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Regents Approve UCR School of Public Policy


Regents Approve UCR School of Public Policy

Graduate programs will focus on policy issues of the state and Inland region.

(September 17, 2008)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – UC Riverside’s location in the fast-growing Inland Empire of Southern California uniquely positions the campus to educate future policy-makers and conduct research in issues related to immigration, population growth and environmental policy, the Board of Regents said today as it unanimously approved the establishment of a School of Public Policy.

The graduate school will admit its first class of students in fall 2010.

Chancellor Timothy P. White said the School of Public Policy will produce graduates trained in policy analysis whose work will benefit residents of the Inland area, California and other fast-growing regions around the world.

“The Inland Empire is one of the fastest-growing regions in the nation and faces a severe shortage of skilled individuals who have the analytical and management skills necessary to plan and deliver public services at the city, county and regional levels,” White said. “Because the public-policy problems facing our region are so similar to those faced by many rapidly growing areas around the world, we anticipate there also will be strong national and international demand for the graduate programs to be offered by the School of Public Policy.”

The new school will focus on a range of social-policy issues, particularly those related to population growth, as they intersect with environmental policy and will emphasize a regional approach to solving common problems.

“We have fairly ambitious plans,” said Anil Deolalikar, associate dean of the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS) and director of the CHASS Public Policy Initiative that launched preparations for the School of Public Policy. “We think the school will serve this region well. In many ways the Inland Empire is a living laboratory for policy analysts; the region is experiencing rapid population growth and the problems that typically come with growth – congestion, suburban sprawl, air pollution, water scarcity, stress on social services and increasing inequality of income and opportunity. From a policy point of view, this region is understudied and underserved.”

The proposal approved by the regents allocates 12 full-time faculty equivalent positions. One of those slots will be filled by the dean, and five or six more will be filled by faculty assigned exclusively to the school. The remaining positions may be filled by faculty holding joint appointments in relevant departments or schools. The joint appointments will be made with appropriate units in areas that will contribute strength to the School of Public Policy while also furthering existing or developing departmental academic plans.

Classes will meet initially in existing campus facilities. Ultimately, the school will be located in the planned West Campus Professional and Graduate Center, northeast of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Iowa Avenue. The center – with 51,000 square feet of assignable space – will house the School of Public Policy and the Graduate School of Education. Construction costs are estimated at $37.5 million, with occupancy expected in 2013-14.

The School of Public Policy will offer a Ph.D. and a Master of Public Policy degree. The MPP degree may be completed in two years by full-time students, or in up to four years by mid-career public-policy professionals. Also planned are a 15-month Executive MPP program, a fast-track for experienced professionals working in government, nonprofit and community agencies. Non-degree certificate programs will be offered in selected areas.

The school will offer four areas of specialization: environmental and sustainable development policy, population and health policy, higher education policy, and immigration policy.

UCR will begin recruiting a founding dean and core faculty during the 2008-09 year. The school will accommodate a graduate student population of 30 doctoral and 120 master’s degree candidates at maturity. Eventually, the School of Public Policy will also include undergraduates from the public policy major and minor programs that were introduced in the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences in fall 2006.

Deolalikar said the MPP has been one of the fastest-growing degree programs regionally and nationally. For instance, MPP applications increased by nearly 75 percent between 2000 and 2007 in southern California. “The popularity of the program stems from the fact that students today are interested in professional training but are also increasingly idealistic,” Deolalikar said. “They want a curriculum that is connected to real-world societal problems and their solutions.”

The University of California, Riverside (www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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