Jacksonville Fla. – The study and advancement of shaping the future of communities and organizations will be the focus of the new Public Policy Institute at Jacksonville University. The Institute will work toward building the first master’s degree in public policy (MPP) in Florida.
With the establishment of the Institute, President Kerry D. Romesburg announced the hiring of Rick Mullaney, former General Counsel for the City of Jacksonville, chief of staff for former Jacksonville Mayor John Delaney, assistant state attorney and recent mayoral candidate, as the founding director of the Public Policy Institute.
“Rick is the perfect individual for leading the creation of the Public Policy Institute at Jacksonville University. He has a great passion for Jacksonville, for the policy making process and for students,” said Romesburg. “This Institute will not only provide our students the opportunity to discover the intricacies of policy-making, but also create a vital link for community leaders and academics to discuss critical issues.”
The Institute will focus its efforts on three ways to advance the discussion of building communities through public policy efforts. First, 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.
“I look forward to working with the expert faculty of Jacksonville University, the administration and the community to create an Institute that will link learning to current-day policy making. 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 masters degree in public policy in Florida and will attract students and leaders for many years to come.”
Success of the Institute will be based on a strong connection to the community. A non-partisan advisory board will be established to set the direction and provide expertise for the Institute. The distinguished group of board members will be announced in January, 2012.
In addition to plans to develop the master’s degree, there is support for joint degrees opportunities with JU’s MBA and marine sciences programs, as well as with Florida Coastal School of Law. With faculty approval, these joint degrees programs would be the first in the State of Florida.
In addition to his role as the Director of the Public Policy Institute, Mullaney will advise pre-law undergraduate students at the University.
Mullaney served as a legal and public policy advisor for nearly 20 years to the Austin, Delaney and Peyton administrations and is a member of the Board of Directors for the St. Vincent’s HealthCare System and immediate past chair of the Board of Directors for St. Vincent’s HealthCare Foundation. He is also the vice-chair of the Board of Directors for Gateway Community Services and a member of the ALS Regional Council. Mullaney has taught business law and criminal procedure at the University of North Florida. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science and a Juris Doctorate, both from the University of Florida.
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