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New 4+1 Public Policy Program

The 4+1 program for Public Policy at Mills was approved without comment in the full-faculty meeting on Monday, March 28.

Emery Roe, program director and professor of Public Policy, conceived the idea for the program in 2001. It has been making its way though a series of committees since 2003, when Roe’s proposal was first approved by the Mills Public Policy Program Steering Committee, and then the Division of Social Sciences in 2004.

The proposal received strong endorsement and a “resounding ‘Yes’” from external reviewer David Kirp, a former acting dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley, in a February 2004 program evaluation. It was also supported by the Graduate Council and the Education Policy subcommittee.

The Steering Committee’s 10 members, and Economics professor Nancy Thornborrow in particular, were instrumental in the creation of the program. Thornborrow was described having already “beaten the path,” using her prior experience in creating Mills’ 4+1 MBA program to help guide the group.

Roia Ferrazares, program coordinator for both the MBA and Public Policy programs, described the process of writing, passing, and editing the 4+1 proposal as “a little painful, but very good.”

“In hindsight,” said Roe, “every one of those steps was useful – I can’t see any negative thing.”

Ferrazares, who ran the program’s table at Preview Day on April 4, said, “many newly accepted students came specifically because they were interested in public policy.”

As for the GRE requirement, Roe said, “an admissions committee has to be set up. We wanted the program to be approved first.” Roe said a student can transfer into the program “as soon as [they] know.”

“The sooner the better, but transfer students, resuming students – these are people we want to see come into the program too…all it takes is passion and commitment,” Roe said.

“The most wonderful thing about Public Policy is that it’s almost the ideal Mills degree because it is [the most] diverse. Law, sociology, government, economics, history — it’s a career-based degree in a shorter amount of time,” said Ferrazares, “which means that more women can get the degree, and more women make it into decision-making roles.”

“It fills a niche,” said Roe, “It helps women deal with professional demands — engaging diversity, managing complexity, and operating in real time. I can’t imagine a better place.”