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 39 articles

Denver public school teachers went on strike on Feb. 11 and successfully eliminated a controversial bonus-based pay system. David Zalubowski/AP

Striking teachers in Denver shut down performance bonuses – here’s how that will impact education

Through a three-day strike, Denver teachers got rid of a bonus-based pay system that they say was unfair. An education policy expert explains what the end of bonus-based pay means for Denver schools.
Trump before delivering the State of the Union address with Pelosi and Pence. Doug Mills/The New York Times/Pool via REUTERS

Immigration, legislation, investigation and child poverty: 4 scholars respond to Trump’s State of the Union

Four scholars weigh in on President Donald Trump's State of the Union speech, exploring his statements on immigration, childhood poverty, the border wall and the investigations into his campaign.
Destiny Watford and other Baltimore youth leaders derailed plans to build a big incinerator in their neighborhood. The Goldman Environmental Prize

3 ways to make your voice heard besides protesting

Showing up at school board meetings might not sound as exciting as marching in the streets. But it can be an effective way to change things at the local level.
A pot of flowers adorned with a cross hangs from the picket fence where University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard was tied, beaten and left for dead in October 1998. Gary Caskey/Reuters

Out of Matthew Shepard’s tragic murder, a commitment to punishing hate crimes emerged

Twenty years ago, Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered for being gay. A lawyer who helped implement hate crime legislation in Shepard's name reflects on its strengths and limitations.
Keluarga para korban Bom Bali 2002 berpelukan dalam peringatan 10 tahun serangan mematikan yang membunuh orang-orang terdekat mereka di Bali tahun 2012. Serangan teroris di Kuta, Bali membunuh 202 orang, 88 di antara mereka adalah warga negara Australia. Made Nagi/EPA

17 tahun sejak kejadian 9/11, mengapa Al-Qaeda masih kuat?

Gempuran dahsyat dari AS belum dapat menghancurkan kelompok teroris tersebut. Apa rahasia Al-Qaeda?
The World Trade Center burns after being hit by planes in New York Sept. 11, 2001. Reuters/Sara K. Schwittek

Why al-Qaida is still strong 17 years after 9/11

An unprecedented onslaught from the US hasn't destroyed the terrorist organization. What is the secret of its resilience?
Rather than fade into the night, coal plants could stick around longer under Trump’s proposal. Duke Energy

Trump’s coal plan – neither clean nor affordable

Trump's energy plan may meet the letter of the law but the Affordable Clean Energy Plan reflects the administration's clear agenda to move slowly or not at all on climate change.
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?

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