McGill Unveils New School of Public Policy

Photo: Evelyn Dom

On Tuesday November 7, following a gift of $10M from the Max Bell Foundation, McGill University announced the launch of a new School of Public Policy. The inaugural Director, Chris Ragan, is currently an associate professor of economics at McGill and the Chair of Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission.

“Public policy is a bedrock for a nation’s peace and prosperity,” said Ragan. “People have to think about the complexity of bringing together various perspectives, and the school will act as a village square for the bringing together of people to debate and to discuss. We are going to train the policy leaders of tomorrow and communicate with the rest of the world the importance of public policy.”

Against this backdrop, the teaching of the Max Bell School of Public Policy will be founded based on four pillars: applied policy research, practical policy teaching, effective public outreach, and credible policy engagement. The school’s flagship program consists of a Master’s in Public Policy that combines courses on theory and quantitative analysis. The school will also design a suite of tailor-made executive programs aimed at specific niches in government, business, and the NGO non-profit sector. Such executive programs will bring in experts from multiple academic disciplines.

Although the school will not offer undergraduate or PhD programs in Fall 2019, there is a possibility to introduce such programs later if demand arises.

In the heart of Montreal, McGill’s downtown campus provides a hub for both cultural and intellectual diversity. This cosmopolitan environment serves as the ideal setting to achieve the stated goals of the school, which are to foster Canada’s continued growth as a democratic and environmentally sustainable nation. As one of the most prestigious schools in the world, McGill’s faculty and students provide interdisciplinary knowledge key to resolving issues on a national and global scale.

“Good policy doesn’t just happen. It is a complex thing. Designing it is complex, communicating it is complex, you have to work hard to make good public policy,” Ragan maintained. “McGill’s true potential to excel in the field of public policy lies in its ability to effectively bring together and draw upon its impressive range of interdisciplinary programming across the core disciplines that are foundational to the study and practice of public policy.”

The current Advisory Board of Max Bell School of Public policy is already composed of far reaching Canadian leaders from diverse fields, including Dominic Barton, a global Managing Partner of McKinsey & Company, Michael Sabia, CEO of Caisse de dépôt et placement du Quebec, and Rona Ambrose, NAFTA council member and former interim leader of the Conservative Party. The board is due to expand by 12 more members within the next year.

The School will open applications during the Fall 2018 semester before welcoming its first class of students by Fall 2019. More information is available on the official website of the Max Bell School of Public Policy.

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