Deans Summit

The Deans Summit propels innovation among schools of public service and the field of public service education writ large.

Deans Summit
Deans Summit meeting 2021


The Deans Summit was founded out of a belief that broadening the reach and impact of public service education requires ingenuity and collaboration. The Deans Summit provides a space for deans and directors of the nation’s schools of public service to shed competitive posture in favor of collective action, and is a powerful vehicle to propel innovation among schools and the field of public service education writ large. 

As a collaborative network, schools of public service have the responsibility and wherewithal to influence the future of public service education. Deans Summit members worked together to identify collective principles that represent our shared values and guide future collaborative endeavors. Read the Statement of Values in full here.

2023 Priorities

The Deans Summit convenes annually to establish a set of collective priorities for the coming year. The following priorities are underway or under consideration for 2022-2023.

Susan Gooden at NASPAA

Addressing Structural Racism

Deans Summit members are exploring specific actions deans and directors can take to address structural racism on campus. This past year, the working group focused largely on understanding the racial makeup of faculty of schools of public service, specifically within leadership positions. Beyond assessing racial disparities within the field’s leadership, the group has sought to implement strategies to diversify the leadership pipeline into schools of public service. Subsequent areas of focus may include creating new networking opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds or establishing innovative antiracist programming. 

Co-chairs: Susan Gooden and David Van Slyke

Dean Defrancesco Soto speaking at podium

Leading Across Difference

At a time of hyper-polarization, political protest, and prevalent online debate, schools of public service are uniquely positioned to respond. This working group is exploring innovative, collaborative ways to leverage courses and programs at schools of public service that teach students to lead across personal and political divides.

Co-chairs: Victoria DeFrancesco Soto and Ramayya Krishnan

Dean Trevor Brown speaks to group of deans at NASPAA

Military Service to Public Service

Military service is a natural pathway into civilian public service and schools of public service stand ready to facilitate the transition. In constructing a military to civilian service pipeline, the field stands to gain a politically, socio-economically, and racially diverse group of students that embody public service values. In this working group, Deans Summit members are considering ways schools of public service can more effectively engage military and military-connected students in graduate and professional degree programs. 

Chair: Trevor Brown

Steering Committee Deans

Meet the Steering Committee

Carissa Slotterback, University of Pittsburgh, Chair

Matthew Auer, University of Georgia

Trevor Brown, The Ohio State University

Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, University of Arkansas

Susan Gooden, Virginia Commonwealth University

Ramayya Krishnan, Carnegie Mellon University

Ian Solomon, University of Virginia

David Van Slyke, Syracuse University

David Wilson, University of California, Berkeley

Deans Summit Active Members

American University

Old Dominion University

University of Central Florida

Arizona State University

Oregon State University 

University of Chicago

Baruch College

Pepperdine University

University of Connecticut

Binghamton University

Rutgers University- Newark

University of Delaware

Boise State University

Syracuse University

University of Houston

Boston University

Texas A&M University System

University of Illinois Chicago

Brandeis University

The Ohio State University

University of Kentucky

Carnegie Mellon University 

The Pennsylvania State University

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Cleveland State University

The University of Arizona

University of Michigan 

Columbia University 

The University of Georgia

University of Minnesota

Cornell University

The University of Kansas

University of Missouri

Duke University 

The University of New Mexico

University of Nebraska Omaha

Florida International University 

The University of Texas at Austin

University of Pittsburgh

George Mason University

The University of Texas at Dallas

University of Southern California

George Washington University

Thomas Edison State University

University of Virginia

Georgetown University

Tulane University

University of Washington

Georgia Institute of Technology 

University of Arkansas

University of Wisconsin- Madison

Indiana University Bloomington

University of Baltimore

Virginia Commonwealth University 

New York University

University of California, Berkley

William & Mary


University of California, Riverside




Deans Summit Initiatives

Through Deans Summit working groups, collaborative efforts and pilots evolve into freestanding spin-off programs. Three such initiatives have already taken shape.

Conversations for Leaders of Schools of Public Service

In conjunction with the Deans Summit, the Volcker Alliance hosts the Conversations for Leaders of Schools of Public Service series. Leaders of schools of public service surface and select conversation topics of interest; four to six conversations are hosted and facilitated by the Volcker Alliance each year. Previous topics have included: building partnerships with state legislatures, remote teaching and hybrid learning models, student activism and addressing student demands, and elevating offerings and expanding the reach of schools of public service.

Next Generation Service Corps

The Next Generation Service Corps (NextGen Service) is a national initiative that builds on the work of the Public Service Academy (PSA), established by Arizona State University. NextGen Service helps universities design and implement new undergraduate credential programs where students cultivate the values, nimble thinking, and collaborative leadership skills required for effective public service, regardless of their chosen discipline or major. The Volcker Alliance is committed to expanding NextGen Service to other interested universities, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other Minority Serving Institutions.

Future Leaders of Schools of Public Service

The Future Leaders of Schools of Public Service program provides networking and mentorship resources to people of color who are interested in exploring or pursuing academic leadership positions at schools of public service. The goal of the program is to cultivate a diverse cohort of aspiring leaders who can be tapped by university recruiters and colleagues as new leadership opportunities arise.

Working Groups and Membership

The Deans Summit membership convenes annually. To make progress between annual meetings, the chair, with guidance from the steering committee, organizes topically focused working groups. Working groups explore tactical ways schools of public service can innovate and advance select priorities through curricular reform, programmatic initiatives, on- and cross-campus activities, or external facing communications. Deans and directors volunteer to chair or co-chair working groups and are also supported by Volcker Alliance staff.  

Deans Summit membership is limited to one representative per university. The university representative should be the most senior leader in a standalone college of public service or a school of public service within a college. Deans Summit members should hold the title of “dean” or “director.” Members may not send proxies or substitutes to attend Deans Summit annual meetings. Deans or directors emeritus who previously chaired working groups may continue to participate.

Chair and Steering Committee

A member dean or director serves as chair of the Deans Summit and is supported by Volcker Alliance staff. The chair serves a two-year term with the option to extend their service for a second term. The chair is selected by the outgoing chair in consultation with the Volcker Alliance.  

Dean Carissa Slotterback of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburg currently serves as the chair of the Deans Summit. Dean Slotterback succeeds Dean Trevor Brown of the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University and founding chair Angela Evans, dean emeritus of the LBJ School at the University of Texas at Austin. The Volcker Alliance assists the chair with coordination, project management, facilitation, documentation, and other supporting activities related to the Deans Summit. 

The chair is supported by a steering committee of 8-12 Deans Summit members, appointed by the chair in consultation with the Volcker Alliance. The steering committee meets annually, typically over the summer, to reflect on progress, consider future priorities, and attend to any administrative or governance matters.