NASPAA Competencies

NASPAAStandards

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Competencies in public affairs developed by NASPAA

The Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation (COPRA) of the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) developed the NAPAA Standards that include five domains of universal required competencies (Standard 5.1). They are:

  1. to lead and manage in public governance
  2. to participate and contribute to the policy process
  3. to analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems and make decisions
  4. to articulate and apply a public service perspective
  5. to communicate and interact productively with a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry
Examples of competency statements in the Self Study Guide

These competency domains are elaborated by the list Examples of Competency Statements from Pages 66−69 in NASPAA Self Study Instructions 05.21.2014, Appendix B, Examples of Competency Statements (at https://naspaaaccreditation.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/ssi-instructions-2014-update-final.pdf, accessed 15 December 2015).

These are reproduced below, emphasis added.

“The following are illustrative examples, not required elements of each domain. A Program can include other competencies within each of the domains to meet NASPAA’s requirements. The emphasis that a particular program places on each of the domains of universal competencies should be consistent with its mission. A public affairs program might put greater emphasis on the domain, “managing public organization” than on “participating in and influencing the policy process;” the latter might be more the emphasis of a public policy program.

“Examples of competencies in each of the required domains are provided below, stated in terms of specific expectations for student learning. A Program can include other competencies within each of these domains to meet NASPAA’s requirement of universal competencies. The emphasis that a particular program places on each of the domains of universal competencies should be consistent with its mission.”

Examples of competencies in the required domain of leading and managing in public governance might include but are not limited to:

  • Apply public management models and organization theory
  • Appraise the organizational environment, both internal and external, as well as the culture, politics and institutional setting
  • Lead, manage, and serve a diverse workplace and citizenry
  • Lead and manage people effectively, whether volunteers or compensated, fostering team building, commitment, creativity, and performance
  • Manage projects
  • Manage information and networks
  • Manage contracts and public-private partnerships
  • Resolve conflict and negotiate
  • Understand the relationships between public policy, whether proposed or enacted, and leadership and management in implementation

Examples of competencies in the required domain of participating in and contributing to the policy process might include but are not limited to:

  • Apply techniques for program evaluation and forecasting
  • Describe and work within the institutional, structural, and political contexts of policy making
  • Describe and execute the policymaking process, including defining the problem, setting the agenda, formulate policy, implement policy and evaluate policy
  • Incorporate interest groups, executive-legislative relationships, judicial decision-making, and the media in the policy process
  • Prepare a budget reflecting policy priorities
  • Recognize the social construction of problems

Examples of competencies in the required domain of analyzing, synthesizing, thinking critically, solving problems, and making decisions might include but are not limited to:

  • Articulate and apply methods for measuring and improving human performance
  • Employ analytical tools for collecting, analyzing, presenting, and interpreting data, including appropriate statistical concepts and techniques
  • Identify and employ alternative sources of funding, including grants, taxes, and fees
  • Plan strategy
  • Understand and apply the legal context of public affairs, administration, and policy
  • Understand and apply theories of decision-making and models

Examples of competencies in the required domain of incorporating public values into decisions might include but are not limited to:

  • Apply concepts of social equity to public affairs, administration, and policy
  • Behave ethically and with integrity: Tell the truth, keep confidences, admit mistakes, and do not misrepresent oneself, one’s goals or the facts for personal advantage. Behave in a fair and ethical manner toward others.
  • Distinguish short- from long-term fiscal consequences of program and policy decisions
  • Exercise ethical responsibility when conducting research and making decisions
  • Identify the short- and long-term impacts of program and policy decisions on the physical environment
  • Understand and apply criteria appropriate to public affairs, administration, and policy

Examples of competencies in the required domain of communicating and interacting productively − face-to-face and/or electronically − with a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry may include but are not limited to:

  • Communicate effectively in writing: Prepares clear, concise and well-organized written materials tailored to the audience’s level of expertise and needs.
  • Communicate effectively in speech: Presents oral information accurately, clearly, concisely and persuasively tailored to audience’s level of expertise and needs.
  • Demonstrate flexibility: adapts behavior and work methods to differences (whether they are differences in thought, communication style, perspective, age, interests, fairness or some other variable); to new information, to changing conditions and to unexpected obstacles.
  • Demonstrate self-knowledge: awareness of one’s own stylistic preferences for relating to others, communicating with others, making decisions, managing yourself in groups, and the impact that this has on relationships and your ability to influence others.
  • Evidence sensitivity and responsiveness to beliefs and behaviors associated with differences among people because of their ethnicity, nationality, race, gender, physical characteristics, religion, age, etc.
  • Facilitate: Actively and effectively elicits information, views, input, suggestions, and involvement of others in pursuit of common goals; builds actionable consensus.
  • Negotiate: Discerns the interests and values of others; surfaces assumptions; secures agreement on ground rules and tolerable outcomes; gains cooperation of others to accomplish goals.
  • Relate to all kinds of people and develop appropriate rapport that leads to constructive and effective relationships; finds common ground with a wide range of stakeholders.
  • Work productively in teams: Interacts effectively in a team, demonstrating composure, professionalism and effective working relationships, including understanding others’ priorities, needs and concerns and sharing information, expertise and resources.”

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified 15 December 2015.