A CONVERSATION WITH
Dr. Valerie Hudson
Professor and George H.W. Bush Chair
The Bush School of Government and Public Service
Texas A&M University
The Bush School opened its doors on the Texas A&M University campus in 1997. The University’s service and leadership ideals, which reflect those of our namesake, George H.W. Bush, are a guiding force in our instruction. Through residential master’s degrees and online graduate certificates, we offer a high-quality and affordable education for those who desire careers in public and international affairs.
What attracted you to teach at the Bush School?
I was inspired by the vision that President George H.W. Bush had for the school. He has a quote engraved on the limestone exterior of his library that says, “Let future generations understand the burden and the blessings of freedom. Let them say we stood where duty required us to stand.” The purpose of the Bush School is to train and prepare the new generation of public servants. I feel honored to be a part of that undertaking.
Furthermore, three aspects stand out in the Bush School mission. The first is that President Bush emphasizes students should not leave his school saddled with debt. A significant proportion of our fundraising goes to scholarships, which all degree students receive, and our tuition is among the lowest of the APSIA schools (about $11,500 per year before scholarship support). The second is that we have a world-class faculty comprised not only of leading academics whose work is shaping national and international policy agendas, but also practitioners with decades of experience in the fields of diplomacy, intelligence, and development. The third is that we place equal emphasis on skills, substance, and theory. Whether it’s hands-on experience with technical collections or running regressions, whether it’s language and internship programs, or whether it’s learning about grand strategy or global gender issues, our students receive a remarkably holistic preparation for public service.
Are students able to work with professors on their research projects?
Yes, and I’m a good example of that opportunity. The Bush School is home to The WomanStats Project, which is both a research project and a database. In fact, the WomanStats database is the most comprehensive compilation of information concerning the status of women in the world today. I involve eight students in that project as coders, researchers, event coordinators, and social media assistants—and one has even co-authored a paper with me. In addition, all degree students participate in a capstone project, where 6-8 person teams perform research on behalf of a professional client. Recent clients have included the World Bank, USAID, the United Nations Development Program, SOCOM, PACOM, CYBERCOM, the State Department, and the CIA.
Does the Bush School assist in employment efforts?
The Bush School employs faculty and career services staff who are incredibly connected and resourceful. They assist students with their internship and employment searches, empowering them with contacts and guidance. Students routinely pursue career options in federal agencies and government contractors, local and state government groups (both in and outside Texas), corporate and nonprofit organizations, think tanks, and international organizations. Relevant employment statistics six months after graduation have been hitting 85% or higher.