It was just announced that the Heller School for Social Policy and Management has once again been ranked as one The US and News Report’s Top Ten Social Policy Programs in the country. As such, it only seems fitting that I do my own calculations. Here are my top ten rankings and how they play out in my day-to-day schedule as a graduate student at Heller (numbers in no hierarchical order)
- The Research Institutes: Heller has ten research institutes on campus that are each at the forefront of their fields. Many of the researchers teach at Heller, and many more present their work frequently on campus and in classes. I feel embedded in social change.
- The Professors: The staff and faculty are some of the most caring, intellectual, and encouraging educators I have ever had the pleasure to work alongside. They are so well-versed in their academic fields and promote open debate, dialogue, and discussion in every class. Going to school in the midst of a global pandemic and publicized racial reckoning can be daunting, and not one class went by where a professor didn’t check in on our wellbeing, providing space for us to process collectively, as one community.
- The Courses: The wide array of course subjects allows each student to find classes in their interest area. Every course investigates each topic through an intersectional lens, employing a holistic educational system. Each student sets their research topics for each class, which allows students to study their concentration in every class and through an intersectional approach.
- The Atmosphere and Commitment to Social Justice: Heller’s commitment to social justice manifests in the students who attend. Staff and students alike constantly push for the university to improve and meet its mission.
- The Friends: I would be nowhere without my cohort– check out my earlier blog about my peers and the make up of people who attend Heller.
- The Only MPP Program That Requires a DEI Course: That title says it all. Based on student feedback, Heller decided to integrate a DEI course into the core curriculum for the MPP program. And starting in Fall 2022, every students enrolled at Heller will be required to take a DEI course. I am proud of the students before me for advocating for this class and impressed with the administration for listening – but that’s on brand, have you read points #3-#5?!
- The Concentrations: Heller offers students many concentration to help inform and structure their academic journey. There is also the opportunity to create your own concentration if not one encompasses a student’s needs. Most of the concentrations are linked to a research institute, solidifying their institutional reach.
- The Leadership: The shared field experience of Dean Weil, our newly appointed interim dean, Dr. Maria Madison, and many of our distinguished lecturers enhances the caliber of our curriculum.
- The Aid: Heller’s commitment to support every student’s education can be felt in all of the numbers above. However, this is reinforced in its generous aid packages to students. Education needs to be more accessible and Heller is working towards making higher education a reality for everyone.
- The Alumni Network: Being associated with Heller is like wearing a badge of honor. People are proud to be a member of the Heller network; alumni hire alumni, staff help current students, Heller advocates for justice. Being a Heller graduate student is one of the highest accomplishments of my life and I look forward to being an ambassador for Heller as I enter the professional world.