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onCampus--Ohio State's faculty/staff news

Vol. 38, No. 18

By: Joni Bentz Seal

Senate approves new John Glenn School of Public Affairs

All that's left is a nod from the Board of Trustees April 7 and it's official: the merger of Ohio State's John Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy and the School of Public Policy and Management has become reality. The proposal for the union was born more than two years ago at the urging of the former school's faculty and has been enthusiastically endorsed by its staff, students and alumni.

"Our graduate degrees in public policy and management will help produce the next generation of teachers and researchers who will help young people throughout the country work in public policy and service," said former Sen. John Glenn in a personal appeal to the University Senate March 9. "The new John Glenn School of Public Affairs will enable Ohio State to attract the best faculty, the best graduate students and staff in the country to put this vision to work. I'm personally committed to working with faculty and staff to inspire future generations of citizens to carry the American dream into the next millennium."

The senate approved the creation of the new school, which will serve as the center of the university's multidisciplinary policy-related teaching, research and outreach activities.

A strong public affairs school is indeed an integral part of the academic plan of a university whose motto is 'Education for Citizenship,' said Anand Desai, interim director for the School of Public Policy and Management. "It also is vital that such a unit reflect the diversity in society. Pooling the resources of the former school and the institute will help the new school and the university build a more diverse student body and faculty," he said.

The John Glenn School of Public Affairs is poised to respond to a growing demand for public policy courses, degrees and co-curricular activities among students with a revitalized interest in public affairs. Like its predecessor, the new school will offer two master's degrees and a doctoral program in various areas of public policy analysis and management, including dual- and joint-degree programs with other colleges and departments.

Students enrolled in the school's current programs will gain access to the Glenn Institute's considerable resources, including an office in Washington, D.C.; connections to policymakers and organizations in Ohio and the nation's capital; and the institute's training programs and facilities. In addition, the combined resources and the expanded capabilities will facilitate more joint appointments to the former school's nine-member faculty and increase its course offerings.

The new school's Page Hall location also will give students greater access to public policy discourse on campus. "This access will not only enhance the experience for the school's graduate students, but also provide undergraduate students more opportunities to interact with the institute's distinguished lecturers, visiting scholars and journalists in the Kiplinger Program," Desai said.

Interim Director Larry Libby said that while the Glenn Institute is well known in the policy community, it is less known on campus. He's convinced the new John Glenn School of Public Affairs will be a full-fledged part of Ohio State's academic community, offering new opportunities to interested students and faculty from many units.

"John Glenn's name adds to the visibility of such work and his presence is an incredibly valuable asset for this university. He cares deeply about the research, teaching and service missions at Ohio State, and it shows," Libby said.

A sticking point for those who had opposed the merger was the recommendation that the new school report directly to the Office of Academic Affairs, rather than a specific college (the former school reported to the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences). Although somewhat unusual at Ohio State - the School of Public Health is the only other school reporting to the provost - Desai said the vast majority of successful public policy programs do not report to colleges with a specific focus on disciplinary research. To alleviate such concerns, the reporting structure will be re-evaluated after a five-year probationary period.

For the full text of the proposal, visit http://senate.osu.edu/Committees/CAA/CAA.html.

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