Greetings from the Interim Director


  A Half-Century of Scholarship on the Critical Issues of Our Times


When the School of Public Policy and Administration (SPPA) was established in 1961,it became one of the nation’s first university centers focused on the challenges of urban America. It was an opportune moment. JFK had assumed the presidency, civil rights activists were leading “freedom rides” across the Deep South, and the country was on the verge of war in Vietnam. The goal then, at the historic time of its inception, was to create new knowledge that would expand the boundaries of human understanding and increase the possibilities for community enhancement in America’s cities, and across our nation and world.

A half-century later, we have emerged as a globally recognized, comprehensive school of public affairs. Our students and faculty have created and disseminated usable knowledge that has informed decision-making and policy, improved leadership and management, and made a positive impact on the quality of life in communities in Delaware, the nation, and across the globe.

While the challenges we face today are often different than those a half century ago, our goal at the School of Public Policy and Administration remains the same: to translate research and scholarship into practices and policies that will address the critical needs of our communities at all levels, from neighborhoods to nations.

Our academic programs in urban affairs, public policy, public administration, organizational and community leadership, disaster science and management, and historic preservation prepare professionals and scholars to be innovators and capacity-builders. We understand that the challenges we face don’t exist in silos. That is why we have long approached our questions with an interdisciplinary lens. Our academic model—known nationally as “the Delaware model”—combines theory and practice by linking classroom content with real-world experience.

As we reaffirm our historic commitments, our focus is on the future and on the School's new identity, enriched mix of programs, and extended reach of collaborations and partnerships. SPPA is now part of the College of Arts and Sciences and has grown from a world-renowned graduate school to include interdisciplinary undergraduate degrees focused on policy and leadership.

This 50th anniversary year was a fitting occasion to celebrate the achievements of our graduates and the on-going accomplishments of our faculty, students, and staff. We thank our partners, locally and globally, for their continued support as we rededicate ourselves to future collaborations that may benefit the diverse communities we serve.


Leland Ware
Interim Director, School of Public Policy and Administration