Interim Dean, McCormack Graduate School, Rita Kiki Edozie 
Dean, College of Liberal Arts, Tyson King-Meadows

Policy Across Disciplines Program at UMass Boston

Can policy studies solve the impending threats to democracy in the nation and the world? At UMass Boston’s John W McCormack School for Policy and Global Studies (MGS) and the College of Liberal Arts (CLA), we believe that our collaborative approach to policy studies can contribute to this necessary albeit ambitious goal. The McCormack School’s collaborative graduate education model delivers interdisciplinary policy studies, research, teaching and programs. This serves as an applied and engaged research and academic platform for troubleshooting and solving the most critical problems and dilemmas of our day - locally, nationally, and globally across time, space, and boundaries.

With the College of Liberal Arts’ provision of a liberal studies’ foundation to McCormack’s approach to policy studies, the Policy across Disciplines program will engage policy and public service studies as lenses through which to conduct interdisciplinary, problem-solving, community-engaged, transnational, and global policy research and programming.

The Policy across Disciplines Program is a two-part program (a speaker series and a collaborative grants award program) jointly hosted by the John W McCormack School for Policy and Global Studies (MGS) and the College of Liberal Arts (CLA). The program will be an exemplar collaboration between the two colleges that leverages The McCormack School’s distinctive educational brand of advanced policy and public service studies programs in collaboration with UMass Boston’s largest college, the College of Liberal Arts’ (CLA) diverse, disciplinary, liberal studies programs. Like McCormack’s academic programs, UMass Boston’s liberal arts degrees offer foundational humanities and social science knowledges across many different subject areas, including history, literature, writing, philosophy, sociology, psychology, creative arts and more that serve to formulate and communicate compelling arguments to solve pressing political, sociological, economic, and cultural problems of human life and organization. 

The two-college collaboration will support faculty research and scholarship as well as student success in liberal arts and policy studies at UMass Boston. The speaker series will host scholars and practitioners – individual talks or in panel discussions - from cross disciplinary backgrounds and disciplines who have expertise on a range of topics that have implications for some of the most pressing policy issues of our times, such as:   

  • Vaccine and mask mandates and subsidiarity - municipal, state, and federal govts in conflict  
  • Vaccine and mask mandates – public health
  • Covid and Crisis Standards of Care
  • Insurrectionism vs Terrorism? Jan 9 vs Sept 11?
  • Democracy, Elections, and Voting – US in a Post Trump Era
  • Banning Critical Race Theory
  • Withdrawing from Afghanistan – Biden Administration Policy
  • Withdrawing from Afghanistan – Questions of Postcolonialism and Imperial Legacies
  • Police Reform Acts across Urban Spaces
  • Environmental Policy and Justice
  • Municipal politics and city governing
  • Facebook, fake news, and social media regulation
  • Rolling back Roe vs Wade

Policy Across Disciplines Grants

 The grants award will offer two (2) $5,000 seed grants for MGS and CLA faculty conducting research on interdisciplinary policy studies topics that intersect with the liberal arts. The awards will be competitively awarded to two collaborative, cross-college research faculty teams from McCormack and CLA, who propose to conduct innovative, applied, interdisciplinary policy research and apply to prestigious external award competitions.


Recent Events 

“Does Democracy Protect Freedom?” Panel Discussion

May 11, 2022

Co-Moderated by: Rita "Kiki" (Nkiru) Edozie, PhD , Interim Dean, John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies and Tyson King-Meadows, Dean, College of Liberal Arts

Panelist: Panayota Gounari,  Professor of Applied Linguistics, College of Liberal Arts
Pamela Nadash,  Associate Professor, Gerontology, John W McCormack School of Policy and Global Studies
Darren Kew, Associate Professor of Conflict Resolution, John W McCormack School of Policy and Global Studies
Joseph Brown, Associate Professor of Political Science, College of Liberal Arts

Rewatch the Panel Discussion on YouTube 

"Is there Public Interest?" by Professor Jon Baskin 

Policy Across Discipline Speaker Series

May 13, 2022

Jon Baskin is a founding editor of The Point, a magazine of philosophical essays and criticism, as well as the associate director of the Creative Publishing and Critical Journalism program at the New School for Social Research. In his talk Baskin traced the intellectual roots of our most popular notion of public interest journalism--looking at still-influential works like Walter Lippman's Public Opinion and John Dewey's The Public and Its Problems--as well as some of the humanistic critics of that tradition, in order to analyze the lessons of pandemic communication. Ultimately I will suggest that, today, the journalists best qualified to address the public interest will be those who combine faith in its basic premise with a strong sense of skepticism about its limitations and shortcomings.