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 among 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 #9 in the U.S. (overall).

Among specializations, the School is ranked #2 in local government management as well as top five in homeland/national security and emergency management, IT management, and urban policy. It is among the top ten in public management and leadership, environmental policy, nonprofit management, public finance and budget programs, and #12 in public policy analysis. 

The quality of our school emanates from the quality of faculty research. SPA was recently ranked #5 in the nation and #13 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 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 a new Executive MPA Program, to be launched in January 2018, which blends two unique immersion experiences in Washington and Phoenix with online coursework.
  • In the past two years, we have hired five new tenure-track faculty, who will add their expertise to these academic programs and the ten centers affiliated with SPA.
    • Elisa Bienenstock, College Research Professor. PhD, Sociology, UCLA.
    • Ulrich Jensen, Assistant Professor. PhD, Political Science, Aarhus University, Denmark
    • Angel Molina, Assistant Professor, PhD, Political Science, Texas A&M University
    • Donald Siegel, Director and Professor of Public Policy and Management, PhD, Business Economics, Columbia University
    • Andrew Waxman, Assistant Professor, PhD, Economics, Cornell University.

Our teaching and research focus on the future of governance and public policy, 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 #4 in city management, we have the national Alliance for Innovation located at ASU, as well as our Center for Urban Innovation. 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: This is a growing area of distinction for the school, with world-class faculty. We welcomed the addition of the new Center for Science, Technology and Environmental Policy Studies (CSTEPS) with Eric Welch and Mary Feeney during 2014-15. This builds on the S&T work done in the Center for Organization Research and Design (CORD) by Barry Bozeman and the international group of researchers 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: Ranked #5 by US News & World Report, we have a master's certificate in policy informatics and research involving a number of faculty and centers. The Center for Policy Informatics conducts research on open government, and the use of IT for policy challenges and simulation of complex issues. Colleagues from CSTEPS also study digital government, civic engagement and transparency. In recent years, SPA hosted dg.0, the International Digital Government Research conference, a MacArthur Open Governance network conference, and a National Science Foundation workshop on broadband data.

Participatory Governance:  Our Participatory Governance Initiative spans both online and offline participation, with work on participatory budgeting in particular. In December 2015 the school hosted an international conference, “By the People:  Participatory Democracy, Civic Engagement, and Citizenship Education.”  Master’s certificates are 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.

Donald Siegel
School Director and Professor
School of Public Affairs