Diversity at Rutgers SPAA

Since its inception in 2006, the School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) has promoted racial, geographic, and gender diversity and the school has had a clear and sustained commitment to reflect the ethnic and cultural variety of the Rutgers University-Newark population (the most diverse in the country), the City of Newark, and the State of New Jersey.

From Spring 2016 Diversity Report

Under Founding Dean Marc Holzer’s leadership – and following the lead of the campus overall – SPAA has become one of the most diverse Public Affairs schools in the nation. According to the most recent report from NASPAA – the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration – (SPAA’s main accreditation agency), 35% of students in accredited schools are persons of diversity. The same figure for SPAA is 67%, nearly twice as many. Relative to the average accredited school, SPAA also has more women.  

From the beginning of the Public Administration PhD program, there has been a consistent focus on opening opportunities for underrepresented populations and women. Forty-four percent of domestic doctoral candidates in the school since 2011 have been Black, Non-Hispanic. Female students have consistently comprised over sixty percent of the MPA enrollment, and have averaged two-thirds of the undergraduate student body since SPAA’s founding.

  • Of domestic BA students (2011-15 average), 45% are African-American, Non-Hispanic; 18% are Hispanic, Non-Puerto Rican; 16% are Asian; 13% are White, Non-Hispanic; and 5% are Puerto Rican.
  • Of domestic MPA students (2015-16 Average), 41% are African-American, Non-Hispanic; 29% are White, Non-Hispanic; 13% Hispanic; and 7% Asian.
  • Of domestic PhD students, (2011-15 Average), 44% are African-American, Non-Hispanic; 30% are White, Non-Hispanic; 8% are Puerto Rican; and 7% are Asian.

Overall, non-whites have received 28 percent of the doctorates in public administration given by Rutgers University-Newark. They have graduated from SPAA and gone on to outstanding

  • One student developed the first master’s program in public policy and administration in the Dominican Republic (along with Dean Holzer); she then developed the Hispanic Students Moving Forward/Pa’lante program, which seeks to improve higher education outcomes for low income Hispanic high school students in the U.S., before becoming Director of Penn State Harrisburg’s School of Public Affairs.
  • Another now teaches at the Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University; she is also a widely-published author whose research lies in examining the recruitment and retention patterns of the military, particularly as they pertain to women and underrepresented populations; gender equity; civil rights; and the health and healthcare disparities of certain vulnerable and veterans’ groups.
  • A SPAA doctoral alumna is an Associate Professor and Director of Public Administration Graduate Programs at North Carolina State University.  She received the NCSU Chancellor's Creating Community for Outstanding Faculty Award in 2013, and the Conference of Minority Public Administrators (COMPA) Public Service Award for 2008.  
  • Another SPAA PhD is a professor at University of California San Bernardino; he is also the managing editor of the Journal of Public Management and Social Policy, the official journal of the COMPA section of the American Society for Public Administration.

SPAA has also been a leader in the development of top quality online programs, including a traditional MPA, and most recently, the Global Executive Online Master of Public Administration (GEOMPA), which will offer SPAA’s Executive MPA curriculum to students worldwide. Broadening SPAA’s reach to those who could not otherwise obtain an MPA will only help to increase the school’s diversity.  

Faculty & Staff
SPAA’s faculty and staff are also quite diverse. Thirty-five percent of SPAA’s tenure-track faculty lines are filled by non-whites,  19% are Black, Non-Hispanic and 40% are women. Of SPAA’s core faculty, 48% are women and 36% are non-white. Of SPAA’s administrative staff, over 50% are women and over 50% are non-white. Hourly employees from underrepresented populations have consistently been promoted to leadership positions within SPAA.

Based on preliminary results from a 2016 survey on diversity sent to SPAA faculty, staff and students, the School is seen as very diverse.

  • 92% of respondents agree that SPAA has a diverse student population.
  • 75% agree that SPAA faculty and staff reflect the diversity of the communities they serve.


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