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An Overview of NASPAA

NASPAA is the global standard in public service education.  It is a membership organization of graduate programs in public policy, public affairs, public administration, and public & nonprofit management. Its members award MPA, MPP, MPAff, and similar degrees.  NASPAA has nearly 300 member schools located across the U.S. and in 14 other countries around the globe.

NASPAA's Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation (COPRA) is the recognized global accreditor of master's degree programs in the field.

In 2013, NASPAA changed its name to the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration, to recognize the organization's growing global focus and presence.  Since 1970, NASPAA has been ensuring excellence in education and training for public service, and promoting the ideal of public service. 

NASPAA accomplishes its mission through direct services to its member institutions and by:

  • Developing appropriate standards for master's programs through its Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation;
  • Representing to governments and other institutions the objectives and needs of education for public affairs and administration;
  • Encouraging curriculum development and innovation and providing a forum for publication and discussion of education scholarship, practices, and issues;
  • Building a data center that is becoming the authoritative source of data in public affairs education;
  • Surveying members to provide them (and policymakers and the public) with information on key educational issues;
  • Provide internship opportunities for students and career resources for graduates;
  • Undertaking joint educational projects with allied professional organizations; and
  • Collaborating with institutes and schools of public administration in other countries through conferences, consortia, and joint projects. 
NASPAA Leadership
NASPAA is governed by an elected Executive Council, comprised of 15 members from NASPAA member schools, who serve staggered three-year terms, and by a directly-elected  President and Vice President/President-elect.

Membership
NASPAA members are academic institutions that award master's degrees in public policy, public affairs, public administration, public management, and similar areas. NASPAA membership is open to schools around the world.  NASPAA also offers Associate membership for
schools that seek a supportive role, such as those that are developing an MPA or MPP degree, and for other organizations that want to be connected to the public affairs education community.

Accreditation 
NASPAA’s Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation (COPRA) is the specialized accrediting body for masters degree programs in public affairs, administration, and policy, and is recognized as a global accreditor by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Only NASPAA member programs are eligible to participate in the accreditation process. The review combines a rigorous self-study with peer review.

Committees and Sections
NASPAA supports membership Sections that promote shared interests. Any representative from a NASPAA member school can join any Section. Current Sections are:
  • Budgeting/Financial Management
  • Comprehensive Schools
  • Nonprofit Management Education 
  • Small Programs
NASPAA also maintains a number of standing and ad-hoc Committees.  Members are appointed by the NASPAA president for terms of varying lengths.  Three committees are focused on internal management: Standards, Finance, and COPRA, while the others focus on specific program areas of importance to members: e.g. Doctoral Education, International Education, Local Government Management Education, Policy Issues, and Undergraduate Education.

Standards, Policies, and Guidelines
To provide assistance to member institutions, NASPAA has developed the following standards, policies, and guidelines:
  • Guidelines for Baccalaureate Degree Programs 
  • Standards for Professional Masters Degree Programs 
  • NASPAA Public Service Internship Guidelines 
  • Diversity Guidelines 
  • Guidelines for Graduate Professional Education in Nonprofit Organizations, Managements and Leadership 
  • Policy on Doctoral Education 
Publications
NASPAA publishes the Journal of Public Affairs Education (JPAE), a quarterly peer-reviewed journal that serves to stimulate research and dialogue about issues in public affairs education. NASPAA also produces brochures and other material to promote education and training for public service.

Annual Conference
NASPAA organizes an annual conference to engage members in discussions of challenges and opportunities in public affairs education. It also organizes annual meetings of members' career services and admissions directors, and a biannual meeting of doctoral programs.

Student Honor Society
In recognition of outstanding student achievement in public affairs programs, NASPAA sponsors the Pi Alpha Alpha global honor society for both undergraduate and graduate students. 

Web Resources
School search tool:
NASPAA offers the only online directory of MPA and MPP programs that includes data from schools themselves. Programs are searchable by degrees offered, concentrations, location, accreditation status, and many other criteria. 

Profiles of Alumni are snapshots of the many career paths taken by graduates of member programs.  

Awards
NASPAA sponsors faculty awards, graduate student awards, and Pi Alpha Alpha honor society awards. 

International Projects
NASPAA fosters public affairs and administration education and practice internationally, as well as such opportunities for NASPAA members, through its applied policy research, technical assistance, and other partnerships with the Network of Institutes and Schools of Public Administration in Central and Eastern Europe (NISPAcee), and the Inter-American Network of Public Administration Education (INPAE), 

Electronic Listserv
The University of Nebraska-Omaha generously hosts and moderates NASPAA's general interest listserv, which fosters discussion among NASPAA members on issues of program administration and members' news.

 

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