Posted on August 17, 2021 · Posted in Roosevelt House General News

Hunter College President Jennifer J. Raab today announced the appointment of Dr. Basil A. Smikle Jr. as the new Director of the Public Policy program at Hunter’s Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute. The program—which, along with Human Rights, constitutes the academic side of Roosevelt House—counts more than 100 undergraduate enrollees annually pursuing a certificate or minor in public policy.

Dr. Smikle, who served until 2019 as the first Distinguished Lecturer in Politics and Public Policy at CUNY’s School of Labor and Urban Studies, has enjoyed a 25-year career combining academic work, government service, politics, and media. He recently served as campaign manager for New York City mayoral candidate Ray McGuire, and is a regular commentator on the intersection of electoral politics and public policy for television and print media outlets nationwide.

“We are absolutely delighted to welcome Basil Smikle to Roosevelt House, one of the jewels in the Hunter crown,” commented President Raab. “He brings an inspiring personal story and a wealth of educational and practical experience to Hunter’s extraordinary public policy program. In addition to working on curricular matters for our program, we know that his many contacts in government will enable him to place students in meaningful internships and to mentor them with an eye toward not only academic but professional development.”

In his new role, Dr. Smikle will report to Harold Holzer, the Jonathan F. Fanton Director of Roosevelt House. “I join President Raab in enthusiastically welcoming Basil Smikle,” Holzer said. “I very much look forward to working with him to engage students, work with Hunter faculty, and create meaningful public programs on public policy issues.”

Commented Dr. Smikle: “I am excited to join Hunter College to teach and work with students at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute. I originally pursued public service and education equity because I believed there was a path to help my neighbors and their families. I look forward to working at Roosevelt House to vigorously investigate policies that impact education, governance, economic mobility, and civic engagement, while working with a broad set of stakeholders in nonprofits, government, and the private sector.”

We are absolutely delighted to welcome Basil Smikle to Roosevelt House, one of the jewels in the Hunter crown,
—Hunter College President, Jennifer J. Raab

Before serving as a distinguished lecturer at CUNY, Dr. Smikle served for more than three years as Executive Director of the New York State Democratic Party, during which time he was named to City & State Albany Power 100 list and earned the New York Urban League Young Professional Community Service Award. He was Deputy State Director for then-U. S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, and in the 1990s served as a Special Assistant for Budget and Policy for Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer.

He also taught a course in Education and Public Policy at Teachers College, Columbia University, and worked at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, where he taught courses on political campaigns and civil rights and on public sector marketing strategic planning and communications. And he served as an adjunct professor on education policy, community organizing, public administration and other subjects for CUNY’s Murphy Institute for Labor and Urban Studies.

Born and raised in the Bronx by Jamaican immigrant parents, he earned his BS in Industrial & Labor Relations from Cornell University, and an MPA in Public Administration and Urban Policy and a PhD in Education and Politics from Columbia.

Dr. Smikle’s appointment takes effect on August 25 with the start of the fall semester. His formal title at Roosevelt House will be Distinguished Lecturer and Director of the Public Policy Program.