The policy studies major offers a multidisciplinary course of study enabling graduates to provide leadership in a dynamic domestic and global environment.
“Every great enterprise begins with faith,” the late historian William Manchester surmised. In 2006, after a vigorous debate, the Lafayette faculty took a leap of faith when it approved the proposed interdisciplinary program and major in Policy Studies. It would be the height of hubris to hint that our academic enterprise has achieved the status of greatness. Yet, fifteen years on, Policy Studies has emerged as a vibrant contributor to the mission of the college and to the positive transformation of the institution. Our unique curriculum integrates the study of business, policy, and technology to explore global issues of cooperation and conflict. Students confront real-world challenges through collaborations across campus and with external partners to shape cutting-edge solutions for a dynamic world.
In 2020-21, economics professor Gladstone “Fluney” Hutchinson formally received a joint appointment with Policy Studies, which further facilitates his curricular and co-curricular commitments to the program. Professor Hutchinson, who also serves as Director of Lafayette’s Whitman Fund, continued his innovative, market-based public scholarship by assembling a multidisciplinary team of students dedicated to expand his multi-year project on the economic and cultural redevelopment of West Baltimore.
A signature feature of the Policy Studies program is the partnership with Lehigh Valley Public Media to produce content for PBS-affiliate WLVT, which reaches 12 million potential viewers. The student-centered productions include Lafayette Lens on PBS39, a news magazine that facilitates public scholarship and the capacity for students to communicate effectively through the visual media. In the 2020-21 academic year, students produced two editions; one on the 2020 US national elections, and another on the mental health crisis in America.
The mission of Policy Studies to examine real-world challenges at the intersection of business, policy, and technology is accomplished in part by the active participation of distinguished Lafayette alumni in courses. In the spring 2021 “Industry, Strategy, and Policy” course, eleven alumni representing the major sectors of the global economy brought real-world issues and cases into the classroom.
A key performance indicator for the program is the success of Policy Studies majors after graduation. Graduates in the Class of 2021 did quite well by this metric, with students entering positions at Citi, Amazon, Reggora, Daversa Partners, and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Authority. Graduates from past years continue to flourish in a wide variety of fields as a few examples illustrate:
|Katrina Ruggiero ‘20, Completed her MS in Accounting at Lehigh University and commenced her professional career at Deloitte
||Abigail Williams ‘15, Entered the MBA program at the Duke University Fuqua School of Business after six years at Suvoda
|M.E. Shelton ‘19, Consultant at Slalom
||Daniel Valladares ‘14, Principal in the Client and Partner Group at KKR & Co. Inc.
|Andrew White ‘18, Analyst, Investment Research Group at Brown Brothers Harriman
||Zoe Nemerever ‘13, Assistant Professor, Political Science at Texas Tech University after receiving her Ph.D. in Political Science at UC San Diego
|Katherine Stevens ‘17, Associate Director of Global Strategy & Engagement at Merck Group
||Merideth McCann ‘12, Change Management Program Lead at Google and completed her MA in Organizational Psychology and Change Leadership at Columbia University
|Edward O’Brien ‘16, Senior Pricing/Proposal Analyst at Mathematica Policy Research