L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs



Faculty, Students Well Represented at National Conference

The Wilder School boasted a delegation of more than 20 faculty,students and alumni at the 2017 American Society for Public Administration Conference (ASPA) in Atlanta, Ga. March 16-21.
The Wilder School boasted a delegation of more than 20 faculty,students and alumni at the 2017 American Society for Public Administration Conference (ASPA) in Atlanta, Ga. March 16-21.

By Tiffany Murray-Robertson

The Wilder School boasted an impressive contingent at the 2017 American Society for Public Administration Conference, (ASPA) with Professor Susan Gooden, Ph.D., presiding as president of the association, a featured lecture by Distinguished Professor L. Douglas Wilder and more than 20 papers, presentations and panel participations.

‌‌‌Gooden, who has served as a professor of public administration at the Wilder School for the past 13 years, is the 75th president of the ASPA and the first African-American woman elected to the national position. She described the theme for the conference and her presidency, “"Saluting the Public Service: A Bold and Noble Profession," as an extension of her values.

“Public servants are the backbone of our society,” said Gooden.

“Every day, they work hard to assure we have safe air to breathe, food to eat, water to drink and roads to travel upon. There are so many individuals who serve tirelessly at the federal, Tribal, state and local levels. This year's ASPA conference was dedicated to recognizing and honoring their excellent work."

Programming for the annual conference was directed by the president and organized into 11 multidisciplinary tracks covering a range of topical areas. The event—which attracted some 1,300 practitioners, students and academics—included eight presidential panels and 175 concurrent sessions highlighting important trends in public management.

ASPA 2017 also featured numerous Wilder co-sponsored events, including a special opening reception held at the Carter Center Presidential Museum and Library. One of the most notable events of the five-day conference was the Elliot Richardson Lecture presented by Governor Wilder on March 19. Governor Wilder, who was introduced by Dean John Accordino, Ph.D., FAICP, discussed “Public Policy and America Today” before a full ballroom at the Atlanta Sheraton.

Five faculty, 10 doctoral students and several alumni participated in this year’s conference as authors, discussants and moderators. Members of the Wilder School also represent the profession in service on ASPA's elected National Council, chapters, and sections, as well as service on ASPA affiliated journals, including the field's premier journal, Public Administration Review. Wilder School students, alumni and friends also took center stage at the conference.

Five students were recognized for outstanding achievement. Sombo Chunda, Javon Davis (M.P.A., ’16) and Yali Pang were among 25 young scholars selected to participate in ASPA’s Founders’ Fellows Program. The program pairs young professionals with a seasoned scholar or practitioner who will serve as a mentor, providing substantial professional development and networking opportunities to mentees during their fellowship year.

2017 David Gould Scholarship Recipients Brittany Keegan and Suparna DuttaBrittany Keegan and Suparna Dutta, both doctoral students in public policy administration, were awarded the David Gould Scholarship. The Gould Scholarship provides $500 in conference support to exemplary students in the fields of public administration, public policy and/or international development.

Jane Kusiak, executive director of the Council on Virginia’s Future and a longtime supporter and friend of the Wilder School, was also honored during the conference with the Harry Hatry Distinguished Performance Measurement and Management Practice Award.

“This has been a red-letter year in terms of engagement for the Wilder School. Susan has been an extraordinary leader and supporter both of ASPA and the Wilder School, and we are incredibly proud of her service as ASPA president,” said Accordino.

During his remarks at the President’s Reception on March 19, Accordino described ASPA’s annual conference as the “distillation of inquiry, engagement and interdisciplinary problem-solving.

“Maintaining this level of scholarship and engagement will strengthen our school and lay the foundation for even greater academic aspirations.”

  • ance Public Organization with an Increasing Diverse Workforce”

‌Founded in 1939, ASPA is the largest and most prominent interdisciplinary professional association for public administration. The association’s diverse membership of 7,500 practitioners, academics and students, represents every level of government as well as nonprofits, and every major function and substantive area that exists in those sectors. ASPA is dedicated to advancing excellence in public service. As a focal point for intellectual and professional interaction, ASPA serves as an important catalyst for linking theory and practice within the profession of public management.

Listed below are select presentations from participating Wilder School faculty, students and alumni.


  • Susan Gooden, Ph.D., (Atlanta, Ga.), “Getting Schooled: How African American Nonprofits Promote Positive Youth Outcomes”
  • Saltanat Liebert, Ph.D., (Atlanta, Ga.), “Immigration and Implications for Street-level Bureaucrats.”
  • Saltanat Liebert, Ph.D., (Atlanta, Ga.), “Designing Policies to Better Integrate Muslim Immigrants in the Unite
  • d States: Exploring the Role of Imams”
  • L. Douglas Wilder, J.D., (Atlanta, Ga.), “Public Policy and America Today”
  • Blue Wooldridge, Ph.D., (Atlanta, Ga.), “Building a Well-Managed, Inclusive, High Perform


  • HyeonUk Bak, (Atlanta, Ga.), “Determinants of Individual Innovative Behavior in the Asian Work Context: The Case of Korean Local Governments”
  • Sombo Chunda, (Atlanta, Ga.), “Public Service Partnership with Civil Society in the Midst of Limited Resources: The Case for Community Access to Information in Zambia”
  • Suparna Dutta, (Atlanta, Ga.), “Building a Well-Managed, Inclusive, High Performance Public Organization with an Increasing Diverse Workforce”
  • Lindsey Evans, (Atlanta, Ga.), “African American Led Nonprofits Impacts on Program Youth”
  • Brittany Keegan, (Atlanta, Ga.), “The Role of Institutions in Creating Positive Health Outcomes for Refugee Populations: A Cross-Country Analysis”
  • Michael Perkins, (Atlanta, Ga.), “Old-School Influence of African American Led Nonprofits”
  • Yali Pang, (Atlanta, Ga.), “Does Cultural Competency of Housing Service Nonprofits Matter? A Case Study of Housing Nonprofits in Richmond”
  • Grant Rissler, (Atlanta, Ga.), “Advocates for Access? Understanding the Role of ESL Supervisors in Shaping Local Education Policy toward Limited English Proficient Parents”
  • Mona Siddiqui, J.D. (Atlanta, Ga.), “The Role of 21st Century Security Politics and Constitutional Values in the Social Integration of American Muslim Youth in Educational Institutions”


  • Javon Davis, (Atlanta, Ga.), “Mending Police and Community Relations: Are Body Worn Cameras the Answer?”
  • Anthony Starke, (Atlanta, Ga.), “Seed Networking”
  • Anthony Starke, (Atlanta, Ga.), “An Examination of the Impact of Race, Class and Gender on Standardized Testing Scores in Virginia”