Faculty Leaders Program Trains Twelve More Policy Research Mentors

2016 Faculty Leaders Program participants

Our 2016 Faculty Leaders Program participants came from a variety of universities, including HBCUs and HSIs.

Photo by Diane Baldwin/RAND Corporation

The Pardee RAND Graduate School held its newly renamed Faculty Leaders Program in Policy Research and Analysis (formerly the Summer Faculty Workshop) in the Santa Monica office during the week of July 18. Through the program, the school offered an intensive introduction to policy analysis, RAND, and Pardee RAND to 12 faculty members from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs), and other universities serving highly diverse student bodies.

Now in its fourth year, the professional development program aims to increase perspectives in public policy through strong engagement with faculty leaders across the United States, particularly at colleges and universities serving students who are traditionally underrepresented in public policy discussions. Faculty leaders can use the public policy analysis tools in their own teaching and student mentoring, as well as in their research on issues vital to their communities. The program encourages continued collaboration between faculty leaders and RAND researchers.

RAND president and CEO Michael Rich welcomed the workshop participants and gave an overview and introduction to RAND. Three alumni of the Faculty Leaders Program shared stories about implementing their policy research and bringing public policy analysis into their classrooms. The remainder of the week consisted of short classes and collaboration with course instructors on policy projects.

Participants were also matched with mentors from the RAND research staff. RAND's Diversity Committee provided significant support through outreach and mentorship. Throughout the workshop, participants shared their experiences on social media, and eight current and alumni participants participated in short interviews about their interest in this program and how it will influence their research, teaching, and mentoring.

RAND alumna Nicole Lurie, the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, gave the keynote address on July 21. Her talk focused on the water crisis in Flint, Michigan — namely the policies and politics of a historically marginalized city. Pardee RAND alumni Cheryl Damberg (cohort '89), Jodi Liu (cohort '12), and Jordan Ostwald (cohort '08) were among the attendees.

Nearly 50 faculty members from 26 institutions across the United States have now participated in the Pardee RAND Faculty Leaders Program. This year saw participants from new institutions such as Towson University, Dillard University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. The recruitment and admissions outreach in this cycle — which involved a rebranding effort and a new website — led to a competitive field of applicants.

Faculty members Sandy Berry, Lionel Galway, Gery Ryan, and Jeffrey Wasserman (cohort '85) continue to serve as instructors in the program, providing participants with concrete guidance on how to engage their communities and implement policy analysis in the classroom. This year, they were assisted by Pardee RAND fellows Lauren Davis, Erin Duffy, Simon Hollands and Asya Spears (all cohort '15), and Stefan Zavislan (cohort '14). Additionally, Shira Efron (cohort '11), Zhimin Mao (cohort '11), and Gulrez Azhar (cohort '14) served as research mentors.