About SPA

Dean's Welcome

Baruch College has prepared students for careers in public service for almost 90 years. The School of Public Affairs has been home to those efforts since its founding in 1994. Today we are a vibrant, interdisciplinary community of scholars and practitioners, dedicated to the very best research, teaching and service in public policy and public management.

The Dean

It is an exacting mission. Never has the need for integrated policy and management programs been more urgent. Accelerating social change, generational shifts in institutional leadership, a larger and more diverse population, the dislocations and opportunities presented by new technologies, and long term structural deficits at every level of government are among the many factors requiring solutions that are on the one hand bold and creative, while on the other rooted in the very best practices of careful, empirical research and administrative expertise. No one discipline or sector holds the key to these challenges; we have to communicate effectively across disciplines and organizations to better understand the challenges confronting us and the best course of action we can take.

We meet these challenges through three principal sets of activities:

  • Research. Our scholars are engaged in a broad range of policy and administrative research programs. Some of this activity is conducted individually and some under the auspices of our Academic Centers. The CUNY Institute for Demographic Research is housed in SPA, as are the New York Census Research Data Center and Baruch Survey Research. Together, these three research centers provide SPA with deep resources to explore the intersections of population change, public opinion and policy. The Municipal Finance Archive houses documents related to New York City's fiscal crisis of the 1970s and is open to scholars from any institution. The Center for Nonprofit Strategy and Management (CNSM) has several projects underway on government contracts, emerging sector needs, and sound management practices. Our centers often collaborate to produce exciting, cross-disciplinary programs.
  • Teaching. The School takes pride in preparing the next generation of leaders for the public and nonprofit sectors. In all of our programs we emphasize the importance of linking research to practice and achieving not merely personal success, but excellence. We recognize that students have different needs, and to that end we have crafted several ways to be a student here, from intensive executive programs to part-time programs offered in the evening. We are proud to have the most racially and ethnically diverse student body of any public affairs program in the United States.
  • Service. The School stays close to the communities it serves. Our Center for Innovation and Leadership in Government has developed a legislative institute for newly elected members of the City Council and sponsors a series of Policy Breakfast sessions open to the public. The CNSM conducts many workshops and seminars for the City's nonprofit community. Our Office of Executive Programs develops credit- and non-credit leadership programs in concert with community partners to meet the needs of government, nonprofit and health care organizations in the New York region. In all of our service programs we make available the best thinking about public sector leadership and policy to the professional community beyond the university.

If you would like to join one of our programs as a student, contact our Office of Graduate Admissions and Enrollment Services. If you would like to learn more about our graduates, contact our Office of Career Services. If you have questions about scholarship in SPA, please contact our main office. I hope that you have a chance to visit us on campus this year.

David S. Birdsell,
Dean of the School of Public Affairs

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