NASPAA, the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration held its annual NASPAA conference, Building the New Civic Square, virtually Oct. 14 - 16.
This year’s theme — Building the New Civic Square — highlighted how SPP and other policy schools are “leading the way to a more inclusive, participatory, safe, constructive and respectful civic square” said Robert C. Orr, NASPAA president and dean of the School of Public Policy in the opening plenary.
With over 800 people attending from over 20 countries, the conference put on display how necessary civic engagement is in a year with a consequential election, millions affected by COVID-19 and social movements gaining momentum.
As president of NASPAA, Orr chaired the conference and brought his perspective as dean of SPP. The new civic square includes providing diverse community building, anti-racist programming and thorough analysis of our democracy as a holistic system, he said. While these concepts are currently being implemented at SPP, this is a field-wide push to a more inclusive and diverse space for both the country and the world.
The School shared its progress in these areas through a range of panels, including discussions on building inclusion in the classroom, adapting nonprofit management in a pandemic and the role of policy schools in inclusive state and local governance.
Orr shared his three main new businesses of NASPAA: globalizing NASPAA, a DEI Task Force and advocacy. The conference also marked the conclusion of a 3-year term on NASPAA’s Executive Council for Philip Joyce, senior associate dean at SPP.