I am deeply honoured to serve as Director of Carleton’s School of Public Policy and Administration – the oldest school of its type in Canada, and a leader and innovator in graduate education. Carleton and the School are located on unceded Algonquin territory and between the Rideau River and the UNESCO World Heritage Rideau Canal, minutes from downtown Ottawa.
Carleton just celebrated its 75th anniversary, marking a span of time that has seen the institution grow from a community-led initiative established to educate youth in Ottawa to a modern campus employing thousands of individuals and educating nearly 30,000 students across hundreds of programs. Established one year after Carleton as the Institute of Public Administration, the School now offers masters, diploma and doctoral training in public policy and administration, as well as more specialized programs in philanthropy and nonprofit leadership, Indigenous policy and administration, sustainable energy policy, and public policy and program evaluation.
Our long history of training those in the business of policy work means that many of our graduates have decades of experience in prestigious careers, rising to leadership positions in diverse matters of public affairs in Canada and abroad. The public sector, broadly defined, is an exciting space in which to affect change. Our graduates’ careers span work in industry associations, consulting, academia, the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors, Indigenous governments and organizations and, of course, all levels of Canadian governments, as well as international organizations. They come to this work empowered by the critical and analytic thinking and practical skills that our programming helps them develop.
Our graduates are tireless champions of the School, coming back to teach, lecture, and mentor, and this extensive alumni network helps connect current students with jobs, when they graduate and throughout their careers. This is a key part of Carleton’s Ottawa advantage when it comes to professional employment, particularly in the federal public service. To recognize this depth of contribution and as part of Carleton’s 75th anniversary year, we celebrated a handful of these distinguished graduates, including John G. Abbot, Yaprak Baltacioglu, and Barbara Grantham. I welcome you to learn more about these and other graduates on our distinguished alumni page. Notable graduates are also recognized annually through the Bissett Award, an accolade designed to call attention to the winner’s exemplary career accomplishments and dedication to public service.
The School’s 24 full-time faculty members bring a multi-disciplinary perspective to public affairs, both in research and teaching. Here are a few highlights for winter 2018. Marc-André Gagnon deepens our understanding of health policy by uncovering the political strategies of the pharmaceutical industry that advance commercial rather than therapeutic interests. Lisa Mills’s work spans examinations of the regulatory and scientific questions raised by agriculture biotechnology to maternal health in Mexico in light of health policy reforms following the Millennium Development Goals. Susan Phillips casts much needed light on the growing role of the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors in Canada and beyond. Heather Dorries asks us to consider the inherent tensions between, on the one hand, the professed commitments to social justice within the theory and practice of urban planning and, on the other, the ways planning processes and associated land-use decisions can negatively affect Indigenous sovereignty. James Meadowcroft examines critical issues surrounding the policy, political, technological, societal, and market barriers to transitions towards a low carbon economy.
The School is a dynamic, collegial place that offers graduate students a foundation in academic thinking on policy matters coupled with practical professional skills that will ensure they thrive in successful careers. Coursework functions alongside capstone projects, opportunities for co-op jobs, professional skills workshops, public lectures on policy matters of the day, and ongoing opportunities to engage a professional community centered on policy, administration, and public affairs. Matters of policy pervade our daily lives, and astute, rigorous and critical thinking on the best approaches to policy and administration are, and will remain, critical for anyone seeking a career in public affairs.
I welcome you to learn more about the diverse and extensive research of our School’s faculty and our programming. You can also keep up to date on the School’s activities through our news releases and public events or via Twitter.
Graeme Auld, Director