Future Leaders of Schools of Public Service

The goal of the Future Leaders of Schools of Public Service program is to create more racially and ethnically diverse leadership in schools of public service. 

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The goal of the Future Leaders of Schools of Public Service program is to create more racially and ethnically diverse leadership in schools of public service. The program advances this goal in three primary ways: 

  1. Provides a range of networking and mentorship resources to colleagues from underrepresented backgrounds (URB) who are interested in exploring or pursuing academic leadership positions at schools of public service.
  2. Identifies and engages URB colleagues who may not be actively pursuing leadership positions by providing a welcoming and safe space to explore a leadership career path.
  3. Cultivates a diverse cohort of aspiring leaders that can be approached by search committees and university recruiters as new leadership opportunities open.

The program is co-chaired by Matthew Auer, dean of the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia; Nisha Botchwey, dean of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota; and Carissa Slotterback, dean of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh.

Who is eligible to participate as mentees in the Future Leaders of Schools of Public Service program? Do mentees need to be nominated or invited to join?

Program participants are current BIPOC tenured faculty or administrators at schools of public service or related academic posts. Mentees who currently hold faculty positions have reached the associate professor level or higher. Participants hail from all stages of the exploration process, from those still deciding whether they want to pursue leadership positions, to those who are ready to apply to open leadership opportunities.  

To enlist the inaugural class of mentees, working group co-chairs actively recruited individuals who were nominated by Deans Summit members. The co-chairs reviewed candidate bios and extended invitations to encourage participation in the pilot year. Mentee candidates who were interested in participating were asked to submit a brief statement of interest to help shape responsive programming and activities.

What kinds of activities and resources does the program offer for mentees?

The program hosts and curates a range of activities for participants including:

  • In-person networking events at industry events such as NASPAA, APPAM, and ASPA conferences.
  • Quarterly virtual trainings and conversations highlighting aspects of applying to leadership positions and succeeding in leadership roles. Virtual events include “guest speakers” such as current and former provosts, chancellors, or presidents.
  • One-on-one mentorship opportunities with current or former deans and directors outside of mentees’ home universities.
  • Access to a directory of new and experienced deans and directors who are “at the ready” to serve as a professional development sounding board.
  • Opportunities for mentees to convene as a cohort to share experiences and network with peers.
  • Routine email communications to share resources and foster program engagement.

Who is eligible to serve as mentors in the Future Leaders of Schools of Public Service program? Do mentors need to be nominated or invited to join?

Program mentors are leaders of schools of public service who are committed to addressing structural racism and the goals of the program. Recently retired or former leaders of schools of public service are also eligible to mentor. Associate deans may be invited to mentor on specific topics of expertise and may join the directory of mentors on a case-by-case basis. 

Mentors are thoughtful, passionate about mentoring, and eager to take part in practices that are welcoming and invite a broader range of people to the venues where leaders typically engage. Training is developed for mentors including sharing best practices and helpful readings to sharpen their mentorship skills.  

In the pilot year, working group co-chairs solicited nominations and invited mentors to participate with special attention paid to diverse representation across a variety of dimensions including race and ethnicity, expertise, professional experience, and geography. 

Who administers the program and provides the services?

The program originated in the Deans Summit and was conceived of by a group of deans and directors of schools of public service who are committed to addressing structural racism. Seeking to build a more diverse community of peers, these deans and directors established the Future Leaders of Schools of Public Service program. Deans Matthew Auer, Nisha Botchwey, and Carissa Slotterback volunteered to serve as co-chairs of the program during its first year and work together to organize and operate the program as it gets started. The Volcker Alliance staffs the program and provides support to program leaders and participants.