Recapping 2020 with UConn DPP

This year the Department of Public Policy (DPP) learned a lot about our capacity to adapt and support the communities and causes we care about. In a year that many of us hope to forget, we strived to showcase and remind people of the impact of our network and the good in our world. 

Our alumni, faculty, staff, students, and community partners around the world asked questions, developed solutions, and adapted to our ever-changing environments. In a normal year these concepts are traditionally part of our daily lives, but when the world demanded more, we found ways to rise to the occasion.

For our final post of 2020, we would like to highlight 10 of our favorite impacts. In no particular, order help us celebrate the DPP Network and the end of 2020!

1. When we first transitioned online we had no idea what laid ahead. Our faculty seamlessly transitioned to online education and continued researching and attending conferences from home. They made impacts in the areas of public budgeting and finance, nonprofit management, and social equity and social policy.


"Welcome to the University of Connecticut Department of Public Policy Encore!Connecticut 2020 Graduation" on a computer screen, a zoom celebration, Encore!Connecticut certificate and hat, DPP mask
2020 Encore!Connecticut Graduation

2. We congratulated our 2020 graduates in May through a virtual celebration and awards ceremony. Even with the pandemic our students continued our job placement rate of 97% within six of months of graduation. In October we held a graduation for our 2020 Encore!Connecticut Fellows, and welcomed our largest cohort of corporate professionals to the nonprofit sector.


3. For the third year in a row the DPP had a record number of students join our network! Our incoming class included over 130 new students. More than 35 students will join us this spring. Assistant Professor Ruodan Zhang and Adjunct Faculty member Dr. Gleema Nambiar also joined the Department this past fall.


4. Our alumni continued to find jobs and be promoted! We published job updates in our spring and fall newsletters. Our Winter Job Updates will be released in our next newsletter in late January.


5. We expanded the ways that students can tailor their degree! Our Public Administration (MPA) and Public Policy (MPP) degrees launched three new focus areas in “State and Local Government Management,” “Public Policy, Diversity, and Inclusion,” and “Urban Planning.” This added to the six existing focus areas students could specialize in. Our Survey Research (MASR) masters also introduced a Media and Communication Campaigns Track with the Department of Communication.


6. While the world shifted more heavily to online delivery, we expanded our online presence. In September we launched our new website, and we joined LinkedIn in December. In the fall we also began posting on all of our social media platforms daily.

Graphic showing the 6 panelists for the June 25, 2020, Beyond Thoughts and Prayers event
June 25, 2020, Beyond Thoughts and Prayers event

7. Like most things, our Public Service Executive Leadership Collaborative (PSELC) transitioned entirely to online delivery this fall. Our online option boasted our highest enrollments, with sessions on “Managing Unconscious Bias” and “Responding to Microaggressions: Strategies for Navigating Instances of Exclusion” with Kenya Rutland from KJR Consulting selling out. Additional offerings of these virtual sessions and other professional development opportunities will be available virtually this spring.


8. The shift online allowed DPP co-hosted and co-sponsored events the opportunity to welcome attendees from across the country. Some of this year’s events included:


9. Nationally the DPP continued to hold spot number 9 for Public Finance and Budgeting. We also rose nine spots overall to a ranking of 38th among Public Affairs programs. These rankings are “… a testament to the scholarly work of my colleagues and the leadership and management of our public affairs programs in the Department of Public Policy” says DPP Department Head Mohamad Alkadry.


10. One of our favorite impacts of our 2020 was showcasing our network with you. Each and every person who engaged with our platforms displayed an appreciation for helping others and the importance of creating an impact that makes a difference. In December alone we engaged with over 40,000 users across our platforms.  We can not wait to see how our network grows and evolves over the next 12 months, but we know that no matter what our network will continue to make and impact. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter to stay up-to-date on our impacts!