Message from the Dean

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Joan FitzgeraldHi All,

I’m happy to say that despite the frequent inclement weather we’ve been experiencing here at the Boston campus, the spring semester is in full swing across all of our programs and we’ve even launched a few new initiatives.

The Policy School officially established the “Resilient Cities Lab,” which will conduct research that we hope will lead to better urban climate change mitigation and adaption policies. The lab will be lead by Dr. Matthias Ruth and will involve numerous faculty and student contributors from across the university.

Rebecca Riccio was appointed director of the University’s new Social Impact Lab. The Lab was created to empower social agents of change to think, work, and collaborate across sectors, disciplines, and generations to achieve greater impact in their communities and around the world. We’re looking forward to the exciting programming they have in the works including the Social Impact Conference and the Social Impact Lecture Series.

On January 8th we kicked off a new semester of our Myra Kraft Open Classroom series. This semester the theme is “Water: Challenges of Extremes,” and is lead by several talented faculty including Brian Helmuth, Professor, School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences; Auroop Ganguly, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; and Lee Breckenridge, School of Law. Despite a few cancellations due to poor weather conditions, enrollment in the seminar this semester has actually increased!

Thanks to Matthias Ruth, the Policy School hosted “The Politics of Adapting to Climate Change,” a talk by Dr. Debra Javeline, an associate professor at Notre Dame. Dr. Javeline reviewed the field of climate change adaption and explored the tremendous contributions that political scientists could make to understanding the pursuit, implementation, and success of adaptation around the world.

Brian Young, a PhD student in our Law and Public Policy program, co-published a journal article in Healthcare. “A novel community-based delivery model to combat cancer disparities was published in December.

As always, a number of our faculty have been providing commentary or publishing op-eds on timely news items in both the local and national media. Highlights include:



The Policy School was also featured on the front page of news @ Northeastern twice in January; one article announced the start of our new Open Classroom seminar and another introduced the new Social Impact Lab:

We recently hosted a technical Career Workshop for current students in our MPA, MURP and LPP programs and will soon host a second event that focuses on fostering relationships among our students and prominent policy leaders from throughout the Boston area. It’s thanks to our many dedicated faculty and alumni that we are able to host successful, engaging events such as these for our students year after year.
On February 26th, the Master of Public Administration program will co-sponsor a book party for American Identity in the Age of Obama. The book was co-edited by Richard L. O’Bryant, who is a member of our core MPA faculty.
As you can see, the semester is off to a strong start and we hope to continue this momentum in the coming months. As always, we welcome you to share your news with us and encourage you to engage with the Policy School on our social channels. Many thanks to our faculty, students, alumni and staff for creating and fostering such a vibrant, inspiring community.

Best Wishes,


Joan Fitzgerald
Interim Dean, School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs

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