American Politics and Democracy focused on the current state
of America’s political discourse and the role academia and public
institutions play in ensuring democracy. UD faculty participants
included moderator Maria P. Artistigueta, Mike Donilon, K.C. Morrison
and Danilo Yanich, with special guest John Della Volpe, director of
polling at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics.
Disaster Science and Management participants discussed
emerging research and practices as governments and policy makers work to
improve preparedness and response to an increasing number of natural
disasters. Faculty members included moderator Jim Morrison, James Kendra
and Joseph Trainor, with special guests Jarrod Bernstein, director of
response, recovery and resilience at Bloomberg LP; Meghan Hays,
executive director of enterprise communications at MGM Resorts; and
former U.S. Senator Bill Nelson of Florida.
Energy and the Environment took UD’s leadership and
expertise—it was the first in the U.S. to offer a doctorate and master’s
degree in the combined fields of energy and environmental policy—as the
basis of its discussion about the consequences of our impact on the
environment. Faculty participants included moderator Andrea Sarzynski,
Greg Dobler, Kalim Shah and Casey Taylor, with special guests David
Ellis, director of strategic communications and policy at Energy Futures
Initiative; W. Michael McCabe, principal with McCabe and Associates;
and Phil Sharp, fellow with the Center on Global Energy Policy at
Health Care focused on the pressing issues of expanding access
to health insurance and making health care and medications more
affordable. Moderated by Sarah Bianchi, chair of the Biden Institute’s
Policy Advisory Board, the discussion included faculty members Karen
Stein, Katie Fitzpatrick and Steve Metraux, with special guest Howard A.
Zucker, commissioner of health for New York state.
Middle Class and Urban Affairs participants continued the
conversation that began in September, when hundreds of scholars,
nonprofit executives, students and others took part in the Biden
Challenge, a day committed to discussing strategies to revitalize
America’s middle class. Faculty members included moderator Chandra
Reedy, Dan Rich and Dan Smith, with special guests Stefanie Feldman,
director of policy for the Biden Institute; Don Graves, executive vice
president for corporate community initiatives and relations at KeyBank;
and Louisa Terrell, executive director of the Biden Foundation.
More about Jon Meacham
Jon Meacham, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author of presidential
biographies, is a distinguished visiting professor at Vanderbilt
University, a contributing writer for The New York Times Book Review and a fellow of the Society of American Historians.
His newest book, The Soul of America, was a No. 1 New York Times bestseller and was named one of the best books of the year by NPR, The Christian Science Monitor and Southern Living. Reviewers have called it “brilliant, fascinating [and] timely” and “Meacham’s declaration of his faith in America.”
His previous books include the New York Times bestsellers Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power; American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House; Franklin and Winston; and Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush.
More about the Biden School
The Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy and Administration
equips students with the knowledge and skills necessary to perform
research and public service activities that address pressing social and
economic problems and enhance the quality of life in communities in
Delaware, the nation and the world.
Through academic programs and research and public service centers,
the Biden School engages faculty, professional staff and students from a
variety of disciplines and diverse backgrounds in the classroom, on
public service project teams, and in collaboration with outside
Established in 1961 as one of the nation’s first university centers
focused on the challenges of urban America, the school has grown to
become a nationally and internationally recognized leader in public
A comprehensive school in the College of Arts and Sciences, it is
also known for research that can inform decision-making and policy,
improve leadership and management and address the critical needs of
The school was named for Biden in December 2018. It became the second
entity at the University to take the former vice president’s name,
following the 2017 launch of UD’s Biden Institute, a research and policy
center that continues to be part of the Biden School.
Article by Ann Manser; photos by Kathy F. Atkinson and Evan Krape