NYU Wagner and UCLA Present: The Social Justice Initiatives in Public Service Graduate Programs

Part I: Navigating Complex Conversations in the Era of Obama:
New Ways to Address Race and Inequality in Policy and Practice
March 20, 2009 and March 24, 2009

Two programs, one in Los Angeles followed by one in New York, brought together students, faculty, administrators, alumni, and community leaders to engage in day-long dialogues aimed at creating a space and a framework for conversations of sensitive social justice issues in the context of graduate education in public affairs, public policy, and public service. Graduate schools that serve public professions encourage research and teaching that calls attention to populations that are vulnerable, underrepresented, urban, and comprised of immigrants. Many of our schools seek to provide intellectual space for faculty and students to engage in productive conversations about ethnicity, gender, LGBT issues, human rights, and inequality. However, too many students report that our schools need to do more, even in the era of Obama, to prepare them with the necessary fluency on issues of race and inequality vital for their real world work on policy issues that affect these communities. These dialogues were part of an ongoing effort in our two schools to address this need.

Part II: Continuing the Conversation
March 11, 2011 at NYU Wagner and March 28, 2011 at UCLA

NYU Wagner and the UCLA School of Public Affairs continued our collective work on the Social Justice Initiative in Public Service Graduate Programs. Through regional dialogues on the East and West Coasts, we sought to develop an approach that helps students at schools like ours – the future leaders of public service in local, national and international contexts – understand and diminish the systemic, institutional and structural barriers to equality and equity in the U.S. and globally. We challenged ourselves and all the participants to continue this conversation far beyond the two days of the dialogues.

Wagner would like to thank the Ford Foundation for its generous support of this project.

For more information please contact Tracey Gardner - tracey.gardner@nyu.edu.

NASPAA Social Justice Curriculum Award

The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) Social Justice Curriculum Award, co‐sponsored by NYU Wagner and UCLA Luskin, is designed to promote the incorporation of a social justice lens in the core curriculum of NASPAA schools. This $1,000 award is given to a faculty member or faculty team that has developed a required core course that meets this objective.

Leadership, Diversity & Inclusion: Insights from Scholarship

By Sonia M. Ospina, Waad El Hadidy and Grisel Caicedo with Amanda Jones, April 2011

In a report released in partnership with National Urban Fellows, RCLA scholars examine recent research on leadership and diversity, with a focus on public service. They find that scholars are linking diversity with adaptability, arguing that learning how to build organizations that effectively leverage racial diversity can foster the leadership capacity to adapt to other kinds of diversity and thrive in an increasingly complex environment. Yet there is less agreement in the literature on just how to do that. Limited empirical research in the public service field has resulted in a dearth of evidence for what works, even two decades after the diversity agenda has become a focus for public service organizations.


Advancing Diversity and Inclusion in Public Service: A Review of Leadership Development Programs in the US

By Sonia M. Ospina, Waad El Hadidy and Grisel Caicedo with Amanda Jones, April 2011

One in three Americans are people of color, yet minorities occupy just one in six leadership positions in state and federal government, nonprofits and foundations. This RCLA report offers a listing of leadership development programs at the regional and national levels that are dedicated to supporting leaders of color, committed to diversity and open to all public service leaders, or that focus on diversity management.


Advancing Diversity and Inclusion in Public Service: A Guide to Leading Change

By the Research Center for Leadership in Action and National Urban Fellows, June 2011

While diversity has increased in the public service workforce, it is still largely lacking at senior levels. This guide from RCLA and National Urban Fellows shares practical steps for individuals and organizations to foster inclusion. The report highlights specific elements for developing an inclusive organization, questions to consider in tracking progress and NUF's new Inclusive Leadership Model.