September 2007

A New Name:
Meet the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences

What’s in a name? My colleagues in arts and humanities must forgive me (as will Romeo, Juliet, and Shakespeare) but a name can, indeed, be a very important indicator of the nature of an enterprise.

Dr. Brian Berry, dean of the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences.

Last summer, the UT Dallas school formerly known as Social Sciences became the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, to better reflect its character and work. The school takes a critical role in developing leaders in the areas of economic policy, politics and public service by offering degrees in criminology, economics, geospatial science, political science, public affairs, public policy and international political economy and sociology.

The school is in the midst of a years-long growth phase, with the number of student majors climbing 66 percent since 2002 to 1,236 and the number of degrees granted more than doubling. A score of new professors has been added the past two years, including noted experts in fields such as economics, criminology and public administration. The school’s research portfolio exceeds $5 million. The doctoral program in public administration is responsible for 29 percent of the doctoral credit hours generated at UT Dallas, the highest number of all our doctoral programs (followed closely by engineering). Under Dean Brian Berry’s enthusiastic leadership, the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences has:

• Added five Ph.D. programs, including Texas’ first doctoral criminology program.

• Created the innovative Laboratory for Behavioral and Experimental Economics, and multi-school programs in geospatial information science.

• Started the “MPA in City Hall” program, in which municipal employees take graduate Master of Public Affairs courses taught in the facilities of local cities to prepare for leadership roles in government.

• Earned designation as an official State of Texas Education Research Center by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Texas Education Agency.

EPPS, as we familiarly refer to the school, is one of seven making up UT Dallas. Most think of UT Dallas as, primarily, a place that grants degrees in science and engineering and in management. That’s right: approximately 80 percent of our graduates hold a degree in one of these areas. But to fully educate our students for all the challenges they’ll face, UT Dallas must be broader than that statistic might imply. Recent events that drew attention to the role of engineering—the anniversary of the New Orleans flood this past August, the Minneapolis bridge collapse—force us (even the engineers like me) to recognize that organizations and leadership matter as much as skills and technical proficiency. Seeking out and listening to diverse perspectives, especially to perspectives and points of view that argue for the more difficult path forward, are essential to being well informed and to good decision making, regardless of the endeavor.

We take seriously the obligation to provide a quality experience in all areas of our work, and to serve our community with the kinds of research and career-enhancing graduate programs EPPS provides. That distinctive combination of pragmatism, leadership and quality in higher education should bring to mind first one name: UT Dallas.

About This Newsletter

The President's Viewpoint is a periodic newsletter distributed to a select group of alumni, friends, faculty and staff. It comes from the desk of Dr. David E. Daniel, President of The University of Texas at Dallas, and provides the ultimate insider’s view on the news and concerns of the university.