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APPAM - Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management

Spotlight: Baruch College School of Public Affairs

July 31, 2015 02:00 PM


The Baruch College School of Public Affairs: Building on 160 Years of Public Service

Baruch College traces its roots back more than 160 years to the Free Academy, the first municipally supported institution of higher education in the U.S. The College’s stake in public service education began with municipal management courses first offered in 1910. In 1951, these expanded to a full Master of Public Administration program, a Department of Public Administration in 1974, and the creation of the School of Public Affairs in 1994.

Today, the School of Public Affairs is a highly diverse, urban community of 1,200 students and more than 100 full- and part-time professionals dedicated to their success. Our 7,000 alumni hold leading roles in government, education, health care, and civil society. Our more than 50 full-time faculty are leading scholars, distinguished practitioners, and prominent voices in the public sphere. Students and faculty alike are deeply invested in the communities we serve, taking full advantage of New York City’s role as home to the nation’s largest municipal government, largest concentrations of nonprofit organizations and health care institutions, and unquestioned status as the world’s leading global city.

Our Mission and Degree Programs

The mission of the School of Public Affairs and its programs is to enhance the performance of governmental and nonprofit institutions in New York and the nation in the interest of effective and equitable public service and public policy in a diverse society. We place special emphasis on educating responsive and accountable leaders who combine managerial expertise, creative and critical thinking, and rigorous analysis in the formation and execution of public policy.

We fulfill the educational components of this mission through four robust graduate degrees and a growing undergraduate program. Our degrees are:

  • Master of Public Administration
  • Master of Science in Nursing Administration - Master of Public Affairs
  • Master of Science in Education - Higher Education Administration
  • Master of Science in Education - K-12 Educational Leadership
  • Bachelor of Science in Public Affairs

Recognizing that not every individual or organization is able to benefit from university-level preparation for public service, we also offer a wide range of non-credit executive programs, most of which are developed in concert with community partners in government, health care, and nonprofit administration.

The traditional MPA is offered in five specialized tracks:

Nonprofit Administration; focuses on fundraising, decision-making, emergency preparedness, ethics, and philanthropy to help students think like a nonprofit leader.

Health Care Policy; designed for those who want to make a difference in health and healthcare delivery systems.

Urban Development and Sustainability; evaluates sustainability in urban centers from a social, economic, and environmental perspective. Students learn how cities can improve and sustain housing, land use, business activity, and infrastructure.

Policy Analysis and Evaluation; students learn how to analyze and evaluate policy issues affecting all areas of society, including the way in which evaluation based on sound methodology can be used to improve the policy-making process.

Public Management; focuses on human and capital resource issues, changing venues of public management, and sound practices of institutional representation to explore new ways of workforce and asset administration.

The School of Public Affairs also offers the MPA in two cohort programs.

  • National Urban Fellows - Master of Public Affairs
  • Executive Master of Public Affairs

More than New York

Proudly based in and partaking of all the richness of New York, we also recognize that our students need to know about policymaking nationally and globally to succeed in an interconnected and interdependent world. To that end, the School provides students with robust opportunity to engage in the USA and abroad.

The Washington Semester
Each fall, up to 15 graduate students are enrolled in a full-time program in Washington, DC, where they take on internships and coursework related to intergovernmental affairs, federalism, and other topics related to national government. Students have interned with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the US Department of Commerce, the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Center for American Progress, Pharma, and Food and Water Watch, among many other governmental and nongovernmental organizations.

International Partnerships
Building on CUNY’s many hundreds of study abroad destinations, the School has crafted relationships with fourteen universities in twelve countries on five continents to support students’ interest in studying abroad for periods ranging from two weeks to a full semester. Internships are available in most partner sites, affording students an opportunity not only to study in another country, but to get a sense of the workplace culture as well.

What Sets Us Apart

We are a School of Prospect
The School supports student’s future careers in innumerable ways, among them with the recognition of being ranked among the Top 50 Public Affairs Programs in the Nation by U.S. News and World Report and our robust Office of Career Services to transition students from education to livelihood.

We are a School of Position
Centrally located in the Gramercy Park and Flatiron neighborhoods of Midtown Manhattan, Baruch College connects its student body to the global community it serves. The nation’s largest public schools System; the United Nations; tens of thousands of nonprofits; and numerous city, state, and federal agencies are within easy reach. This dynamic New York City nexus of civic, political, financial, and cultural activity provides unparalleled access to internships and research opportunities, effectively uniting coursework with the practical challenges of the public sector workplace.

We are a School of Partnerships
The School has eighteen international educational partners in fourteen countries including Turkey, China, Vietnam, and Germany, and has established educational and research partnerships with more than 3,000 nonprofit organizations and government agencies right here in New York.

Faculty Research

The School of Public Affairs’ faculty is diverse and interdisciplinary; our scholars have degrees in public policy, public administration, economics, political science, history, communication studies, sociology, law, engineering, engineering, and education. All publish in the best journals in their fields and many have been recognized with article and book awards or other scholarly prizes.

The School is home to several centers and research platforms. These are:

  • The Center for Nonprofit Strategy and Management—CNSM harnesses the efforts of more than 20 professors and practitioners from all three Schools of Baruch College to address vital questions in nonprofit administration and civil society.
  • The Center for Equality, Pluralism and Policy—CEPP, which houses the Ackerman Chair in Social Justice and the Lillie and Nathan Ackerman Lectures, is dedicated to exploring justice in a diverse society.
  • Baruch College Survey Research—BSCR is a full-service survey research operation that supports faculty research and contracts with governments, nonprofits, and other academic institutions to develop new knowledge derived from policy-relevant surveys.
  • CUNY Institute for Demographic Research—CIDR is CUNY’s hub for demographic research. Physically located in SPA, CIDR provides the school with unique depth in demographic perspectives on policy.
  • New York Census Research Data Center—Baruch is home to the New York RDC, one of more than a dozen RDCs nationwide that provide qualified researchers with approved proposals access to a wide range of government data, including but not limited to Census micro data. NYCRDC is a consortium of institutions including the New York Office of the National Bureau of Economic Research, Cornell, Yale, Columbia, Syracuse, Princeton, and New York Universities, SUNY Albany, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and the Russell Sage Foundation. 

Meet Some of our Faculty

Cristina Balboa

Cristina Balboa’s research incorporates international relations, comparative policy and organization theory to demonstrate how internal organizational traits contribute to or detract from the balanced accountability of the political institutions of private governance. She teaches courses in public policy, research and analysis.


Hector Cordero-Guzman

Dr. Cordero-Guzman has published his academic research on issues related to education, employment, poverty, race and inequality, non-profit organizations, international migration, transnational processes, economic development, and social welfare policy. He teaches courses in qualitative studies of communities, and fund raising and grants administration.


Carla Robbins

Carla Robbins is a nationally known journalist and foreign policy commentator who specializes in national security and diplomacy.  She teaches courses in selected topics in public affairs and public policy.



Robert C. Smith

Robert C. Smith’s public sociology seeks to identify strategic sites of intervention, and use social science research to affect those sites. He has received numerous awards and grants throughout his career. He teaches courses in citizenship and qualitative studies of communities.



Robert Walsh

Robert W. Walsh served as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) from January ‘02 to December ‘13. During his tenure, he reshaped SBS to become one of the city's most innovative agencies in serving the needs of its 200,000 small businesses. He teaches courses in markets, government, and urban economic development.


Na Yin

Dr. Yin's research focuses on social security aging and disability policies. She teaches courses in the economic analysis of public policy, economic demography, demography of aging, and research methods.



Our Graduates

What originates as an inquisitive, intelligent, and involved student grows into a distinguished degree recipient. The School of Public Affairs’ enduring legacy is embodied in the achievements of more than 7,000 alumni, among the most diverse and accomplished public servants anywhere in the world. Graduates have gone on to rewarding careers as leaders and policymakers in education, health, government, nonprofit organizations, and other vital industries. The energy, vision, and commitment of these talented and dedicated individuals pave the roads ahead.

Alumni You May Know

  • Fatima Shama, Executive MPA ’08, President of the Fresh Air Fund and formerly Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.
  • Nathaniel Cruz, MSEd ’95, vice president for student development and enrollment management at Eugenio María de Hostos Community College.
  • John Banks Executive MPA ‘92, President, Real Estate Board of New York
  • Fernando Ferrer, MPA ’04, vice chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and former Bronx Borough President.
  • Linda Fasulo, MPA ‘77, U.N. correspondent for NBC News and MSNBC; long-time independent correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR).
  • Jonathan Justice, MPA ’94, associate professor of urban affairs and public policy at the University of Delaware.
  • Melissa Mark-Viverito, MPA ‘95, Speaker of the New York City Council.
  • Joseph Merlino, MPA ’92, vice president for faculty affairs and professional development at SUNY Downstate Medical Center.
  • Lorenzo Brown, MPA ’00, founder and executive director of Heaven’s Hands Community Services, Inc.
  • Gary Lanigan MPA ‘80, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Corrections.
  • Willy Ramos, MPA ’06, appointed by President Barack Obama as Director of Intergovernmental Affairs at the U. S. Department of Commerce.
  • Michelle J. DePass, MPA ’99, Dean of the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy and Tishman Professor of Environmental Policy and Management.
  • Dennis Pilla, Executive MPA ‘16, Mayor of Port Chester, NY.
  • Mosharaf Zaidi, MPA ‘01, Journalist, diplomat (Pakistan) and Fellow of the World Economic Forum.

What Lies Ahead

The School of Public Affairs will continue to expand its local and international partnerships, offer a much wider range of its courses online (25% of our courses are currently offered in online or hybrid format), develop additional resources to support students and faculty, and new degree programs oriented to preparing students to understand and succeed in an increasingly interconnected and insistently global world.

General Information

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