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SPA Student Newsletter

SPA Student Newsletter

Welcome to the School of Public Administration

Welcome to the School of Public Administration (SPA) at the University of New Mexico. Founded in 1969 under the leadership of former UNM president, Dr. Ferrel Heady, the school provides a solid academic foundation to prepare students for leadership and management positions in the public and non-profit sectors. From public management and organizational behavior, to public policy evaluation and health policy and management - our faculty provide insights into the numerous challenges facing our society and government and how they can best be managed.

SPA’s students come from diverse backgrounds - some from years of professional work experience, some are recent college graduates, and others are mid-career professionals interested in advancing in their current positions or exploring new career opportunities. Our students pride themselves in fostering debate on important issues, encouraging one another, and creating a vibrant learning environment. 

We invite you to explore our website and learn about our professional administration programs.

Rivera, Martin Named 6th Annual Luminaria Award Recipients

Dr. Mario Rivera

The UNM School of Public Administration saw two of its own recognized for their contributions to diversity, equity, inclusion or social justice Tuesday. 

SPA Regents’ Professor, Dr. Mario Rivera, and student Texanna Martin were selected by UNM’s Division for Equity and Inclusion (DEI) as recipients of its 6th Annual Luminaria Awards. The duo received the awards at an award luncheon in the UNM Student Union Building on Tuesday, Dec. 1.

According to the DEI, the Luminaria Awards recognize individuals and organizations that light the path in areas of diversity, equity, inclusion or social justice. Their commitment can be evident in recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups; teaching, research and/or service; multicultural or cultural awareness programming; social justice organizing, community outreach or other similar activities. Texanna Martin

Recipients of the Luminaria Awards demonstrate an exemplary commitment to addressing diversity, equity, inclusion, or social justice at the University of New Mexico or in New Mexico; emerging or long-term commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion or social justice effort goes above and beyond the routine expectations of the job or project; provide evidence to support the contribution the individual(s) or unit has made in advancing diversity, equity, inclusion or social justice.

Wilkinson Receives New Mexico Humanitarian Award 

UNM SPA Graduate Assistant Sarah Wilkinson

UNM School of Public Administration Graduate Assistant Sarah Wilkinson is one of a number of New Mexicans selected as 2015 recipients of the New Mexico Humanitarian Awards.

The awards program was established in 2008 by the Jewish Community Center of Greater Albuquerque to honor people who have embodied an outstanding spirit of humanity in a local, national, or international capacity.

Wilkinson, the founder of Global One to One, formerly Project PeacePal, a nonprofit she started in 2007 that cultivates cross-cultural understanding and communication between students around the world. Over the past eight years, nearly 14,000 students in 25 countries have participated in the program.

Wilkinson’s vision throughout this nearly decade-long effort has been to build a network of people who better understand each other and who can therefore better solve global issues together.

“She has been a strong, compassionate leader who has, as a New Mexican, become a “global humanitarian,” influencing lives and communities all over the world,” JCC executive director David Simon said.

Wilkinson, who received her her B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Illinois, is also an Adjunt Professor at UNM’s Peace and Justice study program.

Also honored were Rick Davis, CEO of R.E. Davis & Companies; Alice Loy, the co-founder of Creative Startups and a principal at the Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship; Alan and Diane Chodorow; and Stu Simon and the Storehouse Annex Food Pantry Volunteers.

“From affordable housing advocates to entrepreneurial job creators to global advocates for cross-cultural understanding, this is a fantastic group of New Mexicans who deserve our recognition and thanks,” Simon said. “They have made New Mexico, and the world, a better place through their humanitarian efforts.” 

Dr. Roli Varma Recognized by National Center for Women & Information Technology

R Varma

UNM School of Public Administration professor, Dr. Roli Varma, has been recognized by the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) for her contributions to the organization. Dr. Varma, a senior faculty member at the SPA, serves as member of NCWIT’s Social Science Advisory Board.

 “As an NCWIT Change Leader, Roli Varma has volunteered precious time to advance our collective mission,” NCWIT CEO and co-founder Lucinda M. Sanders said. “We appreciate (Dr.) Varma’s continued involvement with NCWIT and express our deep gratitude for (SPA’s) organizational commitment to increasing the meaningful participation of girls and women in computing.”

 The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is a non-profit change leader network of more than 650 universities, companies, non-profits, and government organizations nationwide working to increase women’s meaningful participation in computing. NCWIT equips change leaders with resources and platforms for taking action in recruiting, retaining, and advancing women from K-12 and higher education through industry entrepreneurial careers.

 Dr. Varma is professor and Regents' Lecturer in the School of Public Administration. She teaches graduate courses on research methods, public policy, and diversity management. She teaches a core undergraduate course, Technology in Society, for the School of Engineering as well.

Dr. Varma's research focuses on women and minorities in information technology, Asian immigrants in the science and engineering workforce, the management of industrial research, and professional ethics. Dr. Varma's research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the Sloan Foundation. She is the author of Harbingers of Global Change: India's Techno-Immigrants in the United States (2006, 2007) and Managing Industrial Research Effectively (2006).



Click on the following links to view Master of Public Administration and Master of Health Administration course schedules for the coming Spring semester:

MPA Spring 2016        MHA SPRING 2016


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New SPA Director Dr. Felipe Gonzales

SPA Welcomes New Director Dr. Phillip (Felipe) Gonzales 

The University of New Mexico School of Public Administration (SPA) has a new director. Dr. Phillip (Felipe) Gonzales was appointed by Dr. Mark Peceny, Dean of Arts and Sciences, as the Director of the School of Public Administration on Friday, Aug. 21, 2015. Dr. Gonzales began his two-year term on Sept. 1.

 Dr. Gonzales returned to his native New Mexico after earning his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley in 1985 to join UNM’s Department of Sociology.  In his distinguished career at UNM, Dr. Gonzales has served as the Director of the Southwest Hispanic Research Institute, Chair of the Department of Sociology, and as Senior Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences.  

A scholar of race and ethnicity, social movements, and Latino studies, Dr. Gonzales has recently completed a 1300 page book manuscript that presents a comprehensive political and social history of New Mexico, entitled Política:  Nuevomexicanos and American Political Incorporation, 1821-1871, which is in production at the University of Nebraska Press.

“I am very pleased to announce that Dr. Phillip (Felipe) Gonzales has agreed to serve as the next Director of the School of Public Administration,” Dr. Peceny commented. “Please join me in thanking Dr. Gonzales for his willingness to take on this leadership role and in welcoming him to Public Administration.”

Dr. Gonzales is the 12th SPA director since the School’s inception in 1969.

UNM School of Public Administration Directors
1969 – Dr. Albert H. Rosenthal
1971 - Dr. David R. Jones (Acting)
1974 - Dr. Leonard Stitelman
1981 - Dr. T. Zane Reeves
1987 - Dr. F. Lee Brown
1993 - Dr. Bruce Perlman (Interim)
1996 - Dr. Alistair Preston
1997 - Dr. T. Zane Reeves
2001 - Dr. Kenneth Baker
2004 - Dr. Bruce Perlman
2006 - Dr. Lee Brown (Interim)
2007 - Dr. Uday Desai
2012– Dr. Amy Wohlert (Acting)
2014 – Dr. Mario Rivera (Interim)
2015 – Dr. Phillip (Felipe) Gonzales

SPA a national leader: NASPAA congratulates SPA for "stand-out practices for diversity."