School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA)

About the School

On this page:


To prepare students to be engaged, effective citizens and professionals capable of understanding and affecting complex social issues in today’s globalized environment.

We achieve this mission by:

Emphasizing ...

  • critical thinking
  • professional writing
  • analytical skills

Promoting ...

  • ethics
  • justice
  • cultural competence
  • inclusion

Balancing ...

  • theory
  • practice
  • research

Analyzing ...

  • power
  • politics
  • administration
  • organizations

Assessing ...

  • geopolitical relations in regional, national, and global affairs

Demonstrating ...

  • the value of public service and cultural competence

Understanding ...

  • the rule of law
  • legal systems
  • public policy

Encouraging ...

  • collaborative partnerships


The School of Public and International Affairs promotes multi-disciplinary collaboration for studying public policy, politics, law, governance, management, and other public interests at the local, state, national, and international levels. We inspire students, practitioners, citizens, and scholars to analyze, influence, and address pressing societal concerns.

The School of Public and International Affairs is committed to the values of cultural competence, diversity, inclusion, knowledge, and academic freedom. We endeavor to create and maintain a culture that reflects these values.

Message from the Chair


SPIA—The School of Public and International Affairs—is where we work together to change the world. SPIA provides an environment for multidisciplinary collaboration to promote cultural competence and the public interest at the local, state, national, and international levels. It includes faculty with expertise in political science, public administration, geography, and international affairs. Together we have a wealth of experience in the public and private sector not only as teachers, but also as attorneys, volunteers, and consultants for a variety of nongovernmental organizations and community development initiatives. Our faculty have published too many books and articles to name, and we have won awards for our teaching, scholarship, and service. Our faculty have been recognized by the leading professional associations in our fields. Our research is very important to us.

But we are also dedicated teachers and our priority is our students. SPIA houses undergraduate majors in Political Science, International Studies and Geography, graduate programs in Public Administration (MPA) and International and Comparative Politics (ICP), with a variety of minors and certificates as well. Ours is a partnership that can be summed up as “passion meets practicality.” In SPIA we practice engaged theory; we seek to understand the world in order to change it. We recognize that many of today’s most pressing societal concerns are political problems that demand political solutions. Finding such solutions is surely no small feat in the current climate. But Wright State alumni from our programs are doing this work. They are pursuing careers in the public and private sector, for nonprofits such as Clothes that Work and the Dayton Mediation Center, as well as a range of other organizations close to home, including the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association, the Dayton Better Business Bureau (BBB), Dayton Development Corporation, and the Dayton Human Relations Council. Some have gone farther afield to work in governmental and nongovernmental organizations, as attorneys, consultants, and managers. They have been hired to work on political campaigns, in local political offices, and in local government as city managers. One of our students has gone on to be named Ohio Speaker of the House, and another is the former mayor of Dayton. Others have made their careers as analysts and diplomats in a wide variety of governmental offices, including the U.S. Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, just to name a few. Some are representing us globally, working at the United Nations, in the Peace Corps, for Médecins Sans Frontières‎, and Catholic Relief Services.

Whatever their path, future SPIA graduates will take with them a skill set that is valuable in any setting. Not only can they identify and solve problems, they know how to put those solutions to work. By marrying passion and practicality, SPIA prepares our students to be engaged, effective professionals and citizens capable of not only listening and understanding, but also taking on matters of consequence at home and in the world. Nothing could be more relevant—or more necessary—here and everywhere.

Whether you are a current student, prospective student, alum, or just a curious member of the community, we welcome you to our School of Public and International Affairs and look forward to getting to know you as you get to know us and the work that drives us.

Laura M. Luehrmann, Ph.D.

Academic Areas


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