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Alasdair Roberts Named Director of the UMass School of Public Policy

Alasdair Roberts has been named the new Director of the UMass Amherst School of Public Policy (SPP). The announcement was made by the Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, John A. Hird, on March 27. Roberts will officially step into the role on September 1, 2017 and will also join the faculty of the Political Science Department. Stan Rosenberg, President of the Massachusetts Senate, lauded this appointment, stating "In this political environment, we need all hands on deck to help people understand more and more about how our government works and how good public policy is developed. The appointment of Dr. Roberts brings new vision and energy to this critical work." 

"I could not be more pleased or excited to know that Alasdair Roberts will be joining the UMass family,” says UMass Provost Katherine Newman. “We have an outstanding faculty and thriving programs in public policy, but the founding of the new School will take the entire enterprise to a new and more prominent level in the Commonwealth. Between his distinguished scholarship and his many leadership roles in the field, Dr. Roberts is the ideal leader for the new School."

Professor Roberts is an internationally renowned scholar in the fields of governance, law, and policy. He most recently served as Professor of Public Affairs at the Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri.  He also holds a courtesy appointment in the School of Law and an adjunct appointment in the Department of Political Science at the University of Missouri. Prior to this, Roberts was a member of the public administration faculty of Queen’s University in Canada (1990 to 2001), and the Maxwell School at Syracuse University (2001 to 2008). He was also the Jerome L. Rappaport Professor of Law and Public Policy at Suffolk University from 2008 to 2014.

Professor Roberts received a JD from the University of Toronto in 1984, a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard University in 1986, and a Ph.D. in Public Policy from Harvard University in 1994.

A prolific writer, Roberts is the author of six single-authored books, two edited books, and numerous articles.  His books include Blacked Out: Government Secrecy in the Information Age (Cambridge, 2006), The Collapse of Fortress Bush (NYU, 2008), The Logic of Discipline: Global Capitalism and the Architecture of Government (Oxford, 2010), America's First Great Depression: Economic Crisis and Political Disorder after the Panic of 1837 (Cornell, 2012), The End of Protest: How Free-Market Capitalism Learned to Control Dissent (Cornell, 2013) and, most recently, Four Crises of Democracy from Oxford University Press in 2016. He is co-editor of the journal Governance (ranked #5 of 163 journals in Political Science and #2 of 47 in Public Administration), and has two new books under contract.

“I'm delighted that Alasdair Roberts has accepted the position as inaugural Director of the School of Public Policy,” says Dean Hird. “As one of the world's leading figures in public administration and policy, he will bring tremendous energy, creativity, vision, and leadership to SPP.”

The UMass School of Public Policy is the hub of interdisciplinary public policy research, teaching, and engagement at the University. SPP teaches and conducts rigorous research to realize social change, and has graduated policy leaders who now address local and global topics such as family and care policy, environmental issues, emerging technologies, social inequalities, and governance. The School of Public Policy, formerly the Center for Public Policy and Administration, has been under the leadership of Interim Director Charlie Schweik since June 2016.

To learn more about Alasdair Roberts click here.

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  • Department News/General