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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.

UNM School of Public Administration 2016 Spring Convocation2015 SPA Convocation

Those planning on graduating in Spring or Summer 2016:  to be eligible to “Walk” in SPA’s Convocation Ceremony you must receive approval from your Pro-Paper Chair.  Please complete the form below and return to SPA: (Please add a link here that will take them to the attached form) Once we receive your approval form your Pro-Paper Chair you will receive an email confirmation from SPA staff.

  • 2016 SPA Convocation Ceremony
  • Friday, May 13, 2016 at 2:00pm
  • UNM Center for the Arts – Keller Hall

We request that graduates arrive no later than 1:30 p.m.  Academic Regalia for the Schools Convocation Ceremony is mandatory. You may order your regalia from the UNM Bookstore.  A reception will immediately follow the ceremony in the UNM Continuing Education Lobby.

If you are uncertain whether or not you have met the criteria to participate in SPA’s convocation ceremony, please contact Gene Henley at

For information on the 2016 SPA Convocation Ceremony, please contact Angela Kamman via email at or at (505) 277-5873.

UNM Graduate Commencement Ceremony

There will also be a Graduate Commencement Ceremony sponsored by the University Secretary Office.  It will take place in WisePies Arena aka The Pit at 6:00pm on Friday May 13, 2016.

If you plan on attending the Graduate Commencement Ceremony please sign up online at:  Once there click on Student Signup.  A UNM NetID will be required to sign up online.

For information on the 2016 Graduate Commencement Ceremony, please contact the Office of the University Secretary at or at (505) 277-4664.

Kun Huang Invited to Attend a Community Conversation with White House Director Botticelli 

Dr. Kun Huang

UNM School of Public Administration Associate Professor Kun Huang was invited to attend Whitehouse Office of National Drug Policy Director Michael P. Botticelli's conversation on the national prescription drug and heroine epidemic at the UNM Medical School next month. Botticelli is hosting community forums across the country focused on best practices and evidence-based initiatives to prevent and treat prescription drug abuse and heroin use. According to a statement on the White House website,  the These forums will serve as an opportunity to continue the conversation that President Obama began in West Virginia last year, where he announced new public and private sector efforts to address the opioid overdose epidemic. New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that overdose deaths associated with opioids increased significantly across the country in 2014.


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


SPA Portal


NMHE Scholarship Presentation

The information you need, when you need it - We're placing links to the UNM School of Public Administration pages you'll be accessing most right here, in a convenient column, to help you find what you're looking for as quickly as possible. This is a work in progress, so if you'd like to see anything added or feel something is missing, please let us know by simply clicking here.

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."