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A Legacy of Transforming Dreamers into Doers

Remembering over 50 years of public administration and policy education at The Ohio State University.

1969-1973: Division of Public Administration

Formed by Dr. Clinton V. Oster and his faculty colleagues Arthur D. Lynn, Jr., Henry L. Hunker, Frederick D. Stocker, Sven B. Lundstedt and James Carroll, the Division of Public Administration specialized in graduate professional education for public service and initially was part of the College of Administrative Science – now known as the Fisher College of Business. With an initial budget for 3.75 faculty members and an enrollment of 11 students, the division offered a Master of Public Administration, Master of Arts and doctoral degrees as well as continuing education and problem-solving teams for government agencies. 

1974-1988: School of Public Administration

Following a period of rapid growth in student enrollment, faculty size and budget, the Division of Public Administration satisfied The Ohio State University’s rules for school status and became the School of Public Administration. The School of Public Administration was recognized nationally, and developed dual-degree Master’s of Arts and Master’s of Public Administration programs that included City and Regional Planning, Civil Engineering, Industrial and Systems Engineering, Law and Social Work and graduated more than 1,200 masters and doctoral students.

1989-2005: School of Public Policy and Management

In the beginning, the new School of Public Administration was a pioneer in the state of Ohio and earned national recognition. After recruiting a small, firstrate faculty and developing innovative programs, the university authorized an increase to 12 full-time faculty members. Reflecting its expanded teaching and research mission, the faculty voted to rename the unit the School of Public Policy and Management (SPPM). Standards for admission were raised and an undergraduate course became part of a public policy minor in the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences. The School of Public Policy and Management added dual degree programs in health policy, natural resources, social work, city and regional planning law and arts policy.

1999-2005: John Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy

In 1999, when John Glenn retired from the U.S. Senate, he donated his archives and memorabilia to The Ohio State University and founded the John Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy, which would provide outreach activities that most universities had not yet committed to in their public policy programs. Faculty from the School of Public Policy and Management would work with institute programs on issues such as health and environmental science, criminal justice and urban and regional problems.

Director of the Glenn Institute, Deborah Merritt, with assistance from SPPM faculty, argued the case for integrating the two organizations due to similarity in mission. She cited the pending move to Page Hall as “an optimal time for completing and celebrating integration.” In 2005, The John Glenn Institute initiated a formal proposal to merge with the School of Public Policy and Management to create the John Glenn School of Public Affairs.

2006-2015: John Glenn School of Public Affairs

The John Glenn School of Public Affairs formally opened on July 1, 2006. The Glenn School combined the research, technical assistance and degree-granting authority of the School of Public Policy with the John Glenn Institute’s innovative public service training, outreach and research support programs. The school’s motto would be – “Inspiring citizenship and developing leadership.”

In 2007, with his extensive professional background and strong associations in public affairs, the university hired Dr. Charles Wise as the founding director of the Glenn School. Under Wise’s leadership, the school grew in enrollment, faculty, dual graduate degrees and a new bachelor’s degree program. The school graduated its first class in winter 2012.

2015: John Glenn College of Public Affairs

On January 29, 2015, the Ohio State University Board of Trustees approved the creation of the John Glenn College of Public Affairs. It was a sweeping change aimed at amplifying the former school’s mission to inspire citizenship and develop leadership. Dr. Trevor Brown, a public affairs faculty member since 2001 and the associate director of Academic Affairs and Research at the Glenn School, took the helm as the college’s first dean. 

Without neglecting the core disciplines of public policy education, the Glenn College has targeted selective policy disciplines. Space policy, social policy, food, health, science and technology policy and other areas have helped the Glenn College build a distinctive reputation. It has developed programs such as an online graduate degree, a Washington, D.C., based Master of Public Administration degree, a Bachelor of Science in Public Policy Analysis, certificate programs for graduate students and working professionals and POWER programs that encourage women to run for elected office.

With more than 600 students enrolled in degree programs and 24 faculty members, the Glenn College has grown dramatically in the past 50 years, but it has not forgotten its rich legacy and the passionate people who brought us to today.

The Glenn College Through the Years

In 1997, SPPM moved from the Fisher College of Business to the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.
In 2001, Ohio State announced Page Hall would be the permanent home for both the Glenn Institute and the School of Public Policy and Management.
Senator Susan Collins with WAIP students.