Call for Proposals

Call for Proposals is Now Open

The 2024 Social Equity Leadership Conference (SELC) Program Committee welcomes submissions from the United States as well as from international colleagues.

The deadline to submit your proposal is Friday, January 26, 2024.

Polling shows that three in four Republicans believe the country “should promote traditional social and moral values while two in three Democrats show “greater tolerance of diverse lifestyles and backgrounds.” (NBC News Poll, April 26, 2023) The divide is almost identical on government doing more to increase social justice, reduce political correctness, and promoting LGBTQ rights. For instance, 6 in 10 Americans “will not work for a company that doesn’t speak out against racial injustice.” (USA Today, March 8, 2023) This divide presents the major challenge to advancing social equity in the midst of these divisions.

The National Academy of Public Administration’s (NAPA) 2024 Social Equity Leadership Conference (SELC) seeks to identify means of advancing social equity policies despite the existing political divisions. The SELC Committee values the principled and social justice basis for social equity policies. It is merely seeking ways to expand the social equity tent and enlist more support for social equity policies regardless of the political climate.

While it is easy to argue in favor of social equity and social justice from the standpoint of principle, we should also embrace the pragmatic reasons for supporting social equity policies. The SELC Committee wishes to amplify the benefits of DEI to the economy, the workforce, organizational culture and the communities we serve.

The 2024 SELC will also seek to feature social equity policies and programs to demonstrate their efficacy and their replicability in other communities.

Submission Guidelines

The 2024 conference will offer six tracks that explore the overarching theme of Achieving Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access in an Increasingly Divided World. Your proposal should include a 250-500 word abstract, a list of all co-authors, and a 100-150 word biography of the presenter.

You may submit five types of proposals:

  • Full panel: 3-4 papers or presentations and a convenor. The panel description should include all presentation titles, names, and addresses of all co-authors.
  • Roundtable: The roundtable description should include information on all participants along with their names and addresses.
  • Individual paper.
  • Poster presentation.
  • Workshop.

We encourage master’s and doctoral students to participate in the panels, workshops, and poster presentations.

Conference Tracks

Social Equity in the Face of Resistance

Track Co-Chairs: Domonic Bearfield, Norma Riccucci, and Sean McCandless

Across the world, public administrators face challenges stemming from cultural and administrative environments hostile to social equity. This hostility raises a fundamental question: How can champions of social equity engage with different audiences, especially those hostile to equity, on deep-seated problems like structural racism, white supremacy, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, and other inequities and injustices? We invite papers that address this issue and related questions like the following:

  • How can public service agencies critically take into account, examine, and foster meaningful progress in eliminating institutional social injustices?
  • What is required to work in, and support those working in, environments hostile to social equity?
  • What are innovative public service programs that advance equity and justice in the face of resistance?
  • How do we make fostering social equity a priority for everyone in a society?

Public Policy and Social Equity

Track Co-Chairs: Marilyn Rubin and Maria D’Agostino

This track seeks to advance the discussion of the impact on social equity of public policies, many of which are at the heart of the political divide. Achieving social equity requires the implementation of public policies in a variety of contexts to redress disparate impacts across communities, especially those that have historically been underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by discrimination. Policy contexts include, but are not limited to education, welfare, housing and transportation but can be extended to encompass topics such as voting rights and immigration. We invite papers that address issues such as: the role of education policy in advancing social equity; transportation’s role in addressing social equity; how government policies impact equity; government budgets and equity.

Workplace Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility, and Social Justice

Track Co-Chairs: Evelyn Rodriguez-Plesa and Deneen Hatmaker

The Biden-Harris Administration’s Executive Order on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) in the Workplace asserts that “advancing equity, civil rights, racial justice, and equal opportunity is the responsibility of the whole of government” (The White House, 2021). While there are ethical, normative, and practical benefits to promoting DEIA and organizational justice in public and nonprofit workplaces, these efforts have become increasingly politicized and fraught in the United States and abroad. As a result, endeavors to foster a safe, fair, diverse, and inclusive work environment for all employees are increasingly divisive. Even the implementation of widely accepted core human resource management functions may encounter backlash in this increasingly divided world. This track seeks papers that examine multiple dimensions of DEIA and social justice and its implications on human resources management in public and nonprofit sector workplaces.

Criminal Justice and Social Equity

Track Co-Chairs: Andrew Clark and Brandi Blessett

Systemic inequalities have plagued the United States justice system since our country’s inception. These have only been exasperated by the decades long exponential growth in our prison population – which has seen a nearly 500% increase in the last 40 years. In this dedicated track, participants will delve into the critical issues shaping criminal justice systems and discover innovative approaches that promote fairness, inclusivity, and community well-being, all while ensuring greater safety and a more efficient use of public resources. Potential areas for consideration include system reform, community engagement, restorative justice, sentencing, reentry, and data and technology. Particular attention will be paid to successful, consensus-driven approaches to reform. Join stakeholders, policymakers, academics, and advocates as we come together, share knowledge, and develop actionable strategies to build a more just and equitable criminal justice system.

Health Equity and Social Determinants of Health

Track Co-Chairs: Pareesa Charmchi Goodwin, S. Nicole Diggs and Christal Hamilton

According to the CDC, health equity is a, "state in which everyone has a fair and just opportunity to attain their highest level of health,"[1] and social determinants of health (SDOH) are "nonmedical factors that influence health outcomes," specifically, “the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life."[2] SDOH include, but are not limited to, poverty and socio-economic status, education, housing, environmental justice, and access to food and other basic needs. This track seeks proposals examining health inequities from a systemic lens, inclusive of any SDOH. Proposals that illuminate specific challenges or potential policy solutions to achieving health equity are welcome.

Emergency Management, Adaptation and Social Equity

Track Co-Chairs: Jason D. Rivera, Jennifer Alexander, and Renzo de la Riva Agüero

The management and adaptation to natural hazards has become an ever-present issue throughout the world that requires the participation of a host of public administrators and offices at different government levels. While the need for climate adaptation and emergency management decisions to be socially equitable is seen as a central policy component for reducing exposure and costs from hazards, the damages from extreme weather events continue to hit vulnerable communities the hardest. In fact, many jurisdictions in the US and abroad do not have the capacity, independently or through collaborations, to address the unequal exposure and damage experienced by these communities. As such, this track focuses on the following question: What new research and policy experiences could help inform emergency management and climate adaptation practices to be more socially equitable in limited-capacity settings? Focus areas include: Climate change inequality, Governance, Administrative Capacity, Planning Processes, Community Resilience, Coproduction, Community Engagement, Climate Adaptation, Climate Migration, Climate Refugees, Disaster Risk Management, AI in Emergency Management, Information Management, Public Health Threats, Climate change and poverty, Climate safety nets.