BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana University Bloomington's School of Public and Environmental Affairs is Number 1 alone in U.S. News and World Report's Best Public Affairs Graduate Schools rankings, an improvement over the previous rankings when it shared the top spot with Syracuse University.
"This is a historic day for SPEA and a day of joy for our students, faculty, supporters and alumni around the world. What a year this has been! We're celebrating the 45th anniversary of our founding, our move into the new and wonderful Paul H. O'Neill Graduate Center, and now the number one ranking," said John D. Graham, dean of the school. "It's not easy to maintain our Midwest humility but we'll try."
The new rankings released today also place SPEA ahead of schools at University of Southern California, Harvard, Princeton, Michigan and more than 250 others.
"There are many public affairs programs across the U.S. that share our passion for educating future leaders," said Michael McGuire, the school's executive associate dean. "While it's tempting to boast ‘We're number one!' in unison with Hoosiers everywhere, when the celebration is over we will continue to work with our peers and students to assert that leading for the greater good, whether in public service or the private sector, is an honorable profession."
In addition to maintaining the overall ranking, SPEA's programs in nonprofit management, environmental policy and management, and public finance and budgeting are also considered the best in the nation. The programs in public management and leadership, public policy analysis, and health policy and management are in the top five and SPEA's program in local government management is in the top 10.
After previously publishing the rankings every four years, U.S. News and World Report is now conducting annual surveys with fresh updates every spring. The results assess the performance of SPEA's Bloomington programs as well as its online program – SPEA Connect.
Beth Gazley is the director of the Master of Public Affairs Program that includes SPEA Connect: "So many students today are looking for value whether they want to be on campus or advance their careers while obtaining a degree online. The new rankings, when combined with public university tuition, demonstrate that SPEA offers an ideal value combination."
For the rankings deans, directors, and department chairs representing the 282 master's programs in public administration and public affairs were surveyed. Respondents were asked to rate the academic quality of master's programs on a scale of 1 (marginal) to 5 (outstanding).
"The rankings are a tribute to our faculty and their scholarship," said Kirsten Grønbjerg, associate dean for faculty affairs. "I think our peers see what I see – simply outstanding research, writing, mentoring, teaching, and public engagement all carried out with a spirit of cross-discipline collaboration and a desire to make the world a better place."
To celebrate the accomplishment, SPEA faculty, staff, and students gathered for a reception in the Paul H. O'Neill Graduate Center. "It has been a great educational experience," said Jordan Tucker, president of SPEA's Graduate Student Association. "And I hope employers are paying attention. If they want the very best graduates, this is the first place to look."
The SPEA Master of Public Affairs program is home to more than 60 faculty and more than 320 students. In addition to the ranked programs, SPEA offers programs that aren't ranked by U.S. News. Those include concentrations in sustainability, energy policy, and international and economic development, and programs in arts administration and environmental science.
SPEA at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis is ranked 52nd overall with its nonprofit management specialty ranked seventh.
The rankings are available today at www.usnews.com.