This fall, the Adler School enrolls its first student cohorts in a new Master of Arts in Public Policy and Administration program that builds on the School’s longtime work with urban mental health and human rights issues. Program Director Valerie Werner, Ph.D., LMFT, talks about what students can expect.
A licensed marriage and family counselor, Dr. Werner came to the Adler School to develop our public policy program based on her extensive experience in program development; teaching and training students in the areas of public policy, administration and planning; academic and career advising; and creating engaged learning experiences for students. Her current research interests are in civic engagement in policy process, and systems/situational influences on behavior.
Students who enroll in the Master of Arts in Public Policy and Administration program at the Adler School choose one of two concentrations.
The Urban Mental Health concentration trains students to look at ways we can answer the question, “How do we create good mental health within urban space?” It will prepare graduates with an interdisciplinary set of skills, knowledge and attitudes required to effectively develop and implement public policy that ensures that cities promote individual and community mental health.
The Human Rights Advocacy concentration will train students how to apply internationally established human rights standards, laws and treaties to advocacy in domestic or international private and government settings, and non-governmental organizations. Through community-based learning and field work, students will have the opportunity to apply human rights agendas to policy issues at sites such as Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights, Amnesty International USA and the Global Fund for Women.
This is a great opportunity for students to train to be leaders and advocates for community health. Students will build upon their existing value structures, and upon graduation will be armed with the knowledge and training to evaluate public policies and advocate for decisions that will improve mental health in communities for the long-term.
This program would be difficult to teach without the support of community organizations, which provide valuable hands-on training for our students. All core courses for this program have community-based learning components. Students also will fulfill 100 hours of field work, and complete a capstone research project designed to benefit a community or government organization.
There are a number of career options for graduates in a wide range of fields from policy analysis at the federal, state or local levels to roles at nonprofit organizations and administration positions. What I hope for students in studying Policy and Administration is that they will come in with a set of values that–with comprehensive and interactive instruction and training–will guide and lead them to what they want to pursue as a career in the future.