On April 6, 2013, nearly 100 academics, researchers, educators, and analysts attended APPAM’s Spring Conference, Diversity, Equity, & Public Policy. Among the participants were members of the PPIA Board of Directors and National Office, including Tara Sheehan, Martha Chavez, Erin Mann, and Maggie DeCarlo. This year’s conference was sponsored in part by RWJF New Connections, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) with technical assistance and direction provided by OMG Center for Collaborative Learning.


Lilliana Garces answers a question from the audience.

The conference consisted of three sessions that covered various aspects of diversity issues in the public policy field, from education programs to the workforce. In the first session, Different Models of Pipeline Programs to Increase Diversity, panelists discussed efforts of various pipeline programs in the field of economics, a Master’s Program, postdoctoral training, and social programs. The second session’s panel, Reaction about the Realities of Diversity in Public Policy, included members from the federal government, practitioners, and academia.

The presenters shared the realities they face with diversity in educating and hiring public policy graduates and staff.  The final session, Access, Higher Education, and Public Policy, took a look at the future of diversity in higher education. Presenters discussed affirmative action, recent court decisions regarding admissions policies, financial aid, and how these issues continue to impact diversity policies today.

At the end of the conference, attendees filled out a comprehensive survey and the results will help determine APPAM’s next steps in addressing diversity. An action plan for progress will be determined and the Association will continue working with its members to further discuss and promote diversity in the field of public policy.

You can check out videos of each session online at APPAM’s YouTube channel. Session summaries and presenter slideshows will be posted on the APPAM website in the coming days, so check them out on social media and their homepage for more information.