About the School

Welcome from the Dean

Welcome to the School of Public Affairs (SOPA) website! We are proud to be the only school of public affairs in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system and one of only two such schools in the state (the other is the Humphrey School at University of Minnesota). Founded in 2011, SOPA trains leaders and practitioners in the public, non-profit, and private sectors. Our graduates come out of SOPA equipped to not only lead in positions that serve the public interest, but help inform, analyze, and practice public policy. Our goal is for all students touched by SOPA programs, whether they be majors, or non-majors taking just one class, to come away with a strong public affairs perspective.

I invite you to explore our 4 departments, 12 undergraduate programs, 5 graduate programs, and various certificate programs. We’re very excited about our new SOPA Research Office, plans to secure approval for an MPA program, our overseas partnerships, and of course our very talented faculty and staff. Students choosing our programs are assured of first class instruction in the classroom, plenty of enriching experiential learning opportunities, and many opportunities to develop skills and network through student organizations and community projects.

If you have any questions or would like more information about our programs, please contact us at your convenience. I welcome calls and e-mails from students, alumni, friends, and donors anytime. Thanks for visiting!

Orn Bodvarsson
Dean and Professor of Economics



Through active, experiential and global learning opportunities, we prepare our students to be stewards of the public interest and practitioners and leaders in the public and private sectors.


We provide the highest quality and most comprehensive undergraduate and graduate public affairs education in the upper Midwest by engaging our students and faculty in the study and critical analysis of public policy and by serving as a rich source of knowledge for our stakeholders, both local and global.