Public Service Academy



The 2022 Public Service Academy will be held in person at the University of Montana campus on August 11 and 12, 2022. Information below is for reference. Check back in early 2022 for current details.

What: Training Sessions by Experts in the Field

How/When:  August 5 and 6, 2021, in person with COVID-19 safety measures: social distancing and masks strongly recommended for those not vaccinated. 

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 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: Jamar Galbreath (Equity Coordinator, Missoula County), Bryce Ward (ABMJ Consulting)

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
This session explores the process and implications of elections administration in the United States from the perspectives of those tasked with implementation. Both trainers are national experts in election administration.

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
Resilient communities must focus on upstream, systemic change solutions to their most challenging problems. In this session, you will hear from two professional grantmakers from a private foundation. They will share advice and strategies for developing grant proposals focused on systems change solutions. You will learn their insights into what funders might be looking for in a proposal and budget and what you should have in place before crafting a proposal and making an ask. They will also share examples of community-driven projects focused on systems change.

Trainers: Erin Switalkski (Program Director, Headwaters Foundation), 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 the 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), Holly Truitt (Holly Truitt Consulting)

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


Doubletree Hotel

Hotel Block Info

DoubleTree by Hilton
Call 406-728-3100 and ask for the Public Service Academy Block
Book by July 7, 2021 to access discounted rate. 


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.
On-campus parking is available for $3.50 per day, and you can find instructions for using the University of Montana's parking portal to purchase a day pass on the UM Police Department website. Please note that the neighborhood immediately surrounding the University does not allow street parking during business hours for non-residents.