Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy

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Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy
Garrett Hall at the University of Virginia, home of the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy
Type Public
Parent institution
University of Virginia
Endowment $130 million
Dean Allan Stam
Location Charlottesville, Virginia, United States

The Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy (also known as the Batten School) is one of the University of Virginia’s graduate schools. The school offers classes and four different degree programs in Public Policy and Leadership.[1] The School, established in 2007,[2] is closely aligned with many of the University's schools, including the architecture, business, education, engineering, law, and medicine schools, as well as with programs in politics, economics, and applied ethics.


1860s statue of Thomas Jefferson in the Rotunda at the University of Virginia

The Frank Batten School, located in Charlottesville, Virginia was established in 2007 by a $100 million gift from University of Virginia alumnus, Frank Batten.[3] A part of the University's strategic plan, the Batten School was designed to be an expression of U.Va.'s Jeffersonian heritage. Frank Batten's vision for the school was to create an institution that "focused on developing leaders who understand the responsibilities and opportunities of public life and have a bias for action.”[4] The School is housed at the center of the University's grounds in Garrett Hall, next to Thomas Jefferson’s Rotunda and The Lawn.[2] Harry Harding, previously the dean of the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs, was selected as the school's founding dean in January 2009.[5] Garrett Hall went through a multimillion-dollar renovation while under Dean Harding. The project was completed in the summer of 2011. In May of 2014, the University announced that University of Michigan professor and national security and international relations policy expert, Allan Stam, was slated to become Batten's second dean. Stam began his term July 1st of that year.[6]


Teaching and research is overseen by the Academic Affairs Office, headed by Dean Christopher Ruhm.[7] The Assistant Dean meets regularly with students and in addition each student is assigned a faculty mentor. The Batten School adheres to the University of Virginia's Honor System and enforces strict consequences for instances of lying, cheating, and stealing within the School.[8][9]


Master of Public Policy (MPP)[edit]

Batten’s core curriculum requires Master of Public Policy students to take classes in four main areas: 1) concepts and tools of problem solving and policy analysis, 2) leadership, 3) context of public policy, and 4) applied, experiential learning. Students also must take electives, complete an internship, and present an Applied Policy Project-- where students must conduct a professional study for an outside client. Optional one-credit short classes are also offered. MPP student summer internships are offered at various consulting, federal contractor and Federal Government, state and local governments, and NGO/Nonprofit organizations in Virginia and nationally. MPP candidates must take a minimum of 12 credits and a maximum of 17 credits, permission from the Assistant Dean is required to enroll in over 17 credits.[10]

Accelerated Master of Public Policy Program[edit]

The Accelerated Bachelor/Master of Public Policy Program allows current University of Virginia undergraduates to complete both a Bachelor's and their Master’s degree in five years, one year earlier than the average six. Eligible students apply for the program their third year at U.Va. and must complete three Batten courses per semester their first year at the School. The core curriculum is similar to the MPP program.[11]

Dual Degree Program[edit]

The Batten School offers five Dual Degree programs where students may earn a degree from another graduate school at the University of Virginia and at Batten in conjunction. The School offers student several degree options, including an MPP/JD from the Law School, MPP/MBA from the Darden School of Business, MPP/PhD in Education Policy from the Curry School of Education, MPP/MPH from the Department of Public Health Sciences at the School of Medicine, and MPP/MUEP from the School of Architecture.[12]

Bachelor in Public Policy[edit]

The School started offering a Bachelor of Arts degree in leadership and public policy in 2012, with a focus on global and domestic policy. To complete the degree students must complete the core curriculum required by the University of Virginia as well as an additional 40 credit hours of Batten classes.[13]

Academic Honors and Awards[edit]

Frank Batten Logo.pdf

The Batten School and the University of Virginia offer two annual Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant awards, given at the end of the academic year. In addition to these teaching awards, Batten also awards efforts in policy analysis. The Outstanding Applied Policy Project Award is given to an MMP student annually, honorable mentions are occasionally awarded as well. Students are also eligible for the Dean's List and commencement awards.[10]

Centers and Collaborations[edit]

Center on Education Policy and Workforce Competitiveness[edit]

Founded in 2011, the Center is a collaboration between the Curry School of Education and Batten. The Center aims to draw scholars from the University of Virginia and from around the state to conduct research and data development on educational policy. The interdisciplinary Center also conducts a seminar series on educational policy.[14][15]

Center for Health Policy[edit]

This center is the result of a collaboration between Batten and the School of Medicine, Department of Public Health Sciences. It conducts research on health and the public and seeks to find better ways to address health policy issues and educate the public. The Center is open to University of Virginia faculty, as well a visiting scholars and researchers.[16]

Working Group on Leadership[edit]

The Group brings together representatives of leadership programs from eight of the University of Virginia’s eleven schools, with thirty faculty members from the politics department, the Darden School of Business, Miller Center of Public Affairs, and many others. Their goal is to identify best practices in leadership education as well as host guest speakers and forums.[17]

Social Entrepreneurship @ U.Va.[edit]

The subject of social entrepreneurship is a fairly new development in public policy curriculum, in 2013 Batten Professor Christine Mahoney and two students received a grant from the Jefferson Trust to fund classes, competitions, field work, and faculty.[18][19] Social Entrepreneurship @ U.Va. (SE@UVA) is a pan-university interdisciplinary program that seeks to engage students in thought about social change through entrepreneurship in non-profits, NGOs, and government institutions. With a focus on creating value for multiple parties, not just focusing on shareholders, SE @ U.Va. features numerous classes for both graduate and undergraduate students at Batten, including a startup class open to all students, regardless of major or School. The program also sponsors student competitions and hosts lecture series.[20][19] It centers on developing student skills in interdisciplinary fields, along with finance, policymaking, nonprofits, and international development, and focuses on enacting those skills in real life ventures. SE @ U.Va.'s projects are located in countries across the world, including Brazil, Tanzania, Rwanda, Zambia, and the Philippines. Classes are cross-listed in the Batten School, as well as in the Curry School of Education and the University of Virginia College of Arts and Sciences. It also works closely with the School of Engineering and Applied Science, Darden School of Business, and the McIntire School of Commerce. Its four guiding pillars are 1) cross-disciplinary curriculum, 2) experiential education, 3) research and scholarship, and 4) leadership development.[18]

Public Policy MOOC[edit]

Launched in February 2015, Batten offers a class called “Public Policy Challenges in the 21st Century” on Coursera. The massive open online course (MOOC) is offered to all ages and is accessible internationally. It offers faculty lectures and covers U.S.-China relations, health policy, defense policy, and issues of federalism. The course also allows students to converse with policymakers, including senators, former congressmen, and White House press secretaries.[21] The course operates from the view that policy is not only shaped by governmental organizations, but also by leaders in the private sector and NGOs and aims to bring together law makers and corporate leaders, seeking to bridge the divide and increase transparency.[22]

Student Life[edit]

The Batten School has its own thriving student life with a close connection to the University of Virginia's as well.

At the start of the school year, the Leadership Retreat draws Batten students, faculty, and staff together for a retreat in the West Virginian Appalachian mountains. It features leadership and team building activities, hosts key note speakers, and culminates with a white water rafting trip.

Student Groups[edit]

Students are encouraged to join a number of organizations. Both the Undergraduate and Graduate programs have a Council of student leaders, elected to run community outreach, events, professional development activities, and head external, internal, and social committees.[23][24] Batten Builds is a group that brings students, faculty, and staff together to support nonprofits in the Charlottesville and Albemarle County area. Previous nonprofits the group has helped include Habitat for Humanity, the Ronald McDonald House, Albemarle Housing Improvement Program, Senior Center, Inc., and others. Batten Speaks! is a public speaking club with monthly meetings that cover networking, public speaking, and presentational skills.[25] The Batten Umbrella Mentorship Program (BUMP) offers membership for any MPP student the semester of their admission to the school. These students receive mentorship from upperclassmen and an introduction to life at Batten. The group hosts Round-Table Discussions monthly, as well as dinners, Jeopardy!-like competitions, field days, etc. Highly involved members can also become eligible for research assistant or internship positions.[26] Formative Change Group (FCG) Consulting is a pro-bono consulting group that lends the services of its members to non-profits in the area. It was launched in 2012 as a part of the Clinton Global Initiative commitment. The students apply their policy analysis skills to their clients' real world problems and provide the necessary knowledge and support to the organizations so they can carry out their core mission.[27] Foreign Policy Club introduces students to issues of foreign and domestic policy with discussion meetings, guest speakers, and speaker debates.[28]The Women in Policy Club provides a forum for members to unpack news coverage of women through a policy lens, using their background and training in the area.[29]

The Virginia Policy Review (VPR) is an independent, student run publication based out of the Batten School. Through opinion pieces, research, book reviews, and other works the group seeks to foster discussion around issues of public policy and promote the work of Batten graduate students. In addition to their bi-annual publication, VPR also hosts a blog, The Third Rail with more timely content.[30] [31]

Notable People[edit]


  1. ^ "MPP". Retrieved 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "History and Mission". Retrieved June 23, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Largest Gift in University History: Frank Batten Sr. Gives $100 Million to Create New School of Leadership and Public Policy at U.Va.". April 12, 2007. 
  4. ^ "We Rule- Here's How We Know". Northern Virginia Magazine. August 2008. Retrieved June 23, 2015. 
  5. ^ Colwell, Kate (February 2, 2009). "Harding named first dean of Batten School". Cavalier Daily. Retrieved February 2, 2009. 
  6. ^ Liss, Joseph (May 8, 2014). "University announces new Batten School dean Allan Stam". Cavalier Daily. Retrieved June 23, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Academic Affairs Team". Retrieved June 24, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Graduate Academic Policies". Retrieved June 24, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Undergraduate Academic Policies". Retrieved June 24, 2015. 
  10. ^ a b "Master of Public Policy". Retrieved June 24, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Accelerated Master of Public Policy Program". Retrieved June 24, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Dual Degree Programs". Retrieved June 24, 2015. 
  13. ^ "BA in Public Policy and Leadership". Retrieved June 24, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Center on Education Policy and Workforce Competitiveness". Retrieved June 25, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Education Policy Seminar Series". Retrieved June 25, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Center for Health Policy". Retrieved June 25, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Working Group on Leadership". Retrieved June 25, 2015. 
  18. ^ a b Vlk, Bruce A. (January 9, 2015). "Cultivating the Next Generation of Leaders Through Social Entrepreneurship". Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  19. ^ a b "SE Classes". June 29, 2015. 
  20. ^ Lewis, Dannika (May 15, 2012). "Push for Social Entrepreneurship at UVA". Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  21. ^ Berger, Meredith (February 2, 2015). "The Democratizing Power of Moocs". Cavalier Daily. Retrieved June 30, 2015. 
  22. ^ Warburg, Gerry (February 12, 2012). "Bridging the Divide Between Business and Government". Forbes. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  23. ^ "Batten Undergraduate Council". Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  24. ^ "Batten Graduate Council". Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  25. ^ "Batten Speaks!". Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  26. ^ "Batten Umbrella Mentorship Program". Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  27. ^ "FCG Consulting". Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  28. ^ "Foreign Policy Club". Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  29. ^ "Women in Policy". Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  30. ^ "Mission". Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  31. ^ "The Third Rail". Retrieved June 29, 2015. 

External links[edit]