Education for good governance

There is a new addition to the York family. This past June, the York University Senate and Board of Governors approved the proposal for the creation of a School of Public Policy & Administration effective July 1, 2006. Characterized by a strong emphasis on social justice, public ethics, and good governance, the new school, housed in the Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, provides a consolidated location for public policy and administration undergraduate programming at York’s Keele campus along with a graduate degree program and two graduate diploma programs.

"We are very excited about the new school," said Rhonda Lenton (left), dean of the Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies. "The calibre of the faculty is outstanding, and the interdisciplinary approach that underpins the programs combines a reflective liberal education core with the substantive knowledge and skill development necessary to make our graduates leaders among the future policy makers, analysts and managers in the public, private and para-public sectors."

The creation of the School of Public Policy & Administration at Atkinson was a direct response to the increased demand in the workforce for people with a background in public policy and administration. The demand has increased due to both an aging of current professionals working in the field and the high retirement rate among senior-level civil servants. 

Professor Saeed Rahnema (right), the school’s newly appointed director, believes that the creation of the school, with its rich pool of experts and location in Canada’s largest city, will help make it a leading hub for research and scholarship in public policy. "The new school has a strong emphasis on good governance, ethics and social justice, as well as a balanced combination of liberal arts and professional disciplines," said Rahnema. "It has incredible potential to contribute to a well-educated workforce in the public sector. Our slogan says it all — ‘Education for Good Governance’."

The school’s graduate and undergraduate programs are designed to provide students with the breadth and quality of education that will allow them to pursue or accelerate an existing career. Graduates of the new school will be well-prepared to fill these positions because they will be equipped with the skills and knowledge to excel in the field of public policy and administration.

Students may choose from one of the school’s BA degree programs in Public Policy & Administration, Public Administration & Justice Studies, and Public Policy & Management, as well as a master’s degree program in Public Policy, Administration & Law. The master’s program is awaiting final approval of the Ontario Council of Graduate Studies (OCGS).

In addition to these undergraduate and graduate degree programs, the school offers two graduate diploma programs in Justice System Administration and Democratic Administration as well as an undergraduate certificate program in Public Sector Management.

The school will host an annual Policy Lecture Series through which it will bring world-renowned scholars and practitioners to share their experiences with the students, faculty and alumni.

"The School of Public Policy & Administration has the potential to quickly become recognized as a leader in the field," said Professor Ian Greene (right), master of McLaughlin College and coordinator of the school’s master’s degree program. "The school will help to establish York University as the preeminent centre for the study of public policy and administration in Canada."

More about the programs offered by the School of Public Policy & Administration:

The Masters degree in Public Policy, Administration & Law (MPPAL) is an interdisciplinary program designed to teach the skills needed for effective public administration and public policy analysis with an emphasis on the themes of constitutional and administrative law, and social justice. It brings together faculty from locations across York University, including the Atkinson, Glendon and Osgoode Hall Law School faculties as well as the faculties of Arts and Environmental Studies. The program will initially be offered downtown as a part-time executive or professional development program, and depending on interest, may also be offered on a full-time basis. It will appeal to public sector managers in both government and not-for-profit organizations, senior officers with fire and police services and high-performing students who are proceeding directly from undergraduate studies. Plans are also underway to develop an online version. Pending OCGS approval, the Masters of Public Policy, Administration and Law Program will begin accepting new students in 2007.

The undergraduate Public Policy & Administration Program is a specialized honours program that will transfer from its current home in the Department of Political Science in York’s Faculty of Arts. It has served York students for decades by providing them an opportunity to acquire the skills necessary to function effectively in government, or in any organization with a policy focus. Required courses include those in Canadian public policy, economics, statistics, public law, public administration and program evaluation. The coursework is complemented by a summer internship program for selected students after the completion of their third-year courses. Graduates receive a bachelor of arts specialized honours degree in public policy & administration, and many have used the program as a stepping-stone to graduate work in this area, or to the study of law. Professor Martin Thomas is coordinator of the Public Policy & Administration Program.

Professor Jacqueline Krikorian coordinates the new BA degree program in Public Administration & Justice Studies which provides both a 120 credit bachelors specialized honours and a 90-credit bachelors options. The program is designed specifically to develop critical, analytical and administrative skills required by those who want to further their education and seek a professional career in the criminal, legal and correctional sectors.

The BA in Public Policy & Management Program, coordinated by Professor Daniel Cohn, has a strong emphasis on the development of practical management skills and the interface between government and business. The program also focuses on the development of management skills in human resources, organizational behaviour, project management, financial management and leadership. The aim is to provide students with sufficient analytic skills and breadth of education to be effective actors in the public policy process, and the managerial skills necessary to become leaders in both public and private organizations.

The three undergraduate programs will officially transfer to the new School of Public Policy & Administration in May 2007.