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Endorsed by Executive Council, National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA), October 2003
December 2003


Through NASPAA-sponsored dialogue sessions and web survey responses, NASPAA institutional members identified opportunities and concerns as well as recommendations for strategic directions the organization might consider. Below are strategic directions endorsed by the NASPAA Executive Council in each of the strategic priority areas that members identified.


Member schools assert that accreditation is NASPAA’s most important service.

Strategic Directions
  • Achieve Council on Higher Education Accreditation recognition for NASPAA
  • Promote accreditation of substantive specializations (e.g., health management education, nonprofit management education)
  • Strengthen attention to diversity in the accreditation process within member schools.
  • Continue the emphasis on mission-based accreditation and the corresponding focus on outcomes, including student outcomes, within the changing environment of governance
  • Explore site visit team changes to address increased numbers of site visits (e.g., smaller teams, longer accreditation periods) and need for increased diversity of teams (e.g., greater use of practitioners and adjunct faculty)

Marketing, Promoting Public Service, Building Image of Public Service Education

The change from government to governance, resulting in the blending of public, private, and nonprofit sectors responsible for providing public services, and the increasing complexity of society have greatly altered the environment in which public affairs education occurs. Similarly, many students appear interested in careers outside government, yet have a continued interest in public service, especially in the nonprofit sector.

Strategic Directions
  • Support a public service campaign focused on core public service values
  • Develop marketing initiatives advocating the value of MPA/MPP degrees to employers and potential students
  • Work toward official recognition of MPA/MPP degrees by professional associations (e.g., ICMA, plus other associations for federal, state, and local governments)
  • Position NASPAA as a national voice for PA/PP values and public interest related to public affairs education
  • Use the NASPAA website to promote public affairs education
  • Share trends in public affairs education with member schools through the NASPAA website
  • Use the NASPAA annual conference to facilitate discussion of challenges members face in coping with increased complexity in the delivery of public services
  • Increase NASPAA’s presence at conferences of other organizations important in the marketing of MPA/MPP graduates
  • Promote curriculum exchanges among member schools to disseminate new initiatives and programs developed by peers
  • Establish a “best practices” component of JPAE or the NASPAA website to share new ideas relative to changes in public affairs education

Institutional Design and Learning

In addition to COPRA accreditation, many NASPAA member schools are looking for ways to better position their programs within their institutions, to improve their ability to build regional and national prominence, and to gain a better understanding of best practices.

Strategic Direction
  • Establish a NASPAA-coordinated “peer to peer” consulting capability to assist member schools in developing and assessing ways to improve the position of their programs within their universities, to create regional and national quality programs, and to position themselves to reflect and respond to emerging trends in public affairs education


International interest in public affairs education has created opportunities for expansion of the role of NASPAA and its member schools. These opportunities exist in accreditation support, student recruitment, and student placement as well as in faculty exchanges, technical assistance, and capacity building initiatives.

Strategic Directions
  • Broaden member school participation in NASPAA-sponsored international activities
  • Develop web based/on-line technology education and curriculum opportunities for international public affairs education initiatives
  • Continue to promote participation of NASPAA international associate members in NASPAA-sponsored conferences, programs, and activities
  • Expand the use of the NASPAA website to encourage member schools to strengthen international curricula/experiences for their students
  • Explore ways in which member schools can provide resources to programs in other countries lacking resources (e.g., textbooks, journals)
  • Develop Memoranda of Understanding with organizations already administering extensive international public affairs education initiatives (e.g., NAPA, NLC, ICMA)
  • Catalog and share information on NASPAA member school expertise available for international exchanges, technical assistance, or capacity building initiatives


NASPAAS has important policy advocacy roles.

Strategic Directions

  • Continue policy advocacy around education for public service and link efforts to NASPAA’s public affairs education mission through actions such as PMI Program enhancement, Harris Fellowship Program renewal, and Faculty Fellows Program development
  • Promote information sharing of member school policy advocacy models and practices that focus on state and local governments as well as the federal government
  • Emphasize member school interests regarding homeland security (e.g., civil service status within Department of Homeland Security)

Research focused clearly on NASPAA’s mission should be a priority for NASPAA and its member institutions.

Strategic Directions
  • Promote public affairs education research on service learning that emphasizes opportunities for student learning and public service linkages
  • Expand networking role of NASPAA relating to research interests of member institutions
  • Maintain strong focus on pedagogical research through JPAE and other means

Diversity remains a core priority for NASPAA and its member institutions.

Strategic Directions
  • Maintain visibility of NASPAA as an advocate not only for increased diversity in hiring and retaining faculty but also for increased diversity within member schools’ masters degree programs
  • Increase efforts to expand recruitment and graduation of students of color and women within PA/PP doctoral programs
  • Promote increased accountability in these programs Develop and disseminate models and best practices from member schools, plus from other professional schools and related disciplines that inform public affairs doctoral education
  • Establish mentoring and matching programs within member institutions
  • Develop information on variability of diversity relative to program location and geographic location
  • Survey and assess doctoral program resources in member schools

  • Explore moving from guidelines to standards with regard to MPA/MPP program diversity efforts and performance

NASPAA member institutions are strongly interested in improving and expanding partnerships.

Strategic Directions
  • Strengthen strategic partnerships with other PA/PP organizations (e.g., APPAM, ASPA, NAPA)
  • Continue to develop strategic partnerships with international PA/PP organizations of importance to NASPAA member schools
  • Identify emerging strategic partners that share NASPAA’s mission, and evaluate potential partnerships with respect to costs and benefits
  • Focus on potential partnerships with associations linked to accreditation of PA/PP specializations (e.g., ICMA, ARNOVA, ACESHA, GFOA)