Format and Schedule

Learn more about the #NASPAA2020 schedule and format below. 


#NASPAA2020 will be an entirely new online experience that combines webinars and networking. The 2020 conference will be NASPAA’s first-ever VIRTUAL conference and occur as originally planned on Wednesday Oct. 14, Thursday Oct. 15, and Friday, Oct. 16. It will take place in a virtual event platform, which is a specialized website that we are calling the "NASPAA Virtual Conference Website". This online environment is an exciting space where we will be able to share, learn, connect, and showcase in a safe and sustainable way. Within this innovative digital platform, attendees will be able to:

  • build your personalized agenda and choose sessions by viewing associated summaries, speaker profiles, and handouts for download, and searching by topics, tracks, and more;
  • join in live panel, workshop, and keynote sessions that integrate with Zoom with automated reminders, audience Q&A and polls;
  • view on-demand sessions at your convenience form the safety of your home or office (50+ pre-recorded panels sessions!);
  • network with peers through real-time chat, persistent discussion forums and integrated 1:1 video meetings;
  • search attendee, speaker, and sponsor directories and connect using private meeting scheduling tools before, during, and after the conference;
  • visit the virtual exhibit hall and engage live with sponsors and vendors;
  • create an attendee profile that shares your specific research and teaching interests and connects to sessions if you are panelists;
  • participate in the conference game by completing a set of tasks as you explore the site, earn points, try to make it onto the leaderboard, and compete for prizes; and
  • access all the content on NSAPAA Conference Website from Monday, Oct. 5 through March of 2021 – 6 months of engagement!


This year’s theme, “Building the New Civic Square”, is clearly timely and significant to every program. NASPAA received a record number of panel proposals this year! This is an amazing testament to the NASPAA community and public service education, and it reinforces the importance of our annual conference as an opportunity to convene – there are important issues, ideas, and research to discuss. This year's lineup features over 60 panel sessions with nearly 300 presenters. 

Conference tracks include:

  • Research and Teaching: What is the new civic education?
  • Impact and Engagement: What are programs and NASPAA doing in this space?
  • Inclusion in the a New Civic Square
  • The New Civic Square Globally: what is means around the world?
  • NEW TRACK! Coronavirus: Public Sector and Public Affairs Education
  • Undergraduate Education and Public Affairs 

Panel topics will cover: Assessment, Budget and Financial Management, Comprehensive Schools, Diversity and Social Equity, Doctoral Education, Emerging Trends, Local Government Management, Nonprofit Management, Research, Sustainable Development, Small Programs, Teaching and Learning, Technology, Undergraduate Education and MORE!

There are 12 live panels that were selected by vote and 50+ prerecorded on-demand panels with scheduled live Q/A sessions! 


View the preliminary schedule


Wednesday, Oct. 14

Please note that all times are listed in US Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

Based around an interactive, flipped classroom, the 2020 Institute will use a combination of video modules and experiential and skills-based learning to touch on each of the 7 NASPAA Accreditation Standards, including maintaining your mission and sustainable assessment, as well as program best practices. The philosophy of the training is focused around the elements of managing a program effectively: mission-driven, outcomes-oriented, evidence-based. 

Anyone interested can also train to become a NASPAA Site Visitor! COPRA encourages programs who are recently accredited (and not in immediate upcoming cohorts) to train as a site visitorLearn more

*Please note that we will repeat the first morning session (10 - 11 am content) again from 4 - 5 pm EDT for our west coast members.

The purpose of this hand-on workshop is to use cyberinfrastructure methods to explore and analyze large administrative data in local governments.

Local public agencies collect various types of data from their constituents, typically in a mandatory fashion. However, the administrative data come in various forms and are not standardized. This workshop will focus on how to standardize and examine the administrative data for specific questions. We will use an example of 311 calls, which are non-emergency service requests fielded by local government agencies. The 311 calls are not standardized and vary across jurisdictions. We will exemplify how the data are standardized using Python tools. We will then walk through how the data can be used for exploratory analysis of administrative or policy questions of interest using R, combining data from other sources (e.g., Census Bureau).

The hands-on workshop will be followed by a dialogue on building up and strengthening cyberinfrastructure among local governments, developing analytic capacity of MPA programs particularly among minority-serving institutions, and engaging MPA students in applied data exploration and analytics projects.

Sukumar Ganapati, Florida International University

Shaoming Cheng, Florida International University

Giri Narasimhan, Florida International University (School of Computing and Information Sciences)

Farzana Yusuf, Florida International University (School of Computing and Information Sciences)

Although the invitation is open, we especially invite Ph.D. students and junior faculty to attend the workshop. Faculty from small and medium schools and minority-serving programs which do not have access to adequate cyberinfrastructure (such as High Performing Computers) are also welcome to attend. Workshop capacity will be limited to ensure adequate distribution of resources. Although desirable, we do not expect the attendees to have advanced skills in Python or R. Basic knowledge in statistical analysis should be enough for workshop purposes. All attendees will have access to the data and tools after the workshop as well.

The Workshop is facilitated through NSF Grant # 1924154 [CyberTraining: Implementation: Medium: Advanced Cyber Infrastructure Training in Policy Informatics].

The doctoral workshop is led by the chair of NASPAA’s Doctoral Education Committee. In 2015 the committee opted to hold a doctoral workshop in lieu of a standalone conference, this option proved successful and we will be offering it again this year. If you are involved in doctoral education, you should consider attending. The workshop will cover information for new doctoral directors, current trends in doctoral education, inclusivity, and recruitment/retention of diverse populations. 


Pre-Conference Conversation: Teaching about Systemic Discrimination & Racial Justice through a Comparative Policy Lens. 

Join a conversation with Brandi Blessett, Mohamad Alkadry, Vanessa Lopez Littleton, and Nadia Rubaii on incorporating a comparative lens into our discussions of racial justice. This 1-hour conversation on Wednesday, October 14 will kick off the 3rd annual joint NASPAA-ICPA Forum workshop on comparative pedagogy. Come to get new ideas for your classes, share your experiences with others, and learn about opportunities to submit paper proposals for a February workshop that will result in a $500 award for the best comparative pedagogy paper on this pressing topic. Learn More.


Nadia Rubaii, Binghamton University

Susan Appe, University at Albany, SUNY

Sean McCandless, University of Illinois at Springfield


Brandi Blessett, University of Cincinatti

Mohamad Alkadry, University of Connecticut

Vanessa Lopez Littleton, California State University, Monterey Bay

NASPAA is excited to announce the fifth class of NASPAA NEXT at the 2020 NASPAA Virtual Conference. The three-hour workshop, will provide emerging leaders in their departments or programs with practical tools that will enable them to become more engaged and dynamic members of their campuses and communities. The theme for this year's workshop is Building the Civic Square: Centering Racial Equity.


Susan Gooden, Virginia Commonwealth University

Nakeina Douglas-Glenn, Virginia Commonwealth University

Elsie Harper-Anderson, Virginia Commonwealth University

Shajuana Isom-Payne, Virginia Commonwealth University

Robyn McDougle, Virginia Commonwealth University

Sarah Raskin, Virginia Commonwealth University

Mary Snowden, New York University 

Participation in NASPAA NEXT is by invitation only, and invitations are based on recommendations from deans and other senior faculty, professional reputation and scholarly research, as well as participation in NASPAA activities. For information on nominations contact

Enhanced Learning: Innovations and Approaches to Use Case Studies in the Public Administration Classroom


This workshop is designed to explore different approaches to enhancing learning about public administration topics through the use of case studies. The workshop is designed with two parts: part one will explore five broad ways that case studies can be connected to various topics of public administration; and part two will include dividing participants into three breakout sessions that explore one specific case study in detail between the panelists and audience members.

Note: Part one of the workshop will be moderated by Dr. Dolamore using the questions below. Part two will be moderated by a pairs of panelists. Audience members will be assigned to breakout rooms by Dr. Dolamore.



Stephanie Dolamore, Gallaudet University and Chair-Elect for SPAE


Panelists and Case Study Topics:

Lori Brainard,George Washington University

Panel Topic: Using cases to teach theory in introduction classes


Del Bharath, Savannah State University

Panel Topic: Using cases to teach ethical decision making


Sean McCandless, University of Illinois, Springfield

Panel Topic: Using case studies to teach administrative decision making


Patricia Mitchell, Appalachian State University

Panel Topic: Using case studies to teach civic values and norms


Ashley Nickels, Kent State University

Panel Topic: Using case studies to teach nonprofit management



Breakout Room Topics

Film and contemporary events as case studies (Moderators: Del Bharath and Lori Brainard)  

Finding and using published case studies in the classroom (Moderators: Sean McCandless and Ashley Nickels)

Developing your own case study for use in the classroom (Moderators: Patricia Mitchell and Stephanie Dolamore)


Doctoral Student Workshop – Work-life Balance

This workshop is intended for doctoral students and junior faculty.

This session will provide an opportunity to review and discuss the latest research and recommendations pertaining to work-life balance in graduate education and junior faculty public affairs programs.

This workshop is based on the research conducted for the Journal of Public Affairs Education (JPAE) Symposium on Work-life Balance. The first presentation and discussion will be based on “Work-life balance and well-being of graduate students” published on-line 24 June 2020. The second presentation and discussion will be based on “Examining junior faculty work-life balance in public affairs programs in the United States,” published on-line 20 July 2020. The workshop will conclude with a review of the NASPAA PhD Pathways initiative.

The expected learning outcomes are to gain clarity, a sense of direction and motivation to achieve balance in these demanding environments.

Moderator/Convener: John E. Dunning, Lecturer, University of Virginia, School of Continuing and Professional Studies

Work-live balance and well-being of graduate students:

Juita-Elena (Wie) Yusuf, Old Dominion University

Marina Saitgalina, Old Dominion University

David W. Chapman, Old Dominion University

Examining junior faculty work-life balance in public affairs programs in the United States:

Lauren Azevedo, Penn State Harrisburg;

Wanzhu ShiTexas A&M International University

Pamela S. Medina, California State University San Bernardino 

Matt T. Bagwell, Tarleton State University

Thursday, Oct. 15 & Friday, Oct. 16

Please note that all times are listed in US Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

There will be 12 live panel webinar sessions with six each day. NASPAA members voted to choose these specific sessions for the live program!


NOTE: All live sessions will be recorded and accessible on-demand shortly after they occur.

50+ panels prerecorded panels will be available to view on-demand when the site launches on Monday, Oct. 5th. There will be a schedule of LIVE Q/A sessions to interact with these panelist on Thursday and Friday.

There will be a keynote each day. Exciting announcements will be made soon regarding the selected individuals!

Interact live and learn more about our sponsors and vendors.

We look forward to announcing and honoring award recipients in conjunction with the virtual conference. You will be able to learn more winners and their work on the NASPAA Virtual Conference Website. 

More about the specific awards.

Election of new Executive Council and inaugural address from incoming NASPAA President, Laura Bloomberg, University of Minnesota.


Weeks of Oct. 12 - 17 and Oct. 19 - 23

NASPAA Committee and Section meetings are a meaningful way to engage with NASPAA, share best practices, and network with your peers.

All meetings listed will be open and a schedule will be shared closer to the conference HERE.

Feel free to join any meeting that is a fit for your role, program, or research area.

  • Budget & Finance Management Section
  • Comprehensive Schools Section
  • NASPAA Data Committee
  • Diversity and Social Equity Committee
  • Doctoral Education Committee
  • Election Administration and Leadership Section
  • Emergency Management and Homeland Security Section
  • Executive MPA Program Committee
  • Healthcare Education Section
  • Local Government Management Education Section
  • Marketing the MPA/MPP Committee
  • Non-profit Management Education Section
  • Pi Alpha Alpha Committee 
  • Policy Issues Committee
  • Research and Data Science Committee
  • SDG Working Group Committee
  • Small Programs Section
  • Undergraduate Education Committee
  • Urban-Serving Universities Section