Dean's Ambassadors



The Dean's Ambassador Program is an external engagement program at the UCR School of Public Policy centered around a cultivating the School’s brand profile. With a primary focus on external relations, ambassadors work to spread brand awareness for the School and maintain positive relations on behalf of the Dean and the School that may lead to future partnerships and collaborations, beneficial media coverage, and financial support for the School.

Founded in 2014, the program provides high-achieving public policy students with numerous professional development opportunities. The program is open to UCR public policy majors, minors, and Master of Public Policy students.



[am-bas-uh-der, -dawr]

  1. diplomatic agent or authorized representative of the interests and policies of a government
  2. policy implementer charged with protecting and promoting the government's interests, maintaining diplomacy, organizing visits, welcoming visitors, etc.



Ambassadors serve as representatives of the SPP Deanand the Director of External Engagement, giving students a glimpse of what it would be like to serve as government appointees (akin to U.S. Ambassadors who are appointed officials in the executive branch). The experience also provides students a better understanding of the differences between being in elected and appointed office, or being a policy maker vs. a policy implementer.

Ambassadors are charged with cultivating relationships with the SPP’s various external customers, be they prospective donors, government officials, community leadersor other special guests of the SPP. They are also highly involved in various public-facing events and activities meant to engage the community.



Each ambassador is required to staff a minimum of four SPP-hosted events and activities per quarter, which includes duties such as event promotion, setup and teardown, emceeing or moderating, staffing guests, registration check-in, A/V tech support, and any other duties in support of providing an exceptional brand experience to customers. Additionally each ambassador must participate in committees that align with the SPP’s business needs and public relations efforts. Some sample committees include external-facing events and podcasting (ambassadors are involved in the production of "Policy Chats," the official podcast series of the UCR School of Public Policy).

Applications Open

Applications are now open. Deadline to apply is Friday, August 23rd, 2024 at 11:59 a.m. (before noon).

Attend an info session to learn more about the program:

About the Dean

Dean Mark Long

Learn More


Current Cohort Composition

As of Summer 2024

  • Average GPA: 3.7
  • Size: 13
  • % BIPOC: 54%


Mission & Vision:

Serving the external engagement team of the UCR School of Public Policy as brand ambassadors, our mission is to:

  • Actively build brand awareness for the School
  • Increase its brand reputation and protect its interests
  • Provide an exceptional brand experience for all our constituents

Our vision as ambassadors is to:

  • Influence and inspire current and future generations of public policy students by role modeling our shared values and through leadership by example
  • Benefits of Being an Ambassador
    • Potential opportunities to learn from and interact with policy professionals (e.g. via staffing and hosting of policy makers, practitioners, and researchers)
    • Personal branding, leadership, and management development opportunities
    • Public speaking development opportunities (e.g. emceeing, moderating, presenting, etc.)
    • Trainings on information dissemination (e.g. email marketing, graphic design, social media, etc.) and community engagement (e.g. event management) useful for public affairs careers
    • Potentially qualifies for the PBPL 198i requirement as a public affairs internship (must put in 120 hours minimum for the year or in a quarter)
    • Potential opportunities to serve as the student face of the School in marketing materials
    • Potential opportunities to receive SPP branded gear
    • Potential for special graduation-related recognition, e.g. via an ambassador stole
    • Potential for letters of recommendation for the most qualified ambassadors
  • Selection Guidelines
    • You must be a declared UCR public policy student.
    • Ambassadors must be able to put in at least one complete academic year of service. Those who aspire to continue beyond one year of service will be given priority consideration.
    • You must have a minimum 3.2 cumulative GPA.
    • For undergraduates, exceptions can be made for students who compensate with high public policy/upper division major GPAs and/or whose transcripts do not include any Ds or Fs from the past year. Transcripts from previous higher education institutions are taken into account for undergraduate transfer students.
    • All ambassador candidates may be asked for references to vouch for their work ethic and character.

    If accepted into the program and after passing a probationary period, as well as contingent on continuing satisfactory performance on a quarterly basis, you would serve continuously until graduation. You would not have to reapply for an ambassadorship.

  • Application and Interview Process

    Applications open, and interviews are conducted, in the summer quarter. Submitting early during the application period is highly recommended, as we may close applications early.

    Qualified applicants will be selected to undergo a rigorous interview process, which may consist of multiple interviews.

  • What Qualities Do We Look For in a Candidate?

    The ideal ambassador candidate is someone who displays the program’s shared values:

    • Dedication - committed, reliable, displays organizational and time management skills, keeps focused amid distractions with an eye towards deliverables and getting work done

    • Enthusiasm - passionate, sets a positive tone, shows motivation

    • Professionalism - shows tact through outward appearance and conduct

    • Teamwork - cooperative, collaborative, trust builder, good sport

    • Customer Service - service oriented, patient, humble, attentive, responsive, resolution-minded

    • Conscientiousness - self-aware, mindful of perceptions, diplomatic

    • Initiative - proactive, go-getter, manages up, goes above and beyond

    • Integrity - trustworthy, respectfully honest, behaves ethically, refrains from sharing confidential information or engaging in gossip or badmouthing

    • Refinement - detail-oriented, displays growth mindset, open to feedback

    • Communication - mindful of the power of words, tone, and language.

  • What Does the Commitment Entail?

    The ambassador program is a commitment, and it is an applicant's responsibility to understand the expectations of the program before applying.


    • You must be available for the entirety of the academic year you are applying for. You must remain for all quarters of the academic year (fall, winter, spring, and at least late summer) for each year of service.
    • You must sign a photo/video release. As the face of the School, you must allow use of your image to be used for School purposes.
    • You must sign consent to allow FERPA-trained personnel to review your academic record for the purposes of verifying demonstration of continuing academic excellence.

    Ambassadors typically put in an average of 4 hours per week; many opt to devote more. As an ambassador you should expect to:

    • Undergo orientation (five-days) and probationary evaluations during your first quarter
    • Staff ambassadorial events (seminars, panels, conferences, etc.) and/or participate in ambassadorial activities (projects, podcast interviews, etc.) - minimum 4 for undergraduates and minimum 2 for MPPs
    • Participate in required general assembly meetings and/or other ad hoc meetings every quarter
    • Participate in a committee and all related meetings and activities for the entirety of the year; committees are charged with particular external-facing projects as dictated by business needs
    • Participate in marketing activities to promote events, activities, and news from the School and its partners (e.g. via social media, email, etc.)
  • Professional Development Trainings

    Ambassadors undergo extensive and rigorous training as part of their onboarding. They are all required to attend five days' worth of orientation sessions, which may include:

    • Soft Skills Development:
      • Developing a Refinement & Growth Mindset
      • Personal Branding
      • Leadership and Teamwork: Johari Window, Personality Typing, Conflict Management Styles
      • Professionalism
      • Customer Service
      • Public Speaking & Small Talk
      • Email Etiquette
      • Inclusivity Training
    • Introduction to Public Affairs and External Relations
      • Government Relations
      • Donor Relations
      • Faculty Relations
      • Media Relations
    • Introduction to Marketing, Communications, & Branding
      • Social Media
      • Email Marketing
      • Graphic Design
      • Photography
      • Videography
      • Podcasting
    • Introduction to Event Coordination
      • Event Planning
      • Event Marketing
      • Event Execution

    In addition, ambassadors may undergo supplemental trainings throughout the year as part of ongoing professional development.

  • Team Morale

    The program employs several motivational tools to encourage self confidence and team-building. These include:

    • Quarterly High Achievement Awards. Each quarter, an “Ambassador of the Quarter” is recognized for achievements that go above and beyond the minimum requirements of the program. 
    • Team Socials. To foster getting to know each other and increase trust building, ambassadors participate in quarterly get-togethers. These have included hikes, escape rooms, roller skating, and virtual game nights, to name a few.
    • Dean/Associate Dean Socials. Occasionally, ambassadors are given the opportunity to interact with the Dean and/or Associate Dean of the SPP through ambassador-only meetings.
  • Other Information

    Team Management

    • All ambassadors are supervised by a staff member, the Director of External Engagement, who is the founding director of the ambassador program.
    • Two student workers are delegated to lead two committees:
      • A program manager (Chief or Vice Chief) leads the podcast committee.
      • A program manager (Chief or Vice Chief) leads the events committee.

    Probationary Period

    • All newly appointed ambassadors undergo a probationary period during their first quarter of service.
    • Ambassadors will undergo a performance appraisal at the conclusion of their probationary quarter as well as on an ongoing basis.
    • All ambassadors must furnish at least a 3.2 cumulative GPA by the end of their first quarter as an ambassador. 

    Dress Code

    • Business professional is the default attire for ambassadors at ambassadorial functions involving special guests of the School, unless otherwise noted. Ambassadors are expected to strive to be the best dressed in any given room, regardless of how others are attired. Ambassadors are expected to present a polished, sophisticated, and professional looks for others to look up to.

    External Commitments and Leaves of Absence

    • Ambassadors are expected to prioritize the program when entering into other commitments. Taking a break from the program during the academic year is not allowed.
    • Ambassadors are discouraged from participating in other ambassador programs; if you are passionate about joining another ambassador program, you must propose a time management plan to the Director of External Engagement.
    • Ambassadors are encouraged to undertake UCDC, UC Sacramento, or Study Abroad during the summer quarters.
      • Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis by the Director of External Engagement, taking into account whether a proposed leave during a non-summer quarter would lead to decrease in coverage of ambassadorial events and/or negligence in committee work.
    • By serving in the executive branch, ambassadors cannot concurrently serve in a legislative capacity or student government capacity like ASUCR or Graduate Student Association or any other capacity as a representative of the SPP student population. Doing so would be a conflict of interest (cf. how U.S. Ambassadors cannot concurrently serve as a U.S. Senator, as they serve in different branches of government).


    • Ambassadors may be dismissed from the program due to unsatisfactory academic performance, lack of participation, lack of adherence to the program's shared values and/or policies and procedures, or any gross misconduct (e.g. plagiarism, breach of confidentiality, violence, sexual harassment, etc.), at the discretion of the Director of External Engagement and Leadership.

Student Assistants

Dean's Ambassadors

Staff Supervisor: