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Faculty Accomplishments

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.

Dr. Uday Desai Joins NASPAA's Executive Council

desai-webCongratulations to Professor Uday Desai for being appointed to NASPAA’s Executive Council for a three-year term.

NASPAA's twofold mission is to ensure excellence in education and training for public service and to promote the ideal of public service. NASPAA is the membership association of graduate programs in public administration, public policy, and public affairs. NASPAA’s Comission on Peer Review and Accreditation is the specialized accreditor of these master degree programs.

If you would like more information on NASPAA, please visit:

Dr. Agustin Leon-Moreta Earns Prestigious Award from the American Political Science Association

Dr. Leon-MoretaDr. Leon-Moreta won the prestigious 2016 Paul Volcker Endowment Junior Scholar Research Grant through the  Centennial Center for Political Science and Public Affairs  of the American Political Science Association. 

The grant will be used to support his project: "Inequality and the Quality of Local Government in the United States."

Congratulations UNM School of Public Administration Class of 2016!

2016 Graduation

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,,  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 Fall semester:

MPA FALL 2016      MHA FALL 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 Stitleman
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."