Wednesday, July 22, 2020

On June 4, 2020, the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, approved the University of Iowa’s request to rename the UI School of Urban and Regional Planning as the School of Planning and Public Affairs.  The new name reflects that the School now offers two professional master’s degrees—the Urban and Regional Planning degree, which dates back to 1964, and the Public Affairs degree, which was approved September 19, 2019.

According to Charles Connerly, Director of the School of Planning and Public Affairs, the name change reflects the School’s commitment to addressing what the university’s strategic plan calls “the grand challenges of the 21st century.”  Connerly said, “We believe that it is more important than ever to meet these grand challenges—including racism; climate change; pandemics; health care; aging; addiction; inadequate infrastructure; inequality; immigration; and public safety—by equipping leaders of our public and nonprofit sectors with the tools and the knowledge for making difficult decisions on the critical problems our society faces.”

The new master’s degree in Public Affairs is enrolling its first students in Fall 2020.  Students in this interdisciplinary program will take a variety of courses in public management and public policy offered not only by the School but also by numerous other departments on campus.  Students will be able to choose from many areas of study including public and nonprofit management, strategic communication, criminal justice, economic development policy, educational policy, environmental policy, health policy, housing and community development policy, methods for public policy analysis, the politics of public policy making, sustainable development, and transportation policy. 

The School of Planning and Public Affairs builds on the university’s rich traditions in public affairs and policy and therefore joins many other campus units in promoting interdisciplinary education, research, and service, including not only academic programs in the Graduate College, the Tippie College of Business, the College of Education, the College of Engineering, the College of Law, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the College of Public Health, but also centers for research and service—the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities, the Larned A. Waterman Iowa Nonprofit Resource Center, and the Public Policy Center.

For more information on the School of Planning and Public Affairs, please contact Charles Connerly, Director, at