Public Service Education at the State and Local Government Level
This Fall, the NASPAA conference will be October 19-21, and will take us back to another state capital: Columbus, Ohio. NASPAA has 41 members located  in state capitals in the U.S., and 9 members in regional capitals in other countries. Many state capitals are in urban areas as well, so "capital schools" often find themselves engaged in preparing students both for state administration and policy, and for city management and local development. This is also true for many of NASPAA's members globally, where schools in regional capitals prepare students for service at the regional and local levels.
This issue of the newsletter plunges us into the world that our capital schools face. They are increasingly seen as community anchors and the engines of revitalization in some troubled urban areas. At the same time they are being asked to provide graduates with increasingly sophisticated and targeted skills to state government, in areas such as healthcare policy implementation, procurement, election administration and big data.  What can NASPAA do to help these schools thrive amidst all these rising expectations? 

Why Not an Urban-Serving section at NASPAA?
Interview with Lilliard Richardson, Dean, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)
Lilliard Richardson
For NASPAA schools located in urban-areas, community engagement has to be a fundamental part of our mission. It therefore becomes part of the way we explain ourselves to the outside world, and it should be part of our accreditation process.

Now more than ever, cities need our public affairs schools to play an active role in shaping the growth and sustainability of metropolitan areas. As Richard Guarasci, the president of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities has said, "Our distressed neighborhoods need the social capital of the universities just as higher education needs to reclaim its core commitment in educating students not simply for careers, but also as engaged citizens and civic professionals."

One of the central contributions of urban public affairs schools to NASPAA is to think about how to measure our community engagement, how to measure our democratic values in action. We need to pull people together to assess it, and to show how our schools' commitment is systematically applied to data collection and research supporting this effort.

At IUPUI, the university has received the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement for how it connects students, faculty and staff to meaningful service activities that mutually benefit the campus and the community. A city the size of Indianapolis provides myriad opportunities for students to engage with their community. In 2013-14 (the most recent year that data is available), an estimated 8,750 students contributed more than 303,000 hours of service to 438 partners. At SPEA IUPUI, our undergraduates and graduates combined to complete more than 45,000 hours of community engagement and capstone work during the 2014-15 academic year.  

I know other schools have a similar impact in their communities, and we need to demonstrate our commitment to public service.  Public affairs schools should play a leading role in measuring and using data to make community engagement successful and sustainable. Is the time right to create a section for urban-serving universities at NASPAA, not just to encourage each other and share experiences, but to help push for better measurement, collection, and analysis of data on community engagement and development?  

Measurement and analysis could be a natural role for our schools within the larger university coalitions, but a section within NASPAA to focus our attention on the possibilities and how to work together to make progress, could be timely and impactful.

Leadership Corner
Interview with Robert Blair, Chair of Local Government Management Education Committee
Professor of Public Administration 
and Urban Studies and  
Director of Urban 
Robert Blair  
(Photo courtesy of UNO)
Studies Program at the University of Nebraska at Omaha

1. How does the Local Government Management Education Committee (LGME) address public service education and state and local government work? 
The Local Government Management Education Committee (LGME) has a long history in NASPAA. I believe I am at least the 5th chair of the LGME committee. One of our primary tasks is to serve as a liaison between the profession of city management, and related administrative positions in local government and the academy.  We do that in a number of ways. First the LGME Committee provides a forum for NASPAA scholars and educators in local government management to interact. LGME helps us identify issues and challenges in preparing the next generation of public administration students for a variety of careers in local government management. Local government, of course, includes not just municipalities but a range of governmental entities below state governments, like counties, special districts and regional governance structures. Working in local government presents a special set of challenges and opportunities that needs to be introduced in the classroom. A few years ago, the LGME Committee members contributed to "Symposium: Educating Local Government Managers for the Twenty-First Century," a special edition of the Journal of Public Affairs Education (JPAE) Volume 16, Number 3. Secondly, LGME works closely with the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), which serves as the primary professional development organization for city managers, administrators and other local government administrators. Many members of the LGME Committee also participate in the activities of ICMA's Advisory Board on Graduate Education. ABGE provides input to ICMA on issues pertaining to education of city managers and administrators. There are significant levels of communication between LGME and ABGE. As one would guess education presents special challenges to both the academy and profession of local government management.

2. In what ways do you think MPA graduates are making a difference at the state and local government level?
The MPA has been and continues to be the degree of choice for professionals in local government management. The skills and competencies needed by administrators working in local government are contained within the curricula of MPA programs. Local government administrators need both technical administrative skills learned in their MPA courses, and a deep understanding of the urban environment. MPA programs, coupled with extensive internship and mentoring programs in local government, can help prepare the next generation of administrators. Of course, MPA programs need a close partnership with practitioners, and the communication between the LGME Committee of NASPAA and the ABGE of the International City/County Management Association helps facilitate this partnership.

3. What are some of the ways curricula at NASPAA programs can prepare students for state and local government service?
The LGME Committee, working in partnership with the ABGE, drafted a set of competencies for local government management. These competencies, while not part of a formal program assessment process, provide NASPAA Schools with guidance on the composition of their MPA program if there is an emphasis on local government management. LGME has promoted the use of these competencies. These competencies are available on the NASPAA website. The LGME members who drafted these competencies approached the challenge with the core belief that working so closely to the public on the local level presents special skills to the public administrators. The list of competencies addresses these needed skills. The LGME Committee fully endorses these competencies and encourages MPA programs to consider them when revising or developing local government management courses and concentrations. ICMA has also supported this effort.

4. Would you like to share any additional thoughts related to this topic that our members might find of interest?
I encourage students as well as faculty interested in participating in the activities of the LGME Committee to contact me. While there are specific terms for members of the LGME Committee, we are keeping the meetings and activities open for all. I hope to see many of you in our meeting in Columbus Ohio in October of 2016. Please contact me, Robert Blair, at, I look forward to your input. 

Member Spotlight
Q&A with Julie Olberding, MPA Director, Northern Kentucky University
Master of Public Administration & Nonprofit 
Management Certificate
Julie Olberding
1. What percentage of graduates from your program go into state and local government?   
About 50 percent of NKU MPA graduates enter into state and local government careers. They serve as city and county managers, police and fire chiefs, budget analysts, human resource directors, court administrators, directors of public works and natural resources, and managers of other departments and programs. 

2. How are your graduates making a difference at the state and local government level?
Many of our graduates are finding more efficient and effective ways to provide public services and help people. For example, one student's Capstone project focused on the Strengthening Families approach to childhood development, which builds parental resilience, social connections and other protective factors in order to reduce child abuse and neglect. She was hired by the Kentucky governor to implement Strengthening Families across the commonwealth. Another graduate is the executive director of the Center for Local Government, which facilitates inter-jurisdictional collaboration, information exchange, shared resources and cost reductions among the 50+ member governments in the region. And yet another heads up a business retention and expansion program at Northern Kentucky Tri-ED that was selected for a Gold Excellence by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) two times in recent years. 

3. How does your curriculum prepare students for state and local government service?
Two areas of concentration in our MPA program are particularly well-suited for students interested in state and local government management - Public Leadership and Metropolitan Governance. Some relevant courses in these areas are Local Government Management, Planning and Community Development, Leading in Diverse Public Environments and Ethics and Decision Making.

Many of our classes actively engage students with government and nonprofit organizations through service learning projects. One student in a recent Capstone class, for example, worked with Planning and Development Services of Kenton County to write a grant proposal related to enhanced safety for bicyclists and pedestrians, and it was fully funded by a statewide commission.

4. Would you like to share any additional thoughts related to this topic that our members might find of interest?
For our younger, pre-career students, an internship is often a powerful experience that helps launch a career in state and local government. Here's what one student recently wrote about her experience: "I interned with the City of Cincinnati and was captivated by local government...I felt a deep sense of purpose every day that I entered City Hall...When I finished my internship, I wanted more." 

In addition to internships and service learning, the NKU MPA program finds other ways to connect our students to government managers. We invite practitioners to serve as adjunct instructors and guest speakers, we create professional development opportunities for our students using our external advisory board members, and we maintain strong partnerships with the ASPA and ICMA chapters in our region. 

Master of Public Administration & Nonprofit Management Certificate Programs 
Northern Kentucky University 
Zhejiang University School of Public Affairs (SPA) in China Runs Several MPA Programs Targeting Provincial and Local Government Employees

Guest Contributor:
SHAO, Ming, Office Director at the MPA Center, Zhejiang University School of Public Affairs

One of its most featured programs at theZhejiang University School of Public Affairs (SPA) is the MPA program (Western Program) for public servants who work in Western China. The Program is to further improve student's professional qualifications through conducting exchanges and interactions between Western and Eastern China, sharing the experience of economic development and government innovation, researching the policy-making and implementation mechanism, as well as enhancing coordinated regional development.

 As well-known as the Western Program, SPA has also developed an MPA program (Eastern Program) especially for provincial and local government staff who work in coastal regions. As a developing country, China has been experiencing uneven development between its costal (east) and inland (west) areas. Therefore, the local public administrators in these two regions also have different demands when they pursue the MPA degree. Given this, SPA has always followed the following principles when designing training plans:

1. Classify students and diversify curricula based on students' different demands and backgrounds;
2. Focus on improving student's practical skills through a combination of theory-learning, capacity-exploring, looking at global perspectives and social-demand-matching;
3. Emphasize the role of the dissertation in solving real world challenges.

In addition, SPA has set different educational goals according to a student's level in the government ranking system. For those who have taken a leading role in their divisions/departments, the school will provide them with a curriculum focusing on capacity improvement with respect to making public policy and coping with the globalization. For those mid-career public administrators, the school will focus on helping them enhance the ability of policy comprehension and implementation. For those young professionals, classes such as public administration theories, policy analysis, as well as public management skills and foreign languages will be offered to them.

Students who work for the provincial and local governments in Western China received their MPA degree at Zhejiang University.

Source: NASPAA Data Center Annual Surveys 2012-2014

Program Director's Corner


2016 Call for Panel Proposals 
Deadline: Thursday, April 7, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. ET 

The 2016 NASPAA Conference will be held in Columbus, Ohio from October 19 - 21, 2016! 

Building on the overwhelming success of NASPAA 2015 in New York City, Conference Chair Nadia Rubaii invites panel proposals for this year's conference. The 2016 conference theme is

Grassroots Globalization: Teaching Good Governance and Values in a Connected World
The conference will develop this theme primarily through three tracks: 
  • Provocative Pedagogies
  • Innovative Internationalization
  • Critical Competencies
The 2016 NASPAA Annual Conference is an opportunity to connect with colleagues and explore the relevance of global and local activities in all parts of the world. The conference theme recognizes that schools are operating in widely divergent local contexts and that, in pursuit of NASPAA President Michelle Piskulich's stated goal of "full integration into a grand coalition," we must focus on topics that demonstrate our similarities rather than our differences, and which highlight our understanding of the role of public service values in public affairs education.

This year there are three options for you to apply to present at the NASPAA conference: 
  1. A fully-formed panel for consideration.
  2. A response to a track question which can then be used to place you on a panel with other presenters.
  3. An idea for a pre-conference workshop.
Read more about the options here!
All panel and individual proposals must be submitted by the panel convener by Thursday, April 7 at 11:59 p.m. ET for consideration. When you are ready, submit your proposal here
NASPAA will review all submissions and notify the convener of the final status in May 2016. 
Do Professional Accreditors look at Outcomes?
YES! According to a new ASPA report, 100% of respondents include outcomes assessment as a basis for their accreditation requirements. While this had been an anecdotal assumption in the accrediting community, this is the first time accreditors' requirements have been analyzed in search of best practice. The report presents data on the diversity in the types of measures accreditors use (placement, retention), the use of bright line indicators, and differences between CHEA and USDE recognitions. 
Read the entire report, click here 
Upcoming Deadlines: 
* April 15, 2016 - Eligibility Application due (first time applicants only) 
* August 15, 2016 - Self-Study Report deadline for 2016-17 cohort - the form is now LIVE in the system!  
In Case You Missed It!
COPRA released the 2015 Self-Study Instructions in November. For the 2015 release, COPRA focused on specializations and concentrations: shifting from full student learning assessment of mission-specific elective competencies to an emphasis on both the truth and advertising aspect of specializations and capacity of programs to deliver them.  
COPRA has also released a policy statement announcing the implementation expectations of programs in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 cohorts, with regard to Standard 5, as well as changes to Standard 5.3-Mission-specific Elective Competencies, which have been collected into the Self-Study Instructions. The Policy Statement is available here.

Journal of Public Affairs EducationCALL FOR PAPERS

October 19 - 21, 2016: NASPAA Annual Conference in Columbus, OH
December 7 - 9, 2016: NASPAA Career Directors Conference at the University of Virginia Frank Batten School of Leadership & Public Policy

Member News
The 2016 Social Equity Leadership Conference of the National Academy of Public Administration will be hosted by the University of San Francisco on "Leading the Dialogue on Social Equity." June 1-3
Dean Angela Evans
at the University of Texas at Austin's Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs was interviewed by The Chronicle of Higher Education

Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy launched a new podcast exploring public policy issues
The latest episode explores research that shows how women's voices in Washington are actually, contrary to public opinion, declining. Podcast website: 
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