Director's Corner

Welcome to the Public Policy Program. 


Welcome to Public Policy! The summer spotlight is on the exciting things that Dr. Jason Windett, the Associate Director of Public Policy, is bringing to the program. Dr. Windett is working to enhance data science training both in the program curriculum and in the new Public Policy Research Support Lab (PoRSL) as we encourage students to explore leveraging new data sources for the study of public policy. Dr. Windett uses data analytics in his research to explore the diffusion of public policies across the United States and over time by analyzing the text of hundreds of thousands of legislative, judicial, and executive documents.  His research also examines elections and electoral policies, with an eye towards understanding the role of gender in elections and in agenda setting in the elective office. Dr. Windett received his Ph.D. from UNC Chapel Hill in 2011 and brings experience from his time at St. Louis University in mentoring graduate students and developing graduate curriculum. He is currently a faculty member in UNC Charlotte’s Department of Political Science and Public Administration.  

Changes in technology create both a need for new policies as well as new opportunities for understanding policy through the digital traces that make up our world. This year, we focus on data analytics and the many ways we can use new sources of data and new methods to understand the roots of complex policy problems and evaluate the effectiveness of policy interventions to address societal needs. UNC Charlotte is home to the Data Science Initiative, designed to build collaborative relationships with public and industry partners to utilize complex, large sets of data to answer pressing questions in society and business. Through this initiative, UNC Charlotte is building a top-quality data science infrastructure on campus with access to a wide range of data and resources. Public Policy will be joining in this effort over the next few years as we add new data science workshops and courses to help faculty and students utilize exciting data science resources available on campus. 

We hope you will tour our program and see all we have to offer.  We also encourage you to take a look at the UNC Charlotte Graduate Program.  The Graduate Admissions office provides support and information throughout the application process.  They hold general information sessions about admissions and provide a link to a virtual tour of campus for those who cannot visit before applying.  UNC Charlotte is an urban university but the main campus sits on nearly one thousand beautiful acres northeast of the city, connecting to the vibrant Center City campus with the new light rail service between UNC Charlotte and Charlotte’s uptown area.  

We are excited about the terrific research and programming we offer to students, faculty, and the broader community. Most student training occurs through day-to-day collaboration and mentoring within the Public Policy Program. Ph.D. students work with faculty, graduate student peers, and in coursework on real-world projects, many of which are funded through federal granting agencies and foundations.  We are proud of the many collaborative projects and co-authored publications that come out of our program. Another unique feature of UNC Charlotte is the impressive array of resources available through the Graduate School’s Center for Graduate Life. They provide workshops on professional skills, academic courses, job market preparation seminars, and a wealth of resources to augment what is provided by the Policy Program.  UNC Charlotte is a welcoming and supportive environment for graduate study, and the Public Policy community invests in the success of our students.  We prepare students for a number of different types of jobs and alumni from our program secure positions in academia, the public sector, think-tanks, and industry.  To learn more about the Ph.D. program, see our Program Information pages. 

This year, UNC Charlotte's Public Policy program will continue its mission to transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries to tackle the complex and challenging problems that face society.  While traditional disciplines excel at creating basic scientific knowledge, it is the process of bringing together knowledge from multiple disciplines as well as the insights of policy stakeholders that hold the best promise for finding transformative solutions. We seek to train our students in convergence science to seek knowledge through multiple lenses, communicate across disciplinary divides, and integrate knowledge to find evidence-based solutions to challenging policy and governance problems.