Jacksonville University hired former City General Counsel and mayoral candidate Rick Mullaney as the founding director of the JU Public Policy Institute, which is designed to build the first master’s degree in public policy in Florida.
University President Kerry Romesburg said the study and advancement of shaping the future of communities and organizations will be the focus of the new institute.
Mullaney also was chief of staff for former Jacksonville Mayor John Delaney and an assistant state attorney.
“This institute will not only provide our students the opportunity to discover the intricacies of policymaking, but also create a vital link for community leaders and academics to discuss critical issues,” Romesburg said in a news release.
According to the release, the institute will focus its efforts on three ways to advance the discussion of building communities through public policy efforts.
First, it said, with faculty approval, interdisciplinary public policy courses will be developed in the areas of political sciences, economics and leadership with the goal of having a master’s degree program in place for fall 2013.
Second, the institute will provide community programs and forums, including an annual conference that will bring leaders and academics together to discuss important local issues.
Third, the institute will provide executive courses, certificates and training programs that are focused on mid-career professional, public and nonprofit employees, elected officials and those seeking to run for office.
Mullaney said in the release that he looked forward to working with the JU faculty, administration and community.
“We have the opportunity to build this Public Policy Institute to be the hub for many important discussions and development of many influential leaders,” said Mullaney.
“The expertise on this campus will be the base for the first master’s degree in public policy in Florida and will attract students and leaders for many years to come,” he said.
A nonpartisan advisory board will be established to set the direction and provide expertise for the institute. The board will be announced in January.
The release said that in addition to plans to develop the master’s degree, there is support for joint degree opportunities with JU’s MBA and marine sciences programs, as well as with Florida Coastal School of Law. With faculty approval, the joint degrees programs would be the first in the state.
Mullaney also will advise pre-law undergraduate students at JU.