Comprehensive Education



Ellen D. Glover (MURP '78) received GSPIA's Distinguished Alumna Award during this year's graduation luncheon held at the University Club. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Pitt in 1976 and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning at GSPIA in 1978. Glover began her career with a two-year appointment as a Presidential Management Intern (now Fellow) with the federal government. In 1983, she joined Advanced Technology Systems, a provider of information services to the U.S. Department of Defense and Civilian Agencies.

The University of Pittsburgh Chapter of the Global Honor Society for Public Affairs and Public Administration recently welcomed GSPIA members during an induction ceremony at the University Club. GSPIA graduate student inductees (MPA) represent the top of their graduating class based on a student’s cumulative GPA. Inductees included, faculty honorary member Louise Comfort; and student members, Jeffrey Bastian, Martina Lucia Gesell, Max Harleman, Brett R. Morgan, Shuning Tong, and Emma K. Wallis.

GSPIA will host an information session for its Master of Public Policy and Management (MPPM) online program at noon on Friday, May 19. The 30-credit MPPM online program gives professionals with at least five years of full-time work experience an opportunity to advance their careers at a time and place that is convenient for them. To RSVP, click here.

The editorial board is pleased to announce the release of the 2017 edition of the Pitt Policy Journal (PPJ). PPJ is a student-led initiative with a mission to provide an avenue for students to contribute exemplary research, inquisitive debate, and constructive dialogue to peers and practitioners of public policy. It is the board's hope that the journal will serve as an incubator to foster new ideas and encourage the intellectual curiosity of GSPIA students.

By Mamadou Ndiaye Jr.

On March 28, Dr. Jim Withers received the Exemplary Leadership Award from the Johnson Institute. Dr. Withers was recognized for his work with Operation Safety Net and the Street Medicine Institute. These organizations focus on healthcare provision to the homeless in communities in Pittsburgh and across the globe. At the luncheon held in his honor, Withers spoke about his career path and the need within the healthcare system to become more "humanized.” 

The University Times recently featured Kristen Maser Michaels in a new series, "Making Pitt Work." The goal of the series is to profile University staff by providing a glimpse of some of the less recognized employees whose primary business is making Pitt work. Kristen is the Executive Director of CONNECT (Congress of Neighboring Communities), but as the article conveys is probably much better known outside the University.

GSPIA students from Professor Sabina Deitrick’s Fall 2016 PIA 2755 course on Neighborhood and Community Development attended the Pitt Day in Harrisburg event. With Governor Wolf’s budget proposal to flat fund the state-related universities, GSPIA students joined the Pitt Advocates group to collaborate with elected officials and others in support of the University.

Dean John Keeler presented the 2017 Distinguished Alumnus Award to Nitin Madhav (MPIA ’92) last night during a reception for GSPIA’s Board of Visitors at the University Club. Nitin is the deputy director, Afghanistan, at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).  Nitin received a BA from the University of Pittsburgh in 1990 and then went on to earn two masters degrees at Pitt, an MPIA from GSPIA in 1992 and a Master of Public Health in 1994.  He began a distinguished career in international development as Project Coordinator—Relief International in Tajikistan in 1994, where he administered refugee relief projects.  

In 1965, Congress enacted the landmark Voting Rights Act. Its purpose was to combat the systematic and deliberate denial of African Americans’ right to vote. In 2013, in the decision of Shelby County v. Holder, Chief Justice Roberts famously declared “our country has changed” and delivered an opinion on behalf of the Supreme Court that voided significant parts of the Voting Rights Act. On Monday, April 10, at 10 a.m., a panel of experts, moderated by GSPIA Dean, John Keeler, will gather at Pitt’s School of Law to discuss the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act since 2013. 

Dr. William Dunn has been named an Honorary Member of the Network of Schools and Institutes and Schools of Public Administration in Central and Eastern Europe.  The award is given to recipients of the Alisa Brunovska Award for Teaching Excellence in Public Administration, and to former NISPAcee Presidents and Executive Directors. Dr. Dunn also recently received the University of Pittsburgh Provost's Award for Excellence in Mentoring.

The University of Pittsburgh was honored today with a national award recognizing its commitment to international education and the strength of its global programs.  It is one of only four institutions nationwide to receive the 2017 Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization. 

GSPIA Dean John Keeler presented George N. Cretekos (MPA ‘70) with the Distinguished Alumnus Award recently at a private dinner in his honor in sunny Sand Key, Florida. Cretekos was recognized for his lifelong commitment to public service with special dedication to the community of Clearwater, Florida, where he has served as a member of the City Council and, since 2012, as Mayor.  To read George's bio, click here.

Kristen Maser Michaels named to’s Who’s Next listing of the top 20 up-and-comers under age 40 among local community leaders and activists.  Michaels, 34, is executive director of the Congress of Neighboring Communities (CONNECT). The organization works with the City of Pittsburgh and the 39 municipalities that create the urban core of Allegheny County to find ways they can work together across political boundaries.

Assistant Professor Sera Linardi and her colleagues from Pitt’s School of Social Work (PI: Jeffrey Shook) were recently awarded a grant as part of the university’s Integrative Social Science Research Initiative from the provost’s office. The project, “From Barely Making It To…? Effects of Raising Wages Among Low-Wage Workers” seeks to develop a new interdisciplinary research collaboration focused on the effects of wage increases on low-wage workers and their families.  

Dr. Michael Poznansky, assistant professor of international affairs and intelligence studies, welcomed cybersecurity expert Dr. Jon Lindsay, Assistant Professor of Digital Media and Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, Munk School of Global Affairs to GSPIA, Monday, Feb. 27. During the lecture, Dr. Lindsay explained that it's best to think about cybersecurity not as its own unique phenomenon but rather in the light of intelligence. 

Julia M. Santucci, who just stepped down as Senior Advisor to the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues at the U.S. Department of State, will be joining the GSPIA faculty in the fall of 2017 as a Senior Lecturer in Intelligence Studies.  She will also serve as Director of the new Hesselbein Forum Leadership Program in International Security.

GSPIA has hired Lindsey Anderson, who just stepped down as Senior Advisor to the Associate Administrator in the Office of Response and Recovery at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Washington, D.C., to serve as a Visiting Senior Lecturer in Public Affairs for 2017-18.  Anderson will also serve as Interim Director of GSPIA’s Center for Disaster Management and as Executive in Residence for the new Frances Hesselbein Leadership Forum.

GSPIA alumna and adjunct faculty member Deborah Walker (MPPM, ’03) collapsed while emceeing an event and died shortly after according to multiple media reports. Walker was the City of Pittsburgh’s Deputy Chief of Human Resources in the Department of Personnel and Civil Service Commission.

The University of Pittsburgh will hold its first-ever giving day on Pitt’s Founders’ Day–Tuesday, February 28, 2017–which marks the 230th anniversary of the founding of the University of Pittsburgh. Through Pitt Day of Giving, we will join together as a community in support of Pitt students, working to decrease the financial burden they carry as future alumni. GSPIA is very much a part of Pitt Day of Giving; we appreciate your support! 

MPPM student Sloane Davidson has been working overtime, above and beyond her class assignments, to help resettlement efforts as noted in the New York Times article, How You Can Help Refugees in the United States.  Davidson, a native of Pittsburgh, has created a national database designed to help promote refugee resettlement and immigration service agencies including those in the Pittsburgh region. She also recently produced a Valentine’s Day party where 300 Pittsburghers, including fellow GSPIA grad Mayor Bill Peduto, (MPPM '11) came together to make Valentine’s Day cards of welcome, love and hope for refugees, immigrants and kids in need in Pittsburgh. Over 400 cards... 

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