The University of New Mexico School of Public Administration (SPA) is adding another accolade to its long list of accomplishments. The School was recently re-accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) for a full six years.

With top tier institutions around the country creating dedicated public affairs colleges and schools, UNM’s affordable, accessible and comprehensive program is addressing the growing need for strong public administrators in the Southwest.

“We’re very proud of the program and the contributions our alumni are making to the state and region,” said Bruce Perlman, director of UNM School of Public Administration. “The UNM SPA continues to punch way above its weight, and this reaccreditation affirms that our program is a very competitive option for people seeking careers in public service.”   

UNM SPA joins only about 200 programs around the world carrying the NASPAA endorsement. Standards and competencies have to be met in order to achieve the accreditation and UNM SPA was assessed on the following areas as aims of student education:

  1. Lead and Manage in Public Governance;
  2. Participate in and contribute to the public policy process;
  3. Analyze, synthesize, think creatively, solve problems, and make decisions;
  4. Articulate and apply public service perspectives; and
  5. Communicate and interact productively with a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry

The standards were evaluated by the NASPAA Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation (COPRA). The process combines a program self-study, review by the Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation and a multi-day campus visit by a COPRA-appointed site visit team. According to NASPAA’s  website, of the total number of programs eligible to participate in COPRA peer review, 206 programs at 188 schools (59% of member institutions) were accredited. Although some institutions were told to improve on certain standards, UNM SPA was reaccredited until 2026 with no additional monitoring.

“Really what this shows is that our faculty and staff are doing an outstanding job providing for our students and are bringing their best to the table,” Perlman explained.

The UNM School of Public Administration has a national and international reputation and was one of the first programs in the nation to achieve accreditation. More than 50 years after its inception, it continues to bring recognition to UNM. Nearly 2,000 people have received master’s degrees in Public Administration (MPA) and - since 2013 – in Health Administration (MHA) from the UNM SPA. Most continue to serve the public in federal, state, local, tribal and nonprofit agencies in managerial, policymaking and other leadership roles across New Mexico and the United States.