School of Public Affairs

About the School

Welcome from the Dean

Welcome to the School of Public Affairs (SOPA) at St. Cloud State University! Founded in 2011, we are the only school of public affairs in the Minnesota State system and one of only two such schools in the state (the other is the Humphrey School at University of Minnesota). We train leaders and practitioners to have both the skill set to engage in public affairs and to have a perspective of public affairs. We are also about providing students and faculty with the opportunities to engage the public in Central Minnesota and elsewhere in the issues of public affairs.

We have twelve undergraduate and six graduate programs for those who want to engage in active learning. We also have several certificates for those who may want to grow professionally or personally. The SOPA Research Institute engages students and faculty in real-world problem solving for governments and businesses. We have overseas partnerships on four continents that bring international faculty to our campus and send students and faculty abroad. 

But most of all I invite you to meet our very talented faculty and staff, some my colleagues for all of my 30 years at St. Cloud State University. They provide us with the capabilities to provide first class instruction, plenty of enriching experiential learning opportunities, and many opportunities to develop skills and network through student organizations and community projects.

Our doors are open for you to visit with my office by phone, email, or in person. We are excited to hear how the School of Public Affairs has served, and can continue to serve, your needs and aspirations. Thanks for coming to our website, and hope to hear from you soon!

King Banaian
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.

Our Mission

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.