A campus committee presented a proposal for a School of Governance and Public Policy on Wednesday, Feb. 5. If approved, the school would combine programs of study that place a strong value on civic leadership and discourse and would require the realignment of several departments on campus, many from the College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs (SSPA).
“This is something we’ve been working on for more than a year,” said Shelton Woods, dean of SSPA. “There are some very effective schools of government at really great institutions. So we started putting our minds together, visiting places as well, and looking at various models of schools of government.”
According to the draft proposal, the school would house several departments, including Community and Regional Planning, Criminal Justice, Environmental Studies, Military Science, Political Science and Public Policy and Administration. The school would also oversee many centers not tied directly to departments, including the Andrus Center for Public Policy, Center for Idaho History & Politics, Energy Policy Institute, Environmental Finance Center, Frank Church Institute, and the Public Policy Research Center.
The list of who may be affected does not stop there. Departments of Communication, Economics and History were all listed under “affiliates/participation,” as well as “other interested faculty.” In the short term, these affiliates will remain within their current departments but receive part time assignments from the School of Governance and Public Policy and be eligible to participate in their research.
Eventually these affiliates would be absorbed entirely into the new school.
The committee that created the draft started with Greg Hill, chair of the Department of Public Policy and Administration, and Scott Yenor, chair of the Department of Political Science.
Since then it has evolved to include others who expressed interest.
Right now, they are looking for feedback from the faculty and departments that are impacted.
According to Leslie Alm, associate dean of SSPA and committee member, this will be roughly a three week process.
“We still have a lot of things to work out,” Alm said. “There’s still a lot of questions about how things are going to be done and how things are going to work… Departments are going to be able to give us feedback on what they feel about this.”
After the feedback process is over, the draft will be reworked within the committee before it is sent to Kustra and the provost who will ultimately make a decision.
“We’re a recommending committee. We impact the direction that it’s come,” Alm said. “I think President Kustra has been interested in it for a long time … Now it’s sort of being formalized to where a formal plan is going to be presented to the president and the provost.”