Hobby School tackles policy to find solutions through education, research and service
Policy affects all areas of life and our communities need professionals who can analyze, interpret and lead change for public good. Graduates of the Hobby School hit the ground running in their future careers, given their mastery of both the technical and humanistic aspects of public policy.
By the UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON HOBBY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS
The Houston Fire Department last year needed to assess its response time to hazardous materials calls and the risks faced by local residents — so it turned to the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston. A group of Hobby School students used evidence-based research to analyze and identify service gaps and provide solutions. In response, the city is expanding its Hazardous Materials Response Team coverage in northwest Houston.
This policy decision improves safety in the nation’s fourth-largest city.
It improves the lives of tens of thousands of Houstonians.
And it demonstrates the impact that Hobby School students and researchers have every day on their community, state, nation and the world — on issues from public safety, to power, to the pandemic.
“The Hobby School’s impact is built on student training with a foundation in ethics, data analysis and skills that will lead to career success tomorrow and tackle important public policy challenges today,” says Hobby School Dean Jim Granato.
Leveraging the momentum of its graduate programs and research portfolio, the Hobby School will begin offering undergraduate degrees in public policy in Spring 2022, making UH the largest public university in Texas to offer such degrees. The degrees are focused on marketable professional and life skills, while students take on internships and are empowered to complete capstone projects where they dig deep into particular issues.
Service that matters
During the past four decades, UH’s Center for Public Policy spearheaded research and polling, provided internships in Houston, Austin and Washington, DC, and awarded masters of public policy degrees to students who have pursued leadership roles in the public, non-profit and private sectors, and elective positions.
Since the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board elevated the center and established the Hobby School of Public Affairs five years ago, the school has continued to expand its internship and fellowship opportunities for UH students.
The Hobby School fulfills an important responsibility to Texas and the nation through research and reporting that informs future policymaking. This past winter, researchers aimed to help policy makers understand the impact of Winter Storm Uri and the state’s lifting of COVID-19 restrictions through an expansive statewide survey and report, The Winter Storm of 2021.
“The Hobby School aims to have a national and international impact that starts here in Texas,” says Jim Granato, Dean, Hobby School of Public Affairs. “We are about public service. We are about giving students life skills. We are about research that makes lives better in Houston, Texas, the U.S. and the world.”
— Jim Granato, Dean, Hobby School of Public Affairs