Wilder School Makes Strong Showing at NASPAA Conference
By Tiffany Murray-Robertson
Some of the brightest minds in public administration education gathered for the 2018 Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration Conference (NASPAA) in downtown Atlanta last week. It was an impressive display of accomplished scholars that included 13 Wilder School faculty and students participants, 11 presenters and one honoree.
A leading authority on public policy education for nearly half a century, NASPAA is the membership and accrediting body for graduate education programs in public policy, public affairs, public administration, and public and nonprofit management. Each fall, the non-profit convenes representatives from nearly 300 member intuitions—located in the U.S. and in 24 countries around the world—for an annual conference on public policy education.
The 2018 NASPAA conference was held October 10-13, with a special luncheon honoring Phi Alpha Alpha Advisor of the Year Award recipient Myung Jin. Jin, an associate professor who has served as the Wilder school’s PAA chapter advisor since joining the school in 2011, was one of two faculty members to be recognized nationally for his exceptional and generous engagement of students.
This year’s theme was “Making a Difference: Good Governance in Disrupted State(s),” an increasingly relevant topic in light of the convulsive impact of recent elections, natural disasters, financial disruptions and political conflict on public policy. The three-day event examined the collapse of civil political discourse and investigated the impact of these changes on the provision of graduate public affairs and public policy programs.
Newcomers join the fold
Although NASPAA’s annual conference regularly attracts senior-level academic administrators, the 2018 summit included a wide range of public service education topics that encompassed 350 presenters representing 250 schools—many of them first-time presenters at NASPAA.
Assistant dean of students, Shajuana Isom-Payne was one of three first-time Wilder School attendees and presenters at the conference. Her panel on the trends and current state of internships in public administration included colleagues from The Ohio State University, the University of Connecticut, the University of Delaware and Northern Illinois University.
“My first NASPAA conference experience has been extremely positive,” said Isom-Payne, who shared that the consistent focus on assessment and inclusion in conference sessions had been enormously valuable.
“More than anything it’s been an affirmation. It’s clear from speaking with colleagues nationally that this is a momentous time for the Wilder School. Everyone that I have talked to has been very impressed with our contributions to this discipline. It has been really exciting and rewarding to receive this feedback from our colleagues.”
Sarah Jane Brubaker, a fellow NASPAA newcomer and associate professor, who presented on university community engagement in urban settings at NASPAA, concurred.
“The size and breadth of the Wilder School presence here at NASPAA has been something to behold. Our contribution and strategic participation in NASPAA is real evidence of our thought leadership in the field and the commitment of our leadership to increasing the school’s visibility. We’re not just talking about national prominence, we’re modeling it.”
A complete list of participating Wilder School faculty and students as well the topics they presented on are as follows:
Blue Wooldridge, Ph.D.
“Excellence in Diversity and Social Equity Practices”
Shajuana Isom-Payne, M.Ed.
“The Current State and Future of Public Affairs Internships”
Blue Wooldridge, Ph.D., Suparna Dutta & Jessica Mason
“Increasing the Number and Percentage of Underrepresented Minority (URM) Faculty in MPA/MPP Faculties by creating NASPAA PhD Pathways”
Susan Gooden, Ph.D.
“Minnowbrook at 50: Rethinking the Administrative State in an Era of Disruption”
“Embracing Disruption to Advance Diversity Inclusion and Equity”
Sarah Jane Brubaker, Ph.D., & Myung Jin, Ph.D.
“Challenges or Opportunities? The ‘Four Greatest Hits’ on University Community Engagement Efforts in Urban Settings”
Grant Rissler, Ph.D.
“Conflict & Dispute Resolution Skills: An Untapped Resource for Public Service Curricula?”
Robyn McDougle, Ph.D.
“Walking the Line Between Policy Analysis and Politics”