The School of Public Policy released its first and only public policy journal, titled the University of Maryland Public Policy Review, on March 29.
The founders and co-editors of the journal, Dan Meier and Connor McHale, hosted a release celebration with graduate students and faculty at the School of Public Policy to celebrate their accomplishment.
About 30 people came out to support Meier and McHale and hear about the UMPRR, which was first conceived in September 2015 when Meier and McHale were out at a bar on campus.
“We went out for Happy Hour at Looney’s after class and we just started talking about our professor, and really great faculty like him within the school [of Public Policy],” Meier said. “We were like, ‘How can we do something that gets us in front of these people, to where they remember our name?’”
From then until February 2016, when the journal was finally approved, Meier and McHale worked on a business plan that focused on their intentions to sustain and grow the journal for the future, as well as how to publicize it. The two are not the first to attempt to establish a public policy journal at this university. However, they are the only people who have succeeded.
The top ten public policy schools in the country, including Harvard and Duke universities, all have a public policy journal to showcase students’ work and bring attention to the individual schools, which is part of the reason Meier and McHale proposed this idea.
“It seemed like there was a gap between all the high quality material that’s being produced in the school for classes every year and the fact that it was being read by an average of probably two people,” McHale explained. “We were hoping this would be something they [the School of Public Policy] can point to and say, ‘look at what our students accomplish.’”
With the help of about 12 other editors, Meier and McHale were able to produce an online journal of 112 pages. The journal consists of three types of pieces: faculty briefs with hyper-concentrated commentary concentrated in one area, op-eds regarding environmental issues, and 20 to 25-page papers about whatever peaks the graduate student’s interest.
Journal Communications and Outreach Director Whitney Dixon, along with Meier and McHale, have faith that the journal’s credibility will only grow from here.
“We already got a submission from a Johns Hopkins students for next year’s journal,” Dixon said. “I think it’s good to add higher caliber pieces because it will help motivate our policy students.”
“The goal is to showcase students more than anything and give them the chance to interact with faculty,” Meier said. “It started as a drunken joke to get attention, but that turned into a beautiful thing.”