The 21st century has seen a shift in learning from the traditional model of teacher-student engagement to more experiential learning in the classroom through case studies, capstone experiences, internships, and simulations. The NASPAA Simulation Competition was first designed in 2015 to support and encourage more experiential learning in the classroom, especially in the realm of public policy and administration education.
The use of simulation-based learning in the curriculum not only prepares students in each of the core competency domains of NASPAA accreditation, it also provides them with the experiences to tackle similarly complex problems in their professional positions. The gap between the science and art of policy making cannot always be realized within the four walls of a classroom. Simulations change the way students approach professional education and it challenges their understanding as they are confronted with reality. In their jobs, students will be asked to work with new team members, negotiate for a stated position, accomplish goals under a tight deadline, and create thoughtful presentations and reports. NASPAA is keen on advancing the use of simulations in public service education pedagogy.