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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!

David Garvey, Ph.D. featured in PBS Next Avenue


David GarveyNancy Collamer, M.S., career coach, speaker and author, recently interviewed Dr. David Garvey, Director of the UConn Department of Public Policy Nonprofit Leadership Program, for her PBS Next Avenue article , How to Switch From Corporate Work to Nonprofit Work – Practical advice from the head of the Encore!Connecticut program.  The article discusses hiring trends in the nonprofit sector for encore talent, challenges faced by encore talent seeking to make a job/career change from the corporate to the nonprofit sector, and practical steps for job search success. (Article submitted by Nancy Collamer, Work & Purpose Blogger, April 2, 2018.)

Read more about the Encore!Connecticut program.

Sara DeGraff, Encore!Hartford 2016, Nominated as a Hartford Courant Hometown Hero


Encore Hartford Logo

As a Fellow of Encore!Hartford Class of 2016, a program for corporate professionals and managers seeking to transition their skill sets and work experience to the nonprofit sector, Sara DeGraff was seeking an opportunity “to develop strategies to promote culturally diverse understanding and appreciation to enhance engagement.”  One of the strategies came to fruition through Sara’s creation of “The Nonprofit World”, an hour long cable bi-weekly broadcast that gives small, local nonprofit organizations a platform to speak about the services they provide and the funding they need to continue their efforts.  (Article submitted to Hartford Courant by Susan Dunne)

Read more:

“Sara DeGraff Helps Charities Get Out The Word”

DPP Students Attend NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition

2018 NASPAA-Batten Simulation Competition Group Photo

On February 24th, 2018, DPP students Fabia Firoze Doza, Emily Klawitter, and Ian Mangione attended the NASPAA-Batten Student Competition Simulation at Baruch College in New York City addressing the topic of Pandemic Crisis Management and Global Health Security.

The simulation utilized a computer-assisted model created at the University of Virginia to allow each student competitor to participate in the simulation’s “world” in roles including Prime Minister, Ministers of Public Health, Finance, Communications and WHO Country Representative, in real time and reflective of their decisions made during the competition. In the simulation, students took the lead roles in identifying solutions and potential strategies to mitigate the potential devastating impacts of a pandemic.

Our student representatives enjoyed their time at the competition and represented the Department well, with Fabia’s team chosen as a Baruch site semi-finalist and Ian’s team chosen as a Baruch site winner and thus, Global Finalist.

(submitted by Emily Klawitter, MPA 2018)

Read more about the 2018 NASPAA-Batten Simulation Competition.