About WPS

About WPS

WPS Meeting

WPS Mission

The mission of Women in the Public Sector (WPS) at John Jay College is to promote gender equity and provide opportunities to address gender issues in public service. WPS enacts this mission by educating, engaging, and fostering a consortium of students, faculty, public service practitioners, and community members interested in women in public service.


WPS Goals

The goals  of WPS at John Jay College are to:

Educate participants on the context of women’s experiences in the public sector.

Engage with participants through activities and discussions that share experiences, information, and resources.

Foster a sustainable consortium of students, faculty, public service practitioners, and community members to collaborate in personal development, education, research, and outreach projects.


WPS History

Women in the Public Sector at John Jay College (WPS) was founded in Fall 2013 when Co-Directors, Nicole Elias and Maria D’Agostino, recognized a need for students and faculty to focus on women in public service within and beyond the John Jay community. WPS has hosted a total of 28 events to date with over 1702 participants. These events have educated John Jay and the larger academic, practitioner, and service community on women’s issues in public service. Examples of these events include the Fall 2019 NECopa Conference panel proudly partnering with AWPA, Fall 2019 CouncilWomen movie screening, Spring 2019 Workshop on The Promise & Perils of Mentorship in a #MeToo Era; Spring 2018 Women in the Public Sector Networking Event; the 2017 Women in the Public Sector Speaker Series with New York City Department of Probation Commissioner, Ana M. Bermudez; the 2017 Women in the Public Sector Speaker Series with Mary Luke, Co-President of the Metro NewYork Chapter of the U.S. National Committee for United Nation Women, and the 2016 WPS Professional Development Workshop with Civil Rights Attorney, Melissa Brand.


In addition to these educational and skill-building events, WPS conducts research on gender in the public sector. Nicole Elias and Maria D’Agostino recently co-authored Gender Competencies in MPA Programs in Teaching Public Administration and are co-editing a forthcoming Viewpoint Symposium, #MeToo in Academia: Understanding and Addressing Pervasive Problems, in Public Administration Review. Maria D’Agostino and Nicole Elias also co-edited the first journal symposium in 50 years on the topic of women in public service, The Future of Women in Public Administration, appearing in Public Administration & Society.  


WPS affords students the opportunity to learn and practice skills that are valuable for public services, such as strategic planning, budgeting, human resource functions, and research and grant writing. Since the 2013 academic year, 24 students have served as WPS graduate assistants and interns to aid in fulfilling the WPS mission and accomplishing the organizational goals. In 2018, WPS received the inaugural Presidential Student-Faculty Research Collaboration Award to work with undergraduate students on a research project exploring how municipalities are addressing gender in programs and services offered within jurisdictions across the United States. 


WPS regularly works with public service practitioners on gender justice topics. Most recently, WPS is partnering with the New York City Gender Equity Commission to further our joint goal of advancing gender equity in New York City. This partnership entails conducting research; analyzing agency and city-wide programs and services, and promoting best practices and tools to further gender equity for New York City workplaces and residents. In the past, WPS has worked with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and the United Nations Gender Equity in Public Administration program, and Gender Equality Seal for Public Institutions project. 


WPS aims to promote gender justice beyond John Jay College. WPS launched its blog, Gender Dialogues: A Space for Community and Conversation, in 2017. The purpose of our blog is to provide an outlet for academics, practitioners, and students to share ideas and rethink long-standing issues from diverse perspectives in an informal, creative space. The WPS blog prompts readers to consider the role of sex and gender play in public service and how this shapes the way we think, govern, and are served by sex and gender identities and markers. As of March 2020, 68 bloggers have contributed blog content to date. In 2019, WPS partnered with Academic Women in Public Administration (AWPA) to develop the AWPA-WPS Reference Tool. The purpose of this reference tool is to: 1) Promote work that addresses substantive topics targeting underrepresented groups; 2) Share resources for research and teaching from underrepresented scholars and practitioners, and 3) Diversify resources used in teaching and practice. WPS will continue to foster a consortium of students, faculty, public service practitioners, and community members through future events and projects that share experiences, information, and resources.