The University of Massachusetts Amherst

The Center for Public Policy is Now the School of Public Policy

Woman at front of classroom and two others sitting at a table watching her teach
Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Formerly known as the Center for Public Policy & Administration (CPPA), the establishment of the School of Public Policy (SPP) was approved by the UMass Board of Trustees in September 2015.  The Class of 2016 will be the first graduates of the new School.

SPP will continue its long tradition of providing rigorous professional training for students attracted to public service and careers in public administration. Since the new millennium, UMass has produced a growing number of master's degree graduates in public policy and administration, from eight (8) in 2000 to 31 in 2014. Alumni go on to become public administrators, policy analysts, and nonprofit leaders across the globe. SPP will continue to be housed within the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

According to M.V. Lee Badgett, professor of economics and CPPA's director from 2007-2016, "This is an exciting moment for public policy and administration on our campus. CPPA's faculty and staff have worked diligently to take our programs to the next level. I also am grateful to the many other UMass faculty and administrators, including those serving on the recent School of Public Policy Advisory Committee, for their counsel and support."   

Charles (Charlie) Schweik assumed the position of interim director of SPP on June 1, 2016. During Schweik’s year as interim director, he will be working with SPP and other faculty to design a new undergraduate major in public policy. He also plans to collaborate with other departments and colleges at UMass to continue building SPP’s strong interdisciplinary programs of teaching and research, and to help organize the physical move of SPP from its home in Gordon Hall to another space on campus in 2017.

John Hird, Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, notes that "CPPA has long been an important hub for interdisciplinary research and teaching at UMass. The move to a School will provide even more opportunities for our flagship campus to contribute cutting-edge scholarship in the fields of public policy and administration, and to serve the outreach mission of our land-grant university."

Hird was the inaugural director of CPPA, helping to guide its transition from a program within the Department of Political Science to its own stand-alone Center. SPP will continue to be housed within the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. 

The transition from Center to School will support growth in several areas, including:
  • New curricular programsAn undergraduate major in public policy and administration is currently in the planning stages. The major will combine a liberal arts education with professional skills to educate effective public leaders. New online and certificate programs are also anticipated, along with a stronger emphasis on the current 5-year accelerated BA/MPP program;
  • Cross-disciplinary research collaborations that support the incubation of research clusters to address contemporary policy challenges and raise the research profile of interdisciplinary research on the flagship campus;
  • Connections to broad constituencies beyond campus that mutually support undergraduate education and community needs, and that provide public forums for dialogue about policy issues from cybersecurity to immigration; and
  • Additional opportunities for external funding and investments created by new partnerships and greater visibility for policy and administration research. 

For additional information, please contact Charlie Schweik(link sends e-mail).