Message from the Dean

Joan Fitzgerald

Hi All,

It’s finally starting to feel like Spring here in Boston as our students and faculty head into the remaining few weeks of the semester. The past month has been filled with events, announcements, projects and many more exciting activities concerning our students and faculty that I’m eager to share.

First, we just concluded this semester’s Myra Kraft Open Classroom, “Water: Challenges of Extremes” seminar on April 9th. 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, did a fantastic job planning the course and engaging both our speakers and our audiences throughout the semester.  Look for more information on the Open Classroom for fall, focusing on the topic JUSTICE.  It will be led by Barry Bluestone, with Professors Michael Dukakis (political science) Daniel Medwed (law) participating along with Kevin Murray, the Executive Director of the Law School’s Program in Human Rights & the Global Economy. 

Assistant Professor Dietmar Offenhuber, who has dual appointments in the College of Arts, Media and Design and the Policy School, has been sharing his research on the role of visualization and representation in urban governance and civic discourse here in Boston and abroad. He presented a workshop called “Decoding the city” at the Institut für Designforschung der Zürcher Hochschule der Künste in February. He will also present a lecture atThe Future City² conference at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in May and will participate in a panel discussion at the BSA Urban Design Committee meeting in June.

Professor Matthias Ruth also has been speaking in Boston and abroad this semester. He gave several presentations on climate change adaptation, development, and more in Singapore, Germany and Boston:

  • “Climate Change Adaptation in the USA” (“Klimaanpassung in den USA”), International Conference on Regional Climate Adaption and Resilience:  Towards Climate-Adapted and Resilient Regions, Bremen, Germany, February 24-25, 2014
  •  “Entropy Law and Economics”, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, Singapore, March 11, 2014
  •  “Climate Change and Regional Development – How to Identify Robust Strategies”, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, Singapore, March 12, 2014
  • “Challenges and Opportunities for Infrastructure Adaptation to Climate Change in Metro Boston”, ASCE Structures Congress, Boston, Massachusetts, April 3-5, 2014

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

News @ Northeastern featured LPP alumnae Mariam Raqib in an articleabout Afhanistan Samsortya, which she founded to reverse the environmental ravages caused by decades of war in Afghanistan. The nonprofit organization is Boston-based and aims to revitalize Afghanistan’s woodlands by empowering underserved communities.

Stephen Donovan, a first year Master of Urban and Regional Policy student, was awarded the Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership’s second annual Lowell Richards Fellowship. Stephen was selected, in part, for his demonstrated commitment to urban economic development and housing issues. He is currently a portfolio analyst at Boston Community Capital and spent his time prior to this serving as an AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps member and team leader.  Stephen will spend the summer working on affordable housing and urban development issues at Massport.

Following a successful technical Career Workshop for students in our MPA, MURP and LPP programs, we hosted a Career Dialogues event that was designed to foster relationships among our students and prominent policy leaders from throughout the Boston area. Many of our MPA and MURP students met with Boston-based leaders who shared insights about their organizations and personal career paths in a variety of fields including data and analytics, health and education research, public administration, real estate and development, transportation and infrastructure, and sustainability.

Though the current semester is not quite finished, we are already preparing for the upcoming Summer and Fall semesters. We’ll soon announce the recipients of our five prestigious Fellowship awards, which offer several of our students the opportunity to work in policy-focused fellowships with a Boston-based organizations or agencies. We’ve also selected two students to participate in our student exchange program with the University of Amsterdam. First year LPP student Marie–Frances Rivera and first year MURP student Leslie Stahl will spend the Fall semester engaged in a research-intensive program in Amsterdam. And last, but certainly not least, we’ve admitted a talented and diverse class of graduate students who will commence their studies in the LPP, MPA and MURP programs this Fall.

I hope that you each enjoy a successful end to this academic year and look forward to seeing you at the end of semester party.

Best Wishes,


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

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