Public Service Academy


UM's MPA Public Service Academy - Learn from Leading Experts in the Field / Provide Solutions for Public Sector problems

The 2020 Public Service Academy is tentatively scheduled for August 6-7, 2020.

Schedule will be posted in February 2020. Details below are for reference only. 


The University of Montana’s Master of Public Administration Program and the Max S. Baucus Institute are launching the first-ever Public Service Academy (PSA). The Public Service Academy is open to any public or nonprofit sector employee with the goal to advance skills for your current profession. Participants will learn from leading experts in the field.

Taking place in August 2019, this year's theme will be Advance your Career: Providing Solutions for Public Sector Problems.

Register here for the Public Service AcademyDates: Thursday, August 15 - Friday, August 16, 2019
Location: Blewett School of Law - University of Montana
Program Fee: Early Bird (by June 15): $175, Regular Rate (after June 15): $215, University of Montana students and employees: $145
Group Rate: Register ten (10) or more attendees to receive the group rate of $125 per person. 

A full refund is available if the cancellation is received 30 days prior to the event (by July 15, 2019). Registration ends on August 1, 2019.


Public Service Academy Faculty

Public Service Academy Schedule*

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Thursday Schedule of Events

12:30-1:00 p.m.

Why Public Service Matters: An Introduction
Opening Remarks from Directors Sara Rinfret and Sam Panarella

1:00-2:30 p.m.

Innovative Thinking for the Public Sector’s Future
Public organizations face pressures to streamline service delivery, simplify processes, and solve complex problems while operating in an environment of rapid change and uncertainty. This workshop explores adaptive strategic processes that keep organizations moving forward despite the uncertainty.

Trainers: Gordy Pace and Bill Mercer
Moderator: Professor Christina Barsky

3:00-4:30 p.m.

Boss Lady
This training session will discuss opportunities and challenges of being in leadership positions, and encourage women to use their skills to get into positions of power.

Trainer: Dayna Swanson
Moderator: Dr. Sara Rinfret, MPA Director

4:45-5:45 p.m.

Wine & Cheese Reception

Reception is generously hosted by:
John Engen, Mayor of Missoula


Friday, August 16, 2019

Friday Schedule of Events

9:00-10:30 a.m.

Nonprofits as a Catalyst for a More Civil Society in Uncivil Times
From the civil rights movement to women's voting rights and seatbelt laws, nonprofits have been catalysts for change in virtually every significant social issue our nation has faced. Today as we encounter growing political divisiveness and extremism in our communities, the nonprofit sector is being looked to for solutions. This session will explore the role of nonprofits as local problem solvers, and how the nonprofit sector is positioned to advance a stronger civil society through citizen engagement in uncivil times.

Trainer: Liz Moore, Executive Director, Nonprofit Association
Moderator: Andrea Vernon

11:00 a.m..-12:30 p.m.

Fundamentals of Public Sector Negotiations
Whether with colleagues, partners in the private sector, or their own family members, negotiation is a skill public sector employees use on a daily basis. This training will provide fundamental negotiation skills administrators can use both to deliver the best results for their public constituents and to advance their own careers.

Trainer: Paul Kirgis, Dean and Professor of Law 
Moderator: Sam Panarella, Baucus Institute Director

12:30-1:30 p.m.


Reception is generously hosted by:
Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center at the University of Montana

2:00-3:30 p.m.

Diversity in the Public Sector: Where Do We Go From Here?
The U.S. population has become increasingly diverse and calls for those in public service to be responsive to this dynamic. How do we prepare those committed to working in the public sector to ensure public policy and government are responsive and accountable to a diverse citizenry? This training will provide answers to this question.

Trainer: Dr. Beverly Edmond
Moderator: Dr. Adam Brewer

4:00-5:00 p.m.

Closing Remarks & Awards Reception
Tara Rice, Director, MT Department of Commerce

Reception is generously hosted by:
Montana Campus Compact and Montana Nonprofit Association

*Agenda subject to change

Lodging Information

Room blocks with a discounted rate have been set up at the following hotels. While it is not necessary to make your reservation in the event room blocks, we encourage you to make a room reservation as soon as possible.

Hotel Room Blocks

Holiday Inn Downtown Missoula
200 South Pattee Street
Missoula, Montana 59802

Room Block Online Reservation Page

Reservations by phone: (406) 721-8550
Group name: "UM School of Law Public Service Academy"

Comfort Inn University Missoula
1021 East Broadway
Missoula, Montana 59802

Room Block Online Reservation Page

Reservations by phone: (406) 549-7600
Group name: "Public Service Academy"


This year's Public Service Academy is generously supported by: