Comprehensive Education



This spring Jennifer Murtazashvili (GSPIA) and B. Guy Peters (Political Science) will host an international conference exploring the relationship between bureaucracy and conflict. The conference is supported by GSPIA, the Ford Center for Human Security, the Ridgway Center for Security Studies, and the Global Studies Center.  Deadline, October 15, 2017.

Dr. Diane Ryan will deliver the inaugural lecture of the Hesselbein Forum at 5:00 p.m. on Thurs., Sept. 28 at the Twentieth Century Club.  During her talk, Dr. Ryan will explore values-based leadership development as well as share research that demonstrates the importance of quality, character, mind-set, values, and principles in today’s rapidly evolving world. 

GSPIA will host Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale (MPA ’97) at 11:45 p.m., Wed., Sept. 20 at the Twentieth Century Club (4201 Bigelow Blvd.). In this special talk, Mr. DePasquale will discuss the “Impact Fee” on unconventional gas wells in Pennsylvania.

John Mendeloff received a 2-year, $300,000 grant from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, part of the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, to explain variations in fatality rates in the construction industry across the U.S. for the last 25 years. The research will look at policy variables like enforcement by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and and incentives provided by state workers' compensation programs.

Kyi Tha Tun was 10 years-old when he first realized it. Growing up in Burma (now called Myanmar), he recalls widespread poverty and waiting in lines for basic necessities at government cooperatives. What little they managed to find was poor in quality. His father explained why they had to wait in such long lines for very little: socialism, and a dictatorial military government that seized power in the coup of 1962. 

In 1988, the year Kyi turned 10, the same military junta still held power. Kyi began to see the country he grew up in as a prison, unaware that he would spend 14 years in an actual Burmese prison for helping to organize one of the largest student protests in the nation’s history. 

The Network of Schools of Public Policy (NASPPA) has announced the 2017 award recipients for outstanding achievement in public service education. Aziza Zemrani (MPA) will be recognized for her Chapter of Pi Alpha Alpha in the Department of Public Affairs and Security Studies at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.   The awards will be presented at NASPAA's annual conference in Washington, DC October 11 - 14, 2017.

Earlier this year, Alex Austin, a second year MPA student, had the opportunity to intern with the World Wildlife Fund. Originally published in GSPIA Perspectives, the following is an excerpt from his reflection on his experience.

In addition to a full-time course load, I spent the Spring of 2016 working remotely as the Energy Intern for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Northern Great Plains office located in Bozeman, Montana. As the energy intern, I was tasked with researching the effects of oil development on split estate surface owners residing in the Williston Basin region of Western North Dakota. The Basin is home to the Bakken oil-bearing formation which stretches from the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan in Canada to parts of Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota. 

GSPIA and Pitt's School of Nursing have joined forces to offer nurses an opportunity to gain management skills through a new joint degree program. Nurses who are at mid-career or beyond may pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice in executive leadership in conjunction with a master’s degree in public policy and management (MPPM) from the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. This new program will help strengthen their knowledge of nonprofit management as well as gain new analytical skills. To learn more about the MPPM program, click here. 

The GEPA working group, co-led by Dr. Müge Finkel of GSPIA and Dr. Melanie Hughes of Sociology, has been a Ford Institute working group since fall 2015. The GEPA working group brings together a multidisciplinary team of students to work with the Governance and Peacebuilding Cluster of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to gather and analyze data on women’s global representation in public administration. This past year, graduate researchers built off of the work of the 2015-2016 working group, to analyze further disaggregation among countries with gendered data. 

The University of Pittsburgh, in collaboration with Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient and Pitt alumna Frances Hesselbein, has established The Frances Hesselbein Leadership Forum at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA).
Since 1990, Hesselbein has been at the helm of a leadership institute founded as the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management. In 2012, the organization was renamed to honor Hesselbein and her ongoing contributions. It continued its work and mission as The Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute by providing social sector leaders with essential leadership wisdom, inspiration and resources to lead for innovation and to build vibrant social sector organizations. The institute has chosen to transfer many of its assets to the University of Pittsburgh to establish The Frances Hesselbein Leadership Forum.

The Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership released its annual report for the 2016-2017 academic year. Dr. Kevin Kearns, a GSPIA professor and director of the institute, highlighted the new and ongoing programs that make the Johnson Institute such a valuable asset to Pitt, the Pittsburgh community, and the world beyond. This year, the institute received the largest single foundation grant in its history from the Richard King Mellon Foundation in recognition of its community outreach initiatives such as the Leadership Portfolio Program and the Nonprofit Clinic. 

Dr. Louise Comfort accepted the 2017 B. Wayne Blanchard Award for Academic Excellence in Emergency Management in Higher Education from North Dakota State University. The award is given annually to scholars who have made contributions to the field of emergency management, a field to which Dr. Comfort has dedicated her career. 

Trailblazers, role models and inspirations are just a few words to describe five Pitt alumni who were recognized in June for their accomplishments and community outreach. Among those honored was GSPIA Alumna Cecile Springer (MURP ’71). 

By Assistant Professor Jeremy Weber and Andrew Earle

Pennsylvania has a long legacy of natural gas drilling. One unfortunate aspect of the legacy is a host of abandoned shallow gas wells throughout the state, some of which likely leak gases or liquids harmful to animals, plants, or people. This raises the question of the fate of the more than 10,000 unconventional natural gas wells that have been drilled in the state over the last decade, with more drilled each day.  Read more.

Last week, President Donald Trump tried to pit our two cities against each other when he announced, in pulling out of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris." As the mayors of Pittsburgh and Paris, we’re here to say that we’re more united than ever. Read More.

University of Pittsburgh alumnus, and GSPIA adjunct faculty member David Coplan, (MSW-MPA ’93), will receive the Human Services Management Exemplar Award at the Network of Social Work Management (NSWM) annual conference, June 15, 2017, in New York City. Coplan earned a joint degree at Pitt’s School of Social Work and GSPIA with a concentration in Community, Organization, and Social Action (COSA) in 1993. The Exemplar award is given annually to social work executives who demonstrate outstanding performance for the public good on the local, state, or national level. 

BBC environment correspondent, Matt McGrath, recently discussed the rise of fracking for national gas and its impact on the coal and nuclear industries with GSPIA Assistant Professor Jeremy Weber. The article, Fragile future for US nuclear power, explores the diminishing role of the nuclear energy industry and President Trump’s efforts to roll back regulations in the coal industry.

The Matthew B. Ridgway Center recently hosted leading terrorism experts Dr. Marc Sageman, M.D., and Dr. Martha Crenshaw, for a panel discussion on combating terrorism in the U.S. moderated by Dr. Michael Kenney, interim director of the center. 

Associate Professor Shanti Gamper-Rabindran presented one of two keynote speeches at the annual meeting of the Italian Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. The conference was organized by and held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata. Gamper-Rabindran spoke about the political and legal institutions in energy transition: the case of shale in the US. Her presentation described how US political and legal institutions, beyond market factors such as high expected gas prices, facilitated shale expansion. 

GSPIA Dean John Keeler recently traveled to Colombia with Chancellor Patrick Gallagher, members from the University Center for International Studies, and UPMC to meet with President Juan Manuel Santos, as well as representatives from the University of Los Andes, to form a deeper partnership in education and health care.

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