Check out the newest Retrospective Newsletter and see what SPA has been up to!

SPA Retrospective Newsletter

Student Briefs

March 23rd 
Brian Vineyard
UNM ROTC senior student success specialist, Brian Vineyard (MPA Candidate), recently was honored by the Air Force ROTC Southwest Region with its University Civilian of the Quarter award. Nominated by Lt. Col. Neal B. Kleinschmidt, UNM Air Force ROTC commanding officer, Vineyard was recognized for his outstanding contributions to the three UNM ROTC detachments and his work with Animal Humane Association (AHA). He’s plotted 200 degree plans for cadets and midshipmen with a hundred percent on-time graduation rate; teaches a university financial literacy class and has streamlined the class registration process for cadets and midshipmen; and volunteers at the AHA of New Mexico Thrift Store. Winning this award makes Vineyard one of the four top civilian finalists in the nationwide Air Force ROTC University Civilian of the Quarter.

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Welcome to the School of Public Administration

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.


SPA Spotlights

MPA Students Join 2017 NASPAA-BATTEN Student Simulation Competition

On February 25, nearly 400 graduate students in public policy and management from around the world traveled to eight university locations to compete in a one-day immersive computer simulation that challenged them to advance global food security. Students were divided into two worlds, where they bonded as members of staff of a fictional global non-governmental organization (NGO). They analyzed data, made policy proposals, reacted the computer simulation results, drafted memos with recommendations, and presented their strategy recommendations to teams of local site judges.

UNM MPA Students

The School of Public Administration was able to send three MPA students, pictured right, (L-R: Shruthi Nadig, Zlata Nourie, NASPAA Director of Membership David Marshall, and Jazzai Jimerson) to Arizona State University in Phoenix to participate in the site’s student simulation competition. "We had an opportunity to contribute our ideas and efforts to help solve regional food security problems. It was a very busy day, but so rewarding!" Nourie commented. Remarkably, the Arizona State World One site team won the regional level, which Nadig and Nourie collaborated with. Super judges noted the team's excellent visual presentation.

“The School of Public Administration is proud that three of its students represented UNM so excellently at the recent NASPAA Student Simulation Competition. We hope to make such participation a tradition of our program,” said SPA Director, Felipe Gonzales.   

MPA Program Makes Top 50 in the Nation for 2017

One of the University of New Mexico’s School of Public Administration master's programs is being hailed one of the best in the country.

According to the website “Top Management Degrees,”  the MPA program is #42 in the nation. The ranking touts the School of Public Administration’s intensive curriculum, its numerous accreditations and recognitions as more than 1,500 UNM students have received Master's in Public Administration (MPA) degrees. It is one of the largest graduate programs on UNM’s campus and the only School of Public Administration in the state of New Mexico. It offers two master’s programs: Public Administration and Health Administration.

“It is very gratifying to get this national recognition as we do a fine job of training and graduating our students,” said SPA Director, Dr. Felipe Gonzales.


apply to unm

Review admission requirements for the MHA or the MPA program and submit your online applications by April 1st (Domestic applicants)

In your senior year and/or graduating with a Bachelor's of Liberal Arts? Save time and money by applying to the BLA/MPA Shared-Credit Program for Fall 2017 by April 15th (Domestic applicants). Review MPA admission requirements and submit your online MPA application today! 

Not going to make the Fall semester deadline? Learn more about our non-degree policy and petition to enroll into core MPA classes! 

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Alum Tidbits

January 23rd
David Campbell
David Campbell (MPA ’81, JD ’86) is the recipient of UNM Alumni Association's prestigious James F. Zimmerman Award for the 2017 Winter Awards. Campbell has had a long and distinguished career filled with contributions to the community, New Mexico, the University and the world. After a lifetime of service to New Mexico, Campbell joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 2011. He served as vice consul at the U.S. Consulate General in Guayaquil, Ecuador and as political officer for the U.S. Embassy in Mauritius and Seychelles. Currently, Campbell is serving as East Africa Affairs desk officer at U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C.

Stephen Ciepiela
Stephen Ciepiela (BA ’77, MPA ’80) is the UNM Alumni Association's 2017 Winter Awards recipient for the Erna S. Fergusson Award. President of Charles Stephen, a firm he co-founded in 1983, Ciepiela is at the helm of one of the oldest and largest independent financial planning firms in New Mexico. One of the first 75 Certified Financial Planners in the United States, he has been a recipient of many honors and awards including being chosen by his peers in a special issue of “Money Magazine” as one of the top 200 financial planners in the country. Ciepiela also is a successful author, writing “When A Partner Dies.” Currently, he is writing “Going Part Time – The New Exit Strategy.” 

December 22nd (2016)
Rick Snider and Ron Aldrich
Rick Snider (MPA ’15) was appointed as county administrator in March 2016 and was responsible for the evaluation of performance and strategic options for a troubled county nursing home in Champaign County, IL (one of the ten largest counties in Illinois) in late December“I never thought I’d be applying my healthcare knowledge so soon after graduating, but the coursework has proven invaluable,” Snider commented. “My work at the SPA enabled me to attain this position as county administrator. More importantly, I appreciate the relationships with UNM upon which I am now able to draw to help formulate a solution.”

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