Colleges and Schools > Hobby School of Public Affairs
3623 Cullen Boulevard Room 306
Houston, Texas 77204-5021
Executive Director: Dr. Jim Granato
From a foundation of integrity, the Hobby School of Public Affairs prepares its graduates to make government, business and communities work more effectively by harnessing data and research to improve public policy.
About the Hobby School
Interdisciplinary expertise and community visibility constitute the foundation of the Hobby School of Public Affairs. The Hobby School of Public Affairs offers a Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree, as well as several dual degrees/accelerated pathway programs that are available via partnerships with other academic departments. The Hobby School’s research component is found within the Center for Public Policy, including programs and initiatives such as the Survey Research Institute, the Concept Visualization Lab, the Empirical Implications of Theoretical Models Summer Institute, and the Civitas Project. Public service and community engagement are also a vital component of the Hobby School as evidenced through Hobby Fellows, Leland Fellows, the Civic Houston Internship Program, the nationally-accredited Certified Public Manager program, the Civic Engagement Boot Camp, and various public events.
Led by executive director Dr. Jim Granato, the Hobby School is supported by an advisory board of Houstonians prominent in business and civic affairs, and maintains cooperative relationships with many educational and public service entities in the Houston area and the state of Texas.
The Hobby School is a Full Member of the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) and Institutional Member of the Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management (APPAM). The Hobby School also maintains a Pi Alpha Alpha chapter, which is the global honors society for public affairs and administration.
Master of Public Policy
The Hobby School’s Master of Public Policy (MPP) program offers an interdisciplinary degree, which prepares students to conduct advanced quantitative and qualitative analyses. Drawing from political science, psychology, decision sciences and more, MPP graduates will be ready for analytic and decision-making positions in many fields within the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. In addition, MPP graduates will be prepared to enter a PhD program with a quantitative emphasis.
Center for Public Policy
Established in 1981, the Center for Public Policy (CPP) serves the Houston community as a non-partisan research organization within the Hobby School at the University of Houston.
The CPP is dedicated to providing scientific, non-biased data and analysis to public officials, business professionals, community leaders and others through an interdisciplinary approach with particular emphasis on unifying case-study, formal/mathematical modeling, and applied statistics and experiments. Research work teams include faculty from a variety of disciplines and universities as well as staff and students. These research teams focus on a diverse array of important public policy and academic issues while archiving data, conducting statistical analysis, using experiments and computer simulations, and developing working papers. The issue may be transportation, energy, elections, or a myriad of others but the approach will always use objective methods of analysis.
Survey Research Institute
Under the direction of Dr. Richard Murray, the Hobby School’s Survey Research Institute (SRI) conducts ongoing public opinion polling. Since its inception within the Center for Public Policy in 1981, SRI has provided polling data for local media such as the Houston Chronicle, KHOU, and KUHF as well as for local, regional, and state public and private sector entities. The SRI’s telephone lab consists of twenty stations in the University of Houston’s Leroy and Lucille Melcher Center for Public Broadcasting and also maintains online capacities.
The EITM Summer Institute
The Empirical Implications of Theoretical Models (EITM) Summer Institute at UH was established in 2012. The two-week institute teaches the three-step EITM framework inspired by the National Science Foundation to establish a transparent relation between theory and test.
The Civitas Project
The Civitas Project for the Interdisciplinary Study of Political Society and Civic Life links the analytical rigor of the social sciences with the philosophical, historical, and normative richness of the liberal arts to inform public understanding of the principles and policies of civic life. Civitas restores the traditional role of the social sciences and liberal arts-the “human sciences”-as the source of moral, cultural, and political renewal and as the core of the education of citizens.
Concept Visualization Lab
The Concept Visualization Lab (CVL) creates multi-dimensional visualizations and proto-types to display research findings in dynamic and interactive graphics. Whether it is a state-wide study or an examination of a local issue, the CVL visualizations can make data come alive.
Public Service Internship Programs
In an effort to introduce students to the inner-workings of public service, the Hobby School manages various internship programs for undergraduates including Hobby Fellows-Austin, Leland Fellows-Washington, and the Civic Houston Internship Program (CHIP). Intern alumni are now working from Houston City Hall to Capitol Hill.
Certified Public Manager Program
The Hobby School’s Certified Public Manager (CPM) program is designed for government and non-profit staff and managers who are interested in enhancing their skills and abilities needed to deal with “real-world” problems and situations. CPM graduates apply best practices and theory to their management behaviors and strategies using prescribed sets of professional standards.
Civic Engagement Boot Camp
The Hobby School’s Civic Engagement Boot Camp (CEBC) is a series of one day interactive sessions designed to teach the skills necessary to create positive change. Each workshop will develop and enhance the abilities required to lead effectively within any environment.
The Hobby School partners with several Houston organizations including BakerRipley, the Greater Houston Partnership, Global Unisource, and the League of Women Voters to promote civic engagement, scientific policy analysis, and professional training.
Programs and Courses
The Hobby School does not currently have an undergraduate academic program, but does manage several undergraduate internships programs: Civic Houston Internship Program, Hobby Fellows, and Leland Fellows.
The Hobby School does have several accelerated pathway programs via partnerships with other College of Liberal Arts and Social Science departments.