GVSU one of 12 global host sites for public administration competition

Students deliver their final presentation during the 2020 NASPAA Simulation Competition at the University of Albany.
Students deliver their final presentation during the 2020 NASPAA Simulation Competition at the University of Albany.
Image credit - NASPAA

Grand Valley will welcome students from universities in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois, and a virtual team from New York, to the Seidman Center on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus as part of an international competition on March 2. 

Grand Valley is one of 12 global host sites for the 2024 Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration Simulation Competition . Other host sites include institutions across the United States, Bangladesh, Hungary, Egypt and Brazil.

The event is co-sponsored by DMS Academy and the NASPAA , the accrediting body for GVSU’s master’s program in public administration and similar programs at universities around the world.

Neal Buckwalter, director of the Masters of Public Administration program, poses for a photo.
Neal Buckwalter
Image credit - Kendra Stanley-Mills

“It’s a great opportunity for us to showcase our university,” said Neal Buckwalter, associate professor of public administration and director of the Master of Public Administration program .

“People will step foot on the campus and participate with our students, so it’s a chance to showcase the high quality of not just the facilities, but of our students and programs.” 

This year’s competition is focused on refugee resettlement, Buckwalter said. Students will be assigned teams and roles such as prime minister, minister of labor or minister of health and human services, and then utilize real-world data to analyze scenarios.

The game challenges participants through a computer-based simulation to weigh human rights, integration, and GDP growth against budget restrictions and political resistance. 

“The students will be working through the policy implications of displaced populations, how to assist and how to help, given their resource constraints,” Buckwalter said. 

Teams will be evaluated on simulation scores, negotiation skills and presentations made to judges.

This weekend, students will also be competing at Metropolitan College of New York, Old Dominion University, Rice University, San Diego State University, Suffolk University, the University of Colorado Denver and the University of Nebraska at Omaha. 


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