ASU Downtown Phoenix campus with an ASU building, sculpture, and hotel

Director's welcome

Our Mission

The School of Public Affairs lives the ASU Charter by preparing students and professionals for ethical, inclusive and effective public service; conducting cutting-edge research of public value; and engaging locally, nationally and internationally with the communities we serve.

 Shannon Portillo headshot - fair-skinned woman, smiling, brown hair, orange shirt, navy blazer, necklace

The School of Public Affairs in the 
Watts College of Public Service lives the Arizona State Charter, with a dynamic faculty, community-engaged academic programs and innovative research centers
We have been recognized for our quality, ranking #13 in the nation among Schools of Public Affairs according to U.S. News & World Report, and #2 in the U.S. and #6 in the world in the 2022 Shanghai Global Ranking of Academic Subjects. SPA has a number of ranked subfields according U.S. News & World Report, including #2 in Homeland Security and Emergency Management, #3 in Local Government Management, #5 in Nonprofit Management, #5 in Public Management and Leadership, #3 in Information and Technology Management, #9 in Urban Policy and #10 in Environmental Policy Management. 
The School of Public Affairs has embarked on a period of significant growth, adding seven new faculty in the 2022-2023 academic year as well as two new research centers. These two new centers – the Center for an Independent and Sustainable Democracy and the Global Center for Technology Transfer – join the School’s established centers, focusing on world-class research and community solutions.
Each year our School welcomes master's students focused on local government management and urban policy to the prestigious Marvin Andrews Fellowship, where students engage with practitioners and alumni for intensive mentoring and networking opportunities with paid internships throughout their two-year MPA journey.
Our academic programs are built to demonstrate our values of inclusive excellence with undergraduate and graduate offerings at our Downtown Phoenix Campus and online. In addition to our undergraduate program in Public Service and Public Policy, we offer four professional master's degrees: Public Administration, Public Policy, Emergency Management and Homeland Security, and Program Evaluation and Data Analytics. Our PhD program is designed to prepare the next generation of public administration and public policy scholars, regularly placing graduates in top academic positions.
We invite you to learn more about our academic programs, executive education offerings and research contributions. Please be in touch via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
Shannon Portillo
Director and Professor, School of Public Affairs