School of Public Affairs launches series on public life after COVID-19

reCentering Public Life beyond COVID-19 graphic

On Monday, October 5, the UCCS School of Public Affairs will open a new community educational series as a forum for practitioners, public administration scholars and the community to consider the challenges and possibilities for public life generated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The series will include three sessions organized around the themes of public affairs, criminal justice and social work. Each session will include an online gallery of virtual presentations, panels and discussions addressing these guiding questions: 

  • What critical challenges and opportunities did the pandemic present?  
  • What new public spaces and engagement strategies are needed? 
  • How can recentering of public life build inclusion, access, and equity? 
  • How is the meaning of public life changed? 
  • What would it mean to be “beyond” COVID-19?  

Presenters will address a broad range of topics, including local governance, nonprofits, citizen participation, due process in the courts, racial injustice, human security, emotional labor, drug policy, social welfare, law enforcement, public/private partnerships and more.

“As we moved into quarantine in the spring semester, faculty and staff in the School of Public Affairs rallied around the idea of organizing a community conversation aimed at renewing public life as we moved through and hopefully beyond the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Kee Warner, professor of sociology and public administration. “When we marked the dates on our fall calendars, we had little idea what form this series would end up taking or whether any of it could be live and in person. We saw so many areas of creative work being done to keep our community functioning and moving forward, but also few opportunities for people to learn from what was happening beyond their own immediate work and social networks. This series is designed to broaden our perspectives and spark new conversations as we look forward. We hope this helps deepen the lessons learned in order to inspire collaboration and innovation.”

The Virtual Galleries for each topic will consist of five or more presentations by SPA faculty and public affairs practitioners posted with open public access at For each session, the public will have ten days to visit the gallery and submit questions and comments. A live Community Zoom will be broadcast from UCCS Downton to discuss takeaways, provide dialogue between presenters and respond to questions and comments from the public. The dates for each community discussion are:

  • Public Affairs – Virtual Gallery, Oct. 5-15, Community Zoom, Oct. 15, 7 p.m.
  • Criminal Justice – Virtual Gallery, Oct. 19-29, Community Zoom, Oct. 29, 7 p.m.
  • Social Work – Virtual Gallery, Nov. 2-12, Community Zoom, Nov. 12, 7 p.m.

The Virtual Galleries and free registration for the Community Zooms, are found at