American University School of Public Affairs

The School of Public Affairs at American University has a storied legacy that informs our values and approach.

In 1934, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt began implementing New Deal programs that sought to increase “practical contacts between the collegiate and educational world, and the operations of government.” He believed that the collaboration of academia and public service would result in better decision-making, not only for Depression-era American, but also for future generations to come. From FDR’s vision, American University’s School of Public Affairs was born.

Over the last 80+ years, SPA has cultivated a culture of excellence. Our personalized teaching and experiential education transform the student experience. We empower those who seek knowledge to conduct and produce research. And we promote engagement to build a bridge between academic thought and policy planning - inspiring change in the world.

Today, with 1,800 current students and 23,000+ alumni, SPA continues to tackle complex issues with thoughtful research that educates, informs, and promotes change across a multitude of fields.

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Displaying 1 - 20 of 27 articles

Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain arrives for a news conference in Annapolis, Md. REUTERS/Jim Young

John McCain helped build a country that no longer reflects his values

Sen. John McCain, facing terminal cancer, will end his career with growing repudiation by his party and the public of positions, from national defense to bipartisanship, that he has long embodied.
While some CEOs have been critical of Trump and his policies, most have tried to stay neutral. Reuters/Carlos Barria.

Most CEOs aren’t abandoning neutrality on Trump – yet

Despite a growing list of reasons why business leaders might oppose the president or his policies, more than two-thirds have remained steadfastly neutral.
Just under half of all Pell Grant recipients graduate on time, new data show. Joseph Sohm/www.shutterstock.com

Why graduation rates lag for low-income college students

New data show that less than half of all Pell Grant recipients graduate on time – a reality that one scholar attributes to the unique barriers faced by low-income students.
Sens. Bob Corker and Bob Menendez look on during the second round of questioning of Secretary of State-designate Mike Pompeo. AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Senate confirmation: The grilling can be grueling

Senate confirmation for many of President Trump's nominees has been tough. In this speed read, The Conversation asks: What is Senate confirmation, and why do we do it?
Cuba’s new president, at the National Assembly meeting where he was appointed to succeed Raúl Castro on April 18, 2018. Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters

Cuba’s new president: What to expect of Miguel Díaz-Canel

Cuba has a new president — and for the first time in six decades his last name is not Castro. Who is Miguel Díaz-Canel, the man who inherits a Cuba born of Fidel's 1959 revolution?
The Spanish hotel chain Meliá has big plans for Cuba. So did the Trump Organization, up until its CEO was elected president of the United States. Desmond Boylan/Reuters

Before Trump was anti-Cuba, he wanted to open a hotel in Havana

As president, Donald Trump has taken a harsh stance toward Cuba. But his real estate company has tried twice to open Trump properties on the Communist island, allegedly even skirting the law to do so.
Social media companies combine many pieces of information into a complex digital profile. Tetiana Yurchenko/Shutterstock.com

To serve a free society, social media must evolve beyond data mining

For years, watchdogs have warned of the potential problems of sharing data with online companies. The Facebook data crisis has made these concerns much more real. What should be done now?
Adios Raúl, hola Miguel. smael Francisco/Courtesy of Cubadebate/Handout via Reuters

Cuba’s getting a new president

Miguel Díaz-Canel, a 57-year-old engineer and Communist Party loyalist, is expected to succeed Raúl Castro as president of Cuba. Will change bring prosperity or instability to the Cuban people?
Violeta Chamorro President of Nicaragua meets with former President Bush in the Oval Office at the White House in 1992. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Washington has meddled in elections before

Decades ago, the CIA created a secret department dedicated to spreading anti-communist propaganda around the globe. A scholar explains how it is comparable to Russian meddling through social media.
The Capitol is lit up at dawn on Nov. 30, 2017 as Senate Republicans work to pass their sweeping tax bill. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

The GOP tax plan, state and local taxes deductions – and you

If you own property and make less than US$200,000, the Republican tax overhaul is likely going to eliminate a tax deduction you use.
Protesters shout their disapproval of the Republican tax bill on Nov. 28, 2017. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

The GOP doesn’t care if you like its tax plan. Here’s why

If Republicans don’t cut taxes on the wealthy when they have control of both houses of Congress and the presidency, what do they live for?
A family waves the flag of Chad’s ruling party. Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde

Why would the Trump administration ban travel from Chad?

Evidence doesn't support the Trump administration's claims that Chad failed to share information or that its citizens are an identifiable threat.
The US Embassy in Havana is now more crime scene than diplomatic center as both countries look into the mysterious illnesses suffered by Foreign Service officers there. AP Photo/Desmond Boylan

Is Trump using ‘health attacks’ on US diplomats in Havana as an excuse to punish Cuba?

After a baffling, silent attack on US Embassy staff in Havana, the Trump administration is using concern over its diplomats' health as an excuse to reverse Obama's rapprochement with Cuba.

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