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15 Mar

SPGG Hosts the Ninth Annual Ford+SPPG Conference

March 15, 2018 | By |

Student teams presented policy options on disruptive technologies to a team of faculty judges.

Ford+SPPG conference

On Friday, March 9th and Saturday, March 10th, 2018, the School of Public Policy and Governance hosted the 9th annual Ford+SPPG Conference, a student-led case competition organized in partnership with the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. Under the leadership of Co-Chairs Alexandra Pileggi (SPPG 2018), Emily Fucher, Camille Lim and Eric Nolin (Ford 2018 and 2019) and their spirited planning committees of MPP students on both campuses, it provided a stimulating, dynamic and social learning experience. This year’s theme, Disruptive Technologies: (AI)ding Transitions into a New World of Work, brought students together to create innovative policy solutions to manage the inevitable change that emerging technology will bring to transportation and post-secondary education.

This conference gathers together some of the brightest young minds in public policy in a team environment to tackle issues that affect both Canada and the United States. Since its inception, this conference has helped build knowledge around emerging policy challenges, facilitate dialogue across the border and foster relationships between future policy leaders. Both Schools are deeply committed to training public policy leaders who are well-trained technically, substantively engaged, ethical and broad minded.

The conference began with a keynote panel featuring Frederico Berutti, Partner at McKinsey and Company, Meghan Gervais, Senior Advisor, Ontario Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science and Sunil Johal, Policy Director, The Mowat Centre, moderated by Peter Loewen, Director of SPPG. The discussion was both insightful and valuable for student competitors and the broader policy community as panelists engaged in a vibrant debate on both the benefits and costs of newly developed technologies, their anticipated impacts, and the concerns this disruption creates for policy-makers.

After an evening of both intellectually and socially enriching activities, day two of the conference began with an introduction to the case. Students were asked to consider these questions: What is the role of government relative to other actors in addressing the anticipated challenges in either the transportation or post-secondary education sector? What policy levers can be most effective in helping mitigate the anticipated negative impacts in this sector? Teams were then sent off to work diligently to prepare three policy options for review by our faculty judges. Just four and a half hours after receiving the questions, teams presented their thoughtful analysis to judges: Sean Speer (University of Toronto), Linda White (University of Toronto), David Morse (University of Michigan), and Rhonda McMichael (University of Toronto). Congratulations to Jean-Paul St. Rose (SPPG), Scott Surphlis (SPPG), Anna Pudimat (Ford), Maxwell Gigle (Ford), and Kate Blessing-Kawamura (Ford) who delivered the winning presentation at the 9th annual Ford+SPPG Conference.

The Ford+SPPG Conference remains one of our long-standing student initiatives here at the School of Public Policy and Governance. As is the objective every year, this event provided all delegates with a great opportunity to develop their presentation and policy analysis skills, where they received constructive feedback from our judging panel. The School of Public Policy and Governance would like to thank the student conference committees from both schools who helped organize the event, as well as our colleagues at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy for a great and longstanding partnership that we hope to continue to grow. Next year, faculty, staff and students from SPPG are excited to be able to visit Ann Arbour, Michigan for the 10th annual Ford+SPPG conference hosted in March 2019.

Read more about the March 9th pre-conference event on Disruptive Technologies here.