November 26, 2012

Professor Steven Cohen, professor in the practice of public affairs at SIPA and executive director of the Earth Institute, was elected to a three-year term on the executive council of NASPAA at its recent annual conference in Austin, Texas.

NASPAA is the membership organization of graduate education programs in public administration, public policy, public affairs, and public and nonprofit management. The organization comprises more than 280 universities in the United States and abroad.

Cohen previously served on NASPAA's executive council from 1993 to 1995. In nominating Cohen for another term, SIPA dean Robert Lieberman wrote that "Steve’s important work, both at SIPA and at the Earth Institute, fostering curricula on the most crucial environmental policy and management issues future leaders face clearly show his commitment to public service and the advancement of public affairs education.

“In every way imaginable, “ Lieberman added, “Steve has not only demonstrated leadership in the field of public management but also shown incredible entrepreneurial skill in the academic environment.” Cohen’s prior experience, the dean continued, “make him ideally suited to advance the work of implementing its accreditation standards, enhancing its data collection and analysis, and nurturing access to federal hiring of graduates.”

Cohen has also served on multiple NASPAA committees and continues to make extensive contributions to the organization’s accreditation process as a site visitor. According to Laurel McFarland, NASPAA’s executive director, Cohen “has probably racked up as many miles as anyone at NASPAA on site visits. He’s been to the four corners of the United States on our behalf — to Washington, D.C., Southern Maine, Arizona State, IU-Bloomington, Syracuse… and those are just the most recent trips!”

This record of service to NASPAA “is not a published paper or something you see on a formal C.V., but it’s been a huge contribution to the field,” she added.

McFarland met with Cohen, Dean Robert Lieberman and other faculty and administrators on a visit to SIPA last summer. “One of the important things I learned about was the SIPA’s efforts to engage with the community of schools of public administration and policy across the country,” she said.

SIPA has become more active in the NASPAA in recent years, taken steps to engage with peers and helping to move the whole field forward. “I think Steve serving on the council is another indicator of SIPA’s intention to be a leader in the community,” McFarland added.

Cohen was modest about the appointment: “I don’t think anyone nominated has ever been voted down.” But he also said he looked forward to serving again.

“I think one of the things NASPAA is in the midst of doing is trying to expand to be a global enterprise,” Cohen said. “SIPA is the leader in global public policy, and with NASPAA working to become more global this is a good time for SIPA to play a greater leadership role, both for us and for the organization.”

— posted November 27