For Immediate Release
March 8, 2022
Karen Garrett
Chief of Communications & Marketing
(202) 585-4313

ASPA Announces Initiatives to Advance Equity, Democracy, Global Engagement

Washington, D.C.
- The American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) is pleased to announce the launch of three new initiatives at its 2022 Annual Conference, taking place in Jacksonville, Fla., March 18-22. These initiatives are a Center for Social Equity, a Center for Democracy and a presidential committee to examine international scholarly engagement.

The Center for Social Equity, to be named after H. George Frederickson, a pioneer of social equity in public administration, will develop an initial package of tools to advance the center’s work; encourage ongoing work to create a repository of current actions within public administration toward social equity; and facilitate relationships with ASPA Chapters and Sections to encourage their participation. The Center’s Advisory Committee is co-chaired by Michael Massiah (retired, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey) and Rosemary O’Leary (professor, University of Kansas), who are joined by a number of distinguished academics and practitioners chosen to scope out and further refine the center’s initiatives.

The Center for Democracy will serve as the home for ASPA’s programming related to national public service and democratic ideals. Its work will include producing advocacy statements related to good governance; generating research on public administration’s role in advancing democracy; identifying practices that enhance and undermine democracy; and taking positions about issues related to democratic values. The Center’s Advisory Committee is co-chaired by Valerie Lemmie (director of exploratory research, Kettering Foundation) and Tina Nabatchi (professor, Syracuse University).

The presidential committee, established to review international scholarly engagement between public service organizations and nondemocratic governments, will analyze current challenges and develop guidelines to assist with future interactions. Goals for the committee include creating forums for conversations about this subject; suggesting a framework for thinking about engagement that identifies the values at stake and ways in which these values may collide in practice; and suggesting ways in which academic organizations can integrate human rights concerns into their decisionmaking processes as they pertain to international engagement. The committee is co-chaired by Mary Lee Rhodes (professor, Trinity University) and Alasdair Roberts (professor, University of Massachusetts—Amherst).

The advisory committees for each of these initiatives will hold open discussions at the Annual Conference, inviting participation from attendees to provide their perspectives for the work as it begins. More details about each of these efforts will be released in the weeks following the conference.

ASPA encourages participation in the relevant sessions:

  • The Presidential Committee on International Scholarly Engagement will host its brainstorming session at a Presidential Panel, Saturday, March 19 at 11:00 a.m.: “International Scholarly Engagement: Protecting Core Values.”
  • Advisory Committee Co-Chair Tina Nabatchi will host a brainstorming session for the Center for Democracy during a Presidential Panel, Sunday, March 20 at 3:30 p.m.: “Defending Democracy.”
  • Advisory Committee Co-Chairs Michael Massiah and Rosemary O’Leary will host a brainstorming session for the Center for Social Equity during a Presidential Panel, Monday, March 21 at Noon: “The H. George Frederickson Center for Social Equity: A Roundtable Event.” 
Several other Presidential Panels and plenaries at the conference also will speak to these important conversations. Visit the Annual Conference website to view a full schedule and learn more about all of the events taking place in Jacksonville.

ASPA is the leading interdisciplinary public service organization that advances the art, science, teaching and practice of public and nonprofit administration. Learn more at