Humphrey School News—February 16, 2018

Dean Laura Bloomberg: 'It's Our Time' for Humphrey School to Lead on Addressing Divisive Issues

The School's mission to prepare leaders who can work across divides is more important than ever, she says

2018 State of the School Address

At a time when America is bitterly divided along political, economic, racial, and ethnic lines, you might think that the leader of a school of public affairs would be discouraged or disheartened.

But in the case of Laura Bloomberg, dean of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, nothing could be further from the truth. It's a "remarkable time" to be in her position, Bloomberg told an all-school assembly Wednesday in her first "State of the School" address since becoming dean last June.

The Humphrey School is needed, she said, to prepare a new generation of leaders to advance the common good in a diverse world, and to inform public policy debates with evidence-based research.   

"We don’t, as a school community, see eye to eye on these big issues. But we operate in a public affairs school that demands of us critical thinking, clear-headed analysis, and honest, albeit robust, debate on the matters of the day," she said. "We have a mission, guided by the vision of our namesake, that helps us navigate those challenges in valuable ways for the school and the country. For better or worse, this is our time."

Watch video of Dean Bloomberg's address

In her remarks to more than 100 faculty, staff, and students, Bloomberg laid out her vision for the Humphrey School going forward, based on four broad themes:  

  • Expanding notions of hope, opportunity, and equity in a changing world
  • Strengthening the institutions of democracy and civic life
  • Expanding the pathways by which people interact with the Humphrey School
  • Applying a global focus to everything the School does  

Those themes are the foundation of the Humphrey School’s $20 million fundraising campaign, which Bloomberg announced at the assembly. The goals of the Leading Together campaign are to expand opportunities for students through scholarships and fellowships, support faculty research and development, and broaden the School's global reach and impact.

"You can’t look at where we are and not realize that we need a different way of leading," Bloomberg said. "I'm not talking about elected leadership, I'm talking about all of us figuring out how to work together in new ways, across all kinds of divides. And our fundraising campaign will be driven by that vision for what we can create at the Humphrey School."

Watch Dean Bloomberg's entire presentation

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