On Nov. 7, at a panel discussion at the Hotel Omni Mont-Royal, McGill announced its plans to launch the Max Bell School of Public Policy after receiving a $10 million donation from the Max Bell Foundation. This school will be housed under the Faculty of Arts and will offer both a one-year graduate program as well as executive programs—graduate-level programs for business executives—led by professors with experience in the field of policy. The school is on track to begin accepting applications in August 2018 for the Fall 2019 semester.
The four pillars of the new school will be Applied Policy Research, Practical Policy Teaching, Effective Public Outreach, and Credible Policy Engagement, all of which the school hopes will cultivate both a theoretical and practical understanding of the policy creation process. The curriculum at the Max Bell School will include topics like open-ended policy solutions, partisan politics, and structures of government.
Economics Associate Professor Christopher Ragan is the inaugural director of the new school, and is currently in the process of finalizing the details for its programming. He is responsible for designing the curriculum, executive programs, case studies of specific governmental policy issues, public engagement programs, and course plans. Ragan is also overseeing space, instructors, and scheduling for the school, which will likely be situated at 680 Sherbrooke street.
Ragan has consulted with research assistants from various universities throughout the world, including at the University of Toronto, Oxford University, and Harvard University, to gather insight and ideas for the School.
“I am simultaneously excited and swamped, but I am delighted to be doing this because McGill is a great place to have such a policy school,” Ragan said. “I have a generous financial gift, a blank piece of paper, and a year to build something wonderful.”
Antonia Maioni, the dean of the Faculty of Arts, is excited for the new project.
“The Faculty of Arts is so very pleased to have the new Max Bell School of Public Policy in the Faculty […] as a new pillar of teaching, research and outreach in public policy that extends to colleagues,” Maioni said. “[The school will encourage] interdisciplinary exchange between faculty and students across the university, as well as practitioners in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.”
Suzanne Fortier, the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of McGill, also expressed gratitude for the Max Bell Foundation’s donation. She foresees the School of Public Policy furthering McGill’s academic diversity.
“To create the new knowledge needed to solve our most pressing social and environmental problems, and to develop and implement the real-world policies that will effectively harness that knowledge, we need to bring together people from diverse backgrounds, cultures and experiences,” Fortier said. “McGill prides itself on the diverse background of its students and faculty. The Max Bell School of Public Policy will build on this strength by attracting an interdisciplinary, global cohort of scholars and students who will educate, and become, the next generation of policy leaders.”