Michelle DePass, Dean

Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy

I am pleased to announce that the Milano School has been honored by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) as the winner of the 2015 NASPAA Social Equity Award.

NASPAA is the global standard for public policy, affairs, and administration masters programs, and this award is given to the NASPAA-accredited program which is shown to best exemplify and demonstrate a commitment to diversity and social parity through the research, teaching, and professional work of its faculty, staff, and students.

The NASPAA-accredited Urban Policy Program at Milano, chaired by Alec Gershberg, has received this recognition due to its enduring commitment to social justice in faculty research, course offerings, and the work of the Urban Policy Lab and Community Development Finance Lab.  Urban Policy at Milano blends hands-on experiential learning with classroom work in order to both prepare and challenge students to find innovative and just solutions to some of contemporary society’s thorniest challenges.  

A commitment to social justice and equity has been at the core of the program since its inception as an outgrowth of the Milano-based Center for New York City Affairs (CNYCA).  This focus on justice and equality is foundational for the Urban Policy Program, and we are proud that the faculty and students name it among one of the primary reasons they become involved in the Urban Policy Program.

This past academic year, there was a direct and highly visible commitment to social justice in both our course offerings and actions. In Spring 2015, the course “Public Policy in Action: Advancing Social Equality in America,” accompanied by a series of symposia, addressed the policy prescriptions and levers to promote economic and social inclusion and how, currently, these efforts manifest in ever-changing political and social environments.  I taught this course in collaboration with Darrick Hamilton and Juliet Ellis. The series was action-oriented in structure and engaged an extensive audience.

In addition, Milano and CNYCA responded quickly and organized events around the events in Ferguson, Staten Island, and to other attacks on black lives in our nation.  The “Public Policy in Action” series and the responses organized by CNYCA and Milano served as catalysts for the continuing conversation on the state of social justice in America, and they encapsulate the work of the Urban Policy Program and the Milano School. Through these important dialogues, we hope to inspire and inform social action that will lead to true racial and economic justice.

This recognition from NASPAA is a testament to the dedication and acumen of our faculty, students, and administrators to pursue and support our social engagement mission. It reflects both the deep roots of the Urban Policy Program’s 40-year commitment to improve the human condition, and of our recent ongoing efforts to bring a laser focus on social equity.  

Michelle DePass
Dean, Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy



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