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SPA Programs Lauded in Reaccreditation

This summer, the School of Public Affairs (SPA) confirmed its high standing in the world of public affairs when its two largest degree programs were reaccredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA).

It’s a voluntary step, and not one pursued by all public affairs programs. But it’s a process that almost all of the country’s top programs and schools, including AU, choose to go through, noted SPA dean William LeoGrande.

The master of public administration and master of public policy degree programs were reaccredited after the rigorous two-year process of evaluation. The Key Executive Leadership MPA is also in the midst of its reaccreditation process.

While accreditation by NASPAA is not required, the evaluation “is a quality check by external evaluators, so it’s helpful for us. It forces us to take a close look at programs every few years to make sure we’re at the cutting edge of the discipline, and it’s a good way to make us look at that on a set timetable, so that has real value,” LeoGrande said. “Bringing in external people to give feedback on your programs is helpful.”

AU was 14th among public affairs schools in the 2009 US News and World Report graduate school rankings, with its master’s in public administration ranking sixth in the nation. Its continuous NASPAA accreditation is a further sign to top students of the school’s quality, LeoGrande noted.

“The report from the site visit team was very laudatory,” he said. “They really complimented us on quality of the faculty, the quality of the program, and the enthusiasm of our students. So we were very pleased.”