Category: Policy Perspectives

Title: A Note From the Dean

It has been an extraordinary year, especially at the McCourt School of Public Policy.

We witnessed a historic presidential election, which deeply divided our country; a pandemic, which moved nearly all our learning, research and community activities onto a virtual campus; and the resulting recession, which both revealed and deepened economic inequality in the U.S. and around the world.

But amid the resulting fear and uncertainty, the McCourt School received a tremendous gift: a second transformational $100M investment from civic entrepreneur Frank McCourt, Jr. (C’75).

“As we enter this academic year, I do so with a renewed sense of hope and optimism for our future.”

Dean Maria Cancian

A full $50M of this investment will support scholarships and financial aid, increasing access for underrepresented students seeking a policy education, which marks a significant advancement of our aspiration to be the most inclusive public policy school. The additional $50M will allow us to continue to make critical investments in faculty and research.

When it comes to building more diverse pipelines of future leaders, we are thinking broadly. You will learn about the Craig Newmark Veterans Scholarship Fund, which eliminates out-of-pocket costs to attend McCourt for five outstanding military-connected students, thanks to a generous gift from craigslist founder Craig Newmark.

You will learn about research professor Amy O’Hara, and her work to help state and local governments — including hard to count communities — improve the accuracy of the 2020 Census using administrative data like tax, medical and education records. It’s hard to overstate the importance of this work: as the piece notes, in 2017, $1.504 trillion was distributed to state and local governments and organizations based on census data. Efforts to make policy more equitable — like Amy’s — will be central to our future faculty and research investments.

As we enter this academic year, I do so with a renewed sense of hope and optimism for our future. I am grateful for the challenge and opportunity to lead this community committed to teaching and learning, and to research and impact, in service of the common good.

I hope you enjoy learning more about who we are at McCourt — and where we are headed — in this issue of Policy Perspectives.