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Office of the Provost | Communications


Office of the Provost
Fax: 202-885-2173
Leonard, Room Lower Level

Bass, Scott A.

Office of the Provost
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016-8061

August 23, 2011

 TO:  American University Faculty and Staff
 FROM:  Scott A. Bass, Provost
 SUBJECT:  Dean of the School of Public Affairs


William M. LeoGrande, dean of the School of Public Affairs (SPA), has informed me that he will step down at the end of this academic year as dean and return to the faculty in the fall of 2013 following a sabbatical.

Dean LeoGrande was appointed as dean in 2003 after having served as interim dean for three years. During his tenure, SPA solidified its position as one of the leading public affairs schools in the United States and experienced growth in its faculty, student body, and programs. Under Dean LeoGrande’s leadership, SPA’s full-time faculty increased from 51 to 71, and support for faculty research increased markedly. He supported the creation of new research centers and institutes, including the Center for Environmental Policy, the Center for Public Finance Research, the Washington Institute for Public and International Affairs Research, and the Women and Politics Institute. These new centers along with the school’s established research centers have built SPA’s reputation as a nexus for the study of politics and policy and as a venue in which scholars and policy-makers can come together to discuss important policy issues.

With Dean LeoGrande’s support, SPA led the university in the development of innovative executive education programs. The Key Executive Leadership Masters in Public Administration program was lauded by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) site team during its recent accreditation visit for setting the standard for executive education. The Key Executive Leadership Certificate program, launched during the dean’s inaugural year, has grown to enroll over 300 students annually.

Alumni participation and development activity in the school has also grown significantly during Dean LeoGrande’s tenure. Expanding the membership of the Dean’s Advisory Council, he added key alumni leaders and public sector professionals to provide SPA advice across a broad range of issues. He established twelve new endowed scholarships for SPA undergraduate and graduate students, two new research awards for faculty, and the Jonathan N. Helfat endowed professorship. Annual alumni giving between 2002 and 2010 more than tripled, and SPA’s alumni participation rate in annual giving is one of the highest in the university.

Beyond SPA, Dean LeoGrande has played an important leadership role in the university’s academic planning and administration. In recent years, he served on university-wide search committees for the president, dean of the Kogod School of Business, and director of the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies. In addition, he chaired both the dean of academic affairs and vice provost search committees.

Of his dedicated service, President Kerwin said:

“For more than a decade, Bill LeoGrande provided exceptional leadership to the School of Public Affairs. His accomplishments are many and important. During his time as dean he worked tirelessly to create the conditions that allowed SPA faculty to produce an impressive record of scholarship and important professional achievements as well as carry on a long tradition of exceptional instruction and mentoring of students, while the school maintained strong enrollments and enhanced its visibility, reputation and stature. He can take great pride in what he and SPA have accomplished and he has earned the gratitude and respect of every member of the American University community.”

Dean LeoGrande is an internationally recognized scholar in comparative politics and Latin American studies whose views on U.S. policy toward Latin America, Cuba and Central America, are frequently solicited by Congress, the executive branch, and the broader policy community. As AU’s Scholar/Teacher of the Year in 1989, he exemplifies the scholar/ teacher ideal by continuing to teach in the University Honors Program while maintaining an active research agenda and record of publication during his deanship.

A national search for a new dean will be initiated as soon as possible. Details about the search and announcement of an event celebrating Dean LeoGrande’s contributions will be shared at a later date.

Please join me in thanking Dean LeoGrande for his many years of service to SPA and to AU. We look forward to his continued leadership this coming academic year.