On Friday, November 15, The School of Public Policy hosted “Is Public Budgeting In Crisis?”, a conference exploring US and international perspectives in commemoration of the career and retirement of Professor Allen Schick.
Widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost experts on budget policy, Professor Schick has consulted with presidential administrations, members of Congress, and worked with institutions and governments all over the world. As a founding member of the School of Public Policy (then known as the School of Public Affairs), he was a favorite with students.
After welcome remarks by Robert Orr, Dean of the School of Public Policy, guest panelists participated in a discussion on international budget policy between James Brumbry, Director of Governance Global Practice at the World Bank Group, and Matthew Andrews, Edward S. Mason Senior Lecturer at Harvard’s Kennedy School, facilitated by Susan Schwab, former Dean and current professor of the School of Public Policy.
For the afternoon’s discussion on domestic budget policy, Senior Associate Dean Philip Joyce introduced Gene Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States Government Accountability Office, Phillip Swagel, Director of the Congressional Budget Office and SPP professor, and Tracy Gordon, Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute. In addition to listening to the unique insights from these luminaries, event attendees were able to ask questions of all speakers and panelists. In the spirit of one of Allen Schick’s most treasured values, it was an opportunity for participatory learning.
But the real highlight of the day was the luncheon, which struck a more poignantly personal chord for guests as alumnae Perri Levis MPP ’93 and Lita Orefica MPP ’92 shared reflections on Professor Schick and the difference he had made not just in their educations, but their lives: “What’s special about Allen is his commitment to his students. He taught us how to think critically and approach a problem.” The alumnae thanked Schick for the investment he made in their success. But what set Professor Schick apart from other impactful teachers, they said, were the effects he had made on their personal lives: “What he’s done uniquely, beyond just being an educator: he made a point to keep in touch. He was our touchpoint back to the University of Maryland, back to the School of Public Policy, and back to each other.”
SPP PhD candidate Jiehong Lou MPP ’09 shared a charming video that captured Professor Schick’s quirkiness by highlighting his use of typewriters instead of computers, and how he types with only one finger. She reflected on his patience and determination, and that the most valuable lesson she learned from Professor Schick came from watching him lead by example.
“You have to learn from your mistakes, to be better the next time,” she said.
Dean Orr presented Professor Schick with a plaque that will hang on the wall outside the newly-designated Allen Schick Seminar Classroom. He commended Professor Schick for his work, not just as an educator but as a groundbreaking expert in his field.
“This school is a temple of scholar-practitioners and practitioner-scholars,” he said. “While you’ve always been a scholar, you’ve never left the public square, and continued to inject knowledge and wisdom into the public square.”
Professor Schick offered remarks on his career and his approach to education.
“We live in a world of sharp polarization, in which there is no middle," he said. "The middle is the loneliest place in Washington today. But the middle is where budgeting lives, it’s where you can bridge the gap, it’s where you can have conflict and resolution.” In true Schick fashion, lessons on budget policy imparted life wisdom, passion and inspiration.
Support the Allen Schick Endowed Scholarship Fund
To show his appreciation for the School of Public Policy, Allen Schick is matching year-end contributions to the Allen Schick Endowed Scholarship Fund. If you’d like to make a contribution, please send a check made out to the University of Maryland College Park Foundation, and note “Allen Schick Endowed Scholarship Fund” in the memo line. Checks can be mailed to the attention of Christina Kenny at the School of Public Policy, Van Munching Hall #2113D, 7699 Mowatt Lane, College Park, MD 20742.