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SPEA by the number: 2015

“With so many of SPEA’s distinguished faculty nearing retirement age, we find ourselves at a critical juncture. The next seven years will be an exciting and dynamic time for the School as we build on the legacies of our founders to become a world-class leader in public affairs and environmental science.”

WHEN JOHN GRAHAM WAS NAMED DEAN of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) last spring, one of his top priorities was the development of a strategic plan for the School. A firm believer that reaching a destination requires a good roadmap, Graham began a cross-country marathon of meetings to gather background information before he came to the School. He met with faculty, Indiana University administrators, government leaders, business leaders, and key alumni.

2015_coverShortly after his arrival in August, a draft version of SPEA 2015, a vision of what SPEA might look like in the year 2015, was developed. The draft SPEA 2015 was then distributed to faculty, staff, students, advisory groups, administrators, and alumni with a request for comments. More than 100 people made comments and suggestions on the plan and Dean Graham reviewed each one. Next, he and SPEA leadership categorized and analyzed comments to determine whether and how to modify the document. Dean Graham says he believes SPEA 2015 was modified to reflect most of the suggestions and concerns that were raised.

The six key changes SPEA will undergo by the year 2015 are summarized below.

1. The scholarly productivity of SPEA will rise from the top ten to the top five in the country among public affairs and environmental science faculties.

2. SPEA’s approach to professional education will be modernized to serve a graduate whose career spans the public, non-profit and for-profit sectors.

3. SPEA’s new Public Policy Institute, based in Indianapolis, will be the “go to” source for objective analysis on a wide range of policy issues facing Indiana policy makers.

4. The globalization of SPEA will be evident in the deepening SPEA ties with two parts of the globe that are important to America’s future: the European Union and Asia.

5. SPEA’s current strength in environmental science and policy will be buttressed, while new strengths in related fields such as energy policy, health policy, sustainable development, and the prevention of poverty will be established.

6. SPEA will build on its traditional strengths in public finance/budgeting, criminal justice, and management of the non-profit and public sectors.

The plan outlines action items and milestones, as well as a variety of changes to SPEA’s current organizational structure. “Though the plan should be considered a living document, I believe it establishes a guide for moving SPEA to a new level of excellence,” says Graham.

For a full copy of SPEA 2015, go to www.indiana.edu/~speaweb/about/PDF/SPEA_2015.pdf.


John D. Graham (Ph.D., Carnegie-Mellon, 1983) is SPEA's fourth dean. Before coming to Indiana, Dean Graham served as dean of the Pardee RAND Graduate School in Santa Monica, Calif. Prior to holding that position he spent five years as administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget. He also spent 16 years at the Harvard School of Public Health, where he was a faculty member, deputy chairman of the Department of Health Policy and Management, and founding director of the Center for Risk Analysis, which he led from 1989 to 2001. His personal research interests include government reform, energy and the environment, and the future of the automobile in both developed and developing countries. Dr. Graham is married to Susan Woerner Graham, a certified financial planner. He has two daughters, Jennifer and Katie.