Schedule and Format

Learn more about the #NASPAA2021 schedule and format below. 

Committee & Section Meetings | Mon. Oct. 25 & Tues. Oct. 26

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

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
  • 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
  • South Asian Subcommittee
  • Undergraduate Education Committee
  • Undergraduate Interest Section
  • Urban-Serving Universities Section

NASPAA Workshop Series | Tues. Oct. 26 & Wed. Oct. 27

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

Tues. Oct. 26, 12:30 - 2:30 pm EDT

Traditional analytical methods to analyze data sets in the field of public policy use regression models and other statistical techniques that rely on correlations to find associations between variables. However, it is far more valuable to identify causal relationships between the variables of interest in the data sets. Recent advances in Artificial Intelligence, belief networks, and Bayesian inference, allow us to do so without resorting to interventions or randomized controlled trials, particularly when the data sets are rich and complete. Teaching such cutting edge data analysis methods can enhance graduate level public policy curricula at our educational institutions and extend the abilities of our analysts.

The workshop will introduce Bayesian networks and inferencing techniques on these networks that can help infer causation using observational data. With the ever-growing publicly available administrative data, it is now feasible to investigate causal relationships using the data. Causal inference can identify v-structures among variables, i.e., variables that share a common effect. It can also distinguish between direct and indirect dependencies from the observations. The workshop will deal with (a) an overview of causal inferencing methods and how they apply to public policy questions; (b) describe the theoretical foundations of Bayesian networks, and (c) provide a hands-on example of how to apply the Bayesian networks using publicly available data set. 

Sukumar Ganapati, Florida International University

Shaoming Cheng, Florida International University

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

The Workshop is facilitated through NSF Grant # 1924154.

Tues. Oct. 26, 11 am - 1 pm EDT

The doctoral workshop is led by the chairs of NASPAA’s Doctoral Education Committee. If you are involved in doctoral education, you should consider attending. The workshop will cover information for doctoral directors, dealing with uncertainty caused by the pandemic, use of the GRE in admissions, current trends in doctoral education, inclusivity, and recruitment/retention of diverse populations.

Burt Barnow, The George Washington University

Kristen Crossney, West Chester University

Wed. Oct. 27, 10 am – 5 pm EDT

The Accreditation Institute is a one-day event for academic program directors and faculty seeking to learn about accreditation for masters-level public service degrees. Attendance is free to registered NASPAA Annual Conference attendees. The day is designed to provide tools to be successful in mission-driven, outcomes-oriented, evidence-based strategic program management.

For more information on what you will learn, who should attend, and resources from past sessions, visit the Accreditation Institute

Facilitated by: William C. Rivenbark, Professor of Public Administration and Government and MPA Program Director, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Sponsored by University of North Texas, Department of Public Administration

Wed. Oct. 27, 1 – 4 pm EDT

Now Accepting Nominations from Deans, Program Directors, and Senior Faculty! 

NASPAA is excited to announce the sixth class of NASPAA NEXT is now accepting nominations. The three-hour workshop (1 pm to 4 pm, EST), will once again be virtual via Zoom. The title for this year's workshop is Achieving Inclusive Engagement Through Public Affairs Leadership.

Thanks to our facilitating sponsor, the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California.  

Dana Goldman, USC Sol Price School of Public Policy

Juliet Ann Musso, USC Sol Price School of Public Policy    

Mohamad Alkadry, University of Connecticut

Lori A. Brainard, The George Washington University       

Shui Yan Tang, USC Sol Price School of Public Policy

Paul Dcanczyk, USC Sol Price School of Public Policy

Dora Kingsley Vertenten, USC Sol Price School of Public Policy

LaVonna B. Lewis, USC Sol Price School of Public Policy

Mindy Romero, USC Sol Price School of Public Policy

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

Wed. Oct. 27, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm EDT

This workshop is intended for current and future teaching faculty and instructors in public administration programs.

The 2012 Paris Open Educational Resources (OER) Declaration (UNESCO) serves to emphasize that everyone has the right to quality education, and calls on States, within their capacities, to support equitable access by all. This workshop is designed to:

  • foster awareness and use of OER in public administration classrooms by facilitating finding, retrieving and sharing of OER;
  • promote the use of OER in diverse media for public administration education by encouraging research on development, use, and evaluation of OER in public administration classrooms;
  • support capacity building and strategic alliances for sustainable development of OER for public administration education by motivating faculty and students to produce and share high-quality accessible educational resources.

Convener: Lois Warner, School of Public Affairs and Administration, Rutgers University and Chair, SPAE

Panelists and OER Topics:

Dr. Wendy Bolyard, Assistant Professor, University of Colorado Denver

Panel Topic - Using OER in Public Administration Undergraduate and Graduate Courses

Breakout Topic - Avoiding the Rabbit Holes: Finding OER Resources


Dr. Michael Dillard, Assistant Professor, Rutgers University

Panel Topic - Using OER to Teach Leadership and Management for Public and Nonprofit Organizations

Breakout Topic - OER Methods and Resources for Teaching Leadership and Management for Public and Nonprofit Organizations


Dr. Rachel Emas, Assistant Professor, Rutgers University

Panel Topic - Transitioning MPA Course Materials to OER.

Breakout Topic - Teaching MPA Introduction to Public Administration and Research Design using OER.


Dr. Patricia Mitchell, Assistant Professor, Appalachian State University

Panel Topic - Existing OER for Case Studies on Managing Public Organizations

Breakout Topic - Creating Case Studies for availability as OER


Dr. Valerie Patterson, Clinical Professor, Florida International University

Panel Topic - OER on Film and video for Public Administration Courses

Breakout Topic - Adapting OER on Film and video for Public Administration Courses

Wed. Oct. 27, 1 - 3 pm EDT

This workshop is intended for current and future teaching faculty and instructors in public administration programs.

After more than a year of isolation due to Covid lockdowns, Americans are ready to emerge, once again, into the Civic Square.  However, recent tragic events, such as the death of George Floyd, increased homelessness and a contentious election cycle, makes it challenging for people to feel safe returning to open-and-honest discourse.   This panel explores innovative public administration options to increase the public safety while enabling classrooms to frame discussions in a “safe space.”  These topics will provide a springboard for neutral discussions that address issues of equity, fairness and safety in the Civic Square.

Moderator:     Dr. Linda-Marie Sundstrom, Professor, MPA Program Director, Cal Baptist University

Panelists and Topics:

Dr. Mark Kling, Professor at California Baptist University/Chief of Police in the City of Rialto in Southern California. 

  • Panel Topic:  As the Chief, he has created an innovative partnership between a local nonprofit organization that specializes in homelessness, and dispatches the social workers alongside police officers to compassionately address issues of homeless in his jurisdiction. 

Dr. Linda-Marie Sundstrom, Professor and MPA Director at California Baptist University

  • Panel Topic: With the reduction of Student Resource Officers (SROs) in schools across the country, how can law enforcement build relationships with K-12 students that maintains safety while decreasing anxiety that students may experience in the presence of officers.

Dr. Adam Butts, Associate Professor at Cal State Long Beach

  • Panel Topic: They have explored a program that co-locates County Behavioral Health Specialists inside a police department to assist officers in responding to calls where mental illness may be a factor. 

Wed. Oct. 27, 3:30-5 pm EDT

Today’s students in public affairs programs are tomorrow’s government and nonprofit leaders. By participating in experiential learning opportunities while in graduate school, students learn the critical thinking and data analysis skills they will need to succeed as public sector professionals in the real-world and contribute to effective governance.  NASPAA believes strongly in experiential learning and the competencies students can grow when given the opportunity to test their developing knowledge and skills in relatively low stakes situations prior to graduation. 

This session covers: · NASPAA’s new Institute for Innovative Teaching and Learning for Public Service and its new  online case repository Publicases (Now Live!).    · The development of cases and engaging with practitioners and students during the process. · Using cases in the classroom.  


Stacy Drudy, NASPAA

Stephanie Dolamore, Gallaudet University

Steven Mumford, University of New Orleans

Ashley Nickels, Kent State University

Del Bharath, Savannah State University


CHARRETTES | Thurs. Oct. 28 & Fri. Oct. 29

A design CHARRETTE is a live, collaborative session in which a small informal group drafts a solution to an aspect of reimagining the civic square. Participation will be capped at 15, first come, first served, and there will be no observers. All participants will take an active role! Sign-Up for a Charrette  

At the start of the virtual charette, the convenor writes a goal or a design challenge on the “whiteboard.” Each person sketches his or her own ideas. This is supposed to be fast. People may sketch one or several ideas, until they run out of paper, ink, or inspiration. Each person works alone. When the time is up, each person gets a minute (and no more than 1) to show their ideas and explain the reasoning behind them. The group may then ask questions of each sketcher, spending one more minute on each person. The convenor summarizes each participant’s point on the virtual whiteboard and keeps time consistently. At the end of the charrette, the designer collects the participants’ main points and comments, and uses the ideas generated to help derive a prototype design. The design is posted immediately on the conference platform for comments and further exploration.

Data has transformed modern life and put new pressures on public‐serving organizations. What does it mean to be a data specialist, or to have data skills? How can schools of public policy better prepare students to apply data science for the social and public good?

Students in Schools of Public Affairs and Administration are at the forefront of developing skills to lead government and community organizations. A key objective of this charrette is to reimagine a core public affairs course (such as public management) that prepares students with authentic, applied data skills and experiences.

Some of the questions we hope this charrette will explore include:

  • What are the core competencies of data science for public affairs?
  • How do we make data science skills accessible, exciting, and an intentional path for our students?
  • How do we choose/navigate different platforms for data science? Is there value in collective convergence for skill training in the field?
  • What aspects of this work are you already doing at your school/university that could be a springboard into implementing this type of core course? What are potential barriers to implementing this new course?

Facilitated by:

Patrick Bixler, The University of Texas at Austin

This charrette encourages participants to consider design elements to create social equity service-learning projects for a transformative public affairs (TPA) curriculum. Frequently, service-learning projects focus on students’ professional development while neglecting students’ social justice and democratic development. Other times, projects don’t include all of the 4 Rs of service-learning (reality, reflection, reciprocity and responsibility). The goal is for participants to design a TPA social equity service-learning project that is (a) realistic (b) reciprocal in involving students and community partners in the design and assessment of outcomes, (c) has opportunities for reflection (d) and highlights responsibility for social justice.

Facilitated by:

Veronica Adams-Cooper, Albany State University

Del Bharath, Savannah State University

One in four people in the USA has a disability. While many individuals with disabilities achieve tremendous professional and personal success, public administration in the USA is oppressive and exclusionary toward people with disabilities. This design charette will start with individual work for five minutes, then a group discussion to develop a single call to action with support of a diverse panel of leaders. Together we will design a call to action for a more inclusive public administration. You do not need to be an expert to join this session, you only need a desire for change. Join us!

Facilitated by:

Stephanie Dolamore, Gallaudet University

Adana Protonentis, Seattle University

Brendan Stern, Gallaudet University

Jeannine M. Love, Roosevelt University

Rashmi Chordiya, Seattle University

Geoffrey Whitebread, Gallaudet University

The goal of the charrette is for all participants to work together to identify and capture the value proposition for MPAs/MPPs working in state government in the next era‐‐in a concrete way‐‐by jointly building a prototype market web page or brochure that makes the case. The prototype marketing product should powerfully and compellingly persuade this next generation of student to work for state government. Then NASPAA will distribute it, and it can be used by individual schools!


Facilitated by:

Robert W. Smith, University of Illinois at Springfield

James Bland, University of Illinois at Springfield

Panels, Plenaries, & More | Thurs. Oct. 28 & Fri. Oct. 29

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

This year’s theme, “Reimagining the Civic Square”, is clearly timely and significant to every program. NASPAA received many 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 70 panel and charette sessions with nearly 300 presenters. 

Conference tracks include:

  • Track 1: Create a Laboratory for Change through our PA Curriculum and Research
  • Track 2: Listen to Students and Co-Create Civic Engagement and Service Learning
  • Track 3: Reach Beyond Inclusion, Beyond Covid to Achieve Equity and Justice
  • Track 4: Repair the Torn Global Fabric 
  • Track 5: Public Service Values Across the Undergraduate Curriculum of the University

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

Thursday sponsored by: Syracuse University, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs

Friday sponsored by: University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

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.

Sponsored by: John Jay College MPA Programs, MPA Program / Department of Public Management

Election of new Executive Council and inaugural address from incoming NASPAA President, Susan Gooden, Virginia Commonwealth University.



The 2021 NASPAA Annual Conference will be primarily an online experience where you will be able to share, learn, connect, and showcase in a safe and sustainable way. Taking place on our online conference platform (Pathable), attendees will be able to engage with live and prerecorded sessions, visit exhibit booths, search the agenda, and interact with peers, speakers, and sponsors. All presentations through the platform will integrate with Zoom. 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;
  • 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 NASPAA's Pathable site for a whole year!