Over the past two years the Wilson School has seen large changes to its programs. As the school has moved away from its status as Princeton’s only selective major, students have seen requirements added, task forces changed and the end of the certificate program. Many of these changes were initially necessary to accommodate the shift away from selectivity. However, the Editorial Board believes that some are no longer needed. In particular, the Board believes the Wilson School should work to create a new certificate program that would allow students to obtain a certificate in a specific policy area and participate in a task force in that policy area.
The Board feels that a Wilson School certificate program would benefit the student body in two key ways. Firstly, a certificate program would allow students to participate in one of Princeton’s most unique educational experiences without having to concentrate in the Wilson School. Task forces present students with a unique opportunity to interact with practitioners in a specific field and to learn how professionals in the field think about the solutions to specific policy questions. Under the previous certificate program, task forces were not limited to Wilson School concentrators and allowed qualified students from other majors to benefit from the inherently unique experience. We think that policy education is potentially valuable to Princeton students and that the University should work with the Wilson School to provide it to all qualified students.
Secondly, allowing Wilson School certificate students to participate in task forces would improve the quality of these seminars. Including students in other concentrations would add qualified students and improve the diversity of views presented in the task forces. Policy discussion is inherently interdisciplinary, and the addition of students from other concentrations could broaden discussion and improve the quality of the Wilson School experience for all students.
The Board realizes that this policy would increase demand for task forces and could further stretch the resources of the Wilson School. But we also believe that if a certificate was available, the Wilson School’s resources would be potentially less strained as many potential concentrators may choose other departments and instead supplement with the certificate, thus not overwhelmingly increasing demand beyond what Princeton has the resources to responsibly provide. Furthermore, the certificate program could be made selective both to limit demand and to ensure that only qualified students who would add to the program are admitted. We feel that this would adequately limit demand while still allowing qualified students with an interest in policy to benefit from one of the most valuable policy training experiences that Princeton offers. We encourage both the University and the Wilson School to bring back the certificate program.
Zach Horton abstains.
The Editorial Board is an independent body and decides its opinionsseparately from the regular staff and editors of the ‘Prince.' The Board answers only to its Chair; the Opinion Editor; and the Editor-in-Chief.