Author: Gibbs, Wade

Recapping “Beyond Thoughts and Prayers” Panel Discussion

Beyond Thoughts & Prayers: Strategies to Eradicate Anti-Black Police Violence

Graphic showing the 6 panelists for the June 25, 2020, Beyond Thoughts and Prayers eventOn Thursday, June 25, 2020, the UConn Department of Public Policy partnered with Professor Brandi Blessett, Associate Professor and Director of the Masters of Public Administration Program at the University of Cincinnati, to present a conversation discussing solutions to the police violence against black people in our country. UConn Professor Thomas Craemer moderated a panel of six experts in law enforcement to discuss topics such as defunding police departments, building relationships between local police and their black communities, and offering a more diverse police force to mirror the communities they represent.

Ivonne Roman, Relationship Manager at the Center for Policing Equity, provided findings from her research on recruitment of women into law enforcement and what women bring to the position.  Studies show that there is less use of excessive force when women police officers are on the call. She also provided insight into the current system for officer accountability. Everyone agreed that police officers have to be held accountable for their actions and that incidents where someone is killed or excessive force is used need to be reviewed by an unbiased investigator.

Jack Mewhirter, Assistant Professor of Political Science at University of Cincinnati, was asked about the militarization of some police forces.  This is a federal program that offers military equipment to local police departments which is disproportionately deployed into communities of color. This deployment is left to the decision of state officials and it is up to citizen outcry to restrict the use of this equipment.

The other panelists, including Frank Adderley, Chief of Police, West Palm Beach Police Department, Rob Kenter, Director of Law Enforcement Field Engagement at the Center for Policing Equity, and Brandi Blessett, offered their thoughts on the impact that defunding police departments would have and the idea of creating positions for mental health professionals in the department to offer their expertise when there is a case of mental distress or homelessness in the field. This often diffuses the situation and leads to less arrests. The police are left to handle the more violent issues.

Brian Williams, Associate Professor of Public Policy at Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, University of Virginia, suggested that we need to deconstruct and then reconstruct.  We need to reimagine the types of communities that we want and then invest in their change.  These means the community must have input into the policies and procedures.

The panel agreed that change has to start at a grassroots level and that the community has to be involved. There also has to be accountability. Whether it be policy or training, the affects have to be followed up on and evaluated.  Is it working?  Are we getting the results we want? Change is going to take time, but change is necessary.

DPP Program Director Linda Friedman Retires

DPP Program Director Linda Friedman Retires

Linda Friedman smiles during her recognition of service on May 29, 2019.New Adventures for Friend and Colleague

It is with great appreciation that we say goodbye to the Department of Public Policy’s Program Director, Linda Friedman. Her expertise, experience, and smile has built and strengthened a wide variety of DPP initiatives and programs, along with many programs throughout UConn.

Linda, working with DPP faculty, co-created the Professional Development Series, now a required staple of the Department’s MPA and MPP programs, to prepare students for the dynamics of the job search, interviewing, and career development. Intertwined with this work is Linda’s vital work with the Department’s internship program, through her coordination of the annual Mock Interview Night. Mock Interview Night brings together DPP alumni and colleagues to provide students with a real world interview experience in preparation for their internship interviews, a vital part of their MPA and MPP academic portfolio.

Linda recently took on the role of Coordinator of the Department’s Pi Pi Alpha Honor Society to strengthen its bond with the Department, along with co-designing and managing the Department’s annual celebration to honors its programs’ graduates. Linda kept all students, faculty, friends, community partners, and alumni connected through her writing in the DPP Newsletter. In addition, seminal to the Department’s growth and engagement with the Connecticut public and nonprofit sector, Linda co-created the Public Service Executive Leadership Collaborative, an educational coalition of Connecticut public sector and nonprofit professional associations.

In 2012, Linda came to the Department of Public Policy, along with her colleague David Garvey, to merge the work they had created through the Nonprofit Leadership Program at UConn’s Center for Continuing Studies with Public Policy. Academically, the interconnection of nonprofit and public sector work has been a natural for the Department and has thrived.

In Linda’s decade of work at UConn’s Center for Continuing Studies, she directed and created leading State of Connecticut professional programs in real estate licensing and the Connecticut Certified Municipal Assessor’s designation, working directly with Connecticut Real Estate Commission and the Association of Assessing Officers.

In the nonprofit arena, as co-director of the Nonprofit Leadership Program, Linda created and co-developed professional development programs for all levels of nonprofit professionals, from those entering the field to seasoned executive directors. Her portfolio of created programs includes: Being the Change, for those entering the field; Leading Nonprofit Organizations, for emerging leaders; Facing Change, a three-day strategic planning retreat for Executive Directors; the Connecticut Hispanic Leadership Institute; and the State of the Connecticut Nonprofit Sector Symposiums which brought hundreds of nonprofit, academic, philanthropic, and business leaders together to converge on key issues facing Connecticut.

For all of these programs she brought heart, expertise, and professionalism. But, a strong passion of Linda’s work was and still is with Encore!Connecticut. Encore!Connecticut started as a pilot as Encore!Hartford a decade ago, working with key state partners including — Capital Workforce Partners, United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut, AARP Connecticut, and Leadership Greater Hartford — to create a workforce transition program for seasoned corporate professionals to move into management careers in the nonprofit sector. That Hartford pilot, 10 years ago, expanded to Encore!Fairfield County in 2016, and nearly 200 graduates later, will expand to a new Encore!Connecticut in 2020.

All of Linda’s work was done in strong collaboration with her friends and colleagues at the national In collaboration with her partners at, Linda co-created What’s Next? Encore Careers: Purpose, Passion and a Paycheck, held at the Artists Collective, and Encore Talent Works, which educates nonprofit leaders on the value of encore careerists and paths for incorporation into the nonprofit sector. Linda is also a founding member of the Encore Network, a worldwide coalition of encore leaders and organizations.

Prior to coming to the University of Connecticut, Linda was Assistant Director of Continuing and Professional Education at the University of Hartford. She received her Master of Science in Organizational Management from Eastern Connecticut State University in 2011 and her Bachelor of Science in Social Welfare from Adelphi University in 1972.

Linda and her husband Jerry will be moving to South Carolina. But we, as a Department, hope to stay connected with Linda as she individually transitions to her own personal encore, and as the Department moves forward with its Encore!Connecticut 2020 work.

All our best, Linda!

DPP Ranked Top 10 by U.S. News & World Report

DPP Ranked Top 10 by U.S. News & World Report

The Department of Public Policy (DPP) is once again ranked among the top 50 best Public Affairs Graduate Schools according to U.S. News & World Report. For the 2020 rankings, the DPP is ranked 47th among 285 Public Affairs schools. Among Public Finance and Budgeting programs the DPP is once again ranked in the top 10. This year the DPP came in at number 9.

“It is truly the reputation of our faculty and the hard work of our faculty and staff that is behind our persistence in the list of top schools,” commented Department Head, Mohamad Alkadry.

The U.S. News & World Report provides an annual ranking of Public Affairs Graduate Schools based on a list provided by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) and the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM).

The DPP currently offers the only NASPAA-accredited MPA program in Connecticut.

The Department of Public Policy

The UConn Department of Public Policy is committed to high quality research, teaching and service in the areas of policy analysis, public management, public financial management, nonprofit management and survey research.  The Department offers top-ranked and nationally recognized graduate degrees – Master of Public Administration, Master of Public Policy and Master of Arts in Survey Research. The Department also offers graduate certificates in the areas of Nonprofit Management, Leadership and Public Management, and Public Financial Management. The Department’s faculty is nationally and internationally known for the highest quality research, teaching, and public service in the areas of public policy, public administration, and survey research. The Department’s programs have more than 1,100 alumni who are public, private and non-profit leaders in the State of Connecticut and around the nation.

DPP Welcome Reception and Student Orientation


Fall 2018 DPP Welcome Reception

On August 23, 2018, the Department of Public Policy welcomed new and returning students to a full-day, information-filled department orientation followed by the opportunity to mix and mingle with fellow students, DPP faculty, staff, alumni and colleagues at a welcome back reception.

Students attended orientation sessions designed to offer information on their chosen degree of study (Master of Public Administration or Master of Public Policy), participated in an ice breaker activity facilitated by our student organization, GAPPS/ICMA, learned about the DPP Honors Society, Pi Pi Alpha, and the very active Alumni Association.  Additional sessions were presented for students in the MPA Fellows Program and those working as Graduate Assistants in 2018-2019.

Close to 100 guests attended the welcome reception held in the beautiful Zachs Atrium of the Hartford Times Building, UConn Hartford Campus, to kick off the new academic year.  Dr. Mohamad Alkadry, Professor and Department Head, and Dr. Edith Barrett, Professor of Public Policy and Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, thanked all for coming and shared that they were looking forward to seeing students, alumni, faculty, staff, and community partners at future DPP events throughout the coming year.  The event was a big success and a great beginning to the 2018-2019 academic year.

Welcome Back from Dr. Alkadry


Mohamad Alkadry

Welcome back!

It is my pleasure to welcome you to a new academic year.

We had a very productive and successful 2017-2018 academic year. Thanks to Dr. Deneen Hatmaker’s exceptional leadership, and the work of DPP faculty and staff, our MPA program was reaccredited by NASPAA for 7 years. We received excellent reviews and a special mention of our Internship and Professional Practice program by the site visitors. Our programs continued to achieve excellent national recognition. In 2018, the U.S. News and World Report rankings of public affairs programs placed us again in the top 50 among public affairs programs and top 10 among public budgeting and finance specialty areas. Kudos to our faculty and staff who have helped us maintain top rankings.

Two of our programs, MPA Fellows and our Master of Public Policy (MPP), will have record enrollments in 2018-2019. Our fall 2018 MPP class is almost double the size of our class last fall. Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Hatmaker and Dr. David Garvey, our MPA Fellows program successfully re-launched as a Saturday program. This fall we welcome a cohort of 18 new MPA Fellows who come into our program with exceptional achievements in public service. I understand that having a cohort of seasoned public service professionals presents its challenges to both staff (recruitment & student services) and faculty (pedagogical needs), and I want to recognize and thank our colleagues who have willingly agreed to teach in that track.

We are also very excited to welcome some new faces to our Department in 2018-2019, and to see some familiar faces take on new roles in the Department. Dr. Eric Brunner has assumed the role of MPA and MPP Programs Director.  Under Dr. Hatmaker’s leadership for the past four years the programs witnessed record enrollment and many exciting program and curriculum developments.  Many thanks to Dr. Hatmaker for her exceptional leadership of these two programs, and we look forward to working with Dr. Brunner in this new role.

Catherine Guarino, an MPA Alumna and a member of the DPP Alumni Council, has joined the staff of the DPP as the new Administrative Program Director. We are very excited to see Catherine in this role and we all look forward to working with her for years to come. Welcome home Catherine.

Dr. Bob Wilson joins us for the first year as a Distinguished Visiting Professor. Dr. Wilson is a renowned scholar in our field, and is Professor Emeritus at the LBJ School (University of Texas at Austin). Dr. Claude Joseph joins us as Visiting Assistant Professor for 2018-2019.

We have some University and State fiscal challenges, but I am very optimistic about DPP’s ability to thrive despite these challenges. I am hopeful because we have a solid staff team, excellent students, exceptional faculty, and our graduates add tremendous value to the State’s economy and communities.

I look forward to a great 2018-2019!

DPP Students Undertake Project with Mansfield Public Schools

Bill SimonsenStudents in Professor Bill Simonsen’s Capital Financing and Budgeting course took on a real-world challenge as they worked with the Town of Mansfield and the Mansfield Public School System (MPS) to address issues of school building renovation vs. new construction, and the challenge of operating three elementary schools efficiently in the face of declining enrollment.

One of the key steps in the project was developing cost estimates for various renovation and new construction scenarios for Mansfield Public Schools (MPS).  This work included calculating the bonding amounts; estimating the bond structuring and sizing and producing a projected annual debt service; and projecting the impact on the tax rate and the average household.  This information served as part of the MPS citizen involvement process.  The students also conducted a debt affordability analysis for the town using an innovative propensity score matching technique for choosing towns for benchmarking Mansfield’s debt.  In addition, the class conducted a review of the Town’s debt policies by comparing them to best practices.

At the conclusion of the Spring 2018 semester, the class produced a final report and presented their analyses to the Town Finance Director and the MPS Board Chair.

GAPPS Recognized as ICMA Student Organization


2014 GAPPS members service trip to Everglades
2014 GAPPS Service Trip to Everglades

GAPPS, the student organization for the UConn Department of Public Policy (DPP), recently became an International City/County Management Association (ICMA) student organization.

GAPPS’ goal is to serve as a social and intellectual forum for students pursuing a degree or certificate in DPP. GAPPS is committed to public service, professional development and having fun.  Throughout the academic year GAPPS hosts a number of events that enrich students’ social and academic experiences.

As a recognized ICMA student organization, GAPPS-ICMA students will increase their opportunities to be introduced to and integrated into the local government management profession and become familiar with ICMA members and resources.  Nine GAPPS-ICMA students are scheduled to attend the 2018 CTCMA (CT Town & City Management Association) Annual Conference on June 1, 2018, at Saint Clements Castle in Portland, CT.

Officers for GAPPS-ICMA 2018-2019 are Yahaira Escribano and Mariah Brennan, Co-Presidents, and Emily Garfinkel, Secretary.

Congratulations to the new officers!

DPP Celebrates 2017-2018 MPA, MPP and MSR Graduates

2017-2018 DPP Faculty & Graduates (Hartford Campus)

On May 4, 2018, the Department of Public Policy held its 2017-2018 Graduation and Awards Ceremony honoring the achievements of fifty-seven MPA, MPP and MSR graduates at the Front Street Bistro and Spotlight Theatres in Hartford.  Dr. Kerri Raissian, Assistant Professor, presided over the ceremony of speakers, award recipients and the participating thirty-nine graduate students.

Speakers offering congratulatory remarks included Dr. Mohamad Alkadry, Professor and DPP Department Head, Alissa Johnston, MPA 2007 and President of the MPA Alumni Council, and Alleya Renee Jenkins, DPP Class of 2017-2018 Student Speaker.

The ceremony included the presentation of awards established in the names of three individuals which continue to support DPP and recognize the achievements of its students.

The Mort Tenzer Award is given to meritorious students upon entering the MPA program.  This year’s recipient was Christopher Brechlin. The Albert Ilg Award is given to a student with outstanding dedication and commitment in the area of local government administration. This year’s recipients were Qiuyi (Lexi) Allegue for 2017 and Emma Morelli for 2018. The David B. Walker Award is given to a student in the MPA program who exemplifies tireless dedication to public service.  This year’s recipient was Fabia Firoze-Doza.  Mort Tenzer and Albert Ilg were in attendance and personally congratulated the awardees after the ceremony.  Sadly, David Walker has passed away, but his legacy lives on.

Also recognized for their achievements in proven academic excellence were graduates in the MPA, MPP and MSR programs.  The Master of Public Administration Academic Excellence Award recipient was Ashley Bodamer.  The Master of Public Policy Academic Excellence Award recipient was Tyler Terbrusch.  The Master of Survey Research Academic Excellence Award recipient was Emil Czechowski.

Congratulating the graduates, twenty-five MPA, twelve MPP and two MSR, as they walked across the stage, were Dr. Raissian, Dr. Alkadry, Dr. Deneen Hatmaker, Associate Professor and Director, MPA and MPP Programs, and Dr. Jennifer Dineen, Assistant Professor-in-Residence and Director, GPSR Program.

At the conclusion of the ceremony graduates, family, friends, guests and DPP faculty and staff celebrated with a reception at the Front Street Bistro.

Congratulations to all the graduates!

Dr. Edith Barrett New CLAS Associate Dean

Edith Barrett

Dr. Edith Barrett, Director of Urban and Community Studies Program and Professor of Public Policy at the UConn Hartford Campus, has been named to serve as the CLAS Associate Dean for Social Sciences and Regional Campuses.

Dr. Barrett has been on the faculty of the Department of Public Policy since coming to UConn in 2011.  In her new role she will oversee the Urban and Community Studies Program along with the Departments of Anthropology, Communication, Economics, Political Science, Public Policy and Sociology.  Dr. Barrett will also serve as CLAS liaison to UConn’s four regional campuses.

Read more in “CLAS Names New Associate Deans”

Pi Pi Alpha Honors Society Inducts 26 New Members

2018 Pi Pi Alpha Inductees

Pi Pi Alpha recently held its 2018 Induction Ceremony at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving to welcome 26 Master in Public Administration or Master of Public Policy students into the honors society. The purpose of Pi Pi Alpha is to encourage and recognize outstanding achievement and to support graduate public service education. To be honored with membership, students are required to complete at least half of their coursework while achieving a grade point average of 3.7 or above.

Receiving an honorary membership were faculty members Dr. Deneen Hatmaker, Associate Professor and Director of the MPA and MPP Programs, and Dr. Joshua Hyman, Assistant Professor.

Guest speaker for the evening was Patrick McMahon, MPA graduate and Pi Pi Alpha member.  Patrick is the CEO of Connecticut Main Street which is dedicated to community and economic development and is committed to bringing Connecticut’s commercial districts back to life socially and economically.

The honors society supports graduate students in public administration and public policy by hosting events and trainings.  Along with its continued support of a practice interview night conducted by real public, nonprofit and private sector managers, a Meet and Greet event with faculty and students, Pi Pi Alpha has initiated a new professional development scholarship to encourage students to seek learning opportunities that augment the DPP curriculum.

The event also included the announcement of the Pi Pi Alpha 2018-2019 Board members:

Douglas Shipman, President
Blaize Levitan, Vice President
Anthony Naples, Treasurer
Jessica Seabrook, Secretary
Sara Nagle, Membership Chair

Congratulations to all the new inductees and Board members!