Director's welcome

Our Mission

The ASU School of Public Affairs' mission is to understand and address society's grandest challenges in public management, policy, and governance. We seek to maximize our impact through rigorous transdisciplinary research, project-based education, collaborative and inclusive community engagement, experiential learning, and innovative solutions. 

A growing online community, a downtown Phoenix presence. 

Fall 2015 marked the first time the B.S. in Public Service and Public Policy was available through ASU Online, including through the innovative Starbucks program offering free tuition to employees.  We continue to enjoy the advantages of our downtown Phoenix location, close to city and county governments and the state capitol, and in a thriving urban center.  But, we are building our connections beyond Phoenix as well.

The School of Public Affairs (SPA) at Arizona State University is one of the leading schools in the nation, thanks to our world-class faculty, innovative academic programs, and cutting-edge research centers, which have helped us develop unique strengths in information technology, science and technology policy, environmental policy, urban innovation, and civic engagement and new forms of governance. According to US News & World Report, SPA is ranked #13 in the U.S. (overall), tied with Columbia, UCLA, and the University of Chicago and ahead of Duke and Carnegie Mellon. 

SPA is ranked in the top ten in the nation in seven specializations, including #3 in the U.S. in Information Technology Management, Local Government Management, and Emergency Management and Homeland Security, #5 in Environmental Policy and Management, Urban Policy, Nonprofit Management, and Public Management and Leadership. We were also ranked #16 in the U.S. in public finance, #20 in public policy analysis, and #22 in social policy. 

The quality of our school emanates from the quality of faculty research. SPA was recently ranked #5 in the nation and #10 in the world for research, according to Shanghai University’s Academic Ranking of World Universities. Another indication of our stellar reputation for research in public administration and public management is that we have six faculty members who are Fellows of the National Academy of Public Administration and another faculty member who is a Fellow of the Academy of Management. SPA faculty have spent most of their careers working on problems of public policy and governance, as well as issues that are of great interest to public managers. They have close ties to leading scholars in the field, funding agencies, major academic journals, as well as local, national and international policymakers. SPA faculty also have strong connections to other internationally renowned departments, schools, and colleges at Arizona State University.

Recent major accomplishments and changes in the school include:

  • Thirteen major national and international awards for current faculty since 2011, honoring path-breaking books and articles, and distinguished careers. Learn about recent awards.
  • New degree initiatives, including our new Executive MPA Program, launched in 2018, which blends two unique immersion experiences in Washington, D.C. and Phoenix with online coursework.
  • Since 2017, we have hired seven new tenure-track faculty, who add their expertise to these academic programs and the ten centers affiliated with SPA.
    • Anthony Howell-Assistant Professor, PhD, Geography, UCLA
    • Ulrich Jensen, Assistant Professor. PhD, Political Science, Aarhus University, Denmark
    • Ivan Lee, Assistant Professor (Hainan Campus), PhD, Rutgers University  
    • Susan Miller, Associate Professor, PhD, Political Science, University of Missouri
    • Angel Molina, Assistant Professor, PhD, Political Science, Texas A&M University
    • Sian Mughan-Assistant Professor, PhD Public Affairs, Indiana University
    • Donald Siegel, Director and Foundation Professor of Public Policy and Management, PhD, Business Economics, Columbia University

Our teaching and research focus on the future of governance, public policy, and public management, developing new solutions and the next generation of leadership. At both the graduate and undergraduate levels, we provide hands-on experience in problem-solving in the classroom, internships and capstones. While we offer comprehensive programs in public administration and public policy, we have particular strengths in the following areas:

City Management and Innovation: Ranked #3 in local government management, we have the national Alliance for Innovation located at ASU, as well as our Center for Urban Innovation, led by Professor David Swindell. The Marvin Andrews Fellowship recruits nationally for outstanding students. The school hosts an annual Municipal Finance Conference and faculty research includes areas such as Smart Cities, collaborative service delivery, and big data for local government. Concentrations and degree programs in emergency management and homeland security are also available.

Science and Technology Policy: SPA has some of the world’s leading scholars on science, innovation, and technology transfer and two major research centers: The Center for Science, Technology and Environmental Policy Studies (CSTEPS), led by Professors Eric Welch and Mary Feeney, as well as the Center for Organization Research and Design (CORD), led by Stuart Bretschneider and Barry Bozeman and the renowned scholars affiliated with that center. Concentrations in science and technology policy and environmental policy are available in the master of public policy program as well.

Information Technology Management: Ranked #3 by US News & World Report, we recently launched the Center on Technology, Data and Society (CTDS), led by Professor Karen Mossberger, one of the world’s leading experts on IT in government and the digital divide. Colleagues from CSTEPS also study digital government, civic engagement and transparency.

Emergency Management and Homeland Security: Ranked #3 in the U.S. in emergency management and homeland security, SPA is home to the Center for Emergency Management and Homeland Security (CEMHS), led by Professors Melanie Gall and Brian Gerber, one of the nation’s leading centers in this exciting field. 

Participatory Governance:  Our Participatory Governance Initiative spans both online and offline participation, with work on participatory budgeting, in particular. A master’s certificate is available in participatory governance.

These are just some of the areas in which the school is growing and contributing to public administration and public policy. Please feel welcome to explore this site and to contact us to find out more about our excellent faculty, students, research centers, and academic programs.