Urban + Environmental Policy + Planning
Alumna Profile
Ayana Dilday
M.A., Tufts University, 2003

B.A., Sociology, Smith College, 1998.
Field(s) of Study
Urban and Social Policy
Experience Before UEP:
Intern, Planning Department, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.
Recruiting and Training Specialist, The B.E.L.L. Foundation, Boston, Massachusetts.
Executive Assistant, The B.E.L.L. Foundation, Boston, Massachusetts.
Current Job:
Housing and Homeless Specialist, Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, Boston MA.
"Before I came to Tufts, I worked for a community-based, nonprofit organization, designed to increase the academic achievement of urban school children. I wanted to know how community-based initiatives could be strengthened by trying to work through the government instead of against it. I came to UEP to explore some of these questions, and with the help of my professors and classmates, Iâm finally beginning to develop some answers."
You should use our set of UEP Policy and Planning Competencies to help guide your policy and planning studies. These competencies are clustered around three areas: a) Knowledge, b) Skills and c) Policy and Planning in Practice. In addition to our core values these competencies are what we expect a UEP graduate, a Practical Visionary, to develop over their UEP career. You can use these competencies when you and your adviser are deciding which classes you might take. Another benefit to you is that you'll be able to more accurately describe your abilities and competencies to an employer. Each course has a UEP Policy and Planning Competency Grid. Take a look, get excited about classes, but look at the competencies offered by a class as much as you would the class title.
Policy and Planning Competencies
Knowledge – Upon completion of the UEP Master’s of Arts program, you should have basic familiarity with:
  • The history, structure and function of urban and metropolitan settlements
  • Economic influences on policy and planning (e.g. ‘market’ and ‘polis’ relationships)
  • Environmental, social and cultural influences on policy and planning
  • The different roles of government, governance and citizenship in policy and planning
  • The history, theory and processes of both policy making and planning together with implementation procedures and practices
  • Evaluation of policy and planning
  • The administrative, legal and political aspects of policy and plan-making
  • Areas of specific policy or planning content-based knowledge related to your professional interest(s) and an in-depth knowledge of one policy or planning domain through thesis or other terminal project
Skills – Upon completion of the MA program, you should have basic skills in the following:
  • Critical Thinking Skills
    • Individual problem identification and documentation of the extent of the problem as well as the political, social, environmental and spatial context
    • Identifying possible analysis strategies and their implications
    • Identifying criteria for proposing and selecting solutions
    • Evaluating the development and results of policies and plans
  • Research Skills
    • Research design
    • Literature collection and analysis
    • Identifying and assessing data sources and limitations
    • Development of data collection instruments and tools
  • Data Analysis Skills
    • Interpreting and synthesizing data
    • Drawing inferences from specific observations to make more generalizable findings
    • Comparative and longitudinal analysis
    • Recognizing and accounting for limitations to findings
  • Qualitative Skills
    • Direct observation and analysis of primary and secondary qualitative data
  • Quantitative Skills
    • Descriptive and inferential statistics
    • Basic forecasting
    • Use of spreadsheets and statistical software
  • Spatial Analysis Skills
    • Ability to identify spatial problems and frame spatial questions for analysis and research
    • Use of Geographic Information System for basic spatial analysis and mapping
  • Communication Skills
    • Written, oral and graphic communication
    • Presentation strategies and methods
Policy and Planning in Practice – The UEP MA program will provide the following professional opportunities and training:
  • At least 150 hours, supervised, in an organization relevant to your interests
  • Demonstrate through the Internship Agreement and Learning Assessment that your Internship gave opportunity for significant learning in a field relevant to your interests and meets at least one of your career goals
  • Reflections on the role of ethics in professional policy and planning processes, practices and behavior
  • Synthesis and application of policy and planning content-based knowledge from theory into practice
  • Collaborative group management, problem solving, negotiation and mediation
  • Organizational management including decision making and strategic problem solving, human resource development, and financial management and resource development
  • Political and economic power mapping