Admissions Professionals Meeting


2021 NASPAA Admissions Professionals Virtual Meeting Recap

Thursday, July 15, 2021


NASPAA's Admissions Professionals Meeting is a one-day annual gathering, typically the day prior to the PPIA EXPO in Washington DC in mid-July, for member schools to discuss issues pertaining to admissions.

The 2021 NASPAA Admissions Meeting was held on Thursday, July 15 and attended by over 60 admissions professionals from NASPAA schools. They were upbeat about this year’s admissions—as many schools plan for faculty and students to return to campus this fall, enrollments at many MPA and MPP programs appear to be up, significantly so at some institutions. 

NASPAA's Executive Director, Laurel McFarland, welcomed attendees and shared observations from her long tenure with NASPAA. An onsite survey of the participants revealed diversity in the geographic locations, roles, and COVID policies at attendee's schools. Stacy Drudy, NASPAA Director of Innovative Teaching and Learning, and Kelli Maples, NASPAA Intern from University of San Diego, presented the results and analysis of the NASPAA Admission Survey (see video and slides below). There were four breakout sessions centered on the following topics: Marketing and Communications; Application Process/Review; Post-COVID Recruitment Rebound Strategies; and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusions Initiatives.Participants in the discussion groups shared what they plan to start, stop, or continue doing in each of the areas. Major take-aways/trends included: a move to virtual events which can expand reach and allow schools to build new libraries of recordings, evolving policies on the GRE, moves to digital collateral, and new administrative and support systems to further DEI initiatives.

The afternoon featured two panel discussions. The panel "ROI in the era of Post Covid-19: Can students still find meaningful employment in the Public Affairs field?" was lead by Bryan Kempton, Director of Career Services and Alumni Relations at the School of Public Policy, University of Maryland and featured the career placement directors Stephanie Boomhower from School of Global Policy and Strategy, UC San Diego; Denise Fowler, Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration, The George Washington University; and Jennifer J. Schepers, O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University. The panel discussion "The Student Experience" was moderated by Elaine McBeth, Associate Director, Director of Graduate Studies, William & Mary Public Policy, William and Mary and featured students from School of Government, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill; School of Public Affairs, American University; Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration, The George Washington University; and Schools of Public Engagement, The New School. Both panels revealed that although it's been a year of transitions, firsts, and lots of virtual experiences, our students and programs are resilient - students ARE getting jobs and quality public service education IS happening!

Thank you to the 2021 Admissions Meeting Planning Committee!

Lindsey Duble-Dice, The George Washington University, Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration

Merida Escandon Gasbarro, The New School, Schools of Public Engagement

Taryn Faulkner, University of Maryland, School of Public Policy

Jennifer Forney, American University, School of Public Affairs

Elaine S. McBeth, William and Mary, William & Mary Public Policy

Cara Y. Robinson, UNC-Chapel Hill, School of Government

Alex Thomas, University of Arkansas, Clinton School of Public Service