Public Service Academy



The 2021 Public Service Academy will be held in person at the University of Montana campus on August 5 and 6, 2021. COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place, including mask requirements.

What: Training Sessions by Experts in the Field

How/When:  August 5 and 6, 2021, in person with COVID-19 safety measures: participants will be required to social distance and wear a mask. 

Register here for the Public Service Academy
Program Fee: Regular Rate: $220, University of Montana students and employees: $150
Group Rate: Register ten (10) or more attendees to receive the group rate of $130 per person.
Early Bird Rate: Register before May 30, 2021 for $150 per person.

A full refund is available if the cancellation is received by July 19, 2021. Registration ends on July 25, 2021.

Public Service Academy Faculty

Public Service Academy Schedule

Thursday, August 5, 2021

10:00 - 10:30 a.m.
Welcome & Overview
Directors Dr. Sara Rinfret, Sam Panarella, and Dean Paul Kirgis

10:30 - 11:45 a.m.
Racial and Ethnic Inequity: Examining Approaches & Perspectives
Data tells the story. People and communities live it. From poverty and justice system involvement to educational attainment and chronic disease, people and communities of color are disproportionately affected by systemic challenges that limit individual and community potential. The trainers in this session share lessons from their own experiences to address systemic issues and pathways forward.

Trainers: Preston Parish (State-Tribal Policy Analyst, MT Budget & Policy), Jamar Galbreath (Equity Coordinator, Missoula County), Shannon Lewis (Director, State Workforce Innovation Board)

Noon - 1:15 p.m.
Lunch & Baucus Innovation Challenge
During lunch participants will watch 3-4-minute pitch videos from public and nonprofit sector organizations; the award-winning organization will receive a $500 cash prize to take back to their organization. Live viewing and voting will take place and recipient announced. Participants must submit prior their video no later than July 16, 2021 to be considered.

Click here to access the application to the Baucus Innovation Challenge.

Lunch is generously sponsored by: Max S. Baucus Institute, MT Nonprofit Association, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center

1:15 - 2:45 p.m.
Emotional Labor: Who Do We See and Hear?
This session defines the nuances of emotional labor within public and nonprofit organizations and steps we can take to address as leaders to ensure success for our employees

Trainer: Dr. Sean McCandless (Professor, University of Illinois-Springfield)

3:00 - 4:45 p.m.
Election Integrity: Navigating the Political, Legal, and Civic Spheres
Trainers: Dr. Christina Barsky and Prof. Anthony Johnstone (Professors, University of Montana)

5:00 - 5:45 p.m.
Wine and Cheese Reception with UM Dept. of Public Admin & Policy Students

Reception is generously sponsored by: Clearwater Credit Union, Missoula County, Mayor John Engen


Friday, August 6, 2021

8:30 - 10:00 a.m.
Using Grants to Implement Change
In this session, you will hear from a leading experts in grant writing. This training will provide information regarding grant application strategies, how to incorporate quality control and compliance into grant applications, and steps taken to avoid having to repay funds. To connect with this year’s theme, this session will focus on working with resilient communities.

Trainers: Erin Switalkski (Program Director, Headwaters Foundation Program Director), Brenda Solorzano (CEO, Headwaters Foundation)

10:15 - 11:45 a.m.
How to Celebrate Our Wins: Under One Roof
A global pandemic and social unrest have tested our public and nonprofit sector organizations. In this training we discuss lessons learned, how to maintain resiliency, and importance of how we can continue to serve our communities through responsiveness and adaptability.
Trainers: Dr. Rachel Severson (University of Montana Psychology Professor), Honore Bray (Missoula Public Library Director)

Noon - 12:30 p.m.
Closing Speaker: The Importance of Resiliency and Leadership | Awards Reception

Speaker: Dr. Brock Tessman (Deputy Commissioner, MT Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education)

*Agenda subject to change


Hotel Block Info

DoubleTree by Hilton
Call 406-728-3100 and ask for the Public Service Academy Block



Each session provides 1.5 hours of training from expert(s), resource guide, and COVID-19 safe interaction.
Once you complete the modules a certificate of completion is awarded.
July 25, 2021
You must cancel by July 19, 2021 for a refund.
Participants are expected to attend both days and all training sessions.