Letter from the Interim Dean

February 06, 2023

Dear Heller Community,

Interim Dean Maria Madison, ScDIt was wonderful to welcome everyone back to in-person learning at Heller this fall after two and a half challenging years. Everyone returned to the rigor of lectures, campus activities, and building new and continuing solid networks, toward phenomenal careers. We look forward to continuing this journey with you, especially as you go on to become alumni around the world.

We have so much to be proud of — including new grants, awards, and gifts; our brilliant student body; and the continued success and global leadership of our alumni. Indeed, we are honored to be by your side at Heller, and energizing our vibrant global community. Your futures are bright, as evidenced by the contributions you have made prior to and during your time here. I am confident our academic programs and research centers and institutes will continue to reach new heights because of you.

As part of my strategic vision for Heller, we will continue to push the boundaries in our academic programs and prioritize high-impact research. We are a community of extraordinary leaders in social policy research, including investigating topics such as health policy; global health and development; behavioral health and substance use; disabilities; children, youth, families, and communities; environment; economic and racial equity; and workplace and labor.

With your partnership, we connect our work around the world. Our alumni hold key positions in agencies and organizations locally and around the globe. Our community also leads by example, embodying the Heller mission and principles as well as the anti-racism plan to guide us in financial viability, rightsizing, and collaborating to solve some of the world’s most concerning issues. With your partnership, we provide award-winning academics and conduct rigorous research of social consequence and engage directly in designing policy solutions.

In order to achieve these goals, we will continue to hold each other in the highest esteem, truly listening to each other in appreciation of our varying experiences and perspectives. We prioritize building dialogues across differences, including within “hot topics.” You all shine in the classrooms, patio, and hallways, and go on to rewarding careers with extraordinary impact.

We have much work to do together. I am encouraged by your dedication and by how you engage with these efforts authentically, especially during a pandemic and all of the competing challenges we face in these times.

I look forward to collaborating with you to work together toward building a stronger Heller and guiding our community through our new global normal.


Maria Madison, ScD

Interim Dean