Q & A with Kingsley Haynes, Dean of the School of Public Policy

Posted: August 14, 2003 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Editor’s note: Over the summer, the Daily Gazette will publish interviews with 11 deans, 2 institute directors, and the vice president for University Life focusing on what was successful in their departments last year and what the George Mason community can expect this year. This is the ninth article in the series.

By Amy Biderman

Can you reflect upon the past year and talk about some of the successes at the School of Public Policy?

One of the greatest successes has been the recruitment of faculty. We’ve been very fortunate to get some very senior faculty to join the school, for example, John Petersen, who was president of Government Finance Incorporated, spent many years as head of U.S. Finance Officers Association and worked with the World Bank. This is quite a coup for the school. Petersen brings a wide set of skills to the school in the area of international and domestic finance, particularly in fields of municipal bonding and related issues.

Kingsley Haynes
Kingsley Haynes

Another outstanding faculty member is Professor Jack Goldstone, who is joining us from the University of California and will take the Hazel Chair in Public Policy [in the fall]. His work on failed states is perhaps some of the most important work done in the last 10 or 15 years on international development.

Another faculty member who has taken over as our director of the master of public policy program is Catherine Rudder. She was head of the American Political Science Association and also served as an assistant to two U.S. senators. She also was a professor at the University of Georgia. Catherine brings external skills in terms of research activity, but also brings experience critical to our students and that program.

Another faculty member who’s been very important, jointly with the College of Arts and Sciences, is Frank Sesno. This is part of our program to build the area of media and public policy. Sesno headed the Washington bureau of CNN.

We’ve also had a huge increase in growth of our programs. We went from 300 students last year to close to 400 this year during a period in which there have been major constraints in growth within the university, and the application rates have gone up more than 400 percent.

How have the budget cuts over the past couple of years affected the school?

They’ve had two kinds of impacts. Number one, we lost a very key faculty member, Frank Fukuyama, to Johns Hopkins University due to our inability to meet those kinds of budgetary needs. At the same time, we’ve offset some of budget losses because of a sharp increase in growth plus a major increase in research and development [R&D] activity. We continue to be ranked by the National Science Foundation in the top three in the United States in federal R&D in schools of public policy and the top 10 in total R&D across all dimensions

What are some of your goals for the upcoming academic year?

Our goals are fairly straightforward. One, we need to do some reorganization of our budget so we can sustain over the long term both the growth that we have and the decline in support from the state. Number two, we intend to expand our executive education area. This is an area of great importance to us. It’s an area where we know there’s major demand, but it is an area that we have to move forward in. We believe it is an area that will be important to the school in the long run. We are hiring in this area.

R&D activities are very, very important in the school. There are three or four of these areas we’ve concentrated on. One has to do with large-scale database management and the public policy issues associated with that. That underpins the development of the enterprise engineering and policy program. The second one is transportation, which continues to be a major expansion area of ours, particularly intelligent transportation systems. The Department of Transportation has recognized us as a national center of excellence in the area of intelligent transportation implementation and evaluation, and that program continues to grow. In recent years, we’ve been expanding into the aviation area. We now have a major program under way with George Washington University and just finished some major studies for the European airlines on their overall aviation management policy questions. In the Department of Defense, we’ve done a lot of work in the area of information systems management. Last but not least, we’ve been very heavily involved in the critical infrastructure protection program. That is centered out of the Law School, but we do a significant part of the work here. A couple of our faculty have been in the press lately about the activities they’ve been involved in, and we have four other faculty doing work in that area as well. So we have about six major projects in that area that are very important to us.

Do you see any challenges in the next year?

The challenge has to do with a combination of a sharp increase in enrollment and no increases in funding from the state. We have to figure out how to position ourselves to meet that very intense and difficult problem. Specifically, it’s clear that the state is cutting back at the same time we’re a very inexpensive program. We have to be in a position to offer the kind of education students expect, as well as the kind of placement activities they expect. In particular, I’m concerned with investing in the area of student services to support not only recruitment of students, but placement of students for internships, placement after they graduate, and then career development. To do that is going to require extra funding.

Where do you see the School of Public Policy in five years?

From an enrollment sense, I see the School of Public Policy being at approximately 1,000 students. In the area of research, it’s important that the school continue to have two thirds of its entire budget coming from research funding external from the university and external from the state. That’s the only way in which we can maintain the kinds of characteristics we have in the school now. That means we have to significantly increase our R&D activity, which will make us at least tied for first in terms of overall rankings in R&D.

I see a growth in programs, probably not as much an expansion of new programs as expanding existing programs and deepening those programs. In particular, I’m interested in seeing expansion of the enterprise, engineering, and policy program that we do jointly with the School of Information Technology and Engineering, the program in transportation policy, and the program in peacekeeping. Those are the three programs that have to expand in order to meet the requirements of the region and provide balance to our overall program. We’re already very, very strong and large in the area of international commerce and policy, and of course the master’s in public policy is the fastest growing program in our docket at the present time.

Are there any new faculty members you’d like the university community to be aware of?

In addition to the faculty I’ve already noted, it’s important to recognize that we’ve brought some junior faculty on board for the first time. Until four or five years ago, we didn’t have junior faculty. We’ve brought on Michael Fauntroy who leads our work on urban policy. We also have a brand-new faculty member we’ve recruited from the Asia Development Bank, Li-Gang Liu, in the area of expansion of international finance. We’re very excited about that. These are very important things on which to move forward. We’re also bringing on a senior person from the Brookings Institution, Lee Fritschler, who will help us with the executive education program. He is presently head of executive education for Brookings. Before that, he was assistant secretary for post-secondary education and he was head of the federal executive training program for all the Senior Executive Service programs in the region. Prior to that, he was president of Dickinson College.

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