Spotlight: Indiana University Bloomington
The Indiana University Bloomington School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA), an APPAM Institutional Member, is a higher education leader for the greater good. Its students, scholars, and alumni bring that mission to life.
Celebrating its 42nd anniversary in 2014, SPEA is considered by many to be the best and most comprehensive public affairs/policy school in the world. It is also the largest school of its kind in the United States. SPEA was founded on the premise that society’s complex problems demand comprehensive solutions. The school’s curriculum and research are distinguished by a vigorous interdisciplinary approach to education and problem-solving.
“As SPEA moves into its fifth decade, what was once considered a unique vision is now regarded as an unequivocal success,” says Dean John D. Graham.
SPEA undergraduates can choose from a dozen degrees including new programs in education policy and law and public policy. Students in the M.P.A. program can choose from ten concentrations or can select from several dual degrees including the distinctive Master of Science in Environmental Science/Master of Public Affairs program.
Those graduate programs consistently earn top honors. In the 2012 "Best Graduate Schools" by U.S. News & World Report, SPEA ranks second and is the nation's highest-ranked professional graduate program in public affairs at a public institution. Four of its specialty programs are ranked in the top-five listings. SPEA's doctoral programs in public affairs and public policy are also ranked by the National Research Council as among the top two in the nation.
The rankings are the result of an academic environment that encourages outstanding teaching and groundbreaking research. SPEA’s faculty is remarkably diverse, including some of the nation’s foremost experts in public policy, management, arts administration, nonprofit management, environmental policy and environmental science. SPEA has more than 165 full-time, part-time, and adjunct faculty members and has added 38 new full-time faculty since 2008. They win accolades – from National Science Foundation Awards to Fulbright fellowships to the late Dr. Elinor Ostrom’s distinction as the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.
SPEA enrolls over 2,200 graduate and undergraduate students in residence in Bloomington and its SPEA Connect online MPA is serving mid-career professionals around the world. Prospective undergraduates are attracted by numerous opportunities to learn career-building networking and leadership skills. The semester-long Washington Leadership Program offers a combination of internships and credit-earning classes. In Bloomington, SPEA’s Civic Leaders Center is a residential community that offers freshmen special classes, programs and travel opportunities. It is directed by Paul Helmke who formerly led the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
Graduate students see a world of opportunity. The Coverdell Fellows program attracts exceptional students after they have completed their in-country service through the Peace Corps. Master’s International blends the international experience of the Peace Corps and the academic training of SPEA’s master’s degrees. SPEA also offers the VISTA Fellows Program through a unique partnership with the Corporation for National Service
SPEA’s global approach is underscored by academic connections with leading universities in India, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and Hong Kong. An unusually high proportion of SPEA students study abroad. SPEA faculty direct programs in 16 locations, ranging from Kenya to Bavaria.
The opportunities continue after commencement. SPEA graduates have recently launched careers with PricewaterhouseCoopers, the American Cancer Society and the Environmental Protection Agency. SPEA prides itself on offering degree programs that allow graduates to go into business, government or nonprofit positions and move seamlessly between the three sectors. About one-third of SPEA graduates work in the business sector and you can find concentrations of SPEA alumni in Chicago, Denver, Washington, DC, and Indianapolis.
SPEA serves Indiana, the U.S., and the world. Among scores of projects, SPEA researchers are analyzing Indiana’s nonprofit agencies, explaining early successes and failures of the Affordable Care Act and revealing international trouble spots for the electric vehicle industry. SPEA is home to the Center on Congress and the home of several notable publications including the highly regarded Public Administration Review. Since 2004, SPEA has been home to APPAM’s Journal of Policy Analysis and Management with Dr. Maureen Pirog serving as editor.
SPEA’s 30,000 alumni have an impact around the world. For example, a SPEA graduate serves on the Korean National Assembly and another holds a cabinet post in the government of the nation of Georgia. Other influential alumni include broadcaster and human rights activist Tavis Smiley; Maureen Tucker, a senior advisor at the U.S. Department of State; and Vicki Allums, associate general counsel for the Department of Defense. Allums leads a 40-member Distinguished Alumni Council that helps chart SPEA’s path along with a 20-member Alumni Board and a 25-member Dean’s Council.
Sanya Carley specializes in energy policy. She has recently written about energy demand-side management in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management and has contributed to articles on plug-in electric vehicles, energy generation in developing nations and regulation of the U.S. renewable energy industry. In 2013, she received Indiana University’s Outstanding Junior Faculty Award.
Dean John D. Graham joined SPEA in 2008, having served as a senior official in the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the White House Office of Management and Budget. The former Harvard professor is the co-author of a new book about how America’s poor weathered the Great Recession (Indiana University Press, 2013) and authored a book about President George W. Bush’s domestic policy. He recently testified before the European Parliament on international trade issues.
Ashlyn Nelson conducts her research at the intersection of the housing and education policy sectors. Her recent work includes a study on the impact of the housing crisis on children’s academic performance. She also conducted groundbreaking research on the impact of so-called “liar loans” that allowed borrowers to falsify income and assets. She was recently named to the Education Next Public Presence Rankings as one of the top contributors to the public debate about education.
Maureen Pirog specializes in poverty and income maintenance with an emphasis on child support enforcement, welfare reform, adolescent parenting and methods of policy evaluation. She has held several leadership positions with APPAM and, as she has since 2004, will serve as editor of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management until she steps down in the summer of 2014. Her recently publications include co-authoring the book Public Policy and Mental Health; Avenues for Prevention.
Kosali Simon is an expert on health economics and policy. Along with two co-authors, she received the Addington Prize in Measurement awarded by the Fraser Institute for her work on the prosperity of America’s middle class. That paper also won the Musgrave Prize as the best article to appear in the National Tax Journal. She has been appointed to a three-year term on the National Advisory Committee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholars in Health Policy Research Program.
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