New! 2017 Self-Study Instructions

COPRA is pleased to distribute the annual updates to the Self-Study Instructions for NASPAA Accreditation. The 2017 revisions reflect the work of the Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation (COPRA) working to improve the value of program data collection, specifically with regard to diversity and complexities.

You can view the updated Self-Study Instructions here. The complete list of changes can be found here.

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2016-17 Annual Accreditation Data Report Released!

COPRA is pleased to release its Annual Accreditation Data Report! The 2016-17 Report provides increased insight into the public affairs field, and the faculty, students, and alumni of our accredited programs. Thank you to each NASPAA-accredited program for providing the data featured in the report.


Meet Roger E. Hartley, new COPRA member!

Roger E. Hartley, Ph.D.

Dean, College of Public Affairs 
University of Baltimore

I was born and raised in Cross Lanes, West Virginia. Like many of our students, I am a first generation college graduate. Among the things that I am most passionate about is the value of public service and helping to train the next generation of public and nonprofit leaders. Public service is the highest of callings and I encourage everyone to consider it as a career choice or an important part of their work.

I always joke that I left WV at 18 to see the world and I ended up in Bloomington, Indiana. My first year was spent with the ambition of becoming a nuclear physicist, but like many college students, I found that another longtime passion was too strong to resist. I changed my major to public affairs and am a proud graduate of Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs. After flirting with the idea of becoming a lawyer, I encountered two faculty members who worked with me closely and encouraged me to study law and politics as an academic. I left for Athens, Georgia where I found yet another incredible set of mentors in the University of Georgia’s Department of Political Science, and there I received my M.A. in 1993 and Ph.D. in 1999, specializing in public law, American politics and public policy.

Prior to beginning as dean, I spent 15 years as teacher, mentor to students, scholar and public servant. In reverse order, before coming to UB, I was director of the Master of Public Affairs program and professor of political science and public affairs at Western Carolina University from 2010 to 2015. I taught at the University of Arizona’s School of Government and Public Policy from 2001-2010, where I obtained the rank of associate professor and served as the school’s interim associate dean and director. I started my career as a tenure-track assistant professor in public affairs at Roanoke College in Virginia from 1999 to 2001 and taught as an adjunct professor in the City University of New York System at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Baruch College.

I love teaching and have taught undergraduate and graduate-level courses on judicial administration and reform, law and public policy, judicial process, public administration, and conflict resolution. I was honored to be recognized over 10 times for my teaching, mentoring and academic leadership with awards at the university, college and departmental levels.

Like our faculty at UB, I believe that quality teaching and research are bolstered by service. I have served the American judicial branch in numerous capacities including expert testimony, consulting work and service on commissions, committees and boards. I currently serve on the National Center for State Court’s Research Advisory Council and the editorial boards of Justice System Journal and American Review of Politics. In Arizona, I served on the Pima County Commission on Trial Court Appointments, was a founding member of the Arizona Supreme Court’s Board of Legal Document Preparers, and was a board member of Arizona’s Court Leadership initiative. In Asheville, NC, I served on the board of directors of the United Way, chaired its advisory committee on the 211 program, and served on the Advisory Committee of Western North Carolina Non-profit Pathways. Finally, I have served in numerous leadership capacities for my profession and university including a three-year term on the executive council of the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA).

I believe that it is important for academics to add to the base of knowledge and contribute scholarship that improves society. My research focuses broadly on court administration and court reform issues. My most recent work is on the subject of how courts do intergovernmental relations work. An initial article on this project was recently published in the Arizona Law Review and the New England Law Review’s Special Symposium on Courts in Crisis. I have studied court reforms such as state court budget politics, court reforms like alternative dispute resolution and drug courts, and the increased politicization of lower federal court nominees. To date, I have published 30 articles in such journals as Policy Studies Journal, Public Administration Review, Law and Society Review, Arizona Law Review, Michigan State Law Review, New England Law Review, American Journal of Criminal Justice, The Court Manager, Judicature, Justice System Journal, The Judges Journal, State Constitutional Commentary and Notes, Public Budgeting and Finance, Political Science Quarterly, Criminal Justice Review, Administration and Society, Journal of Public Affairs Education, and the American Review of Politics. I am also author of Alternative Dispute Resolution in Civil Justice Systems, published by LFB Scholarly Press in 2002.

Meet Verna Smith, new COPRA member!

VernaVerna Smith, Ph.D.
Director, Master’s Programmes
Victoria University of Wellington

Verna Smith is Director of the Master’s Programmes and Senior Lecturer in Public Policy for the School of Government at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. She has qualifications in sociology, politics and public policy. Her PhD at Victoria University of Wellington focused on a comparative longitudinal study of pay-for-performance policymaking in primary health care in New Zealand and England, applying and assessing the utility of Kingdon’s Multiple Stream Framework. Her current research interests are theories of public policymaking in Westminster majoritarian systems; comparative heath systems analysis; indigenous policymaking processes and accountability frameworks in public services purchasing.

NASPAA at ARNOVA 2018 in Austin

Join us at the 2018 Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action Conference on November 15 for a NASPAA Standards Colloquium.

The conversation will be led by Dr. Chandler Stolp of the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin:

Date: Thursday, November 15
Time: 7:30 a.m.
Place: Hilton Austin Hotel, Room 406 — 500 East 4th Street, Austin, TX

For questions about this event please contact Martha Bohrt.

ARNOVA Colloquium

Join Us! Standards Colloquium in Atlanta

Join us at the 2018 NASPAA Annual Conference Conference on October 12 for a Standards Colloquium!

As the global accreditor of public service graduate degrees, NASPAA is committed to ensuring the standard of quality set forth by the field is rigorous and globally accessible. As we embark on another decade of quality assurance, NASPAA has launched a series of Standards Colloquia to reflect on the ongoing relevance of the Standards. Our question: How have our accreditation standards held up?

The conversation will begin at 4:00 p.m. and will take place at the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel in Atlanta, GA: 210 Peachtree St. NW


Meet Shawn Flanigan, new COPRA member!

Shawn Flanigan, Ph.D.
Professor, School of Public Affairs
San Diego State University

Shawn Flanigan is a Professor of Public Affairs. She received her Ph.D. in Public Administration and Policy from the University at Albany, after receiving her Master of Public Administration and B.A. in Latin American Studies from the University of New Mexico. Dr. Flanigan’s research focuses on ways in which the health and human service needs of vulnerable populations are addressed by state and non-state actors. Her teaching focuses on supporting students and community stakeholders to engage in effective program design, policy development, and advocacy for more just and equitable communities. Dr. Flanigan has conducted field research in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, Jordan, Lebanon, Mexico, Romania, Sri Lanka, and the United States. In addition to working for state government agencies in New Mexico and New York, Dr. Flanigan has provided technical assistance and/or policy recommendations to nonprofit organizations, local government agencies in California, the National Intelligence Council, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of State, and the White House Office on Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, among others.

2018-19 Roster of Accredited Programs Released!

The Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation (COPRA) is pleased to release the 2018-19 Roster of Accredited Programs! The Roster, published annually, includes the actions made with regard to the 2017-18 cohort, including 6 programs achieving accreditation for the first time.

Please join COPRA in congratulating all programs on their hard work and commitment to public service education!

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RECAP: NASPAA Site Visitor Training at Virginia Commonwealth University

The Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) hosted NASPAA for a Site Visitor Training on August 3, 2018. This partnership was initiated by Dr. Susan Gooden, Interim Dean of the Wilder School and former COPRA member and Site Visit Chair.

Close to twenty VCU alumni and faculty gathered to learn about the important role of site visitors in the NASPAA accreditation process. Participants came from varied fields — including federal and state government and nonprofit management — and areas of expertise, ranging from emergency management to urban planning and criminal justice. During the half-day training, attendees engaged in lively discussion and left ready to serve as NASPAA site visitors.


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Consistently the most valued portion of the process, site visits not only provide COPRA with additional evidence of conformance to field-wide Standards but give site visitors the opportunity to support the development of public servants, network with new colleagues, share field-based experiences, and invest in the field of public service.

We thank the Wilder community and all attendees for their commitment to investing in the next generation of public service professionals!

Two NASPAA Standards Colloquia in September!

As part of the decennial review of its Accreditation Standards, NASPAA is engaging stakeholders around the globe to answer the question: How have our accreditation standards held up? Join NASPAA to discuss the Accreditation Standards and explore ways to ensure they remain relevant and continue to fully comprehend the diverse ambitions of our accredited programs, graduates, and employers.

Join us at the 2018 Southeastern Conference for Public Administration in Birmingham!
The discussion will be led by Dr. Christine Rush, Mississippi State University
Date: Saturday, September 22
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Place: Sheraton Downtown Birmingham – 2101 Richard Arrington Blvd.

Join us at the 2018 International City Managers Association Annual Conference in Baltimore!
Date: Monday, September 24
Time: 9:45 a.m.
Place: Johnson A, in the Hilton Baltimore hotel next to the Baltimore Convention Center

NASPAA Accredits 6 New Degrees

The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) announced today that its Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation (COPRA) has accredited six new programs:

  • KDI School of Public Policy and Management, Master of Public Management (South Korea)
  • Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, Master of Public Administration (China)
  • The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Master of Public Administration (USA)
  • Universidad de los Andes, Master of Public Policy (Colombia)
  • University of Central Florida, Master of Nonprofit Management (USA)
  • University of Massachusetts Boston, Master of Public Administration (USA)

Please join COPRA in congratulating these programs on earning accreditation!

The full list of 2017-18 accreditation actions and the 2018-19 Roster of Accredited Programs will be available September 1, 2018.

To read the full press release, please click here.