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NASPAA values the hard work that public service education faculty, administrators, and students put into teaching, researching, and practicing public service. Annually, NASPAA recognizes outstanding achievement in these fields through awards presented at the NASPAA Annual Conference. Read about the 2014 NASPAA Awards recipients. Awards are given out in the following categories:

- Doctoral Candidates
- Faculty/Researcher Awards
- Social Equity, Diversity, and Social Justice
- Awards for Papers
- Pi Alpha Alpha Awards

Nominating procedure
Unless otherwise noted, please email with a 500 word or fewer summary of why the individual or program should be selected, and identify two other people who will supply supporting summaries. If possible, submit the supporting summaries as attachments to the nomination email. All submissions should identify the name of the award and nominated candidate in the email subject line and include the nominee’s name, email, phone number, and school affiliation. All nominations due June 30, 2014.


Doctoral Candidates Awards:

Staats Emerging Scholars Award
Recognizes up to three PhD candidates who will be job seeking for an academic position in the 2014-15 academic year. Candidates will be selected to present a paper at the annual conference in front of national and international public service education leaders who make hiring decisions. To qualify, applicants must be a PhD or DPA student at a NASPAA member school, intend to seek an academic position in the 2014-15 school year, graduate before August 31, 2014, and be able to attend the NASPAA annual conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. To apply, candidates should email the following to

1: Completed paper which will serve as their 'job market paper'
2: Current CV
3: Letter from candidate highlighting the contribution of the paper
4: Letter from the dissertation chair which (a) outlines the contributions that the paper makes, (b) discusses how the student's dissertation work is advancing the field, and (c) certifies that the student is expected to graduate by August 31, 2015

Submissions should include the candidates office phone number, cell phone number, and preferred email address. Recipients will receive a $350 check, complimentary registration to the NASPAA Annual Conference, and up to $300 in travel reimbursement.

NASPAA Dissertation Award
Recognizes significant research completed by a doctoral candidate in the field of public policy, affairs, or administration; open to students who completed their dissertation between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014. Candidates must be nominated by their dissertation advisor and their institution’s principle representative to NASPAA. Only one nomination per institution is allowed. To apply, the dissertation advisor should email the following to

1. Copy of the completed dissertation in MS Word format (Word format is required since all personal identifying information must be edited out of the dissertation before it is is sent to the committee for a blind review)
2. This completed nomination form signed by the advisor and the NASPAA principal representative.

Recipient will receive a $500 check, complimentary registration to the NASPAA Annual Conference, and up to $300 in travel reimbursement.

Note: Any school submitting a dissertation will be asked to have a representative serve on the annual dissertation review committee within 5 years of the submission. Each committee member will have 8 weeks to read 3-4 dissertations, rate them, and then participate in a conference call to discuss all submissions.


Faculty/Researcher Awards:

Duncombe Excellence in Doctoral Education Award
Recognizes a faculty member at a NASPAA school with supervisory responsibility for doctoral student efforts outside of coursework. Nominations can be submitted by a Dean/Chair, colleague, or recent student (no more than 2 years removed from graduation) and will be selected based on evidence of contribution to doctoral student success that goes above and beyond expected performance. Click here to contribute to the Duncombe Doctoral Educator award fund.

NASPAA/ASPA Distinguished Research Award (awarded again in 2015)
Co-sponsored by NASPAA and the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA); recognizes an individual’s research which has made substantial impact on the thought and understanding of public administration; it does not honor lifetime contributions or recent publications. Nominations must include the impact of the work as the nominee experienced it, indicate what has been learned from the work, and clearly document the impact of the work. Nominees must be living, but need not be an ASPA member.

Leslie A. Whittington Excellence in Teaching Award
Recognizes a NASPAA faculty member for excellence in teaching over an extended time period. The faculty member must demonstrate outstanding contributions and sustained excellence through course content, course presentation, quality of advising impact, etc. Nominations can be submitted by an individual or a program and supporting letters can be from current or former students. Recipient will receive a $500 check.

Alfred M. Zuck Public Courage Award (awarded in even-numbered years)
Recognizes a public service practitioner, who is a graduate of a NASPAA school, who has made important contributions in public service to advance the public enterprise at the cost of significant risk to personal advancement. The nomination letter should come from a school’s principae representative and should describe the nominee’s career and highlight the courageous actions. Recipient will receive a $500 check.


Social Equity, Diversity, and Social Justice Awards:   

Diversity Award
The diversity award recognizes a program (not an individual) that exemplifies the highest standards of promoting and supporting diversity in research, teaching and/or service. Nominations can be submitted by an individual or a program and self-nominations are encouraged.

Social Justice Curriculum Award
Co-sponsored with the NYU Wagner School and the UCLA Luskin School
This award promotes the incorporation of a social justice lens into the core curriculum of a NASPAA school; a faculty member or faculty team will show how social justice principles have been incorporated into the syllabus and teaching activities of at least one core course. Nominations can be submitted by an individual or a program and self-nominations are encouraged. A copy of the course syllabus should be included with nominating email. The recipient (a faculty member or faculty team) will receive a $1,000 check.

Social Equity Award
The social equity award recognizes a program (not an individual) that exemplifies the highest standards in social equity research, teaching and or/service. Nominations can be submitted by an individual or a program and self-nominations are encouraged.


Awards for Papers:

Best Comparative Panel Session Presented at the NASPAA Conference Co-sponsored with ICPA Forum, and the Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis
Panel sessions that have an international comparative focus will be considered for this award. Nomination procedure above does not apply here; for consideration, papers should be submitted to within 2 weeks following the conference. Session presenters are encouraged to submit a written paper to be fully considered for the award. PowerPoint presentations will also be accepted, but they should be accompanied with a detailed explanation of the comparison that was made. The recipient will receive a $1,000 check.

Journal of Public Affairs Education (JPAE) Outstanding Article Award
Recognizes the author(s) of a manuscript which appeared in JPAE and, from the viewpoint of the editors, makes the most outstanding contribution to public affairs education. Judging criteria includes the quality of theoretical grounding, significance of topic and findings, quality of writing, argument, and supporting evidence, creativity, and pedagogical value. The selection committee does not take nominations for this award.


Pi Alpha Alpha Awards:

PAA Chapter Award of Excellence
Recognizes excellence in programming and chapter management in pursuit in the PAA goals of scholarship, leadership, and excellence in graduate public service education. Nominees must submit an annual report by June 30 and chapters should additionally submit up to two letters of support from chapter officers, student members, faculty members, or administrators who are familiar with chapter operations, activities, and achievements to

PAA Chapter Advisor Award of Excellence
Recognizes an individual who has made outstanding contributions in support of a PAA chapter. Advisors may be current or outgoing and can only receive the award once in a 5-year time span. Nominees must submit an annual report by June 30 and the chapter president should additionally submit a letter of support explaining the advisor contributions. The president can include up to two letters of support from chapter officers, members, faculty members, or administrators who are familiar with operations, activities, and achievements of the chapter and advisor to

Student Manuscript Awards
(Two awards: one for a Masters paper and one for a doctoral candidate paper)
Recognizes outstanding student papers. Nominated papers will be judged on the basis of relevance of the topic, appropriate use of methodology, quality of presentation, originality, innovativeness, clarity, and academic quality. The nomination procedure above does not apply to these awards. Instead, candidates should submit an electronic copy of the paper, in MS Word format, that does not exceed 20 pages double-spaced, and a letter of support from a faculty sponsor to The 20 pages is inclusive of all context; appendixes and references are not included in the 20 page limit. Nominations must be received by June 30. Recipients will receive a $300 check and up to $300 travel reimbursement. Nominees do not need to be Pi Alpha Alpha members or a student at a PAA chapter school.


Questions about NASPAA's awards should be directed to

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