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About GSPIA

Helping shape the next generation of forward-thinking leaders.

Donald Stone Quote Donald Stone Quote

More than ever, we need determined leaders who are ready to make a difference.

We are a professional school with a diverse, cultured community of faculty, staff, students and alumni. We believe in our ability to make the world a better place. Here, we help students hone their passions into purposeful direction and action. As part of the University of Pittsburgh, we’re a leader in education, a pioneer in research and a partner in regional development—as well as one of the oldest institutions of higher education in the United States.

Throughout its history, we have created a legacy that inspires graduates to make public institutions better, create a higher quality of government and promote social responsibility throughout the world.

A Message from the Dean

As we celebrate our 60th anniversary this year, our founding dean, Donald Stone, would be proud to know that, in the 2018 U.S. News rankings for public affairs, we are one of only four policy schools—and the only public university school—ranked in the top 20 for international/global policy and administration and for local government management. Moreover, GSPIA is ranked first among public university schools and seventh overall in the specialization that reflects our major focus, international/global policy and administration.

It’s emblematic of our “local to global” distinction that, in January 2018, two GSPIA alumni were serving respectively as mayor of Pittsburgh (Bill Peduto, MPPM ’11) and as the Allegheny County executive’s chief of staff (Jennifer Liptak, MPA ’98), while two other GSPIA alumni (Eric Whitaker, MPA ’84, and David Reimer, MPIA ’85) were appointed as U.S. ambassadors.

Such rankings and successes are gratifying, but all of us at GSPIA recognize that, in the very competitive world of academia, we must always be striving to improve our programs. In that spirit, we have made a concerted effort in recent years to enhance our leadership programs. We have long offered a course on leadership for our two-year degree students and, beginning several years ago, have also offered such a course for online MPPM students.

In addition, for the past decade, the award-winning director of our Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership, Prof. Kevin Kearns, has been running an innovative extracurricular Leadership Portfolio Program to select students who are willing to devote more than a year to a variety of leadership activities, including service as a voting member on the board of a local nonprofit organization. These LPP students also work with Kearns annually to identify and honor “emerging leaders” and a nationally known “exemplary leader,” the latter of whom becomes the subject of a case study written principally by the students.

Last year, Kearns added the Frances Hesselbein Leadership Forum to the Johnson Institute and initiated a new slate of programs to complement our other offerings. Foremost among these is a specialized Hesselbein Forum Leadership Program in International Affairs, directed by Julia Santucci, senior lecturer at GSPIA—who was formerly a senior advisor to the ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues at the State Department, Egypt director at the National Security Council in the White House, and a leadership analyst focused on the Middle East at the CIA.

Prospective students are encouraged to join us and benefit from the wide range of leadership programs at GSPIA.

Best regards,

John T.S. Keeler
Dean, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs