders hope the HiAP approach will help work toward health equity, write Richard Hall and Peter Jacobson (School of Public Health). To test whether the theory holds up in practice, the researchers interviewed 65 officials in the public and private sectors across five states. While HiAP was a useful framework for promoting health equity, they write, the degree of implementation was selective based on several factors, including political environment and availability of resources. Read “Examining whether the Health-in-All-Policies approach promotes health equity” in Health Affairs.


“Role models matter,” the researchers say. But it’s also about changing the culture of a field that struggles to attract women. To create more “forward looking” materials, Stevenson told Inside Higher Ed, instructors can use examples that describe “the world their students are going into—not the world Read “Representations of they’ve lived in the past.” men and women in introductory economics textbooks” in AEA Papers and Proceedings.


House photo: iStock Photo

Former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen

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The Land of Teranga 20 students traveled to Senegal over Spring Break, the culmination of the annual International Economic Development Program course, taught this year by Professor Shobita Parthasarathy . A highlight of the student-led trip was an exchange panel with graduate students from Institut Supérieur du Management (ISM). Established in 1992, ISM is the first private business school in French-speaking Africa. Read the IEDP student blog here: fordschool.umich.edu/iedp-blog



gerald r. Ford School of Public Policy

Faculty News Barr

Michael Barr and Joe Valenti (Center for American Progress) penned a Fortune op-ed: “How the CFPB fight is a sign of the next financial crisis.” Barr also wrote an op-ed in American Banker: “Dear Congress: Reg relief bill is a giveaway for large banks.” In December, Barr participated in a roundtable discussion with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, JP Morgan Chase, the Kresge Foundation, and others to announce significant new investments in Detroit’s Entrepreneurs of Color Fund (EOCF). Barr was one of the architects of the EOCF, which launched in 2015. Alan Deardorff ’s chapter on “Comparative advantage in digital trade” appears in Cloth for Wine? The Relevance of Ricardo’s Comparative Advantage in the 21st Century (ed. Simon Evenett). Deardorff served this academic year as the interim director of our BA Program. Susan Dynarski testified before the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee on “Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Financial aid simplification and transparency.” Dynarski’s testimony included insights from her research on the U.S. student loan market and potential improvements to make borrowing work for students. In the New York Times, Dynarski reviewed the evidence on online courses and using laptops in class. Reynolds Farley penned two chapters in edited volumes about Detroit: “Detroit in bankruptcy: What are the lessons to be learned?” in Why Detroit Matters: Decline, Renewal, and Hope in a Divided City (ed. Brian Doucet) and “Detroit: The emergence, decline and possible revitalization of a great city” in A Twenty-First Century Approach to Community Change: Partnering to Improve Life Outcomes for Youth and Families in Under-Served Neighborhoods (Eds. Paula G. Allen-Mears et al.)

Principal Investigator Elisabeth Gerber and colleagues have received a $761,000 award from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to support the Detroit Metropolitan Area Communities Study (DMACS). The study collects opinions from residents across Metro Detroit— reflecting the region’s diverse communities— to help local leaders craft programs and policies that respond to community needs. In Health Affairs, Richard Hall and Peter Jacobson (University of Michigan) wrote about whether the health-in-allpolicies approach promotes health equity (p. 25). Hall participated in a briefing hosted by Health Affairs about the new research at the National Press Club. In April, Yazier Henry gave two invited talks. He delivered The Peace and Justice Studies Lecture at Michigan State University. And he was part of a panel called “Peace in the World” at an International Congress hosted by the Avanza Colombia Foundation in Medellin, Colombia. For Brookings, Brian Jacob highlighted the advantages of support programs for community college students in “Building knowledge to improve degree completion in community colleges.” Paula Lantz was elected to the National

Academy of Social Insurance in recognition of her distinguished work on poverty, income assistance, and Medicare. With Samantha Iovan, Lantz published “When does pay-for-success make sense? Seven criteria for assessing whether an intervention is right for pay-for-success financing” in Stanford Social Innovation Review. Stephanie Leiser wrote “Taxpayers

want more fairness. GOP plan to ‘reform’ the tax code doesn’t deliver” for The Conversation. In January, Leiser participated in a packed Town Hall forum on tax reform hosted by U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell.



Melvyn Levitsky appeared on “Detroit

Today with Stephen Henderson” for the podcast’s episode on “Mueller charges and what they tell us about investigation.” Levitsky has been widely interviewed by press for perspectives on Russia and U.S.–Russian relations. CLOSUP postdoc Sarah Mills ’ research on wind development in Pennsylvania appeared in Commonwealth and her chapter analyzing “Wind energy and rural community sustainability” was published in the 2018 Handbook of Sustainability and Social Science Research. With Barry Rabe , Mills described “State energy policy in the Trump Era: Insights from public opinion” in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Science. Two faculty members were recipients of Poverty Solutions’ 2018 Faculty Grant Awards. Shobita Parthasarathy ’s project, “The politics of technology for the poor: Between India and the world,” investigates the impact of technology on poverty alleviation. Kristin S. Seefeldt’s “Helping across generations: An exploratory study of blue collar workers’ retirement well-being” explores the impacts of intergenerational financial assistance. Natasha Pilkauskas explored

“Maternal employment stability in early childhood: Links with child behavior and cognitive skills” with J. Brooks-Gunn and J. Waldfogel in Developmental Psychology, and “The magnitude and timing of grandparental coresidence during childhood in the U.S.” with M. Amorim and R. Dunifon in Demographic Research.





Barry Rabe ’s latest book, Can We Price

Carbon? was published in March by The MIT Press (p. 16). Rabe was also appointed to a National Academy of Public Administration panel to assess the mission and functions of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin requested an assessment through an executive order in August. Kaitlin Raimi published several papers,

including “Putting your money where your mouth is: An experimental test of pro-environmental spillover from reducing meat consumption to monetary donations” with A.R. Carrico, H.B. Truelove, and B. Eby (Environment and Behavior) and “The influence of learning about carbon dioxide removal (CDR) on support for mitigation policies” with V. CampbellArvai, P.S. Hart, and K.S. Wolske (Climatic Change). Joy Rohde ’s “Pax Technologica:

Computers, International Affairs, and Human Reason in the Cold War” appears in Isis. John J.H. “Joe” Schwarz was honored by the Student Veterans of America at the University of Michigan (SVAUM) with a Lifetime Achievement Award at their 10th Anniversary Benefit Dinner in January. From 2007–2010, Schwarz taught and mentored the founding leaders of SVA, both at U-M and nationally. Chuck Shipan is this year’s recipient of the Midwest Political Science Association’s (MPSA) Herbert Simon Award. The award honors significant contributions to the scientific study of bureaucracy. Shipan delivered the Herbert Simon Award Lecture at the MPSA meeting in April.


Tompkins-Stange Weiss

Policy Patrons: Philanthropy, Education Reform, and the Politics of Influence, by Megan Tompkins-Stange , was awarded Outstanding Academic Title for 2017 by the American Library Association’s publication Choice. The prestigious award is given to the top ten percent of books reviewed each year. Tompkins-Stange will also be recognized with a 2018 Provost’s Teaching Innovation Prize in May for her project, “Bringing philanthropy to life through critical pedagogy: Philanthropic foundations in the public arena and poverty solutions.” In December, Janet Weiss was appointed to a panel of the National Academy of Public Administration that will, as requested by the U.S. Congress, conduct an organizational assessment of the NASA Advisory Council. The Council provides consensus advice and recommendations to the NASA Administrator. In January, the Arts Alliance presented its 2018 Philanthropic Excellence Medal to Marina V. n. Whitman and her husband, Dr. Robert F. Whitman. The award recognized the ways in which their “stewardship and generous investment of talent, time and treasure has guided the Great Lakes Performing Artists Associates, the Michigan Theater, Artrain, the Sterns Collection and many other organizations.” Whitman retired from the U-M faculty in 2017. After more than 30 years in Ann Arbor, she and Bob moved this spring to Concord, MA, to be closer to their children and grandchildren. Justin Wolfers ’ prominent social media presence was showcased by the University of Michigan in a promotion titled: “#SocialScholars: Professors show power of public engagement.”



wo outstanding scholars

will join the Ford School this fall as assistant professors, both with expertise in international development. Yusuf Neggers is a

postdoctoral fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. He received a PhD in Public Policy from Harvard University, and also holds an MSc in International Political Economy from the London School of Economics. His research examines questions at the intersection of development economics and political economy, with a particular focus on the connections between political and bureaucratic accountability and the quality of public services. Eduardo Montero is

completing his PhD in Economics at Harvard University. Originally from San José, Costa Rica, he graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in Economics in 2010 and with a M.S. in Statistics in 2011. Montero’s interests are in development economics, political economy, and economic history. His research focuses on how variation in institutional arrangements, such as property rights regimes, affect development in Central America and Central Africa. Neggers and Montero will add to the Ford School’s strength in international development, joining a group of scholars that includes Susan M. Collins , John Ciorciari , Dean Yang , and Ann Lin.


gerald r. Ford School of Public Policy

Class Notes

ROBERT F. GOECKEL (MPP ’74) is the author of Soviet Religious Policy in Estonia and Latvia: Playing Harmony in the Singing Revolution, Indiana University Press, 2018. He is professor of political science and international relations at SUNY College at Geneseo.

CFEN is a diverse network of organizations working to achieve an ambitious overall goal: “Within a generation, we will lift the burden of cancers and other diseases by driving a dramatic and equitable transition from toxics to effective clean and safe alternatives.”

CATHY PETERSON (MPP ’77) is really enjoying her new job as the global head of innovations at the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine. Her role is to find and start a digital business that will reduce harm from diagnostic errors— no small challenge!

MATT NAUD (MPP ’90) is the environmental coordinator at the City of Ann Arbor. He was recently re-appointed to the USEPA Board of Scientific Counselors—Sustainable and Healthy Communities Subcommittee.

JACK SMALLIGAN (MPP ’86) joined the

Urban Institute as a senior fellow focusing on retirement and disability policy in February, 2018. He was previously the deputy associate director for education, income maintenance, and labor at the Office of Management and Budget. BART éDES (MPP ’87) was recently

appointed the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) new North American representative. Edes previously served at ADB Headquarters in Manila, Phillippines. In his new role, he will be responsible for mobilizing financing for ADB’s member countries; sharing development knowledge and experience; establishing and deepening partnerships; and raising public awareness of ADB in Canada and the U.S. JONATHAN PERMAN (MPP ’87) recently

founded the American Congressional Exchange (ACE) at the Bipartisan Policy Center. The initiative is a systematic approach to building better relationships and bipartisanship in Congress—away from the crucible of Washington. ACE offers members of Congress the opportunity to commit to spending one weekend a year in the district of a colleague from across the aisle. DEBRA ERENBERG (MPP ’89) recently started work as strategic director for the Cancer-Free Economy Network (CFEN).

SUZANNE OWEN (MPP ’00) moved back to Ann Arbor with her husband, Greg Matthews. They added a little Wolverine to their family: Sylvan, born on October 18, 2017. CORTNEY ROBINSON (MPP ’01) and his

family are excited to introduce new son Roland West Robinson, born February 10, 2018 at 1:29 am. He weighed 8 lbs., 3 oz., and is 22 in. long. NICOLE SHEPARDSON (MPP ’01) and her husband, David, welcomed the birth of Daniel Timothy on November 22, 2017. His big sister Sarah (age 5) and brother Davey (age 2) are happily introducing him to their favorite playgrounds near their home in Washington, DC. WALTER BRAUNOHLER (MPP ’02) and

family are finishing up their three years in Poland where Walter has been the Consul General at the U.S. Consulate General in Krakow. They will move to Newport, Rhode Island later this year, for an onward assignment with the State Department at the U.S. Naval War College. FERZANA HAVEWALA (MPP ’03) and her husband, Amit Sawant (U-M PhD ’06) are excited to announce the birth of their daughter, Reva Havewala Sawant. Named after the Hindu goddess Durga, she is sure to be a strong and fierce future Wolverine.

JOSE STEVENSON (MPP ’03) works at

the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where he continues to meet other Ford School alums, including AMY WALLACE (MPP ’16), a more recent grad who sits across from him (he noticed her Ford School coffee mug after months of working together.) Jose and wife, Dalia Trinidad, had their first child, Emmanuel Angel, on May 28. Jose and Dalia are adjusting to new parent life and loving every moment they have with him. STEPHEN BALL (MPP ’07) joined Wells Fargo as senior vice president of government relations. In this role, based in New York City, Ball leads Wells Fargo’s legislative and political agenda in nine states across the Northeastern U.S. ANDREAS HATZIGEORGIOU (MPP ’08) was recently selected by the career magazine Shortcut as one of Sweden’s top “up and comers” of 2017. The list includes 100 people under the age of 40 who “stand out, inspire and engage, travel the road less traveled, follow their passions, and make Sweden better.” LAILA BERNSTEIN (MPP/MSW ’09)

received Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program’s (BHCHP) Change Maker Award for her advocacy and action to end homelessness. Bernstein, who works as an advisor to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh for the Initiative to End Chronic Homelessness, has streamlined and made fairer the process by which homeless people are prioritized for housing. She received her award on October 19 at the Fall Soiree hosted by BHCHP’s Emerging Leaders. MICHELLE STERNTHAL (PhD ’08) and

her husband, Zeke Reich, welcomed their third child, Ziva, this past November. She joins big sister Myla and big brother Matan.




JON TAP (BA ’09, MPP ’15) will marry Dr. Jackie Madison (U-M MD ’13) in August at the Huron City Museums in Port Austin, MI. HEIDI KAPLAN (MPP ’10) and her

husband, Alex, welcomed their daughter, Ira Grace, to the world in June 2017. The Kaplans live in Portland, OR, where Heidi continues work in human resources for the Environmental Protection Agency. They get back to Lake Michigan as frequently as possible. ARI PARRITZ (BA ’10) and his wife, Rachel, will be moving to Minneapolis this summer. Ari will be leading the expansion of his company (Vermilion Development, a Chicago based real estate developer) and Rachel will be joining an OB/GYN group as an attending physician in St. Paul. ANDREW ROGERS (MPP ’10) and

Kristen Rogers celebrated the birth of Ruby Lillian Rogers on April 20, 2017. Andrew is the director of university budget and finance for the State of Oregon and its higher education coordinating commission. His work focuses on the strategic allocation of state operating and capital financial support to Oregon’s seven public universities to maximize student success and outcomes. RACHEL WHITE (BA ’10) accepted a tenure-track faculty position in the Darden School of Education at Old Dominion University. At ODU, Rachel will serve as an assistant professor of educational foundations and leadership.

Class of Ruby Hadlee






ADAM SCHMIDT (MPP ’11) and wife

STEVEN RZEPPA (BA ’14) accepted a

ASHLEE DAVIS (MPP ’11) welcomed their

position as political and communications director for AFSCME Council 25— a statewide public sector labor union with 50,000 members. He was also re-elected to serve on City Council in Trenton and as the top vote-getter, will serve as Mayor Pro-Tem.

first child, Hadlee Mae, in January 2018. CREE JONES (MPP/JD ’13) will graduate

with a PhD in economics from the University of Chicago in June and will start the Bigelow Fellowship at the University of Chicago Law School in July. NINA MATURU (MPP/MBA ’13) was one

of 10 Americans selected by the Atlantic Expedition, a German-American fellowship program, to travel to Germany and discuss the future of transatlantic relations. Nina presented her business and technology policy recommendations to German Parliament and her memo was recently distributed by the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). LUIS ALONSO ALVAREZ PORTUGAL

(MPP ’14) has been the senior advisor to the National Commissioner for Security of Mexico since May 2015. NOAH HALPERN (BA ’14) was recently

hired at Asylum Seeker Assistance Project where he works to help asylum seekers re-enter their profession of choice after arriving in America. RACHEL JACOBSON (MPP ’14) recently started a new job as senior program manager for the American Society of Adaptation Professionals (ASAP), a professional association for practitioners and scholars in the field of climate change adaptation.

KATIE KOZIARA (BA ’15) accepted

a post as public affairs manager at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). MICHELE MAJORS (MPP ’15), husband

Rob, and big brother Bennen Wycliffe (b. July 2015) welcomed Ellis Cajetan to the family in December 2017. NICK PFOST (MPP ’15) has been

named as the director of marketing and communications for the Midwest Institute for Sexuality and Gender Diversity, a startup nonprofit connecting, educating, and empowering queer and trans college students throughout the Midwest. Nick also works full-time as the (editor’s note: most excellent) marketing and communications specialist at the Ford School. KENNY FENNELL (MPP ’17) began a new job in the City of Detroit Mayor’s Office of Mobility Innovation as a senior mobility strategist. The office was established by Mayor Duggan last year. Omair Khan (MPP ’18) and Carmille Lim (MPP ’18) will tie the knot at the

Michigan Union on April 29—the day after graduation. They met in September of their first year at the Ford School.

20?? Roland







gerald r. Ford School of Public Policy

The Last Word


key Ford School priority is to engage more and better with external organizations and communities, leveraging Ford’s capacity and expertise, interdisciplinary approaches, and ability to assemble a network of policy-engaged University faculty. Building on ongoing work by many

of the School’s faculty and students, this involves creating engaged teaching and learning opportunities for U-M students, supporting faculty and students in engaged policy research, and translating research into action to create policy impact. Below, Elisabeth R. Gerber , Ford’s Associate Dean for Research

and Policy Engagement, talks to State & Hill about this effort. State & Hill: These engaged initiatives seem aligned with President Schlissel’s wish for units to collaborate within and beyond the University. Gerber: President Schlissel wants the University to have greater public impact. I and many other faculty love working with external organizations to create mutual benefits. Academics may lack tools to solve big social and policy problems. Government or nonprofits may also lack some tools. So we come together and collaborate to improve the quality of life for our communities. That is central to our mission as a public university.

Don’t some campus organizations already exist to help faculty make external connections? Yes. But we encourage faculty to start with personal decisions about what can they bring to the table to help people directly. The University’s growth and survival depend on the world understanding and engaging with what it does. We want faculty and students go to a community organization and say, ‘Let’s work together to solve problems.’ We do a lot of practical policy engagement already. For example, many of my students work on supervised consulting projects on problems external partners bring to us. When our students work on these projects, external partners are blown away.

What kinds of external partners do you work with? Nonprofits, foundations, churches, government, the whole gamut of stakeholders in public policy. From us, the organization gets capacity, insight and knowledge to serve the broader public; and from them, we get opportunities for students and faculty. Is there one specific project with which you have been especially happy? Last year a team of students worked with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. They wanted to create a community engagement model for increasing racial equity, but they

Philadelphia, where boys involved with the criminal justice system may be placed. Those making the placements preferred communitybased approaches, rather than residential. Glen Mills needed to update its practices and tell its story better. They had data, but they didn’t know how to analyze it and extract what would help them demonstrate success. Our students designed surveys and strategies for following up with Glen Mills alums, and they made recommendations about what the school should do with their administrative data. The client was extremely happy. What would you wish to add to these existing types of engagement? We should provide structure around what we’re already doing. External relationship-building and maintenance take time. Faculty may be good at working with community partners in the moment but not so good at finding

“Academics may lack tools to solve big social and policy problems. Government or nonprofits may also lack some tools. So we come together and collaborate to improve the quality of life for our communities.” didn’t have the capacity. Our students created a toolkit to help municipal governments make action plans for racial equity. Department staff came to Ford for the final presentation, and they were blown away by the work the students did. The toolkits gave local governments specific steps to take as front-line actors engaging citizens and enhancing racial equity. The Department is very keen to continue with us. But you have also worked with nonprofits. Yes. For example, we had three students working with Glen Mills Schools, a residential school near

those partners or maintaining relationships long term. A big part of this push is finding professionals to help us identify, manage and maintain outside partners. We can find mentors—perhaps alumni or prior research partners—who can help us sustain these relationships and make them more productive. We can also partner with other U-M schools and programs in teaching and research. Ford is nimble and lean. We know how to get data-sharing agreements and move grant proposals. We are excited to help others on campus do this kind of engaged collaboration and have an impact. ■

PPIA for me was nothing short of a life-changing experience. The PPIA family has served as a wellspring of intellectualism, guidance, and friendship. —MELVIN WASHINGTON 2014 PPIA FELLOW, MPP ‘18

A LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCE PUBLIC POLICY AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Since 1983, the Ford School has hosted approximately 700 students in its PPIA Junior Summer Institute. Just under 150 PPIA graduates have gone on to earn a Ford School Master of Public Policy degree. In the years ahead, we aim to bring more undergraduates to Ann Arbor each summer, and to increase the number of PPIA alumni who matriculate and receive funding support to earn their MPP degrees here at the Ford School.

Support PPIA today. Give at fordschool.umich.edu/giving/ppia

Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy University of Michigan Joan and Sanford Weill Hall 735 S. State Street Ann Arbor, MI 48109-3091

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100 @

View photos from the Ford School’s event on April 13 honoring Betty Ford’s 100th birthday at fordschool.umich.edu/betty-ford-at-100 .


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Mrs. Ford famously lobbied members of Congress and state legislatures for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment

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