Call For Proposals - CLOSED


The Call for Panel Proposals for NASPAA2019 has CLOSED!

Reconstructing Governance for the Next 50 Years

Deadline: Wednesday, April 17, 2019 at 11:59 pm EST

The 2019 NASPAA Conference will be held in Los Angeles, California in October. The 2019 annual conference also marks the beginning of NASPAA’s 50th anniversary year. The 1960s were formative years for democracy and governance. During these tumultuous times, 50 years ago, citizen, civil rights and social movements expected government to promote full employment, eliminate poverty, reduce pollution, end racial and gender inequality, and land mankind on the moon. While 50 years were not enough to accomplish the above, similar problems persist in an environment where citizens have less trust and faith in what elected and career government officials can do for them.  

NASPAA responds to this challenge with a call to action: we as educators can and must train students to reconstruct governance for the next half century. NASPAA's President, Palmira N. Ríos says, "In times of disruption and crisis we have the options of retreating into the apparent safety of past practices or moving assertively to transform our practices and build sustainable societies. NASPAA's 2019 conference is an invitation to move our 2018 conversation on disrupted states into a reflection on the crisis of democracy in democratic states and of effective governance in nations of all political structures. We challenge every NASPAA school to venture beyond an academic discussion of liberal democracy and become part of the active construction of sustainable and inclusive governance around the world. More transparent, accountable, and participatory governance is the signature tenet of UN Sustainable Development Goal 16 (SDG16) and the watchword of NASPAA. This is a call to public affairs education to reexamine our fundamental commitment to advance public service values in today's context.” While we want to together reflect on the last 50 years, we also want, more importantly, to imagine the next fifty years of public service education.  

SDG16 provides us the building blocks to strengthen public affairs education—training students to achieve accountability, transparency, and participation in their careers as public servants—and this conference will commence construction! Conference tracks will center on innovation in public affairs teaching and learning; the path from diversity to inclusion to power; and the challenge big data creates for the next half century.  

SDG16 gives us a framework for training students to assess the effectiveness of their governing institutions and how to advance good governance. Without the necessity of labels or ideology, SDG16 demands that we address corruption because it weakens effective governance—and that we must identify not just transactional bribery but dig down to the sources of vulnerable institutions and strengthen them against corruption. SDG16 invites us to identify effective tools for citizen participation in all nations and to assess the integrity of those instruments. Participation must be real, broad, and legitimate whatever form it takes. We are training the next generation to build a better world through better governance. This conference welcomes panels that delve into how we can train students to assess the effectiveness of their governing institutions and to improve them.   

Track 1: Imagining the Next 50 Years of Innovation in Public Affairs Teaching and Learning  

The last fifty years witnessed a series of historically unprecedented innovations in teaching and learning. These innovations overwhelmed our classroom environment, instructional technologies, and higher education philosophy. The traditional model of professors professing and students learning, and testing is now supplemented by different media, technologies and a generational shift toward experiential learning and flipped classroom learning. A whole world of experiential learning has opened in the last 5 decades, using tools and methods to place the student as closely as possible to the experience of governance—through cases, simulations, labs, service learning capstones, structured internships. How well have we adapted to these changes, and how do we develop and then harness these techniques for maximum learning and competency development? How is our Pedagogy and preparing the next generation of public servant not just to cope with the tumultuous times, but to embrace and lead change?   

Track 2: From Diversity to Inclusion to Participation to Power, 1970 to 2030  

Sustainable Development Goal 16 sets a very high bar for 2030: we will have achieved it only when diverse citizens aren’t just present or included: they participate and engage with their government. In the public affairs education, participation is aspired to at every level: in the classroom, in the Academy, and in society. Social equity and social justice values are truly attained when historically marginalized communities, women, people of color, immigrants, and others, are actively included in public organizations. It is rather about their full and effective representation, one that yields warranted power. What is the role of public affairs education and research in advancing the true emancipation of the historically disadvantaged? This is equally a question of democratic principles and fairness in representation as it is a question of social equity in governing public affairs.   

Track 3: Big Data and Public Affairs Education for the Next 50 Years  

SDG16 also demands a great deal from our graduates with respect to data skills. To pursue accountability and provide transparency in governance, they will need to know how to pursue data in opaque or even hostile environments, construct data sets amidst imperfect circumstances, and then analyze it with appropriate tools. In short, they must be forensic data practitioners. We must also prepare them for where the data policy pitfalls lie and build their competence to serve a data-dependent government and society, while grappling with protecting individuals’ privacy, watchdogging government collection of data (such as US Census data questions), preventing algorithmic bias, and anticipating other policy issues hidden behind automation of government services and artificial intelligence.   

**Special Subcategory: How far have NASPAA and our schools come in the last 50 years, in critical aspects of our field?**  

Within these tracks, we seek a special category of retrospective panels asking reflection specifically on the last 50 years and the progress public affairs education. Retrospectives could include (feel free to use your imagination): achieving social equity and diversity in our programs; increasing the resources available for public service education; attracting the best and brightest to public service; teaching budgeting and financial management; globalizing our curriculum, scholarship and membership. It is highly recommended that these panels have at least one person who has been working in the field before 1980. If you do not have anyone in mind, please contact NASPAA Executive Director ( for some suggestions.  

Proposal Submission Details

Panel sessions will occur during the main conference on Thursday, October 17 and Friday, October 18. A fully-formed panel consists of a convener, 3-4 confirmed speakers, and a well-developed topic of discussion. When submitting a panel for consideration, you should explore the implications of the track themes and what they mean for public service education. Panel proposals are welcome in any format, including, but not limited to, conventional presentations, roundtable discussions, a presentation with respondents, and panel discussions. Conference sessions will be one hour in duration and should ideally have no more than four presenters to allow for the audience to engage in a thoughtful and meaningful discussion of the topic. 

Before proposing a panel, you are encouraged to contact peers at other institutions and examine carefully how these ideas are being developed in the classroom, in program administration, in community relations and in research. Reaching out to relevant NASPAA committees and/or sections for input and formal endorsement is also encouraged. 

While the basis for your panel proposal may be a published paper, your proposal should examine the implications of your research and include discussion of opposing viewpoints. Conference panel proposals should not be manuscript abstracts. Proposals should present an idea and describe how all sides of the idea will be discussed. Proposals that present variety across types, sizes, foci, or geographic location of programs will receive preference. Proposals should include presenters from at least 2 different institutions. Please note, in order to accept as many presenters as possible, the conference planning committee may ask you to be flexible in your presenters, or they may suggest substitute presenters. 

Submitting an orphan proposal without a full slate of presenters is discouraged. The committee will try to match an individual to a panel, but often accepted panels are already full or there is no topical match. If you need help finding potential panelist in your research or desired topic area, please reach out to NASPAA ( or at least a week before the deadline and we will to our best to help connect you with NASPAA colleagues. 

If you would like NASPAA to send out a survey to gather information from NASPAA members for your panel, please indicate that in your proposal. A limited number of surveys will be sent to NASPAA members and requests for surveys will be considered on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

Panel proposals require clear and concise titles, succinct and persuasive descriptions, ideally links to at least one conference track and/or the overall conference theme, and well-thought-out learning objectives.  Panel Logistics (not applicable to the pre-conference workshops):

  • Panels are one hour in length; the full length of presentations should take no more than 45 minutes, with at least 15 minutes reserved for a question and answer period.

  • Each panel should consist of a convener, up to four presenters, and up to one respondent (optional).

  • The panel convener will manage the panel development process, and then at conference session, the convener will open the panel by framing the discussion and moderate the Q&A period.

  • If the convener would like to make a presentation, he/she should only invite three additional presenters.

  • Each presenter will have no more than 10 minutes to share ideas and commentary. It is essential for the panel convener to manage presentations to ensure ample time for discussion at the end of the presentations.

  • If a respondent is added to the panel, he/she will not make a presentation but will instead offer summary comments on the panelists’ presentations. The respondent’s comments should be within the 45 minutes to allow at least 15 minutes for questions from the audience.

  • All presentation rooms will be set up theater style with PowerPoint presentation technology. A limited number of rooms will be available with audio capability; please indicate in your proposal if you will need audio technology (i.e. showing a video clip).

  • Panelists should consider alternatives to the usual presentation/response format, including moderated roundtables and other forms of presentation that encourage lively discussion and debate.


Presenter Limits: To maximize the overall number of presenters, the Conference Planning Committee will continue the NASPAA practice of following the Rule of Two: limiting presenter participation to two sessions during the main conference. This includes roles as convener, presenter, and/or respondent, but each session only counts once. This rule does not apply to the following types of sessions: meetings, plenaries, workshops, and the Accreditation Institute. 


Proposal Selection:  NASPAA typically receives more than 200 excellent proposal submissions for each Annual Conference, so please understand that selecting panels is a difficult and highly selective process. As such, quality rather than quantity is always best when submitting proposals. We much prefer to receive your best ideas rather than every idea you might have. Preference will be given to panels that address the theme of Reconstructing Governance for the Next 50 Years and which:

  • Address at least one of the conference tracks;
  • Include panel participants which represent the diversity of NASPAA institutions;
  • Will allow for discussion and analysis of current topics;
  • Have representation from at least two schools, and ideally, from two or more countries;
  • Involve practitioners, students, or other stakeholders;
  • Include a full slate of presenters;
  • Report on experiences with collaborative work across programs, stakeholders, and/or countries;
  • Are nonpartisan and examine multiple viewpoints of an issue;
  • Encompass an appropriate volume of information to present in one hour, which will facilitate a thoughtful and meaningful discussion;
  • Represent interests of and/or have the explicit endorsement of a NASPAA committee or section; and
  • Reflect originality and relevance.

The conference selection committee will review all submissions and NASPAA will notify the convener of the final status in June 2019.