Leading Tomorrow's Leaders


The W&M Public Policy Program is part of a four-century-old tradition of public service and public policy that dates back to William & Mary’s founding in 1693.  Indeed, given the role the College played in preparing Thomas Jefferson and a core group of the nation’s Founding Fathers to lead America’s “great democratic experiment,” public policy is the historic essence of the College.  As our nation confronts a formidable array of public policy challenges, we are proud to be developing the next generation of professionals and academics who will tackle and solve these problems.

The W&M Public Policy Board of Advisors is comprised of distinguished public policy practitioners and other accomplished individuals.  Board members are selected based on eminent professional achievement, personal interest in the discipline of public policy, and the demonstrated ability to help W&M Public Policy further its mission to improve public policy analysis, evaluation, and formulation within state, national and international entities.  Thanks in part to the leadership from past advisors (and, of course, our outstanding faculty and students!) W&M Public Policy now ranks among the most selective in the country.

Board members, who are appointed to serve renewable three-year terms, may contribute to the program in many ways, including:

•    Meetings.  Participating in our two annual meetings (generally in Washington, D.C. in the spring and Williamsburg in the fall) is a core duty of W&M Public Policy Board members.  The meetings are an invaluable opportunity to engage with program faculty and students and help shape W&M Public Policy.  The spring meeting in Washington, D.C. is generally an afternoon meeting followed by an evening reception.  The fall meeting is a full-day meeting on a Friday in November.  The fall meeting generally includes a reception with current students and an on-campus social event (e.g., William & Mary football game) the next day.  Board member spouses and children are welcome to participate in W&M Public Policy Advisory Board meeting social events.

•    Sponsoring Policy Research Seminar (PRS) projects.  Through the PRS program, second year graduate students bridge the gap between academia and public policy practice by undertaking a major research project for an outside “client.”  Members of the W&M Public Policy faculty oversee the projects.  Sponsors have included trade associations and other non-profits, businesses, governmental entities, and others concerned about understanding the consequences of government actions or seeking unique solutions to policy problems.

•    Internships and Job Opportunities.  W&M Public Policy’s strong practical and professional orientation reinforces its excellent academics.  However, there is no substitute for real-world experience.  Board members can help support our students’ professional development by creating summer internship opportunities to expose them to the range of jobs that utilize the skills W&M Public Policy teaches.  Of course, our graduates also possess outstanding skills and we encourage Board members to consider them for permanent positions within their own organizations.  

•    Student Professional Development.  Sometimes the most valuable thing for a student or recent graduate setting out on a career in public policy is a mentor who can act as a sounding board.  Board members can act as informal advisors, answering questions and providing career advice, to help students make the transition from academia to the working world.  Additionally, Board members may participate in mock interviews to help prepare W&M Public Policy students for the competitive job search process.

•    Supporting W&M Public Policy Financially.  Thanks to the generosity of our Board members and other contributors, W&M Public Policy is one of the best-endowed academic programs at the College.  The resources Board members contribute and raise from others provide scholarships to help attract the best students, stipends for research assistants, and resources to support our faculty’s professional development.

•    Curriculum Guidance and Academic Support.  Many of our Board members are on the front lines of public policy advocacy, implementation, and research.  Their insights about emerging trends and structural adjustments in the profession help our faculty design an academic program that will position our students to be at the forefront of their chosen professions.  Additionally, from time to time, Board members have the opportunity to contribute directly by developing and teaching relevant short courses, providing professional insights during our “Washington Program,” and guest lecturing.

•    Student Recruiting.  Board members are important ambassadors for W&M Public Policy and are encouraged to help recruit new students.  Board members may also be called on to speak to prospective students to provide additional insights about the program.

If you have questions about the W&M Public Policy Board of Advisors, please contact:

John Gilmour, Ph.D.
W&M Public Policy Director

David D. Oxenford
President, W&M Public Policy Board of Advisors
Partner, Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP

Christian A. Klein
1st Vice President and Nominations Committee Chair, W&M Public Policy Board of Advisors
Partner, Obadal, Filler, MacLeod & Klein, PLC