#NASPAA2018 Conference Theme Announced!

NASPAA President, Jack Meek of University of La Verne, and Conference Chair, Chris Koliba of University of Vermont, announce the 2018 NASPAA Annual Conference theme.

Making a Difference: Good Governance in Disrupted State(s)

Waves of disruptions have rocked our world in recent years, and public affairs education has had to pay attention. We've always taught students to expect crises in public service and how to manage through them. Elections, natural disasters, political conflict, and war have long been recognized as convulsive events that can radically reshape the policy terrain. But, in recent years, the source, the magnitude, the speed, the frequency, the intensity of these disruptions... all feel greater.

Civil political discourse and norms collapse. Technology brings new security and privacy threats, and artificial intelligence spawns autonomous decision making and regulatory challenges. Financial markets crash. Natural disasters overwhelm government response.
Disruptions have jarred us closer to home, too, threatening the status quo of MPA and MPP provision. We have been trying to change our curriculum to prepare students for a changed world. We have been restructuring our programs and degrees. We have been trying to apply assessment tools, our self-study processes and our scholarly research agendas to see if we're making useful change in this disrupted environment. And we are recognizing that our struggle with disruption is not a local or even national one: there are massive global disruptions from climate change, migration, market shifts, social movements, and pandemics for which we must educate students.
Now it's our turn: can disruptive factors destroy governance as we've known it? And at the end of the day, can we thrive amid all this higher education upheaval to prepare students for governance in a disrupted future? Many NASPAA programs have been responsive and resilient in this disrupted state, while others have struggled to adapt and respond. We will gather at the 2018 NASPAA conference and together explore whether our schools are doing enough to address these vital questions. Are we making a difference to these disrupted states?

To examine this question, NASPAA will seek proposals in the following four tracks:
  • TRACK 1 - Teaching and Constructing Our Curriculum for Student Success in Disrupted State(s)
  • TRACK 2 - Program Design and Management in Disrupted State(s)
  • TRACK 3 - Research, Assessment and Accreditation: Measuring Program Impact in Disrupted State(s)
  • TRACK 4 - Global Context of Public Service in Disrupted State(s)
Watch for the official Call for Proposals with detailed information on tracks and submission criteria on Wednesday, February 14th.

Please mark your calendars - we are excited to see you in Atlanta for the 2018 NASPAA Annual Conference! The conference will be held at 
Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel, Atlanta, GA, October 10-13, 2018.

Wednesday, Oct. 10
Pre-conference workshops, including the Accreditation Institute

Thursday, Oct. 11 and Friday, Oct. 12
Panel sessions and keynotes will occur during the main conference

Saturday, Oct. 13
Local outings planned by the host schools

Hosted by:
Georgia Institute of Technology, School of Public Policy
Georgia State University, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies
University of Georgia, School of Public and International Affairs

Conference Chair:
Chris Koliba, University of Vermont

The US Higher Education Reauthorization Bill: UPDATE

For graduate public affairs education at the end of last year, there was good news and bad news from the US Congress. Good news: the tuition waiver tax was not included in the conference version of the Tax Bill that was passed and signed into law. Bad news: The House introduced a Higher Education Reauthorization bill that would also have dramatic effects on graduate education in the United States if passed: the Higher Education Act reauthorization, H.R. 4508, entitled "Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act: (The full text is at https://edworkforce.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=402157 ). In particular, this Reauthorization bill could have a significantly negative effect on individuals' ability to pay for graduate education and repay their student loans.
While the bill contains many provisions relating to all different aspects of higher education, we are watching three things directly relevant to graduate programs in public affairs.
  1. Grad Plus loan caps. The House bill imposes borrowing limits on federally originated student loans for graduate education that could be as low as $28,500 per year.
  2. Ending the public service loan forgiveness program (for graduates with remaining student loan debt after 10 years of public service and income-based loan repayments. Those already in process would be grandfathered.)
  3. Creating a new income-based loan repayment program with lifelong financial obligations for some repayers, and scrapping all existing programs that include forgiveness after 20 or 25 years.
  NASPAA staff have met with representatives of other education associations, including APLU (Association of Public and Land-grant Universities), to identify where there are significant opportunities to cooperate in bringing the message that graduate education for public service is particularly important to the future of the country and its governance. Public service loan forgiveness is a special focus for our schools, but that provision also depends critically on the continuation of some kind of income-based repayment program, and caps that are sufficiently high for students to be able to finance their graduate degree up front.
Your Students are our Best Advocates
APLU and other groups have said that grass roots student lobbying made the biggest difference for eliminating the tuition waiver tax from the tax bill. APLU and others have suggested an obvious argument that should influence our congresspeople: why would you want to hurt students and their families in an election year?"  That simple argument may well be more effective than economic arguments about the effect of graduate education on productivity or fairness arguments that bigger loan debt will exacerbate inequality and deflect people from public service. Please consider asking your students to step forward and participate. We'll be putting together electronic materials suitable for distribution to students that explains the provisions of the Reauthorization and how it would have a direct effect on them. Please email NASPAA Executive Director ( mcfarland@naspaa.org) to be put on that distribution list. Your students can make a difference!
All schools are encouraged to participate. And, then, if you are in the states of Tennessee or Washington, you may want to be directly involved in advocating for graduate education with your representatives. Please get in touch ( mcfarland@naspaa.org) to get on board!  

The Global Reach of NASPAA - Promoting the Ideal of Public Service
By Jack W. Meek, NASPAA President

Through partnerships, conferences and institutes the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration seeks to extend its mission globally - to ensure excellence in education for public service and to promote the ideal of public service. As a result of the 2013 NASPAA Council decision to operate globally, NASPAA members changed its name from the 'National Association' to the 'Network' of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration. NASPAA members recognized the global nature of public service and strategically chartered a path that would embrace this vision. NASPAA has now expanded its membership to 302 and as of 2018 includes twenty-three non-US Schools.
The global reach of NASPAA along with the dramatic shifts in public service design and practice has alerted NASPAA members to find ways to assure maintaining the highest standards of public service education. In doing so, David Birdsell (NASPAA's President in 2017) established a Standards Colloquium Initiative that would request our members (and stakeholders) to review and reflect on our current standards and whether membership should consider any standards revision.
This initiative is timely because accreditor requirements placed upon NASPAA, call upon a periodic review of association standards to ensure viability and relevance. NASPAA, now operating as a global non-profit organization, needed to engage stakeholders in assessment of current standards and practices. To gather meaningful feedback from members and stakeholders, NASPAA identified national and international conferences and institutes and held feedback sessions. Sessions have now been held in Mexico City (2017), Shanghai (2017), Washington (2017) and Doha (2017).

The Doha Conference

2017 Doha Conference Participants

In November 2017, The Doha Institute of Graduate Studies (Qatar) partnered with NASPAA to hold a two-day conference on advancing excellence in public service education. The newly formed Doha Institute provided a significant and productive forum for presentations among colleagues who pursue public service education. The conference included directors and scholars from more than 30 programs in the region as well as those from Belgium, Mexico, France and the US.

Jack Meek
The themes explored at the conference included many of the challenges facing Public Administration education: preparation for and building capacity to implement governmental reform, training strategies for senior civil service, leadership training across federal government, curriculum needs for public service, building civil service knowledge,the significance of terminology use and meaning in cultural contexts, the challenge of expanding the depth of public service education and delivering good governance practices in the face of difficult political structures and environments. Also discussed were themes central to public service education such as the nexus of theory and practice, ethical administration, public service values, and citizen access to governance processes.

Comparative examination among the more than 30 programs represented throughout the region brought important insights: the sources of ethics
David Birdsell
in the Arab communities varied by community traditions, public administration curriculum emphasis varied across Western Hemisphere schools of Public Affairs (US, Mexico, South America) and societal educational preparation has significant differences in Arab communities that presented barriers to the advancement of good governance. The NASPAA delegation offered presentations on a variety of dimensions of public service education. In the closing session, discussions regarding future connections among programs in the Middle East with NASPAA include the possibility of co-hosting a conference among students in NASPAA programs with those from the Middle East region. Program participants were also asked to consider membership with NASPAA.

Looking Ahead
Future colloquia settings include  Los Angeles (COMPA, February 2018),   AU-Cairo ( NASPAA Simulation Competition, Feb 2018), Denver, Colorado: (ASPA, March 2018).  Beijing, China (NASPAA Accreditation Institute @ Renmin, April 2018),   Guadalajara, Mexico (INPAE Annual Conference,  May 2018).   New York City (Social Equity Leadership Conference @ Baruch, June 2018),    Birmingham, Alabama: (SECOPA Annual Conference,  September 2018),   Baltimore, Maryland (ICMA Conference, October 2018), and Atlanta, Georgia (NASPAA Annual Conference, October 2018). From these colloquium sessions - at conferences and institutes - the Standards Steering Committee, established this January 2018, will review reports from these gatherings and report on observations for ensuring excellence in public service education. The Steering Committee will provide a 'work-in-progress' report of NASPAA members at the 2018 Atlanta Conference. Any standards recommendations for members will be reviewed and considered prior to the 2019 Annual Conference.

The charge for the Standards Colloquia is as follows:

1) Global accreditation. When the 2009 standards were adopted, NASPAA accredited exclusively in the United States. Today our membership includes institutions in more than 20 nations and we have accredited 199 programs in nations in 6 nations. Are the current standards equal to this task? Do we need to do anything to recognize more explicitly our role as a global accrediting body?

2) New developments in our field. Big Data projects were but a gleam in the eye in 2009; they are now predicating robust analyses of policies and programs around the world. Mobile computing, hand-held devices, the growth of natural language artificial intelligence, a pattern of disinvestment from the public sector, greater integration of the global economy, the growing power of some domestic and international NGOs, the use of simulations and adaptive learning software in the classroom: these are all developments that either entirely post-date or have gathered significant steam since 2009. Do our standards adequately account for these and other developments?

The listing for COMPA is:

If you are planning to attend COMPA, or are at a school located in southern California, please consider attending this session to discuss how our next generation of standards should change. It's a different world than ten years ago, and as part of COMPA's theme of "responding to challenging times," this particular session of the Colloquium will focus on a discussion of the effectiveness of accreditation standards in fostering inclusivity, and on members' perspectives on attaining accreditation amidst considerable budget and workload constraints. There will also be ample opportunity for session participants to discuss their own concerns and reflections on NASPAA accreditation. COMPA attendees are encouraged to post short comments on social media in advance of the colloquium, and as follow-ups, and we will be sharing the results of the colloquium session with the wider NASPAA community. Please join us to help chart the future of quality in public affairs education! For more information about registering for COMPA and reserving the hotel, see http://www.compaspanet.com/conference.html
NASPAA's Annual Conference has also evolved to become a global conference. The 2018 Atlanta Conference Theme - Making A Difference: Good Governance in Disrupted States(s) - seeks to develop opportunities for the global members of NASPAA to gather and examine how we make a difference in our teaching, our curriculum, our programs, our research and assessment, and in our public service unique settings. These settings are very much disrupted from natural and human-made conditions. The adjustments to these troubling, disruptive settings in order to assure excellent in public service education will be important to share among our community of dedicated educators.

NASPAA PhD to Faculty Pathways Project 

On Monday, January 22, 2018 NASPAA kicked off its first meeting of its NASPAA PhD to Faculty Pathways Project at our office in Washington, DC.  In attendance were NASPAA Vice President Palmira Rios from the University of Puerto Rico, Data Committee Chair Mike Shires from Pepperdine University, Immediate Past President David Birdsell of Baruch College, as well as RaJade Berry-James (North Carolina State University),  Kaye Husbands Fealing (Georgia Tech University), Patria de Lancer Julnes (Penn State Harrisburg), Goktug Morcol (Penn State Harrisburg) and Hironao Okahana from the Council of Graduate Schools.  Representing NASPAA staff were Executive Director Laurel McFarland, Data Center Director Stacy Drudy, and Director of Membership Development David Marshall.
The NASPAA PhD to Faculty Pathways Project stems from a NASPAA Executive Council meeting of March 2017 in which NASPAA staff was charged to develop a concept plan for ensuring that students of color can be encouraged to seek PhDs, enter graduate school prepared, complete their PhD, enter academe, and succeed as scholars, teachers, and leaders.  One model that was researched was the PhD project.  Founded in 1994 by the KPMG Foundation, The PhD Project which is a 501(c) (3) organization, that recruits minority professionals from business into doctoral programs in all business disciplines: accounting, finance, information systems, management and marketing.  The PhD Project is a catalyst for African-Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans to return to academia, earn their doctorates, and become business professors who can inspire and enable future generations of minority students to pursue business careers.  Today, The PhD Project has achieved a critical mass - its professors are on faculty at colleges across the country, producing and collaborating on research, teaching, mentoring, and influencing countless undergraduates. 
During the most recent Executive Council meeting at the 2017 Annual Conference in Washington DC, the council recommended creating a working group to:
  1. Collect additional data on our existing doctoral programs and students of color as well as new faculty members of color.
  2. Work with our existing partners (such as PPIA) and explore new relationships to create programs to bolster the pool of talented and qualified PhD candidates.
On January 22, this working group reviewed data from multiple sources, including the Council for Graduate Schools, National Science Foundation, National Center for Education Statistics, and NASPAA's own data.  The data revealed that some segments of the minority population have better enrollment and graduation numbers than others.  For instance currently African Americans appear to be doing better than Hispanic, Asian Americans, and Native Americans.  However, the higher numbers of African American doctoral students have not necessarily resulted in increased faculty in our schools. Additionally, as this month's infographic illustrates the percentage of Hispanic students drops at each degree level.   In the short term, the working group agreed to revisit the NASPAA Doctoral Study to get a better understanding of how our PhD programs are doing in terms of recruitment, retention, and graduation.  Additionally we will be reaching out to PhD Directors and doctoral students at various academic conferences, such as APPAM, ASPA, SeCopa, HACU and others.  Finally, the working group agreed that a long term longitudinal study is needed to research the process for how some PhD students enter academe as well as the reasons behind why some students do not. As well as provide valuable insight into what factors contribute to these decisions.    These studies may also include examining the experiences of our current faculty of color to identify common themes.


PA= Public Administration (CIP 44.0401); PP= Public Policy (CIP 44.0501-44.0599)

Data Source: IPEDS 2016 Completions
NASPAA Data Center

2018 Alumni Survey  DataCenter-bigger
NASPAA's 2018 Alumni Survey will launch May 15th.  Start compiling/requesting your list of 2014-15 Alumni Emails soon, so you'll be ready to participate!
2016-2017 Annual Data Report
If you have not completed NASPAA's 2016-2017 Annual Data Report, but you would still like to submit your data, contact NASPAA's Data Center Director, Stacy Drudy at 

Accreditation and Standards



We will be talking accreditation at both COMPA and ASPA! If you plan to attend the 2018 COMPA and/or ASPA Annual Conferences, please join us:
  • COMPA, Site Visitor Training: Tuesday, February 13, 2018, 10:15am
  • COMPA, Standards Colloquium: Wednesday, February 14, 2018, 9:30am 
  • ASPA, Standards Colloquium: Monday, March 12, 2018, 8:00am 
To RSVP or find out more, email bohrt@naspaa.org

Upcoming Deadlines:
  • April 6-7, 2018 - Accreditation Institute and Pedagogy Discussion (Beijing, China)
  • April 15, 2018 - Eligibility Application due
  • May 14-17, 2018 - Strategic Management Workshop and Pedagogy Discussion (Guadalajara, Mexico)
  • August 15, 2018 - Self-Study Report deadline for 2018-19 cohort - the form is now LIVE in the system!

In Case You Missed It: 2017 Self-Study Instructions Released
COPRA released its annual updates to the  Self-Study Instructions for NASPAA Accreditation earlier this month. The 2017 revisions reflect the work of the Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation (COPRA) working to improve the value of program data collection, specifically with regard to diversity and complexities.

The Self-Study Report form in the NASPAA Data Center will open in January 2018 for those programs submitting reports in August 2018. 

In Case You Missed It: New Diversity Resources
COPRA is pleased to share newly developed resources to help your program think strategically about diversity and inclusion!

Explore the pages on climate , faculty , students , and curriculum , to help support your program's mission-based planning. Don't forget to refer to  peer diversity plans for examples of how accredited programs foster diversity and inclusion.

NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition

The countdown to the 2018 NASPAA-Batten Student  Simulation Competition has begun!
February 24 is the first of two competition days  followed by the March 3 competition. 

Introducing Global Super Judge: Dr. Gavin Macgregor-Skinner
Senior Global Health Security Advisor, International Health, Abt Associates

Dr. Gavin Macgregor-Skinner is a nationally-recognized authority on global threats from infectious disease. He currently serves as Abt Associates' senior global health security advisor. He has more than 20 years of technical experience in infectious disease surveillance and response. Dr. Macgregor-Skinner has worked on these issues with U.S. and international governments, United Nations agencies, and the private sector in the U.S., Africa, Asia, Middle East, and Latin America. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at Penn State Hershey College of Medicine and has appeared on CNN, BBC, CTV, C-SPAN, and other news outlets to share his expertise in global health threats. Prior to joining Abt, Dr. Macgregor-Skinner served as director of global disaster response for the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Fellowship in Disaster Medicine at Harvard Medical School Teaching Hospital. He was the team leader to Nigeria and Liberia for Ebola outbreak response activities while serving as global projects manager for Elizabeth R. Griffin Research Foundation, and he worked in Afghanistan and Iraq with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency Cooperative Biological Engagement Program as a consultant to CRDF Global and Landell Mills. After serving in the Australian and British militaries, Dr. Macgregor-Skinner was selected by the U.K. Department for International Development for the Associate Professional Officer Scheme. He learned epidemiology as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and was a Global Health Fellow at USAID. He received his MPHA from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a Master's of Science in Wild Animal Health, Emerging Infections, and Zoonotic Diseases from the Royal Veterinary College in London.

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NASPAA-AU Cairo Faculty Seminar
NASPAA-AU Cairo Faculty Seminar
February 24 - 25, 2018
Cairo, Egypt

One of the competition host sites, the American University in Cairo, is partnering with NASPAA on a faculty seminar - in which faculty members from across the Middle East and South Asia will participate as observers of the simulation competition.
Faculty members will be able to engage in the student simulation competition either as observers or participants. Following the competition, faculty members will gather during the morning hours of Sunday, February 25 to learn about integrating various experiential learning opportunities into their own classrooms. This discussion will be followed by a conversation with NASPAA staff and former commission members on program management, public service values in an international context, and the basics of NASPAA accreditation.
This event aims to boost the quality of programs for public administration and public affairs by providing the opportunity for universities in the region to connect with each other in order for:
  • Faculty interaction to learn more about integrating cases and simulations into classrooms;
  • Interaction with students from different countries throughout the region;
  • Further understanding of program administration and the criteria for international accreditation;
  • Faculty exchange of best practices in teaching courses on public policy and administration in the context of education that address practical real-world issues; and
  • Greater faculty networking opportunities with colleagues in the region.
If you are interested in participating in the faculty seminar, please contact Stacy Drudy at drudy@naspaa.org or Supriya Golas at golas@naspaa.org.

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