As I begin my 17th year with SPEA, and my first as executive associate dean in Indianapolis, my thoughts about the academic year ahead continue to revolve around two words: continuity and change.
I started my career in higher education as the criminal justice program coordinator at IPFW, and I have stayed with SPEA since, because I fundamentally believe in the core values that make SPEA a universally respected institution.
The change element comes, obviously, because I am in a new role and this presents me with a chance to take a fresh look at everything. Anytime you have a change in administration, it is an opportunity to be sure that we are leveraging our activities to the greatest possible benefit for our students and the community. We have a wonderful resource in the staff, faculty, and students, and I believe that whatever challenges we face, our common public-service orientation places us in a position of strength to succeed.
Our programs, too, are well-positioned to help our graduates address the pressing public policy issues we face as a society, whether it’s the environment, the role of nonprofits, or the opioid epidemic that’s gripping many of our communities. Though we live in a challenging time, the degrees that we are conferring and the research we are doing are designed to help students and policymakers meet those challenges head-on.
I have a lot of optimism about SPEA’s ability to navigate the complex world ahead. We have top-notch students, and our alums are carrying on the tradition of engaging in important political and public policy issues. They are truly making a difference locally, nationally, and globally.
I’m excited to have Suzann Lupton in the role of assistant dean, taking the lead on student services, diversity promotion, and undergraduate public affairs education. Over the past several years we have devoted considerable attention to enhancing diversity and our entire team will continue to focus on making SPEA a welcoming place for all students, staff, and faculty.
It’s an honor for me to join all of SPEA’s alumni in supporting the school’s critical role of educating students who Major in Making a Difference.