November 22, 2011 — The University of Virginia's Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy will hold an information session Nov. 30 about its proposed bachelor of arts degree in public policy and leadership.
The degree program will welcome its first students next fall, pending approval by the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia.
The session will be held from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m, in Nau Hall, room 101.
The Batten School plans to enroll up to 50 students in the first class of the B.A. program, which the Board of Visitors approved last week, said Eric M. Patashnik, Batten School associate dean. Batten plans to eventually enroll about 75 students per class.
The addition of the program comes as Batten's new home in Garrett Hall on Central Grounds is giving it increased visibility among U.Va.'s undergraduate population, said Gerald Warburg, assistant dean for external affairs.
"The foot traffic through Garrett Hall has been phenomenal in the last couple weeks, with our last three public events bringing in about 200 students, many of them not current Batten students," he said.
"These students are engaged by the biggest issues of our future, like climate change, technology privacy and health care reform. Batten offers a great route to make an impact on those big challenges."
John Simon, executive vice president and provost, added, "The Batten School's proposed bachelor of arts in public policy and leadership will appeal to the many undergraduates at U.Va. who are passionate about public service, who enjoy hands-on research and multidisciplinary learning, and who would like to gain a better understanding of the major public policy challenges facing the nation and the world today."
Students will apply for admission during their second year, and enter in the fall of their third year, said Howard Hoege, Batten's director of admissions. The program will require at least 40 credit hours in the Batten School, including 30 credits of core courses, nine credits of special topic credits, a one-credit writing lab, and a fourth-year capstone seminar that includes a team project on a major public policy issue.
The program emphasizes substantive knowledge, analytical rigor and research skills, Patashnik said. Its academic content is interdisciplinary and draws on knowledge and concepts from economics, political science, history, ethics, psychology and other fields.
The program covers four areas: foundations of public policy and leadership; economic analysis of public policy; the political, psychological and historical context of public policy and leadership; and research and writing skills.
Courses will examine the role of government, markets and nonprofit organizations in American society and how civic leaders can be effective in articulating a strategic vision and mobilizing the resources necessary to advance a group's values and goals. The curriculum also provides the basic analytic tools for understanding the effects of public policies.
The program's graduates will be well-prepared for entry-level professional positions in government or the nonprofit sector and for graduate study in law, business, journalism or other professional programs, Patashnik said.
The admissions process will seek to assemble a class diverse in background, experience and interests, Hoege said. "Our admissions process will consider academic performance, but will also take a close look at applicants' statement of purpose and interest in public policy and leadership. Our goal will be to admit those students who can get the most from the program and who will use what they learn to be effective leaders in their communities, their professions and the larger world."
"The establishment of this program," Patashnik said, "is critical to the core mission of the Batten School and the University – to prepare young people for leadership in civic life."