UCR Chancellor Timothy White recently announced the establishment of the UCR School of Public Policy (SPP) in an open letter to the UCR community. The new school will focus on policy issues concerning the Inland Empire and other communities in Southern California.
“The school’s research will build on existing strengths at UCR as virtually every existing school and college at UCR has assets that will interact with and help to strengthen the school. These synergies include such interests as higher education policy; air, water, and soil quality; biodiversity; sustainable suburban development; crime and justice; economics; political science; anthropology; and the School of Medicine,” stated Chancellor White.
The vision to launch the SPP dates back to 2004, where the efforts of the UCR faculty garnered support from the California Postsecondary Education Commission. In 2008, the UC Board of Regents approved the SPP project, but it was delayed due to the economic crisis and drastic budget cuts, which affected all UC campuses.
Thanks to revived support, Chancellor White is taking the opportunity to launch the project immediately, rather than postponing it. By further delaying the establishment of SPP, Chancellor White indicates that the project would undergo a “laborious approval process again without any assurance of a positive outcome.”
A search process has already begun to appoint a founding Dean for the School of Public Policy by Provost and Vice Chancellor Dallas Rabenstein. The school aims to work with the community and provide students with more educational opportunities in this field and beyond.
Once launched and fully established, the school will house 120 master and 30 doctoral degree candidates. Additionally, a Ph.D minor for public policy will also be one of the degrees offered.
There will be some focus on the surrounding UCR regions, in which population growth, rising social and economic disparities, stress on the natural environment and urban sprawl will be among the many subjects studied at the School of Public Policy.
The four main tracks of specialization for graduate students include: environmental and sustainable development policy, immigration and population policy, health policy (focusing on access and diversity) and higher education policy.
SPP aims to train individuals who are interested in the rigors of policy analysis, while allowing them to seek employment in the governmental and organizational sectors. Once completed, candidates should be able to maintain a dialogue stressing the policies of the region by conducting research in multidisciplinary areas.
By focusing on regional policies, the SPP believes the outcomes of the school will lead to more effective analysis of the problems occurring at the local levels—since all policies ultimately filter through cities, counties and states. Research with various faculty members will also be available to those who pursue a teaching degree in the area of public policy.
In order to strengthen the mission of the school, research will be conducted alongside Center for Sustainable Suburban Development, One Health Center of the UC Global Health Institute, Center for Disease Vector Research, Water Science and Policy Center, UC Institute for Mexico and the United States, as stated by UCR Today.