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Nancy Olewiler

Nancy Olewiler: Department was already operating as a school.

Public Policy master’s program becomes school

May 27, 2010

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Six years after its inception, the Master of Public Policy (MPP) program has now become the School of Public Policy.

The popular two-year program in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences was never affiliated with any department and was already performing all of the functions of a school, says its director, Nancy Olewiler.

"We have offered the MPP program since fall of 2003, hired our own faculty and managed our own administration," she says. "Establishing the school will improve national and international visibility and facilitate fundraising and recruitment.

The MPP is a two-year intensive graduate program with an annual intake of approximately 30 students. Every year it attracts more than 150 applicants.

MPP students, says Olewiler, are a diverse bunch whose backgrounds range from social science and humanities to engineering, science and law.

"What our students have in common is their passion for public policy, usually driven by some deep interest in issues such as poverty, the environment, good governance, aboriginal policy and much more."

Olewiler says the program’s popularity stems from employers’ high demand for its graduates.

"The federal government is a major employer of our graduates, actively seeking them out because of the strong skills and abilities they bring to their work," she says. "A number of our graduates have been selected for elite government programs that quickly advance promising young professionals."

With nine faculty as well as several adjunct professors, all from myriad disciplines, Olewiler says the school now has the resources to explore additional graduate degree programs. One possibility is a joint degree in health policy in collaboration with the Faculty of Health Sciences.

"We have a proven record of performance," says Olewiler. "We graduate high quality students who have been very successful in contributing to analysis of vital public policy issues in their roles working for all levels of government, as well as in crown corporations, not-for-profits, and other organizations."

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