by David S. Birdsell, Dean and Professor, Baruch School of Public Affairs
The School of Public Affairs has been growing ever since it opened its doors in 1994. Along with our increasing size – starting from a base of barely more than 200 students in our first year, SPA now enrolls 1,200 degree-seeking students and an additional 400 non-degree students – we have expanded our range of programs, our institutional partnerships, our scope of funded research, and our ambitions. Once focused almost exclusively on New York City, the School now draws students from across the nation and around the globe. Here are just a few of the exciting developments at Baruch’s newest school.
The Washington Semester. Students who care about public policy must have access to the nation’s capital. Baruch joins some of the best programs in the nation this spring with the launch of our Washington Semester Program (WSP). Participating students will move to the District of Columbia for the spring term, studying full-time and working in high-quality internships in the US Senate, the House of Representatives, the US Department of Education, and key NGOs. After spending Monday through- Thursday at their internship sites, they will come together on Fridays at 1700 K Street where alumnus Gerald Sherman (’50) has generously arranged to turn one of the conference rooms at his firm, Buchanan Ingersoll Rooney, into an all-day graduate seminar. The students will also get a taste of DC at play, with trips to Dumbarton Oaks, the Smithsonian Museums, and local restaurants. Join us if you can for our very first SPA DC Alumni event on February 2nd at the offices of Brown Rudnick (contact email@example.com for details)!
International Partnerships. This year marks the first full year of student exchanges among the eight institutional partners – three Canadian universities, three Mexican universities, and two US universities – in the North American Mobility Program (NAMP). SPA is the US lead for this five-year program in Sustainable Community Development. NAMP, which was formed together with the North American Free Trade Agreement in the 1990s and is administered by the US Department of Education, provides students and faculty with travel support and stipends for a semester of study in one of the other two nations.
For five years, we have played host to a delegation of students from Belgium’s Ghent University for a week of lectures and comparative policy analysis. The CUNY Board of Trustees accepted an agreement in June that makes Ghent a formal Baruch partner. We hosted a student from Ghent in the fall term and will send SPA students to Belgium in 2012. Our students will have internships with European Union ministries in Brussels and pursue their studies in Public Administration at the University.
Also this year, SPA became a formal resource institution in the US Department of State’s Visitors Program. We have hosted delegations from South America, China, Italy, Russia, Israel, Moldova, Scotland and Japan on topics ranging from US electoral politics to higher education finance. Together with a new listing for inbound Fulbright Scholars from the Institute for International Education, these institutional partnerships make SPA a destination for student and faculty-level scholars from around the world. This term we welcome Fulbright Scholar Professor Rajit Rohal from Panjab University in India, who will spend spring 2012 at SPA.
Faculty Recognition. SPA faculty continue to garner some of the most prestigious awards in the fields of Public Affairs and Public Administration. Professor John Goering and his co-authors from Harvard and the Urban Institute won the American Academy of Public Administration’s highest honor, the Brownlow Book Award, for their analysis of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) ‘Moving to Opportunity Program’ (MTO). Professor Sanders Korenman of SPA has been selected to receive Frank R. Breul Memorial Prize. His article, coauthored with Rachel Gordon, Robert Kaestner and Kristin Abner, is entitled “The Child and Adult Care Food Program: Who Is Served and Why?”
The SPA faculty also participate in some of the vital policy conversations through appointment to government commissions. Professor Hector Cordero-Guzmán serves on Mayor Bloomberg’s Young Male Initiative. He also serves as an advisor to the Annie E. Casey Foundation and to the US Department of Labor. Professor John Goering advised HUD on the agency’s MTO program. Professor Jack Krauskopf serves on the New York State Attorney General’s Committee to Revitalize the Nonprofit Sector. Professor Doug Muzzio has been asked to join the mayoral task force redesigning the City’s principal measurement tool, the Mayor’s Management Report. Mickey Blum and her team with Baruch Survey Research have conducted, among other surveys, numerous polls for the City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the resident survey that informs an important part of the New York City Housing Authority’s strategic plan over the next five years.
Faculty are also visible in the media. Professor Muzzio gave more than 500 media interviews in 2011 (not counting his regular program City Talk on CUNY-TV), making him one of the most quoted academics in the USA. Professors Blum, Gibson, Remler, Botein, Calabrese, Engel, Savas, Balk, Cordero-Guzman, Jarvis and Smith also garnered media attention in 2011. I’ve been active myself with political commentary and a busy season on the way as the presidential primary winds down and the general election begins to take shape.
Student and Alumni Recognition. SPA’s students and alumni continue to excel. We had another Presidential Management Fellow last year, Joe Frazier (MPA ’11) and another Capital City Fellow, alumna Spring Worth (MPA ’08). For the second year in a row, SPA has placed an undergraduate student in Teach for America. Charles Guerrier-Aponza (BSPA ’12) will begin his Teach for America assignment in New Orleans next fall. Isis Hollis (BSPA ’12) and Christian Sibucao (BSPA ’12) have been accepted to the New York Assembly Internship Program and will begin their work with the legislature this spring. Angelo Cabrera (MPA ’12) was awarded one of the top 50 prizes from Iniciativa Mexico, a program of the Mexican government to support services for Mexicans abroad. With almost 57,000 applications, the MASA-MexEd team that Angelo leads scored in the top .1% of all programs. Finally, Nina Bektic-Marrero (MPA ’13) was awarded the 2011 Milton J. Samuelson Career Achievement Award for her service to New York’s visually impaired community.
A Seat at the Table. SPA has long been active in the Association for Public Policy and Management (APPAM) and the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). During this year, as well as the last four years, SPA has organized the “conference-within-a-conference” on Executive Education at NASPAA. This year I was elected to NASPAA’s Executive Council, the organization’s fiduciary board, for a three-year term. This provides the School with a voice on every aspect of NASPAA’s strategy and a role in helping to build the public sector nationwide.
Speaking of Boards . . . . SPA’s Advisory Board has been making enormous contributions to the vitality of programming in the School. Board Chair Michael Lewan and his colleagues have organized public programs, supported student scholarships, connected Baruch students to career and other opportunities, and helped to promote the School among its most important employer constituencies. A special welcome to new members Ivan Kronenfeld (yes, that was him playing Barbara Hershey’s husband in Hannah and Her Sisters) and Jim Foy, who just stepped down as CEO of Montefiore Hospital and board chair of the Greater New York Hospitals Association.
SPA’s increasing visibility and global footprint are building a degree of great rigor and incomparable value. As we begin our 2012-2017 strategic planning cycle, I could not be more proud of our students and faculty, or more excited about what we can accomplish over the next five years.
Top left: Professors Rachel Smith and Don Waisanen and Associate Dean Engel
Top right: SPA Dean’s Advisory Board. L-R are Senator Larry Pressler; Dr. Lewis Friedman; Mr. Michael Lewan, Chair; Ms. Barbara Fife; Dean Birdsell; Ms. Susanna Zwerling; President Wallerstein. Members not in the picture are Mr. Ivan Kronenfeld, Mr. James Foy, Dr. Stuart Altman, Ms. Amy Hagedorn, and Mr. John Banks.
Bottom Center: SPA Students