Faculty Leaders Program Proves Virtually Unstoppable
August 25, 2021
Fifteen professors from diverse institutions across the United States gained policy research skills and personal mentoring over a three-week period this summer, as part of Pardee RAND’s 8th annual Faculty Leaders Program.
As with all preceding cohorts, the 2021 faculty leaders were dynamic and passionate about bringing policy change to their research, their classrooms, and their communities. Their academic backgrounds cover a variety of disciplines including politics and global studies, urban public health, psychology, sociology, African-American studies, criminal justice, biology and life sciences, social enterprise and public policy in Ghana, human development, law, political science, and environmental studies.
“Especially during the pandemic where connection has been lost but is needed, it was nice to cultivate a new community in this program.”
This year, for the first time, the program was entirely virtual. To accommodate this new format, Pardee RAND modified the structure and added some new elements. The cohort met daily for three days, followed by three group “check-in” meetings in subsequent weeks. Additionally, participants were each matched with a RAND mentor of their choice and met with them three times for individual one-on-one guidance and discussion on their project.
One faculty leader noted her appreciation of the mentorship. “My mentor helped me to not only see my value but connect the theoretical question I am interested in to larger issues in the world. That was the hard wall that I could never get over before: how does my research translate into the larger world. She also taught me about the value of networks.”
Taking advantage of the online program, Pardee RAND was also able to include first-hand information about two policy professional organizations, Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) and the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM), with presentations from PPIA executive director Simone Gbolo and APPAM president-elect John Martinez.
“I was encouraged, inspired and reenergized to continue my work and build from it to move it to a policy arena where I can have an even greater impact.”
To connect the growing network of faculty leader alumni, the interactive Wednesday morning session, “Bringing Policy Research into Your Classroom,” featured FLP alumni Analena Hope Hassberg, Nancy López, Michael L. Jones, and Elizabeth Rule, who shared how they have integrated lessons from their FLP experiences into their classroom teaching. All FLP alumni were invited to the talk, which included breakout sessions that allowed them to network and exchange ideas with the current cohort.
Despite the virtual nature of the program overall, it clearly succeeded in building community. One faculty leader commented, “Especially during the pandemic where connection has been lost but is needed, it was nice to cultivate a new community in this program.”
The first three days of the program also featured the following Pardee RAND faculty, staff, and RAND presenters:
- Malcolm Williams, discussing DEI in action
- Rhianna Rogers, providing an overview of the RAND Center to Advance Racial Equity Policy
- Jeffrey Wasserman (Pardee RAND alum, cohort ’75), who taught a module on Introduction to Policy Analysis and led a discussion on applying the policy matrix framework to individual projects
- Gery Ryan, who taught a module on the phases of public policymaking
- Stefanie Howard, who provided an introduction to RAND and discussed the profession and discipline of public policy analysis, and
- Cynthia Gonzalez (FLP alum, cohort ’15), who provided an overview of Pardee RAND’s Community-Partnered Policy and Action stream and led each of the group check-in meetings.
With the addition of the 15 members of FLP Cohort ’21, Pardee RAND is proud to have helped train 106 faculty leaders across 62 different institutions in the past 8 years.
As one new alum noted in her feedback, “I was encouraged, inspired and reenergized to continue my work and build from it to move it to a policy arena where I can have an even greater impact. I am excited about the future and staying in touch with others in this new network!”