Note from the Director for Spring 2022

February 2, 2022

Dear BU URBAN Community,

Welcome to the spring 2022 semester! I hope that your new year and semester are getting off to a great start. In today’s note, I want to acknowledge how much we value the feedback you provide through surveys, over Zoom, and during our end-of-semester feedback sessions. Your reflections and creativity help us continuously grow as a program and advance our mission.

Below, we’ve included (1) the preliminary* program schedule for spring and (2) changes made based on your feedback as well as Covid-related circumstances. We are excited about the high-impact programming in the months ahead as well as our new program features.

*Some events are in the process of being scheduled. We will update and the re-circulate the calendar when it is finalized!

  • Urban Governance Workshop Series – Due to the timing of Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s inauguration, she will not be giving a State of the City (SotC) address this year. However, because the SotC address is an invaluable teaching tool, we will focus our annual SotC Watch Party around former Mayor Marty Walsh’s address from 2021, followed by a debrief discussion with Katharine Lusk. We will announce details about these events and the overall series in separate email.
  • Science Communication Workshop – We’re partnering with STEPUP, PDPA, and Federal Relations to host a workshop focused on engagement with the policy ecosystem at the federal level. Details TBA!
  • Decolonizing Research Workshop – We’re partnering with PDPA to host an introductory workshop for graduate students about decolonization and how researchers can utilize strategies such as self reflection and co-production to position their research in the service of a more sustainable, healthy, and equitable future. Details TBA!
  • Internship/Career Fair – We’re organizing an event for trainees to network with prospective internship partners and employers, including members of the BU URBAN External Advisory Board. The tentative date is April 26, 2022, on the Charles River Campus.
  • Science Policy Trip to Washington DC – As announced separately, we have decided to postpone our in-person trip to Washington DC until June. We will still have some virtual events planned for March so please stay tuned.
  • Annual Symposium – Given that we’ve rescheduled several events for May and June, we will also postpone our Annual Symposium until September 2022.
  • Career Exploration – We’ve convened a brainstorming meeting with trainees in their later years to see what type of structure might be useful to support students preparing for the job market.
  • Applied Research Methods Course – This course now includes two informational interviews, one with a potential committee member and the other with a policymaker, NGO, or stakeholder to gain insights on the potential science-policy connections of their research;  the course also includes greater representation of URBAN faculty of color.
  • Interdisciplinary Research – We are implementing three (yes three!) innovations to support interdisciplinary trainee research: 1) increasing funding for collaborative research across disciplines, as part of our Research & Travel Awards process, 2) supporting research rotations across departments, and 3) facilitating “brainstorming meetups” for trainees to share and build ideas together. Details TBA!
  • Communications and Advising – We will continue the weekly newsletter (either an URBAN UPDATE or a TRAINEE TRIBUNE), Evan’s office hours (Wednesdays at 9am), Annual Activities Reports, and Group Check-in’s, and will more consistently CC faculty advisors on programmatic communications to trainees in order to keep them in the loop.

      As always, don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions, ideas, or feedback!

      All the best,

      Pam Templer
      Director, BU URBAN Program

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