Doctorate in Law and Policy students meet with national policy leaders, take experience back to professions

December 14, 2012

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Elena Kagan shares her insight on judicial system

Students and faculty from the Doctorate in Law and Policy (LPD) program at Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies recently had the opportunity to attend an event in Washington, D.C. entitled, “Law and Policy in 2012 and Beyond.”

Students participated in lectures by distinguished policy scholars and took part in exclusive meetings with U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Elena Kagan, Lieutenant General Charles Davis, and Archivist of the United States David Ferriero.

“The LPD program organized this opportunity not only to expose our students to how policy is created and managed within the federal government, but also to help them link national decisions to particular policy problems they confront in their professions.” said Daniel J. Urman, JD, a faculty member and director of the program.

Justice Kagan fielded questions about the role of the judiciary in a democracy, the senate confirmation process, along with public perceptions of the Supreme Court.

“To hear a sitting Justice talk about how the U.S. judicial system operates was truly an unforgettable experience,” said Vince Henderson, United Nations Ambassador from Dominica and LPD student.

Students and faculty toured the Pentagon and met with Lieutenant General Charles Davis who manages acquisitions for the U.S. Air Force. As a senior level officer, he manages a complex bureaucracy tasked with overseeing vital military programs valued at more than $40 billion annually.

LPD student Karen Campbell, a senior level manager at the New Jersey Department of Education, commented that “interactions with decision-makers like General Davis help inform my professional work, particularly how to negotiate relationships among legislators, political appointees, and career civil servants.”

Students and faculty also heard from David Ferriero, archivist of the United States and Northeastern University alumnus, who discussed the mission of the National Archives and its essential role connecting citizens to their government. Mr. Ferriero spoke about managing an agency in an era of fiscal constraint and the public-private partnerships that sustain the work conducted at the National Archives.

Students in the LPD program represent a variety of professional backgrounds including national security, health care, state and federal agencies, non-profits, and higher education administration.

“Our students’ breadth of professional experience is integral to the quality of the program ,” said Urman. “Throughout the course of their doctoral studies, students draw upon their career experience to address pressing policy problems relevant to their professions,” he said.

The LPD program’s curriculum adds another dimension to students’ skill sets, equipping them to see challenges in new ways.

“The LPD curriculum has helped me address complex problems in higher education from multiple angles, which, in turn, has helped me and my team develop more comprehensive solutions to institutional challenges,” said Joe Chillo, a senior college administrator and LPD student.

Doctorate in Law and Policy

The LPD program is structured so that coursework and the doctoral thesis may be completed in two years. Classes meet one weekend per month in Boston, and the learning continues online throughout the rest of the month. Every year, a committee chooses a select group of doctoral students to begin the program. All students follow the same schedule through eight consecutive terms.


Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies (CPS) is committed to providing career-focused educational programs that are designed to accommodate the complex lives of motivated learners. Offered in a variety of innovative formats, CPS courses are taught by accomplished scholars and practitioners who have real-world experience. The result is an educational experience founded on proven scholarship, strengthened with practical application, and sustained by academic excellence.

Founded in 1898, Northeastern is a comprehensive, global research university. The university offers more than 80 undergraduate majors and more than 165 graduate programs, ranging from professional master’s degrees to interdisciplinary PhD programs. Northeastern’s research enterprise is aligned with three national imperatives: health, security and sustainability. Northeastern students participate in co-op and other forms of experiential learning in 90 countries on all seven continents.