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Ohio Public Leaders Initiative prepares Miami University students as tomorrow's leaders
A new advisory board comprising public leaders from across Ohio plans to mentor Miami University students in specialized "real world laboratory" internships enhancing students' understanding of the inner-workings of state and local government institutions.
The new Ohio Public Leaders: Inside State and Local Government program is the latest initiative of Miami’s Center for Public Management and Regional Affairs (CPMRA), housed in the department of political science.
Students accepted into the program receive paid internships and are selectively assigned to state or local government institutions or to public affairs-related nonprofit agencies throughout Ohio. Fellowships support the students as they work on projects that are designed to meet the needs of partner agencies. Advisory board members will meet with CPMRA faculty, staff and students on campus Thursday, Nov. 1. The board, along with faculty and professional mentors, will engage with students during their internships.
“Students will emerge from the Ohio Public Leaders initiative prepared for success in the arena of public leadership while host organizations will benefit from engaging with outstanding young talent,” said Philip Russo, Miami political science professor and director of the center, now in its 28th year.
“This program will offer a truly transformative experience: For the students it will provide curricular and co-curricular support – and a paid internship – to develop their interests in state and local government; for the state of Ohio it will be a positive step as part of the efforts to keep the best talent in Ohio and develop a cadre of tomorrow's public leaders. We're very excited to get started,” said Patrick Haney, professor and interim chair of the political science department.
Dana McDaniel (Miami ’87), Dublin city manager and director of economic development, is a founding member of the Ohio Public Leaders advisory board and sees the significance of the center’s role in building future public leaders.
“No doubt, public service is a calling. Our public expects and demands a lot from its employees and leaders,” McDaniel said. “Our students must be prepared on many levels to answer that call."
“Miami University's public administration program provided me a unique combination of classroom and real-world experiences through both internships and interactions with practitioners. It was a great start to a career in public service,” said McDaniel, who is also a brigadier general of the Ohio Army National Guard. “I am honored to share my experiences and thoughts on how we might prepare our students to answer the call to public service.”
Ohio Rep. Timothy S. Derickson (District 53), another founding member of the advisory board, said that as an alumnus and someone who has served in a public role for 13 years, he realized the value of the program and sees much potential for the students who participate.
“Being able to steer them to public service, because it’s been rewarding for me, is the next step for many of us who have been in this role for a while,” said Derickson.
When he was a Hanover Township Trustee, Derickson saw firsthand the value of the students’ work through the center.
“It did a lot for me [and the] other township trustees,” he said. “For instance, a township survey that was conducted by the center – by the students – showed results that encouraged me to put a levy on the ballot that I never would have before. It was a public service levy and, not being keen on raising taxes, I wouldn’t have pursued it if I had not read the survey.”
Derickson said there is no better way to provide enlightenment than through the opportunity for hands on experience.
“Not only do they have this experience, but they also have an idea about what to expect when they get out of school,” said Derickson.