SPPUA in Action | September 2016
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Dear Friends,

As we begin a new academic year and the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs celebrates its 10th anniversary, we will ever more forcefully deliver on the vision of a School that contributes cutting-edge science and education to pressing and emerging social, economic and environmental challenges here in Boston, New England and the nation. We will continue to strategically use our international collaborations and contributions to inform policy and investment making at home, and conversely, leverage local insights and partnerships to shape our engagement in global research and policy arenas.
Towards that end, we are further enriching our portfolio of degree programs that integrate research, education and engagement. And we continue to appoint leading experts and rising stars to our community of faculty.
Among the most recent appointments are Jennie Stephens, Dean’s Professor for Sustainability Science and Policy, who’s work focuses on energy system transitions and climate action at local to global scales; Assistant Professor Laura Kuhl, who’s research activities are located at the intersection of resilience, sustainability and human security; Associate Teaching Professor Lydia Ogden, who specializes on aging with serious mental illnesses and on diversity; and Professor of the Practice Linda Kowalcky, who until recently served as the Mayor’s Liaison to Higher Education at the city of Boston, and who will contribute courses and engagement opportunities for our masters programs.
There could not be a better time to be a part of this community, and I welcome you to join us – by visiting with us in Boston, participating in our many research, education and engagement activities, or following us on social and other media.
Matthias Ruth
Director and Professor, School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs
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Meet our New Faculty

New professor aims at expanding energy education

Jennie Stephens began her environmental research career 20 years ago with a passion for understanding water systems and treatment technology. But her research interests shifted when she started thinking about carbon management, climate change and energy system change.

Today, she is an expert on social and political aspects of the renewable energy transition and responses to climate change. Joining the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs as the Dean’s Professor of Sustainability Science and Policy, Stephens is eager to integrate student learning and societally relevant research. Read more.

Professor Kuhl looks into climate adaptation, resilience

“Faculty are working on really interesting and important issues, and I hope to find opportunities to collaborate with many of them. I’m also looking forward to meeting students—having grown up in Boston and living here for the past seven years, I’ve always been impressed with the enthusiasm and professionalism of Northeastern students. I am really excited about SPPUA’s work on resilience and commitment to pursue interdisciplinary approaches to address real-world problems, and I hope to be able to contribute to the many exciting initiatives that are happening here.”

Laura Kuhl, assistant professor

Read more

Aging and Diversity: A conversation with new Human Services professor

"My experience as a social worker tends to influence me to think in terms of micro-level or direct practice changes—I often think about what can individual human service workers do, or what policies should human service agencies put into place. I think being in a policy school will naturally expand my thinking and research findings towards bigger picture policy implications, so I'm excited about that.

I also know SPPUA has a really great, really impressive faculty, so I'm also looking forward to meeting people in the school and learning from my colleagues."

Lydia Ogden, associate teaching professor

Read more.

Professor Kowalcky brings commitment to public service, higher education to SPPUA

As a first-generation college student, Linda Kowalcky learned how higher education can change lives. She was introduced to a variety of ideas, and eventually pursued her two passions—belief in the transformative power of higher education and respect for public service.

Throughout the years, she has held senior positions in government and academia. Now, Kowalcky joins the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs as a professor of the practice, and she said she is eager to build on the existing internship program and teach in the Master of Public Administration. Read more.

Faculty Research: A ‘perfect storm’ of policy interests


Sitting in a conference room at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business, professor Timothy Hoff, a nationally recognized organizational and medical sociologist, casually sips coffee as he makes a confession: “I really had no intention of becoming an academic or a researcher.”

After graduating from college with a degree in business, Hoff, who holds appointments in the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and D’Amore-McKim, started his career auditing financial claims and billing at a hospital. At the time, he said he felt fascinated to see how business principles could be applied in a more benevolent service industry. And that’s how his passion for policy began. Read more.

Guest Column: Reflections of a soon-to-be MPA graduate


By Grace Ndalla-Watino, a second-year student in the Master of Public Administration

As the new school year starts, there comes a mix of emotions. I am five courses away from earning my Master of Public Administration. And although I am excited to graduate, it is bittersweet to end this chapter of my life. I graduated from Northeastern’s D'Amore-McKim School of Business in 2013 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. Instead of doing what most of my friends did, settling down for a traditional entry-level job, I decided to take a risk and start my own NGO. Read more.

Student & Alumni News

MPA alumna starts managing position at Hostelling International

Congratulations to alumna Sarah Ward on her new managing position with Hostelling International USA, a nonprofit whose mission is to inspire a genuine understanding of people, places and cultures, and expand intercultural awareness through citizen diplomacy.

Ward started working in June as the Northeast Regional Engagement Manager for HI USA, and she graduated in August with a Master of Public Administration and a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Philanthropy and Social Impact. Read more.  

One alumna shares how she’s applying her MPA to her new career as director

“I found a lot of what we talked about in the classroom, the classes, the teachers—they prepared me for the work I’m doing. If you want something that’s applicable, not just theory, and to learn from professors in the field—in politics or government—and to apply learning to the job you are in, then you’ll find that at Northeastern.”
— Jackney Prioly Joseph
Read more.

SPPUA Update

Welcome & 10th Anniversary Kick Off

On Tuesday, Sept. 6, the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs welcomed new and returning students and kicked off a yearlong celebration of its 10th anniversary. View photos.  

Professor Aldrich investigates political behavior during disaster

Daniel Aldrich, professor of political science, public policy and urban affairs, has recently co-authored a paper on political behavior during disaster. Read more.

Professor Hoff’s paper selected as runner up for Best Paper Award

Timothy Hoff's paper presented at the 2016 Academy of Management Meeting in Anaheim, Calif., entitled, “Medical Home Implementation Gaps for Seniors: Perceptions and Experiences of Primary Care Medical Practices,” was selected as one of the runner ups for the Best Paper Award in the Healthcare Management Division of the Academy. It also appeared in the meeting’s Best Paper Proceedings. Read more.

Professor Modestino joins Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program

Associate Professor Alicia Sasser Modestino joined the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program as a nonresident fellow in July where she will write blog posts, publish papers and present at conferences and events about her research. Read more.

Destination Paris

Gavin Shatkin, associate professor of public policy and architecture and director of the M.S. in Urban and Regional Policy, spent part of the summer in France, as a guest scientist at the Laboratoire Techniques Territoires and Societes (LATTS), a multidisciplinary urban studies and policy research center located in Marne la Vallee outside Paris. Read more.

SPPUA director presents in Shanghai, meets with students

Matthias Ruth, director of the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, recently presented research and chaired sessions at the Urban Transitions Global Summit in Shanghai, China, which was sponsored in part by Urban Climate, an international scientific journal for which he serves as editor in chief. Read more.
In the Media

The faculty and staff at the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs continue to be reliable sources of expertise on current pressing issues. Click here for a list of articles during the month of August that reference our knowledgeable staff and their research.

Quote of the Month

Upcoming Events

Join us for Lives in Law and Public Policy, an annual series that provides opportunities for our students, alumni, and members of the Northeastern community to hear and learn from leading figures in law and policy. The first session, titled "Hamilton: Lessons for Today (Can we Turn the World Upside Down?)," will feature Sanford Levinson, the W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair in Law at the University of Texas Law School. Event Details: Sept. 23, 1:30-3 p.m., Raytheon Amphitheater, 120 Forsyth St.

Join the Northeastern University Real Estate Club for “Cranes and the Community” on Wednesday, Sept. 21, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., 220 Shillman Hall. The event will feature an all-star panel of leaders from the university, Boston City Council, Boston Redevelopment Authority, and the private sector, who will discuss real estate development in the areas surrounding Northeastern and how urban planning and development decisions are made.

The Fall 2016 World in Your Cup: Conversations on the Politics & Culture of Coffee kicks off on Friday, Sept. 30, in time for National Coffee Day (Sept. 29) and International Coffee Day (Oct. 1). Special guests include Miriam and Hector Morales, owners of Recreo Coffee & Roasterie, Bob Garver, president and owner of Wicked Joe Organic Coffee and Bard Coffee, and Jeff Chatlos, co-founder of Flat Black Coffee Company. Read more.

The Northeastern Way

Our graduate policy programs create leaders through experiential learning, research and education.

Northeastern Policy School
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