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Welcome to the 2021 Fall Semester August 17, 2021

With school starting next Monday, I want to take this opportunity to check in with you and share some updates and thoughts. But before I do that, I want to “Welcome” our new Master of Public Policy (MPP) students and graduate certificate students and “Welcome Back” our current students. The Hobby School faculty and staff are so proud of all of you and our goal is to make your experience as positive and productive as possible to prepare you for the next phase of your life.

Now, for the immediate situation. While there are unknowns about how the Fall 2021 semester will pan out, given the uncertainties of COVID, our faculty are ready to pivot as needed to ensure your classes and co-curricular activities are dynamic and interactive with no lost momentum. In particular, and for the next two weeks, there are specific rules in place for teaching that are set by the University regarding face-to-face and online instruction. Your professors will be in touch with you about these matters in the coming days. These policies will be revisited as the semester unfolds.

The past school year showed us the power of resilience and improvisation of our Hobby School community as we adapted to the changing landscape. This was exhibited not only in the classroom, but also among our various experiential learning programs, internships and fellowships.
There is much to be excited about at the Hobby School as we continue to expand our reach and student opportunities. We welcome new faculty member Jessica Gottlieb from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. Prospective undergraduate students can now enroll in our new BA and BS degrees in Public Policy beginning with the Spring 2022 semester. The Hobby School will have a notable presence at the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) annual conference in October 2021, hosting various panels and other activities. And we have financial gifts coming in from Hobby School supporters to fund student and faculty programming.

Not only is the Hobby School growing, but so is the vibrant, diverse backdrop of the University of Houston campus, our great city and surrounding metropolitan area. The U.S. Census confirms what we know - the Houston area is one of the most influential, ever-expanding geographic regions of the U.S. We are so fortunate to have this setting as our laboratory for education, research and service.

Never has there been a more important time locally, nationally and internationally to have compassionate, intelligent and sensible policy experts to guide future decisions, laws and processes that govern our communities. Thank you for having the courage and fortitude to choose this path.

Let us know if you have questions, concerns or suggestions for the coming semester. You can email me at jgranato@uh.eduAlso, I will be holding “Dean’s Office Hours” on Mondays from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. To schedule office hours with me, please email Emily Janowski at

Finally, for more information about UH COVID protocols and support, check out these updates as well as this one specifically for you: Students - University of Houston (

Best wishes from the Hobby School team!

Jim Granato

Dean, Hobby School of Public Affairs