The Bridge from Ideas to Action: Huron launches new program in Public Policy and Governance backed by Alumni Support
London, ONT – Thanks to a generous gift of $1.3 million from alumnus Tim Duncanson, Huron University has launched a new academic program dedicated to tackling complex, societal challenges through studies in Public Policy and Governance (PPG).
Yesterday, the program’s unveiling and generous gift were celebrated at a special event in Huron’s Theatre with staff, faculty, students and local dignitaries including City of London Mayor Josh Morgan. It was also an opportunity for an interactive fireside chat with local leaders and over 120 Huron students to help prepare them for careers in policy and governance.
The program will be part of Huron’s innovative Governance, Leadership and Ethics (GLE) department. Neil Bradford, GLE program coordinator and recently appointed Duncanson Family Director in Governance, Leadership and Ethics, says GLE helps students make sense of and contribute to solving the complex problems the world is facing, such as the climate crisis and inequality. “The new program will help students translate big ideas into actionable solutions,” he said. “Policy is the bridge between ideas and action.”
Tim Duncanson earned a BA in History from Huron, an MPP from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He served as Senior Advisor to Canada’s Deputy Minister of Finance from 2015 to 2022, and as Managing Director with Onex Corporation for 16 years, and is currently a partner at Kicking Horse Capital Inc. A longtime supporter of Huron and past Chair of the Executive Board (now Board of Governors), he received an honorary degree in 2022. “I hope PPG will foster students’ understanding of how important critical thinking, including historical and moral perspectives are in making practical decisions,” he said. “Decision-making involves a lot of trade-offs and complex issues. This program will serve as an introduction to how things work and why the humanities should play a role.”
Dr. Kate Graham is part of the GLE faculty team and serves as the new Duncanson Family Faculty Fellow, leading the PPG program. She spent a decade working in local government, most recently as the Director, Community and Economic Innovation at the City of London, and has been active in politics for many years. “Huron students have big ambitions about the kind of change they want to see in the world,” she said. “Policy is one of our most powerful tools to make that happen. In learning about public policy, students are invited to think in practical and ambitious terms about the art of the possible. It’s something they will take away with them and put to use well into their careers.”
The gift also supports the development of courses, some with travel components, and experiential learning opportunities, as well as multidisciplinary research in fields such as affordable housing and climate change.
In addition to the program launch, Wednesday’s event featured a discussion on London’s “Whole of Community System Response to Health and Homelessness” initiative, which Bradford described as a good example of the GLE approach. “The Initiative exemplifies the way a community can come together around a major ethical challenge with profound human consequences and find innovative solutions,” he said. “It also shows how we can tap into the energy of ordinary citizens to generate those solutions.”
Graham says the new PPG program is good news for our community and society as a whole. “Huron graduates leaders with heart, people who are positioned to drive change in whatever field they choose. If the next generation of graduates comes equipped with a real-world understanding of how policy can be used as a force of good, I think we’ll all be better for it.”
To learn more about the GLE program and its other learning opportunities, please visit: https://huronatwestern.ca/programs/arts-social-science/governance-leadership-and-ethics/
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