NASPAA History

NASPAA History through 1975

Early NASPAA history by Laurin L. Henry, NASPAA President, 1971-72

Retired Dean and Professor Emeritus Virginia Commonwealth University.

Scholar in Residence, Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, University of Virginia.

(A summary report from the NASPAA Historical Project, prepared for NASPAA's 25th Anniversary Conference, Austin, TX, Oct. 18-21, 1995)

NASPAA Milestones



NASPAA changes its name to the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration to recognize its newly global reach and member public policy schools.

NASPAA accredits its first MPA program outside the U.S.


NASPAA adopts a tagline, The Global Standard in Public Service Education.

NASPAA launches an Annual Program Survey as its new primary means of collecting programs’ data to make available to students, employers, and the public.


NASPAA creates NASPAA Data Center to improve how it collects, analyzes and manages data. The goal is to use the accurate and relevant data to improve programs.

NASPAA creates new online accreditation and data Management systems



NASPAA Standards 2009 Pass!

The first ever NASPAA Deans Summit.

NASPAA launches the 'Go Public' campaign with new ads, student website and social networking group.

NASPAA and Pi Alpha Alpha out sources the shopping and fulfillment for ordering PAA certificates and jewelry items online;

NASPAA institutional membership is open to non-US programs.

JPAE publishes a free electronic edition called "JPAE Mesenger."

NASPAA, in support of the Inter-American Network of Public Administration Education, INPAE, (via FOSI, the Foundation Open Society Institute) has supported technical assistance projects, annual conferences and bridge building initiatives .


NASPAA joins social media such as YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn.

NASPAA co-hosted an International meeting on Quality in Public Affairs Education in Dubai.

NASPAA initiates a "Reimaginating the PMF" to bring thoughtful attention to federal HR issue of the PMF program.

NASPAA creates an online Communications and Marketing Toolkit for member schools to help better market their programs.


NASPAA headquarters moves to 1029 Vermont Ave NW, Washington DC.

The Data Task Force is launched.


NASPAA launches "NASPAA Standards 2009" to revise accreditation standards for the changing demands of the public sector.

The National Research Council recognizes PhDs in public policy, public affairs, and public administration for inclusion in their Research Doctorate Study.

NASPAA partners with ASPA and APPAM to create a web-based job board and career center,

NASPAA approves Health Care Management Guidelines and Nonprofit Education Guidelines for use by graduate MPA and MPP programs with these specialties.

NASPAA creates a new international web platform-- for marketing internationally oriented degree programs and activities to an international audience.

NASPAA creates the Executive MPA Center for advancing research, marketing, and quality in executive education.


ICMA and NASPAA initiate Local Government Management Fellowship.

Open Society Institute makes grant to NASPAA to support public affairs education projects in South and Central America

Laurel McFarland replaces Kenneth Tolo as Executive Director


CHEA officially recognizes COPRA for a period of 10 years.

EPA awards NASPAA a contract to support the SCOPe e-rulemaking initiative.


Small Programs Section established.

USAID awards supplemental funding for NASPAA to extend its project partnerships with NISPAcee.


NASPAA unveils improved website to provide resources to its members and to inform prospective public affairs students and employers about NASPAA members' programs.

Kenneth Tolo replaces Michael Brintnall as Executive Director.

USAID awards supplemental funding for NASPAA to extend its project partnerships with NISPAcee.


Eligibility request submitted to the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) (successor to COPRA).


Health Sector Management Education Section formed.

Funding from USAID for project partnerships between NASPAA and NISPAcee institutions with local and regional governments in central and eastern Europe.

Hewlett Foundation awards grant to NASPAA to support INPAE projects.

US State Department provides funding for NAPA-NASPAA project with Georgian Institute of Public Affairs.



Development of Nonprofit Management Education Guidelines with Nonprofit Academic Centers Council.

Inter-American Network for Public Administration Education (INPAE) initiated with support from the Association Liaison Office for University Cooperation in Development (ALO).

NASPAA partners with OPM and creates "Look Ma I'm a Bureaucrat" campaign.


Initiation of Public Service Careers Project with support from Pew Charitable Trusts.

NASPAA begins publishing the Journal of Public Affairs Education.

EPA awards NASPAA a cooperative agreement to support the Small Communities Outreach Project for Environmental Issues (SCOPe).


Renewal of Pew Charitable Trusts funding for Network of Institutes and Schools of Public Administration in Central and Eastern Europe (NISPAcee).


Michael Brintnall replaces Alfred Zuck as Executive Director.


Appointment of Task Force on the Future of NASPAA and a Committee on Transition.

Pi Alpha Alpha celebrates 20th Anniversary.


Termination of USAID funding for research and technical assistance to developing countries.

Funding by Ford Foundation and Pew Charitable Trusts to assist in establishing public administration academic programs in Central and Eastern Europe.


Changes to masters degree standards to focus on program mission and outcomes assessment.


COPA recognizes NASPAA as official accrediting agency for public affairs masters degrees programs through 1996.

NASPAA establishes a $75,000 three-year program of grants for innovations in increasing diversity in member institutions.



Establishment of non-profit management education section to focus NASPAA's interest in this sector.


Conversion of investment fund to endowment fund and engagement of an investment firm to manage the fund.


Establishment of a political science-based programs section.


NASPAA officially recognized by the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation (COPA) as an accrediting organization for public affairs masters degree programs.


Revisions to NASPAA's Constitution to convert Committee on Peer Review to Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation (COPRA) and to grant it authority for accreditation decisions.


Major expansion ($12 million) of USAID cooperative agreement with NASPAA for period 1984-1993 for research and technical assistance to developing countries.

Appointment of Finance Committee to establish an investment fund and develop long-term financial strategy.


Alfred Zuck replaces Joseph Robertson as Executive Director.

Decision at annual meeting to convert the peer review process to accreditation and recognition as specialized accrediting agency for field.


Initiation of NASPAA Newsletter, "Public Enterprise."

NASPAA headquarters moves to 1120 G Street, N.W.


First roster of programs "in substantial conformity" published.



Initial funding by USAID for program of research and technical assistance to developing countries.

Mellon Fund grant finances study of innovations in education for public service.


Presidential Management Internship Program started. Updated new Constitution replaces old NASPAA by-laws.


Goals Task Force urges an independent, more vigorous NASPAA, with expanded programs of representation and advancement of standards.

Separation from ASPA completed; NASPAA incorporated; Joseph Robertson becomes Executive Director; first annual conference unconnected with ASPA conference.

Annual meeting votes program of voluntary peer review and publication of list of programs found "in substantial conformity" with standards.


NASPAA formally separates from ASPA but remains dependent on it for certain headquarters services.


First standards for master's degree programs adopted; member institutions encouraged to do self-evaluations, with advisers available from NASPAA on request.

Annual meeting authorizes an honorary society, Pi Alpha Alpha.

After long delay, Congress votes funding for Federal aid to public service education, under Title IX of Higher Education Act.


Don M. Blandin becomes staff director; first full-time staffer supported by NASPAA general revenues.

National Academy of Public Administration report deplores vague purposes, haphazard diversity, and lack of professionalism in many university programs.


Survey of member program enrollments, degrees, etc., starts series of periodic survey reports and directories.


Ford Foundation $1 million grant for minority fellowships administered by NASPAA (first of several foundation and government grants for similar purposes).

Undergraduate programs eligible for NASPAA membership.


CGEPA dissolves into NASPAA, still a part of ASPA.



Public Administration Fellows program started, to give government experience to faculty members.


Honey Report to Carnegie Corporation emphasizes weakness of most graduate public administration programs.


NASPAA's predecessor, the Council on Graduate Education for Public Administration, founded as an ASPA subgroup.