From Campus to City Hall: Educating Future Policy Leaders

Writer michael vyskocil
Photographer John Williams


Advocating, enlightening, informing: The work of public policy requires leadership, problem solving and a commitment to public service.

For professionals and undergraduate students who want to understand and develop solutions to policy and administrative challenges in their communities and workplaces, York College of Pennsylvania’s new Master of Public Policy and Administration (MPPA) program gives students the ability to combine theory and practical application to inform social change.

As Director of The Arthur J. Glatfelter Institute for Public Policy and Director of the MPPA program at York College, Vinny Cannizzaro says that this combination of theory and practical application gives students the lenses to understand how public policy connects with every facet of life.

“We’re getting students to ask themselves, ‘How does my work fit into the bigger picture?’” he says. “We’re giving them the tools to dive into the public policy process by providing them the full spectrum of what it takes to implement full, effective public policy.”

Cannizzaro aims to work directly with nonprofits, governmental organizations such as the City of York and others to provide as many real-world, experiential learning opportunities as possible. “We’re going to be doing project-based learning,” he adds. “I don’t want students just to learn about public policy and administration in a perfect world, but I want them to understand how things happen in a real-world setting.”

He believes the York community offers a distinct learning-working environment for students to engage in the policymaking process. Providing nonpartisan, informed research to legislators, policy experts and the York community’s political leaders is just one way that engagement can happen. This summer, Cannizzaro and his colleagues are at work with the Center for Community Engagement (CCE) Summer City Lab. Their efforts involve addressing some of the drivers of inequalities in the City of York and working with residents, York College faculty and community organizations to address those inequalities.

“I’m confident that when our students better understand what shapes public policy and administration,” he adds, “we can work collectively to come up with sustainable solutions.”


How does York’s culture inspire the work of public policy in this community?

“York is an evolving community ready to embrace change. Our community’s strength is in the diversity of backgrounds and perspectives, and the Institute strives to inform policymakers on decisions that will positively impact all of York.”

—  Vinny Cannizzaro, MPP, Director of the Master of Public Policy and Administration Program and Director of The Arthur J. Glatfelter Institute for Public Policy, York College

York College of Pennsylvania
  • 441 Country Club Rd. York, PA 17403
  • 717.846.7788
York College of Pennsylvania
  • 441 Country Club Rd. York, PA 17403
  • 717.846.7788