NASPAA's 50th Anniversary


NASPAA is excited to celebrate 50 years!

The 2019 NASPAA Annual Conference in October will be an opportunity to reflect on the advancements and changes in the last 50 years and look forward to the next 50 years of public service education.

Launching new Institute for Innovative Teaching and Learning for Public Service Fall 2019

In celebration of NASPAA's 50th Anniversary-- and 50 years of advancing quality in public affairs teaching and learning, NASPAA is in the process of developing an Institute for Innovative Teaching and Learning for Public Service which will be launched at the 2019 Annual Conference in Los Angeles this October.  As NASPAA embarks on this process you will be hearing from us about what your needs are and how we can best tailor the Institute to meet those needs. 

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. 

As part of a comprehensive effort to advance experiential education, the Institute will provide an online marketplace connecting students and faculty in public affairs schools around the world with simulations, case studies, data, and service-learning opportunities-at the lowest possible cost and highest possible quality. NASPAA will combine the global electronic platform with outstanding training for case and simulation developers, and for classroom teachers. NASPAA will also strive to connect our students and faculty with nonpartisan nonprofit organizations and government agencies who can use their skills and expertise. NASPAA will target development in the Executive Council's key policy areas: Civic Engagement, Sustainability, Inclusivity and Globalization.

Components of the Institute

There are four related components that make up NASPAA's vision for the Institute:

  • An increase in the number and functionality of teaching case studies available to our members and the wider education community for use in their classrooms.
  • The creation of a Simulation Education Network-To encourage Simulation Development for classroom use.
  • The creation of a Public Affairs Datalab providing an opportunity for students and faculty to analyze real world data provided by partner organizations who would benefit from the analysis.
  • The creation of training tutorials and workshops that will provide guidance to faculty on how to best utilize Cases, Sims, and real-world data analysis in their programs.

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. By focusing on topics such as Civic Engagement, Sustainability, Inclusivity and Globalization, NASPAA can grow our students' and faculties' competencies in areas that can change the world; at a time when the world most needs competent policy makers to tackle to its major issues. The electronic nature of the platform will allow NASPAA to make the experiential learning opportunities global and easily available. We are excited to embark on this new Initiative as NASPAA reaches our 50th year and we can't wait to share it with you in October.  

Gathering of NASPAA Past Presidents

As part of this year's conference, all past presidents are being invited to attend, and will be recognized at our anniversary luncheon, Thursday, October 17, 2019. NASPAA's past presidents have contributed much to NASPAA, and to our field. Here's a sneak preview of how great it will be to have so many of NASPAA's past leaders come together to reflect on the development of our field over the last half century. Here is Ethel Hill Williams, president of NASPAA 2013-14, and Professor Emerita at the University of Nebraska Omaha, on a podcast. As the Academics of PA website describes, her podcast features her talking about "...the importance of providing support to PhD students, her experience as university administrator, and failing to maintain a work-life balance, but still doing something for yourself. She also talks about the status of research on social equity and diversity and how both the field and the academy are living up to the need to be inclusive."