2021: Pandemic 2.0
Students Around the World Compete in a Real-Time Simulation to Stop the Next Pandemic
Hundreds of students tackled a deadly outbreak during a very timely NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition
On February 27 and March 6, more than 400 graduate students from around the globe will compete in a real-time simulation to stop the next infectious disease outbreak during the annual NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition. Developed by experts at the Batten School’s Center for Leadership Simulation and Gaming (CLSG) and backed by real-world data, the simulation places students in leadership roles within a time-sensitive, fast-paced environment where they must work together to minimize the impact of a deadly infectious disease. The competition—a partnership between the University of Virginia Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA)—annually connects public policy students from a vast network of universities worldwide through simulated gameplay.
“We’ve extensively updated our simulation to reflect the public health and economic crises brought on by COVID-19,” said CLSG Acting Manager Adam Roux. “It’s a great opportunity for aspiring policymakers to test their leadership, critical thinking, and communication skills against a scenario like the one we are all living through. Experiential learning tools such as the Pandemic Game can help bridge classroom learning and real-world experience, training future leaders to better navigate challenging situations.”
In the day-long event, students will role-play as leaders of one of four fictional countries, working with teammates from around the world to navigate difficult policy decisions and their outcomes. Their decisions will impact not only their domestic mortality rates, economies, and political situations, but also regional stability. Will students close international borders, mandate nationwide lockdowns, or develop an effective, trusted vaccine? Will their actions stay in budget, maintain rule of law, and--most importantly--save lives? Teams will be evaluated on simulation scores, negotiation skills, and presentations made to judges. Finalists will compete in a global "All Star" round navigating through the next iteration of the simulation.
“Simulation-based learning is incredibly valuable, as it applies theory to practice, and goes beyond conventional modes of learning,” said NASPAA Simulation Education Director Supriya Golas. “Through these simulations, students can take what they’ve learned in the classrooms and apply it to simulated real-world experiences. We hope these tools will prepare students for the next major global event, whether it’s a pandemic or climate crisis.”
This is the seventh year that NASPAA has conducted the student competition and the fifth year of partnership with the Batten School’s Center for Leadership Simulation and Gaming. Thousands of students from NASPAA’s global network have participated in the competitions, each year examining a different multifaceted policy issue. For last year’s NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition, the CLSG created a simulation that challenged students to implement sustainable transportation policies. For the 2019 Competition, the CLSG created a simulation in which participant teams were asked to manage a refugee influx. Following each competition, CLSG develops a version of the simulation for the classroom, which are available for free through their website. The simulations have already been used in university classrooms in Maryland, North Dakota, Texas, China, and Virginia to teach important policy concepts and give students a chance to hone skills in negotiation and critical thinking.
WATCH THE RECORDING OF THE PANDEMIC 2.0 SIMULATION GLOBAL ALL-STAR ROUND
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2021 GLOBAL “ALL-STAR” CHAMPIONS!
The four teams competed during the Global All-Star Round on April 16. During this championship, participants engaged in simulation-game play, and debate. All teams performed tremendously! View all 2021 Site Winning teams
2021 All-Star Champions!!!
Md. Moajjem Hossain Samrat, University of Barishal;Pui Kei Tse, Tsinghua University; Hugo Thompson, Victoria University of Wellington; Renee Carpela, University of Guam; Farabi Rahman, University of Dhaka
First-Runner Up Team
Tiffany Turner, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Darshan Parikh, Virginia Commonwealth University; Ma Fides Talania, New York University; Adam Thorp, University of Missouri
Second-Runner Up Team
Lexi Jenson, University of Texas at Dallas; Maria Paula Ardila Rangel, Universidad de los Andes; Matthew Lethin, University of San Francisco; Joshua Kerlin, University of Missouri
Third-Runner Up Team
Maxim Zingman, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration; Amanda Copkov, Baruch College; Ryan DeNardo University at Albany, SUNY; Sara Seif, The American University in Cairo
2021 GLOBAL SUPER JUDGES:
ANAND DESAI- RESEARCH POLICY AND ASSESSMENT ADVISOR FOR THE INSTITUTE FOR SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION, CLARIVATE ANALYTICS
Professor Emeritus Anand Desai was instrumental in leading the merger between the School of Public Policy and Management with the John Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy to create the John Glenn School of Public Affairs. While at the college he taught statistics, mathematical modeling, evaluation, and simulation for public policy analysis. His research is focused on use-inspired theory and applications of evaluative inquiry, performance measurement, data visualization, and spatial analyses. He is currently the Research Policy and Assessment Advisor for the Institute for Scientific Information at Clarivate Analytic. Previously he had been at the National Science Foundation as the head of the Evaluation and Assessment Capability Section in the Office of Integrative Activities.
Dr. Desai is the “godfather” of the NASPAA tudent Simulation Competition. He played a pivotal role in founding the competition, and incorporating simulation-based learning in the public service landscape. He has been involved in the annual simulation competition since its inception in 2015.
DANA MICHAEL HARSELL – UNIVERSITY OF NORTH DAKOTA’S DEPARTMENT OF POLITICAL SCIENCE AND PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION
Dana Harsell is an associate professor who teaches courses in state and local government, public administration, and the intersection of business and government. He helps lead NASPAA’s Simulation Network, and is passionate about simulation-based learning. Dana has utilized both Pandemic and Migration simulations, developed by CLSG, in campus-based and online classes. Recent research contributions include an exploration of how and when small, rural governments utilize alternative service delivery methods to meet service demands (Journal of Rural Studies) and how local government leaders engage deliberative framing strategies when pursuing climate change mitigation and adaption policies within their jurisdictions (Journal of Environmental Planning and Policy).
LAUREL MCFARLAND – EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AT NASPAA
Laurel McFarland has served as Executive Director of NASPAA since 2005. She brings a wide portfolio of previous experience: management of accreditation and quality assurance; professional experience in the economics of higher education and the strategic positioning of institutions in higher education; academic work in economic policy history; and active involvement in local government and nonprofit ventures.