Nov. 1, 2021
Wilder School dean named head of world’s largest accrediting body for public affairs programs
Susan Gooden will serve as president of the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration.
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The dean of the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University is now head of the world’s largest accrediting body for public affairs programs.
Susan T. Gooden, Ph.D., was installed as president of the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration during its annual conference Oct. 25-29.
NASPAA is dedicated to public policy and public affairs education and includes 327 institutional members and universities throughout the U.S. and in all regions of the world. In addition to serving as the leading accreditor of master’s degree programs in public affairs, the organization advances the field through advocacy for the importance of public service education in the policy and political spheres.
Gooden assumes the presidency for the 2021-22 term after having served a year as vice president. She brings an extensive record of service to the network, having served as a member of the group’s Executive Council, a member of the Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation and chair of the Minority Service Institutions Taskforce.
“Dean Gooden comes to the presidency of NASPAA with many years of service to the organization, so she knows its many facets and its many opportunities to make a difference in the world of public service education,” said Angel Wright-Lanier, Ed.D., executive director of the organization.
“She has served with distinction on its board and a number of its committees, and has literally gone around the world on behalf of our field,” Wright-Lanier said. “She has also applied her considerable scholarship and expertise in diversity, equity and inclusion to the challenge NASPAA faces: to fight racism in government and society through transforming the field of public service education, and thus the next generation of public servants."
Speaking at the annual conference, Gooden urged member institutions to be fearless in standing up for the values of public service. She encouraged maximizing the efficiency of existing resources and involvement in the expansion of public service programs and the inclusion of partner institutions, such as historically black colleges and universities.
“We do this work not for ourselves as individuals, or even our public affairs educational institutions. We do this work to improve society as a whole and because we have a responsibility to do our part,” Gooden said.
An internationally acclaimed scholar in the area of social equity and the author of five books and numerous articles, Gooden has served as the chief administrator of the Wilder School since 2018. During her tenure, the Wilder School has risen 18 spots in the U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of the nation’s best graduate schools of public affairs.
Gooden is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and a past president of the American Society for Public Administration.
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