Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs Hosts the 2018 NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition on Pandemic Crisis Management and Global Health Security

Baruch College students work to stop the impact of a fictitious deadly infectious disease threatening humanity

On Feb. 24, 36 graduate students from 14 universities deployed their strategic thinking and leadership capabilities in a global simulation competition to stop the next pandemic. The Marxe School at Baruch College hosted the northeast regional part of the 2018 NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition—a partnership between the University of Virginia Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). The topic was “Pandemic Crisis Management and Global Health Security.”

“We were delighted to serve as the Northeast U.S. Regional Host Site for this year’s global NASPAA-Batten policy simulation,” said David Birdsell, Dean of the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College. “Simulations provide students with the opportunity to practice the kinds of thinking and action that policymakers tackle in the real world: making sense of new information as it comes in over the transom, making decisions in the absence of certain knowledge, and constantly adjusting policy responses to meet evolving needs.”

Working to Save the World

This fast-paced, time-sensitive competition placed students in top leadership roles where they worked together to minimize the impact of a deadly infectious disease threatening humanity. Students worked in teams representing four different fictitious countries and assumed a variety of high-ranking roles, from Prime Minister to Minister of Public Health, as they navigated difficult policy decisions and their potential outcomes.

Two graduate students Ken Silverman and Sarah Mednick from the Marxe School’s Masters of International Affairs program represented Baruch College in the competition. Five Bachelor of Science in Public Affairs undergraduate students participated in the event.

Dean Birdsell added, “It was particularly rewarding to be one of four sites around the world offering undergraduates the opportunity to participate. Though they were not eligible for the competition, which is restricted to graduate students, they participated in exactly the same simulation, and our five BSPA students performed very well, providing strong support for including undergrads in future competitions.”

The on-site judges evaluated each team on simulation scores, negotiation skills, and written and oral presentations. All judges were from CUNY, with three from the Marxe School: Distinguished Lecturer and Director of the Center for Nonprofit Strategy and Management, James A. Krauskopf; Professor, Jonathan Engel; and Adjunct Professor, James McCarthy. The fourth was Assistant Professor, Minyoung Ku from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Associate Professor, Anna D’Souza of the Marxe School acted as technical leader and facilitated simulation activities during the day of the competition.

During the week of March 5, a panel of prominent global “super judges” will convene to identify the winner and runner-up of the Global Simulation Competition that consisted of 563 students from 159 universities in 27 countries on five continents.

# # #