Mission, Values, and Legacy

Hubert H. Humphrey rides in a car past people in support of his 1968 presidential campaign

A Community Committed to Changing the World

The Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota ranks among the country’s top 10 professional public policy and planning schools, widely recognized for its success in advancing the common good through a comprehensive, world-class program. The School offers six distinctive master’s degrees, a doctoral degree, and five certificate programs that match students’ passion with the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to solve real-world challenges.

Long noted for equipping students to play key roles in public life at the local, state, national, and global levels, the Humphrey School is respected for its role in shaping public policy, its focus on social justice and human rights, and its expertise in planning, leadership, and management.

The Humphrey School’s outstanding faculty members are deeply engaged with students and committed to public service and public affairs scholarship. Six policy research centers in the Humphrey School make significant contributions to solutions on issues ranging from politics and governance to urban and regional planning, from early childhood policy to technology and environmental sustainability.

The University of Minnesota, one of the world’s leading research institutions, is located in Minneapolis-St. Paul, annually ranked at the top of the country’s most affordable, literate, and engaged metropolitan areas.

Our Strategic Plan: 2023-2027

In 2022, we undertook a significant review of the Humphrey School's existing strategic plan, with a goal of updating it to better reflect society's current challenges and better define our role in meeting those challenges. We sought ideas, input, and insights from students, faculty, staff, alumni, supporters, and community partners. 

The result of that six-month process is our new strategic plan, the blueprint that will guide us for the next five years. 

We have created a plan that models our commitment to valuing diversity and inclusion of thought, experience, and identity. It leverages the University of Minnesota’s MPact 2025 strategic plan, and brings together a range of differences to a unified focus on the common good for all—locally, nationally, and globally. Our plan envisions that the Humphrey School will be a catalyst and significant contributor to those solutions through our roles in teaching, research, and service.

These are our guideposts: 

Our Mission

The Humphrey School of Public Affairs educates, engages, and equips leaders and communities to discover solutions that advance the common good in our diverse world.  

Our Vision

Building on the legacy of its namesake, the Humphrey School community aspires to co-create innovative solutions to the world’s most complex problems through leadership, service, and inclusive engagement locally and globally.

Our Values

These values will guide us in our interactions, practices, and decisions. They set the course for how we deliver on our mission and pursue our vision. They are the parameters that will shape our organizational culture and our engagement with partners.

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Student Success

We value student success: The hands-on experiences learners have while they are engaged with the Humphrey School and their impact in the world.

Inclusion and Dialogue Across Differences

We value inclusion and dialogue across differences: Nurturing a culture and environment where everyone feels welcome and heard.

Local and Global Interconnectedness

We value local and global interconnectedness: Making a positive impact in communities immediately around us and in those well beyond the School’s geographic location.

Sustainability of Our Diverse World

We value the sustainability of our diverse world:  Preservation and restoration of our environment, our resources, and all living things.

Communities as Partners

We value communities as partners in our collective work: Through the mutually beneficial pursuit of innovative solutions.

Equity, Access, and Social Justice

We value equity, access, and social justice: Where all people have equal opportunities to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Evidence-Based, Research-Driven Knowledge

We value evidence-based, research-driven knowledge: Rigorous and vigorous innovation, built on the foundations of robust scholarship.

We invite you to read the complete plan

School History

The Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs was founded in 1977 at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. The school chose its name in honor and recognition of a Minnesota political icon, U.S. Senator and Vice President Hubert Humphrey, a legislator and statesman recognized internationally for his contributions to improving the well-being of humanity.

The Humphrey Institute grew out of the University of Minnesota’s former School of Public Affairs (1968–77) and Public Administration Center (1936–68). It was renamed the Humphrey School of Public Affairs in 2011 to better reflect its academic mission. Like its predecessors, the Humphrey School continues to instill in our brightest leaders an understanding of leadership and public service in advancing the common good.

A Living Memorial

Before his death, Humphrey made sure the institution that would carry his name would be more than a college. He wanted a living memorial, one that would not only prepare future leaders, but also one that would be a forum for active debate on the policy issues of the day, and an academy that would produce the best research and nonpartisan advocacy based on that research.

A Legacy of Outstanding Leaders

Professor John Adams led the transition of the School of Public Affairs to the Humphrey Institute graduate school from 1976 to 1979. Harlan Cleveland, an internationally known political figure and former Assistant Secretary of State, was named the Institute’s founding dean in 1980. Under Cleveland’s leadership, the school moved into its current home at the Humphrey Center in 1986. The building was designed to enhance the research and outreach mission of the School and to present a welcoming gateway to the University of Minnesota’s West Bank. 

Regents Professor G. Edward Schuh served as dean from 1987 to 1997, followed by Professor John Brandl from 1997 to 2002, and J. Brian Atwood from 2002 to 2011. Eric P. Schwartz served as dean from October 2011 to June 2017. Laura Bloomberg served as dean from June 2017 to August 2021. Nisha Botchwey assumed the role of dean in January 2022.