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Wilder School to Mount Impressive Showing at National Conference

Governor L. Douglas Wilder, the recipient of the 2018 Gloria Hobson Nordin Social Equity Award, stands in front of Virginia's state capitol.
Governor L. Douglas Wilder, the recipient of the 2018 Gloria Hobson Nordin Social Equity Award, stands in front of Virginia's state capitol.

By Tiffany Murray-Robertson

Over the past few years, the Wilder School’s doctoral program in public policy and administration has amassed an impressive record of scholarship, both in the publication of research and through extensive engagement in professional and academic associations. Next week, the school will build on that success by mounting an impressive showing at the nation’s preeminent conference for public management.

Thirteen Wilder School faculty and students—including Governor L. Douglas Wilder and ASPA Immediate Past President and Professor, Susan Gooden, Ph.D.—will present more than 20 presentations during the 2018 American Society for Public Administration Conference to be held in Denver, March 9-13. Paper presentations and panels represent the breadth and multidisciplinary interests of Wilder faculty and students in topics ranging from immigrant religiosity, to campus sexual assault policy and integrated housing development in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Additional faculty contributors include: Associate Professor and Assistant Chair Myung ­Jin, Ph.D.; Senior Research Associate Lindsey Evans, Ph.D.; Associate Professor Salta Liebert, Ph.D.; Associate Professor Christina Mancini Ph.D.;  Professor Blue Wooldridge, D.P.A., and Office of Public Policy Outreach Assistant Director Grant Rissler, Ph.D.

Gooden, who is an honorary ASPA program chair and will serve as a presenter and discussant in a number of sessions, will be featured during one of ASPA’s high-profile Presidential Panels. She will examine Ally Training for Social Equity, Diversity and Inclusion during a panel on Saturday, March 10. 

One of the most notable events of the five-day conference will recognize the legacy of Governor Wilder, Virginia’s 66th governor and the first African-American elected governor in the nation.

Governor Wilder will be honored for lifetime achievement in the advancement of social equity and outstanding contributions to public service at an awards luncheon on Sunday, March 11. Wilder, whose numerous legislative achievements include leading the charge for the nation’s first legislative holiday celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the expansion of low-and moderate-income housing and state health care coverage, has been named the recipient of the 2018 Gloria Hobson Nordin Social Equity Award.

ASPA Executive Director, William P Shields, Jr., described Governor Wilder as the embodiment of the ideals for which the award was created 16 years ago.

“The impact of his efforts to create a more equitable and just society has been felt in every single Virginia neighborhood he served,” Shields said. “The consistency of his efforts includes levels of government, the private and nonprofit sectors, and academia. The duration of his efforts spans generations, creating a legacy that even more generations will celebrate for years to come.

“They include the students who attend the school that bears his name and call him professor, mentor and friend. Through their work—and his own, which continues with tenacity and resolve—we know that public service is truly a noble calling. For showing us the way, there is no more fitting recipient for this recognition than Governor Wilder.”

In addition to the award and peer-reviewed articles and presentations, Nathan Tekelemariam, a second-year doctoral student in public administration has been named an ASPA Founders' Fellow.

Founders' Fellows are selected from a nationwide competition and receive a scholarship to attend the conference as well as substantial professional development and networking opportunities throughout the 2018-19 academic year. Other doctoral student presenters include: Layla Alanazi, HyeonUk Bak, Sombo Chunda, Andrew Duggan, Suparna Dutta Jaeyong Lee and Mona Siddiqui, J.D.

‌ASPA’s 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. As a focal point for intellectual and professional interaction, the association serves as an important catalyst for linking theory and practice within the profession of public management.