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Heinz College: 2022 Year in Review

Dear Heinz College Community,

2022 was quite a year! Midterm elections, Supreme Court decisions, inflation, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine all reminded us of the critical role policy plays in our lives. At the same time, semiconductor shortages, whistleblowers, cryptocurrency meltdowns, and hybrid work reminded us of the primacy of technology in our lives. I’ve never been more confident that our position as the world’s only college of information systems and public policy is the right place to be.

Our reputation climbed seven spots in the U.S. News and World Report rankings of public affairs graduate schools, to 12th, and we remained atop the list in Information Technology and Management for the 24th consecutive year. While the importance of these rankings is a fair topic of debate, I am proud that our peers see the commitment of our students, faculty, and staff to our mission of using data and evidence to make the world a better place.

Jump to section: 

Policy Impact
Faculty Achievements
Student Accomplishments
Making an Impact, Face to Face
Academic Matters
In Memoriam

Policy impact when good policy is needed most  

Carnegie Mellon’s focus on translating our work into public policy was a major theme of 2022. President Joe Biden visited Carnegie Mellon’s Mill 19 advanced manufacturing research facility, where he gave a speech calling for investment in innovation. He also announced that southwestern Pennsylvania received a $62.7 million Build Back Better Regional Challenge grant. Heinz College’s Block Center for Technology and Society will have access to $2.5 million of that grant for research into robotics and the workforce. In September, Carnegie Mellon partnered with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, a recent member of the Block Center Advisory board, to host the Global Clean Energy Action Forum, a gathering of policy makers and CEOs from across the globe. CMU President Farnam Jahanian attended the signing into law of the CHIPS and Science Act, the $280 billion piece of legislation aimed at boosting semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S. I had the opportunity to discuss the future of work with President Bill Clinton, and Heinz College welcomed Chike Aguh, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Chief Innovation Officer, to discuss our research on the future of work in a transforming economy. 

In October, we hosted a discussion between US Representatives Conor Lamb and Ro Khanna on Khanna’s new book, Dignity in a Digital Age. Recent revelations show that Representative Khanna was heroic in his defense of free speech in the election-related controversies at Twitter. It was an honor to host them both. 

Ambassador Sarah Mendelson, the Head of Heinz College in Washington, D.C., testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee and granted several interviews on the war in Ukraine. I am grateful to Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, both for hosting our D.C. students at a Pennsylvania delegation event on Capitol Hill and for inviting me to participate in a Congressional Roundtable on worker safety.

I was honored to be both named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and appointed to the White House’s National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee. This field is at the core of what we do at Heinz College and Carnegie Mellon, and this spring, the Block Center launched the Responsible AI Initiative. As part of that initiative, I am chairing the Department of Defense’s Responsible AI Academic Innovation Council.

For the second consecutive year, Heinz College convened panels of experts across academia on the nation’s most pressing public policy issues as part of our Trillion Dollar Questions series. In May, our panelists discussed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In November, the event focused on student debt and the future of higher education, an issue of great importance to our community and to our society at large. 

Elsewhere in the policy realm: 

  • In March, we hosted a debate amongst Pennsylvania’s Democratic candidates for US Senate
  • Professor Daniel Nagin published a study providing evidence-based recommendations for policies to counter mass shootings
  • Heinz alumna Susie Lee (NV-03) was elected for a third term in Congress
  • Heinz alumna Keara Klinepeter, the acting Pennsylvania Secretary of Health, visited for a conversation about mental health, advocacy, and education
  • Professor Lee Branstetter served on a National Academies committee that released a report on the security of America’s medical product supply chain
  • CMU and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation launched PennSTART, a state-of-the-art track and facility to train first responders
  • Traffic21 convened a panel with Pennsylvania Secretary of Transportation Yassmin Gramian and State Senator Wayne Langerholc at Mill 19, where they unveiled automated vehicle legislation
  • Metro21 and the City of Pittsburgh began a year-long Guaranteed Basic Mobility pilot program
  • Heinz College published the fourth season of Consequential, the Heinz College policy podcast, which examined public transportation, energy, and workforce development 

Our faculty continue to break new ground 

Our ability to affect policy relies on the innovation and expertise of our faculty. And the faculty did not disappoint in 2022. 

Professor Alessandro Acquisti presented at the National Bureau of Economic Research’s first-ever conference on the economics of privacy. He was also awarded a MacArthur Foundation grant, and his work was cited extensively in the British Competition Authority’s official report on online choice architecture. Alessandro led a group that presented at the Federal Trade Commission’s PrivacyCon in November, and he was appointed chair of Carnegie Mellon’s Institutional Review Board. 

Professor Akshaya Jha was named a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research and an Energy Fellow at the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation. His article was named “Editor's Choice” for the January 2022 issue of the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. Professor Edson Severnini was named an NBER Research Associate. Professor Karen Clay became the incoming editor of the journal Explorations in Economic History and published a paper in the Journal of Economic Literature

Our work in arts and entertainment sets us apart from other policy or information schools, and these faculty also continue to excel. Dan Green, the Director of the Master of Entertainment Industry Management program, was elected to the board of both the Association of Arts Administration Educators and the European Network on Cultural Management and Policy (ENCATC). In December, Dan chaired the AAAE’s International Conversations: Spotlighting Arts and Culture During the War with the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation. He also spoke at the ENCATC Congress in Brussels, Belgium, and served on the jury for the organization's research award. 

MEIM faculty members Bonnie Greenberg and Jonathan Baker received nominations for an Academy Award and an Emmy respectively. MEIM faculty member Michele Smith was named to Billboard’s 2022 Women in Music Top Executives. Professor Brett Crawford worked with the CMU School of Drama on a production called "My Body No Choice," which was commissioned by Washington, D.C.’s Arena Stage. Brett also spoke about blockchain and non-fungible tokens at the Duquesne Club and moderated a College of Fine Arts workshop. 

Hundreds of media outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Forbes, NPR, The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, and Newsweek, featured our faculty’s expertise this year. These interviews and articles covered crime, technology, management, smart cities, economics and the workforce, health care, the environment, energy, education, cyber security – in short, everything we do here at Heinz. Our blend of technology and policy makes us a go-to resource for journalists, and I am grateful to our faculty for sharing their knowledge in this way.

Heinz professors cannot engage in their important work alone, and we are grateful to the people and organizations that make their research possible. Tata Consultancy Services committed to $1 million to create a research fund in support of technology and society. The Richard King Mellon Foundation provided funding to Professor Rema Padman and the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Proctor and Gamble provided grant funding to Professor Kim Hyatt to expand her virtual reality communications lab. 

Professor Branstetter received $1.8 million from the National Science Foundation and $4 million from the NSF Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships. Branstetter is also part of a team that received $12.5 million from the Schmidt Futures program, and, along with Professors Corey Harper and Sean Qian, will have access, through Mobility21, to $1.5 million in research grants. On a related note, I applaud Professors Kristen Kurland and Rayid Ghani, who will accompany President Jahanian on a four-city alumni tour, marking our return to in-person alumni events. 

Other noteworthy achievements by, and recognition for, our faculty: 

  • Professor Al Blumstein won the National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics’ O.J. Hawkins Award for Innovative Leadership and Outstanding Contributions in Criminal Justice Information Systems, Policy and Statistics
  • Chief Data Officer Magazine named Professors David Steier and Leman Akoglu to its list of Leading Academic Data Leaders in 2022
  • Professor Stacy Rosenberg delivered the closing address at the Plant Health 2022 conference
  • In the INFORMS journal Marketing Science, Professor Rahul Telang published research finding that COVID-19 lockdowns reduced the digital streaming of music
  • Professor Peter Zhang won the 2022 INFORMS Junior Faculty Forum Paper Competition 
  • Rema Padman’s Digital Vaccine Project won the Financial Times’ Transformational Solutions New Frontiers Award 
  • Professor Acquisti was also honored with the INFORMS Information Systems Society Management Science Best Paper Award
  • Professors Linda Babcock and Brenda Peyser’s brave stance against dead-end work for women became the book The No Club
  • Ananya Sen won the 2022 INFORMS Information Systems Society Gordon B. Davis Young Scholar Award and published a paper in the journal Management Science
  • In January, the Council of University Transportation Centers announced the following awards:
    • Former Heinz/Engineering faculty member Al Biehler: Lifetime Achievement Award
    • Mobility21 Executive Director Stan Caldwell: Administrative Leadership Award. Stan also received the Intelligent Transportation Society of Pennsylvania 2021 Person of the Year award
    • Traffic21/Mobility21: Technology Transfer Leadership Award, Accepted by Lisa Kay Schweyer
  • Professor Raja Sooriamurthi won the Decision Sciences Institute’s Instructional Innovation Award
  • We welcomed new faculty members: Eli Ben-Michael, Will Gogolak, Anna Mayo, Anna Salomons, Jill Stephenson, and Shixiang (Woody) Zhu
  • And bid a warm farewell to Professor Karyn Moore, who retired after 34 years of service

Student accomplishments

Heinz students continue to do amazing things, and we are proud of the recognition some of them received this past year. 

Our Ph.D. students had an excellent year. Runshan Fu won the INFORMS Information Systems Society’s Nunamaker-Chen Dissertation Award, as well as the INFORMS Society for Marketing Science’s Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Competition. Two Ph.D. students, Amanda Coston and Ryan Steed, received fellowships from Meta. Two more, Ashley Orr and Seth Chizeck, presented their research at the Western Economic Association International Annual Conference in Portland, Oregon. Yue Zhao was one of two recipients of the 2022 Norton Labs Fellowship. 

The International Network for Social Network Analysis named Shihan Li’s paper as its best student paper of the year. Jamie Lim, Thomas Tam, and Shun Tomita took third place in the Conference of State Bank Supervisors Data Analytics Competition. Nathan Cross and Hsin Li (Cindy) Kan presented research at the Three Rivers Information Security Symposium. The Digital Entertainment Group’s Hedy Lamarr Achievement Award for Emerging Leaders in Entertainment Technology went to Heinz’s Shambhavi Mishra. And a team featuring Heinz’s Brook Russi Arias and Melanie Diaz won the Allegheny County Department of Human Services’ Local Government Case Competition. 

I’d also like recognize the eight Heinz College students who were selected as finalists for the 2022 Presidential Management Fellows program: Samuel Blurto, Alea Dorsey-Tyler, Matthew Ko, Kara Lowry, Chathan Raj, Gerry Williams, Ethan Winter, and Mary Yuengert.

I commend our student body for its initiative. Among the highlights, students started an Amazon Web Services Cloud Club, organized a panel discussion about the challenges women face in data-related careers, and participated in “Women in IS,” a mentorship group that pairs younger students with upper-class peers. During the summer, students, in conjunction with Heinz College’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion, Climate and Equity, hosted a community-building luncheon, with food, games, and photos from home. 

This year, several students participated in “Hacking For Homeland Security,” a partnership between Heinz and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In May, six recent MSPPM graduates traveled to The Hague to participate in a workshop at the World Justice Forum, and Sachin Srivastava attended the Lindau Nobel Laureate meeting.

Making an impact, face to face

We were, at last, able to hold our diploma ceremony in person, where Sam Reiman, a Heinz alum, CMU Trustee, and Director of the Richard King Mellon Foundation, delivered the keynote address. We also welcomed to our 2022 ceremony graduates from the classes of 2021 and 2020. It was quite a joyful event.

And we had several live events in Hamburg Hall this year. In March, the International Strategic Crisis Negotiation Exercise, held over two days in conjunction with the U.S. Army War College, returned. In May, author Paul Mango joined us to discuss his book on Operation Warp Speed, the federal government initiative that produced the COVID-19 vaccines. In September, the Block Center convened a panel of experts to evaluate the spread of automation and its ongoing impact on the labor market. Also in September, The Master of Arts Management Speaker Series featured Byron Stripling, the Principal Pops Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. That same speaker series welcomed Hallie Donner, the Artistic Director of the Alumni Theater Company, in December.

This fall, the Block Center held a wonderful presentation and panel discussion on the workforce of the future featuring renowned MIT economist David Autor. In November President Jahanian joined us for a panel that discussed the protests in Iran, an event put on by Heinz, the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, and the Iranian Student Association. 

Other noteworthy events included:

  • Heinz alumnus and technology executive Keith Block gave a resounding keynote address on leadership to the CMU community at the INTERSECT@CMU conference
  • The Block Center and the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation hosted a panel called “Endgame: Decarbonization–How Do We Get There?”
  • Ambassador Sarah Mendelson held a wonderful speaker series titled “How Ideas Become Policy: Getting Stuff Done”
  • Mark Hugo Lopez, the Director of Race and Ethnicity Research at the Pew Research Center, gave a Public Policy Lecture titled “Reconsidering Approaches to Race and Ethnicity Quantitative Research”

Academic matters

The Decision Analytics and Systems minor, our latest contribution to CMU’s undergraduate education, received overwhelming interest in its first year. We expect this unique program, which offers an exceptionally demanding technical curriculum in combination with social sciences and experiential learning, will attract extraordinary undergrads in the coming years.

Heinz College’s partnership with the military continues to flourish. We launched the Data Driven Leadership program, an executive education program designed and taught in conjunction with the U.S. Army. This complements the existing program we have in which the U.S. Army sends scores of young officers through our full-time degree programs. To further support the military community, we announced the Fallen Heroes Scholarship Program, which supports the families of those who gave their lives in service to this country.

There were other exciting developments in executive education. We introduced the Operational Leadership for Physicians certificate program to our offerings. We also introduced a Public Interest Technology executive education certificate for government technology leaders. 

Public Interest Technology is emerging as a distinct field, but Carnegie Mellon has been a leader in this space for more than 50 years. Professor Chris Goranson spearheads Heinz College’s work in this area. In addition to speaking at the Public Interest Technology Summer Speaker Series, Goranson this year made his Policy Innovation Lab course materials publicly available to facilitate the study of the field for students around the world.  

In November, Professor Jonathan Caulkins presented the findings of Carnegie Mellon’s Commission on Academic Freedom and Freedom of Expression, of which he was the Vice Chair. Jon’s committee identified many important issues and tensions that are affecting our campus and universities nationwide. I am grateful to Jon for his service. In response, we launched the Deliberative Discourse panel series to model civilized and thoughtful disagreement for our students. Related to this work at CMU, I will co-chair a “Leading Across Differences” initiative through the Volcker Alliance with Dean Victoria DeFrancesco Soto from the University of Arkansas’ Clinton School. Our committee will recommend solutions for policy schools across the country. 

Changes in the higher-education market in Australia and the dynamics of the international operating environment for higher education, accelerated by the impacts of COVID-19, have significantly impacted the sustainability of an ongoing, on-the-ground operation in Australia. As such, we decided to wind down our campus in Adelaide. We paused new enrollments in our Master of Science in Health Care Policy and Management program, as we assess its structure and market fit. These decision are not easy ones, but we strive for excellence in our academic programs and we continuously evaluate against that standard. 

In Memoriam

Beloved faculty member Stephen F. Roehrig passed away on August 1, 2022, at his home in Beaufort, South Carolina. Steve spent 26 years with us at Carnegie Mellon. Our deepest sympathies are with Steve's wife, Madelyn J. Roehrig, and their loved ones. We created the Roehrig Award, given to an outstanding Information Systems graduating student, in his honor; learn more and donate here.

I close with a note of gratitude and optimism. Our alumni supported their alma mater this year with tremendous contributions, particularly for students with financial need. A special thanks to Tony Bansal (MSPPM ’84), Eric Ng (MISM ’03), and Michael Falatovics (MSPPM ’93), who established named scholarships in support of underrepresented students. And thanks to Jason Loh (MISM ’01) who established a fund for students and faculty to study Web3, blockchain, and other emerging technologies. The total philanthropic contributions from these four alumni equaled $1.6 million.

As important as our work is, it does not make an impact in the world without relationships. I was so pleased to see our students and faculty re-engaging with the world, welcoming guests to Pittsburgh and traveling to events to share our work. I remain humbled and privileged to be a part of this wonderful institution.

May you have a wonderful holiday season, and let us look forward to another excellent year. 


Ramayya Krishnan
Dean, Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy